Mostar is a city picturesquely situated among the mountains, in the valley of the Neretva River, located in the southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The city’s name comes from the word mostari, meaning bridge guards.
Mostar is the informal capital of Herzegovina and one of the largest centers in the country.
Both the city and the surrounding area are worth visiting. Despite the turbulent history that cannot be missed with the naked eye (bullet holes visible in many buildings), today Mostar allures crowds of tourists, especially in the summer season.
Mostar is the most recognizable city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Often visited by tourists coming from Croatia for a day trip or by people traveling around the Balkans.
Mostar cannot be missed, because the city is a peculiar showcase of this country.
You can visit it literally in a few hours, and spend the rest of the time lazily enjoying the local views of the Neretva River. Importantly, not only the Old Bridge is an attraction for visitors here, Mostar also has many other interesting objects, especially those related to the remains of Turkish rule.
So let’s start exploring Mostar with our tourist guide.
Tourist attractions in Mostar
The biggest tourist attraction and also a symbol of the city is the Old Bridge. Initially wooden, later made of stone, it symbolized the connection of the West with the East. It was also proof of the innovation of Ottoman architecture – the bridge is made of a single stone span terminated on both sides with massive stone towers.
Unfortunately, during the civil war in 1993 it collapsed after being shot by tanks by Croatian troops. It was rebuilt in 2004 mostly from white stones excavated from the bottom of the river to preserve its original appearance.
In 2005, the Old Bridge in Mostar was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
It is worth noting that the second attraction in Mostar is jumping from the Old Bridge, performed by daredevils, usually for a small fee collected from tourists. There is something to look at, because in the end the bridge is about 20 meters high (which gives a height of 6-7 floors) and for this you have to jump to a sufficiently deep place in the river. Every year there are also organized competitions for professional jumpers who perform evolutions while flying to the icy Neretva. It’s definitely an extraordinary show that attracts numerous observers to Mostar.
Staying on the subject, Neretwa is one of the coldest rivers in the world. Its average temperature is barely 8 degrees, so bathing in it is definitely not the most pleasant experience. Strong currents add to this, so it’s better to admire this visually attractive turquoise river from the shore.
Neretwa is the longest river in Bosnia and Herzegovina and besides Mostar, it also flows through other attractive tourist destinations, including the historic city of Pocitelj.
Near the Old Bridge there is also the oldest part of the city – Stari Grad. Within it is located the historical Kujundziluk, or the Old Bazaar. It was in this place that many goods were traded long ago and to this day, according to tradition, there are many stalls with handicrafts and souvenirs. You can buy not only fridge magnets, but also copper utensils, jewelry and oriental scarves and scarves.
Nearby are also located local restaurants and cafes, where you can try local delicacies, and above all delicious Bosnian coffee.
Sights in Mostar
As for the monuments in Mostar, the vast majority are remains of Ottoman culture. Koskin-Mehmed Pasha’s mosque is a good example. The building from 1617 suffered a lot during the civil war, but it was rebuilt.
Today in the interior you can admire the surviving paintings and decorations from the time of the Ottoman Empire (including mihrab and minbar) and enter (for a fee) the minaret, on the top of which there is a viewing terrace.
It’s the perfect place to take photos of the Old Bridge. Koskin-Mehmed Pasha’s Mosque is considered one of the most beautiful in Herzegovina. In addition, in its courtyard you can see the building of the Koranic school (madrassa) and the fountain intended for ritual washing of the body, and a small cemetery – several Turkish tombstones.
In the city you can also see the Karadjozbeg mosque from 1557, which is the oldest and largest Muslim temple in the city with a characteristic very high minaret, and the Nasuh-Aga Vucjakovic mosque from 1564. In turn, the Cejvan Cehaja mosque is distinguished by an unusual octagonal minaret.
Turkish house Kajtaz
Another interesting monument in Mostar is the Turkish house – Kajtaz. It is somewhat hidden in one of the streets departing from the Old Bazaar. It dates from the 17th century and is an example of the residence of an Ottoman nobleman.
You can see separate rooms for men and women on two floors as well as traditional furniture, carpets and kitchen equipment, as well as some folk costumes. The whole house is surrounded by a high wall, which was supposed to protect the women living here from the eyes of foreign men. There is also a garden-patio with fountains, where you could hide from the scorching sun.
In Mostar, it’s also worth seeing a thumbnail of the Old Bridge, or Crooked Bridge. Apparently it was built as a trial before the proper one was built. Though it connects the banks of the Neretva tributary – the Radoblja River, by the way being the oldest bridge in the city.
Those interested in the history of the city and these areas will certainly be interested in the Herzegovina Museum in Mostar, which shows its culture and history. In this small facility (only four rooms) you can see photos, documents, costumes and furniture from over the years.
Tara is also an interesting monument – one of the stone towers on both sides of the Old Bridge. At one time weapons, ammunition and gunpowder were stored here. For this reason, the walls of this tower are almost three meters thick. It lost its function during the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Mostar. Today, the tower houses the Old Bridge Museum.
In turn, in the second tower – Halebija upstairs was a strategic vantage point and small barracks for the army.
However, the lower floors housed a prison. Today you can see photos of Mostar from the war.
These are not all the attractions and interesting places in Mostar.
What to see in Mostar
An interesting fact is in Mostar the 17th-century stone clock tower. Built on a square plan, it has a height of 16 meters. Apparently, the sound of her bells could be heard at a distance of 3 hours. Like many buildings in the city, it had to be restored after the Bosnian war.
Another place that you can see in the city is the city park Zrinjski in Mostar. The most interesting object that is in it is definitely the statue of Bruce Lee!
This statue, 1.68 cm high, is supposed to symbolize the city’s multi-ethnicity. It ended up that vandals damaged the monument and it had to be repaired. This symbol of Asian action cinema was simply considered a provocation.
However, to this day you can admire it in the park.
Another thing you can see in Mostar is the ubiquitous street art: on blocks, old or abandoned buildings. One of them was even assimilated by street artists as a canvas for placing their works. This abandoned building is a block of the former headquarters of the bank – called the sniper tower. This tallest building in the city, during the siege of Mostar, was the favorite place of snipers, who from here aimed at people crossing the river.
Hence the shameful name.
However, nowadays, despite the bricked-in entrance, self-styled artists came inside and left their mark on all floors in the form of more or less successful graffiti. Officially, it is forbidden to visit this abandoned building because of its condition.
Catholic church of saints Peter and Paul
An interesting object is also the Catholic church of St. Peter and Paul, erected by the Franciscans in 1866. During the war it was severely damaged and then rebuilt in 2000. Right next to the monastery building is the largest library in Herzegovina, with valuable volumes.
Apparently there are as many as 50,000 here and they come from different eras, among others antiquity, the western and eastern world. Right next to the church stands the tallest tower in the city, which can be reached by elevator and admire the surrounding panorama.
Another peculiar place is Hadzi-Kurt Mosque (Tabacica), which at one time belonged only to gravediggers. Because of the smell that accompanied them, they had to build their temple. Therefore, as the only group of craftsmen in Mostar, they had their own mosque.
Right next to this temple stands the former Turkish bath, built in the 16th century, which has six characteristic domes. Today, it houses a museum dedicated to the hammam purification rituals.
Map of Mostar
See on the map where the most interesting attractions and interesting places in Mostar are:
See also the official website of the city of Mostar where you can learn more about it.
Let us know what your favorite attractions and monuments in Mostar are. We look forward to receiving feedback in the comments!