Bosnia & Herzegovina – a country that’s building itself up while healing from the wounds of war from the 90s.
I was very young when I first heard about Bosnia, it was accidental from the news that the adults were watching. That moment was my first realisation that such brutality exists in the modern day, I had so many questions. I still didn’t understand it fully until I looked it up many years later in my teens. Up until then, I don’t think I had ever experienced real Empathy, and a genuine sorrow for people I’ve never met.
Hearing about so many people losing their lives & homes really stuck with me & I have carried Bosnia and its residents in my heart ever since, visiting a part of it has been a long time coming. 🙏🏼
During my week in the Balkans, I could only fit in a couple of locations and one of them had to be Mostar.
The residents are so welcoming & the views are something else. With a mix of Catholics, Muslims & Orthodox Christians, you experience a medley of religion & cultures in one visit.
Mostar’s most famous landmark, The Stari Most an iconic landmark from the 16th century. Despite being destroyed in the 90s during the Bosnian War, it stands today after being restored in 2004 and in 2005 became a part of UNESCO.
Walking along it you’ll see it is famous for its divers, who gather money to plunge into the cold waters of Neretva in nothing but their Speedo’s. 🤷🏻♀️ It is quite a popular tradition there but you don’t often witness it until the divers have gathered enough funds from the tourists.
Also a tip if you’re visiting, wear comfortable footwear with a grip, the bridge has a very slippery surface. I was holding the rail for dear life, so I wish I had known.
River Neretva is a beautiful green shade, one of the coldest rivers in the world, averaging at about 8 degrees Celsius in summer. The colour is due to a high amount of copper in the region, making it so picturesque.
During my visit to the old town in Mostar, we visited a Turkish house – Kajtazova Kuca or Kajtaz House dating back to 1653, it was an insight into how a wealthy family would have lived. Incredible embroidery, rugs and original household objects were throughout the house. The courtyard was lovely and peaceful. This house has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site and is protected by law as the finest example of an Ottoman home.
I think 24-48hours in Mostar is great, to be able to see it day and night with and without the peak rush. A country that has a harrowing past but can’t and won’t be defined by it, there is beauty in every turn and I can’t wait to explore the rest of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
I definitely learned a lot just by hearing the stories from the people around me, and seeing the aftermath of war with my own eyes. Everyone had a story tell and it will always differ a bit depending on who you’re speaking to. But one thing that they all gave in common is the amount that they had to suffer in the pursuit of freedom.
Oh and another beauty just 40km outside of Mostar is a gorgeous waterfall that is definitely worth a visit too, Kravice Falls.