Bosna and Hercegovina, Mostar – On Our Own
The flight is short and nice. In Tuzla, everything is much swifter. When we are about to get our booked car (car rental stands are right inside the main hall at the airport) we are ready to go in mere 15 minutes. So we start off the longest part of our journey to the Hercegovian capital. It must be stressed that the road from Tuzla to Mostar measures 235 kilometers. It is unreal to get there in two or three hours as we are sued from home Bosna and Hercegovina is flooded with nonsensical speed limits.
There are 20 km/h and 70 km/h traffic signs. Don't expect to travel any faster. There are only two short freeways in this country with the maximum speed of 130 km/h. We ride on one of them. This freeway starts in Sarajevo and runs to Mostar. It is charged (2,5 BAM /about 35 CZK/ – however, you can pay with euro in the country) and mere 35 kilometers long. The other section, as the country itself, is under construction – houses, streets, tourist points of interest, roads – changes are huge. You need to be really careful and have an up-to-date map. GPS works only seldomly. Local drivers basically ignore speed limits. We were quite perplexed by this as police patrols are literally everywhere and are very active. Yet we don't feel like getting to know local police force better. So we have more than a 5 hour ride ahead across wonderful landscape.
In Mostar, we are accommodated in Deni apartment situated about 300 meters from the old town. However, parking and driving a car there is quite an adrenaline experience on narrow streets. We set out to the old town instanteniously. Down the stairs around a cemetery and mosque. Several cultures meld in Bosnia and Hercegovina.Therefore, Islam is strongly present here as well as Judaism, Orthodox christianity or Catholicism. Koski Mehmed-Pasha mosque is situated on the turqoise Neretva River. From here you get perhaps the best vista over Stari Most (the Old Bridge). I recommend you to walk up because the vista is nothing but spectacular. We try to figure out how is it possible that the city is not overcrowded with tourists. This place is amazing. There is a fountain on a courtyard before the mosque. Water in the fountain is drinkable and delicious. There are several similar fountains. Tepa marketplace is next to the mosque. Here you can buy some local food. Restaurants and stands selling all kinds of souvenirs are omnipresent. Kuluk restaurant is a great place for you to enjoy some rest here. It offers splendid vista over Stari Most. Unfortunately, food is rather disappointing.
Mala Tepa and Kujundzhiluk streets get us to the aforementiond symbol of the city - the Stari Bridge. The original bridge existend until November 9, 1993. However, it was destroyed due to shelling during the war. However, foreign subsidies the bridge was repeaired in 2004. Original stone was used to renovate the bridge. It is rightfuly listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.
We crossed the bridge, refreshed ourselves in the freezing cold Neretva and moved to the Krivi bridge, a scale model of the famous Stari Most. Here we went to St Peter and Paul's church. Inside it is under renovation. When we corssed the bridge, we reached another amazing and famous Ottoman structure – Karadjoz-Bey mosque built in 1557.
Text and photos: Veronika Schubertová
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