Winter Break 4: Mostar and Blagaj – Humble but beautiful towns of Bosnia and Herzegovina


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From Croatia, we went to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Despite its not-so-distant-past war, Bosna i Hercegovina (BiH) is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Our trip to Mostar started from Sarajevo (Capital of BiH). The bus trip is about 2.5 hours and costs 18KM (9 euros) one way or 26.5KM (13.30 euros) return ticket. The scenery along the journey is unearthly beautiful!

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If you think this is Switzerland, you’re wrong! This is the beauty of Bosnia…

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The great mountains and turqoise Neretva River all along the way. Subhanallah!

 

Blagaj

Blagaj (pronounced as Blah-guy) is a Bosniak-dominated small town outside Mostar (20 minutes by Bus). Mostar bus is funded by the people of Japan. Basically most attractions in Mostar and its nearby towns were funded by foreign countries, which make them very beautifully preserved. Blagaj is known for its Tekke (Tekija), a dervish (Sufi) monastery.

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BiH has a lot of Muslim graves.

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Building from the war in Blagaj. It’s abandoned, the building wall has gunshot patches. It is possible that some bombs or mine are still in there too. Visitors should not go inside abandoned buildings!

 

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Buna river in Blagaj. Buna river flows 9km and joins Neretva river in the village Buna

 

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The hidden house by the Buna river near the cave is Tekke (Tekija), a dervish (Sufi) monastery. Entrance is 4KM (2 euros).

Mostar

In slavic languages, “Most” means bridge. Mostar means the Bridge Keeper. The city of Mostar has Stari Most or Old Bridge which holds a lot of sentimental values to the people of Mostar. In 1993, the Old Bridge was destroyed by the ethnic Croats after the Serbs were driven out, thus the still-existing ethnic tension between the Bosniaks and the Croats of Mostar.

The city is still suffering from geographical division of ethnic groups; the Bosniaks are predominantly in the old part of town (where the most attractions are), while the Croats live in the new part of town. They seldom interact with each other.

In 2008, the Old Bridge was fully constructed. UNESCO inscribed the bridge and its near vicinity onto the world heritage list. The visit to Mostar is very humbling. Mosques are at every corner of the street, but they’re closed, probably not used at all.

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Mostar’s old town.

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Mostar’s reconstructed Old Bridge

 

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Photo exhibition about the history of Mostar during and after the war, reconstruction of the Old Bridge. It’s very humbling to learn about it.

 

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View of Mostar from the Old Bridge. Mosques are at every corner of the street.

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Efenem, the Old Bridge and the Neretva River

 

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This city is funded mostly from the EU and its attractions are preserved by UNESCO.

 

Although most part of BiH are safe, there exist some place which are still rigged with bombs and mines from the war. It’s a general safety precautions for visitors to not go inside abandoned buildings and not walk on unpaved areas. Mostar has a lot of this – it’s one of the most hit cities during the war.

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4 thoughts on “Winter Break 4: Mostar and Blagaj – Humble but beautiful towns of Bosnia and Herzegovina

  1. Hi there,

    After spending almost a week here this month (September 2011), I was thinking about go back in the winter to see how bridge looks with a layer of snow. Thanks for posting your photos. They have convinced me that I should indeed go back, maybe this time with a rental car so I can stop and take photos along the route from Sarajevo to Mostar. That was, as you said, really gorgeous but hard to take photos from a fast-moving bus!

    A few small corrections to your post. I believe Stari Most was reconstructed in 2004. Also, there are several mosques open to tourists in the summer. I suggest you go back then and check them out. Mostar is a completely different city during the tourist season. You can climb the minarets, which is a very interesting experience if only to imagine that someone used to do this claustrophobic and somewhat precarious climb 5 times a day! And you get lovely view of the city from the top.

    Cheers,
    Jen

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