Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mostar

Another per 6:00am start this morning so that we could walk 20 minutes to get to the train station for a 6:50 train. Slightly sweaty we sat back, in an older basic carriage, for the scenic 2.5 hour south to the city of Mostar. The gorges the train went through were stunning. Heaps of tunnels and amazing engineering.

 

Mostar is the largest town in the area of Herzegovina and the scene of a bloody 18 month siege in 1992 - 1993. Once again history, conflict and destruction were overwhelming. Today much of the old town has been reconstructed and it is a major day trip destination from the Croatian coast.

We overnight here and had some excellent tips from our hotel owner. He did ask if we were afraid on heights and on replying no, he suggested we could climb the shelled out glass fronted bank building. Of course there were no guard rails and entering was at our own risk. We didn't have time to take up this particular suggestion - although Andrew was keen. I just had images in my head of him playing out some scene from Die Hard or James Bond and it all ending up in tears.

Perhaps it had a sign there like the one we have seen in other dangerous places? We don't know as we didn't walk up to it.

From here we proceeded down the former frontline area where un-repaired damage showed how brutal the incidents had been.

From there it was into the largely repaired and re-constructed old town. The town had been so badly shelled and damaged in the 1990s it was described as resembling Dresden post WWII.

The bridge below is NOT the famous bridge of Mostar, rather it is the Crooked Bridge or Kriva Ćuprija and is reputed to have been a model for the famous & much larger version 300 meters away.

This is the real thing - the famous bridge of Mostar over the Neretva River. Built during the Ottoman (abt 1566) it was considered an engineering marvel and an aesethically beautiful structure. It was blown up in 1993 during the war and reconstructed for reopening in 2004. It has been placed on the Unesco world heritage list.

And another gratuitous view but with Paula in the foreground.

Rather than eating in the old town with the rest of the tourists, we followed our hosts recommendation and walked to restaurant Radobolja, where locals were eating. Even though the menu was only in Bosnian, we managed to have some of the best food and house wine on the trip so far. So good that we had both lunch and dinner here. Our accommodation was Villa Park

Mostar and the surrounding hills, which were stark and barren.

 

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