The first time I saw the Old Stone Bridge of Mostar was a photo from an American backpacker that I met in Czech Republic many years ago. I could not help but feel that traveler’s pull in my core when I saw the beauty of the stone bridge arched over the turquoise Neretva River. If you have been bitten by the travel bug, then you understand that pull from your heart and core to explore. I was not sure what it was about the Old Stone Bridge in Mostar, but I did find myself overlooking it from the old town several years later. I made it!
Stari Most (The Old Bridge) was built in the 16th century by the Ottomans, and was inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. Not only Stari Most but the area of the Old City of Mostar, which was built in the 15th and 16th century as an Ottoman frontier, shares in the prestigious UNESCO title.
The Old Town which overlooks the Neretva River and Stari Most was a fascinating site to see. I could feel the layers of history (good and bad) within the colorful facades, uneven stone walkways and the ancient town structure with every step I took. The feeling was thick and powerful. From the days of the Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungarian rule, Yugoslavian and communist years, the war in Bosnia (1990s) and to the current date of a tourist destination. The thoughts of an evolution of a community has always intrigued me and one of the reasons that I travel.
The town as we see it now had been reconstructed as well as Stari Most after the conflict in Bosnia during the 1990s. The Old Bridge as well as most of historic city was destroyed during those years. The reconstruction of the bridge and the Old City of Mostar had become a symbol of reconciliation, international co-operation of several countries including the Netherlands, Turkey, Italy and Croatia. The reconstructed Stari Most was inaugurated on July 23,2004 and took three years to complete. It also solidified the significance of the coexistence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities.
I will not lie though, when I first saw the photo of the Old Stone Bridge in Bosnia my initial thoughts were of the war back in the 1990s. Even my friends had asked me if it were safe to go to Bosnia because the last news they ever heard was regarding the war 30 years ago. I assured them that everything was fine, safe and I would have an amazing solo adventure- and I did!
With that said regarding the war in Bosnia back in 1992-1995, there are still buildings throughout the country that bare the scars of war. I saw buildings that had been hollowed out and destroyed to random buildings that had bullet holes. From what I understand there were some locations kept in that war torn state as a reminder of the pains of war.
While exploring the Old Town, I of course got hungry for lunch and decided to eat at Restoran Europa. I chose it for the local trout on the menu, as well as the restaurant being in the thick of it. I wanted to enjoy my lunch in the atmosphere of the Old City, with a great patio view and the sounds of the Call to Prayer from the local Mosque.
Local fresh trout with with local vegetables, french fries and a basket of lepinja bread.
I have reviewed and dined at thousands of restaurants over my years and there are always three things to consider- food, service and atmosphere. I wanted local trout, nice service and the feel of the Old City. It may seem touristy but it was what I wanted and considering the centuries of history from where I sat, how could I not?
🌎 I still feel that traveler’s pull when I see my own photos of Stari Most, which only means that I will be back to Mostar one day. There were more layers to explore and more places to dine. Until then…
I do not explain, I explore…– Marshall Mcluhan
🌎 Thank you for visiting my website and NEVER STOP EXPLORING!
📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre