Mostar, which is famous for the Mostar Bridge, is the most popular tourist attraction in Bosnia and Herzegovina along with Sarajevo. Due to its popularity and transportation facilities, you can visit Mostar with half-day or day tours.
First of all, Mostar Bridge was built during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century by Mimar Hayreddin, one of the students of the great master Mimar Sinan and the architect of the Bayezid II Complex in Edirne. Not only the bridge, this place is actually a small part of a big complex with its mosque and madrasah.
Known as Stari Most in Bosnian, the bridge became so famous in the region that it even gave its name to the region. Mostar Bridge was also the subject of Evliya Çelebi’s Seyahatname. If you have been to Czechia, the famous bridge there was also called Karluv Most. In these parts of Europe, Most means bridge.
Destruction and Reconstruction of Mostar Bridge
First Bosnian Serbs and then Croatian tanks damaged and destroyed the bridge. Mostar Bridge, the bridge between Croats and Muslims, was sadly destroyed. During the war, enemies would try to intimidate the people, especially by targeting bridges. Bridges were considered as the dignity and honor of the country.
UNESCO and the World Bank led the efforts to restore the Mostar Bridge, which became a symbol after the destruction of the bridge. Although it was intended to use the destroyed stones, they could not be used because the stones deteriorated in the water and were damaged due to bombardment. Another solution was found by analyzing the stone blocks taken out of the water and interpreting the way the materials were used. First, the quarry used at the time was reopened to find the stone from which the bridge was built, and the stones of the bridge were rebuilt. In 2004, the construction of the bridge was completed.
Jumping off the Mostar Bridge is also a source of fun for some young men. They have turned showing their courage and giving the spectators a good time into financial gain. They also ask for a small fee so that the spectators can share this enthusiasm. The bridge is 24 meters high from the river. It takes real courage to jump from here. But the water of the Neretva River flowing under Mostar is magnificent.
If you have a swimsuit with you, dive in without thinking. Of course, paying attention to the current. The area where the small beach can be seen from Mostar Bridge is a nice place to swim and take photos of the bridge.
On each side of Mostar Bridge, there is a tower built to defend the bridge. You can climb these towers and watch the Mostar Bridge and its surroundings from above. The tower to the east of the bridge is the Tara Tower and the tower to the west is the Halebiye Tower.
Tara Tower (Old Bridge Museum)
Today, the Tara Tower is a 5-story war museum. Until you go upstairs, information about the towers and the Mostar Bridge, the tools of war used in the towers, and the soldiers’ clothes are exhibited at various points. It is not a full museum, but it is pleasant to watch the view from the top of the tower. While watching the view, you are watching through a wire cage, but since some parts of these wires are open, you can also get wireless images at a few points.
After climbing up and down the Tara Tower, the attendant directs you to another spot. The area he directs you to is the foundations of one leg of the Mostar Bridge. After these foundations, which look like archaeological remains, we go to a video room that tells the story of the Mostar Bridge and the stages of its restoration, and to a few sections where the original stone blocks of the collapsed bridge are exhibited.
Neretva Hotel is one of the abandoned buildings after the war. If you go up the Tara Tower, the hotel building, which can be seen at the top when you look towards the back, not towards the bridge, is a post-war monument. A building that was not repaired in order not to forget the war.
Halebija Tower (War Photo Exhibition)
Within the Halebija Tower, there is an exhibition area where wartime photographs were taken by Wade Goddard, who came to Bosnia and Herzegovina as a photojournalist in 1992. The War Photo Exhibition may be of interest to those who love photography.
Koski Mehmet Pasha Mosque
Koski Mehmet Pasha Mosque is a mosque built in the 17th century. It is one of the closest mosques to the Mostar Bridge, right on the banks of the Neretva River. When you are on the Mostar Bridge, you will reach the mosque shortly after you exit by the Tara Tower and turn left. Today, the mosque also serves a touristic purpose. For a fee of 6KM, visitors to Mostar Bridge can climb the minaret of the mosque and see the magnificent view of Mostar from above. Mostar is a very small city, so even if you want to visit all the museums and the surrounding area, one day is enough.
What are the places to visit in Mostar?
Although Mostar’s most popular attraction is the Mostar Bridge, it is not the only place to visit in Mostar. Apart from the ones mentioned above, Mostar is also home to many mosques. If you are interested in old Ottoman houses along with Koski Mehmet Pasha Mosque and Karagöz Bey Mosque, Muslim Bey Mansion and Biscevica House, one of the houses that survived from the Ottoman period, are among the places to visit. Blagay Tekke, located a little further away and to the south, is one of the places worth seeing with its history and nature.
Where is Mostar Bridge? How to get there?
Mostar city and bridge are located in the Herzegovina region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Neretva River, which flows through the center, has divided the city into two.
Travelers who want to visit Mostar Bridge usually do so during their visit to Sarajevo. We also visited Mostar during the Balkan tour we started from Sarajevo. We traveled by private car and it takes 130 km (2 hours) from Sarajevo to Mostar. There are many paid parking lots in Mostar. They have prices like 2KM all day long.
- Transportation to Mostar by plane is provided via Sarajevo. You land at Sarajevo International Airport and go to Mostar by rented private car, train or bus.
- To get to Mostar by bus from Sarajevo, you can buy a ticket from Autobuska Stanica Sarajevo bus terminal in the city center. Since Mostar is a touristic city, it is possible to get here from many other cities in the surrounding area. If you have planned a day trip to Mostar and bought a round trip ticket, you should plan by taking into account the return time.
- It is also possible to reach Mostar by train. The services organized by the Railways of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ZFBH) go to Trg Ivana Krndelya, the Mostar train station next to the bus terminal in Mostar. Train transportation is much cheaper than bus transportation and transportation times are almost the same.