A friend commented on an Instagram photo I had posted last week, asking if this place really exists. It does. And it’s beautiful. During the war, and after, without the bridge intact, it probably (ok, I’m sure it definitely wasn’t) as pristine looking… But now, thanks to the reconstruction of the bridge, and a growing young population ignoring the rules of the previously divided Croat vs. Bosnian sides, the town seems (at least to my visitor’s eye) to be one again. Despite a plethora of tourists walking through the town during the day, it was a fraction of how crowded the streets were in Dubrovnik and Kotor. In the evening, only a handful of visitors roamed the cobblestoned alleyways and the town had a bit of magic in the air that gently reminded us both how lucky we were to be able to visit and enjoy this little town together.
We started our day in Mostar at the Museum of the Old Bridge. It’s on the small side, basically housed in one of the towers (Tara tower) and discusses the history of the original construction. It provides views of the bridge from above, a walk through the older underground sections below, and a bit on the destruction and reconstruction. I know, you might be a little surprised at my (our) interest in a museum dedicated to a bridge… But it really was quite fascinating. The architecture is pretty amazing and the history involving the destruction during the war is eye-opening. Normally, I might not suggest starting with a museum like this, but in this case, I highly recommend it.
Damage to the city, from the war, is still evident. Buildings like this one dotted the streets. Usually, when we visit a city devastated by war at some point in history, it’s so far in the past that only a museum serves as a reminder. You get an entirely different perspective when you look at a building crushed by a bomb or riddled with bullet and grenade holes.
Crossing the bridge, I was surprised to see a young man standing on the edge of the bridge, acting as if he was going to jump. I waited (as you can see in the video) and then got bored… waiting. As we walked past him, I asked if he was going to jump.
“If 25 euros are collected, then I will jump!” He answered.
“Ohhh, I see…” Andrew sighed. I rolled my eyes. He stood on the ledge all afternoon. He was there all throughout our next museum visit in the opposite tower. He got longer shorts when it looked as if it was going to rain, but still stood out on the ledge. He was even standing on the ledge a few hours later when we climbed up a minaret down the way for a different view of the bridge… I didn’t (and still don’t) understand their system. Why these boys don’t have an organized daily jump surprises me. It seems as though it would be a much better idea to have a daily jump at a specific time everyday. Ask the city if they will sponsor them, even if it’s just by printing flyers and advertising their daily jump on their tourist website. Pose for pictures before the jump. Jump. Collect donations afterwards. Boom. One hour and done. I’m sure they would even make more than 25 euros per jump!
Instead, dude stood around on a ledge of a bridge for at least four hours waiting for one person, or a crowd to take it upon themselves to collect 25 euros for him to jump. Lame. Unless he likes the attention, which could very well be his thing… but it didn’t look like he ever made any money standing on the ledge all afternoon…
We walked out of the old town to see what Mostar was like outside the historical/bridge area. The most interesting thing we saw was an abandoned building that looked as if it was a graffiti mecca. That, and judging by the amount of empty bottles of beer littered around the floor, that it was/is probably a local night haunt for Mostar teens.
We made our way back towards the old town, looking for the mosque with the minaret that had a wonderful view of the bridge and both banks of the river. Koskin-Mehmed Pasha’s Mosque is small, and we were told it is no longer in use, however a man was praying inside after we climbed down from the minaret.
You go to this mosque, not for the interior, but for the view of the town (and the bridge) from the minaret. Climbing the minaret wasn’t my most favorite thing to do, but once you get to the top, you’ll see that the short climb (going in circles in the dark) is worth it.
Towards dusk, we went around to the other side of the old town and sat at the water’s edge to take some pictures of the bridge at night.
I even set up the self-timer and scurried across the rocks to sit with Andrew for a few pictures of us. If I was looking at these pictures of another couple, I would roll my eyes. I told Andrew just that.
“Ohmigod, these pictures are sooo cheesy!” I started laughing at us.
“What? It’s not our fault our love is so adorable!” He responded, on his way into the bathroom, and then he promptly yelled at me that I had left a turd in the toilet.
“Well, I don’t know how it got there!” I just yelled back.