An early start...
09/08/2019 - 09/08/2019
This morning, we bid farewell to Komiža with a 6 AM departure. We arrived in Vis City by 6:30, and had time for a short walk-about as the sun was rising.
Jane had packed each of us a breakfast sack, which we ate on the 7:30 AM ferry that took us from Island Vis to Split. Here are some sailaway views.
After docking in Split, we met a private coach that took us to the neighboring country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We were sorry to have to say goodbye to Josip, who has driven us thus far. We are now in the hands of Zoran, riding in a full size bus that holds 50 people. We are 15...so we have lots of room.
Zoran's mom met us at the van/bus transfer with cheeses, prosciutto, bread, wine and chocolate liquer. This country is seriously a feeding frenzy. Food as love.
Crossing the border from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina took close to an hour. Fortunately, we were able to remain on the bus while our passports were presented by Zoran.
At about 2 PM, we checked into our hotel, the City Star Hotel. Here are photos of our room.
Here is the view from the hotel patio. Note the terrible grenade damage done to the beautiful stone building. So many of the buildings that we pass have damage from shelling. It is heartbreaking.
After a few minutes to settle in, we were led by our guide, Nino, to the historic city of Mostar. The city spans the valley of the Neretva River and is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mostar was established initially as an Ottoman frontier town during the 15th Century, and later was annexed by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire in 1908. Traces of both cultures can be seen today in the architecture of this lovely place.
We walked through the Old Bazaar, the Kujundžiluk. As we walked along the cobblestone streets, many of the old crafts, such as rug weaving and copper work, could be observed in the shops. Of course, the bazaar has plenty of tourist shops, as well as cafes and restaurants. There was plenty to admire!
This is the site of the oldest bridge built in Mostar. This smaller bridge was the prototype for the Stari Most, the main bridge of the city. The Turkish architect who was sent to build the bridges was a student of the master bridge builder, and was uncertain as to whether a bridge could be supported by a single arch. When the supportive scaffolding was removed, the architect was forced to stand below the bridge, so that he would be killed should the bridge collapse. The bridge lasted for hundreds of years, but had to be rebuilt in the 1900s after flooding.
Here are the original city walls that are close to the bridge.
The walking in Mostar is not easy.
While much of the architecture in the city is Turkish, this building reflects the city's Austrian influence. While the design was supposed to "blend in". with the Turkish, Islamic leanings of the city, the building was criticized as its window designs resembled the Christian cross.
The city of Mostar gets its name from the bridge keepers (mostari), who in the medieval times guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) that spanned the river. The Stari Most was built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, and is considered to be an exemplary piece of Islamic architecture in the Balkans. It is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's most visited landmarks. It is very difficult to walk across as the pavements are slippery, and the pitch is fairly steep.
Between 1992 and 1995, Mostar sustained significant damage during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Much of the city center was left in ruins, and the Stari Most was destroyed. The subsequent reconstruction has been aided by UNESCO, and serves as a symbol of reconciliation and international cooperation.
We enjoyed a typical Bosnian meal on a lovely outdoor covered patio that afforded beautiful views. During dinner we saw two people jump from the bridge into the river (65 feet). Apparently it's a common fun activity, with a little boat waiting in the water to check on the brave souls. Happy to report that both jumpers are healthy (but wise?).
After dinner, we crossed the bridge and explored the opposite side of the river.
Here you can see the restaurant where we ate, with its multiple level patios.
Photos are tagged Croatia and Mostar