An emblematic monument of Mostar, symbol of the difficult reconciliation between different communities, the old bridge of the city is probably the best known of the Bosnian monuments. A typical Ottoman bridge dating from the 16th century, it had an uneventful past until 1993, more precisely on November 9th, the day of its destruction. Rebuilt identically in the early 2000s, it plays again its role of link between the different ethnic groups of the city. But by the way, where is Mostar?
Mostar, near the Neretva
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mostar and downtown
As the shows four maps below, the Stari Most, as it is called locally, is at the center of the city of Mostar, the fifth city of Bosnia and Herzegovina by its number of inhabitants. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a new country emerging from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in eastern Italy. It is bordered to the west by Croatia, the E st by Serbia, and northern Slovenia. If its capital, Sarajevo, is roughly in the center of the country, Mostar is in the south, near the only stretch of coast the country has. Administratively it depends on the Herzegovina-Neretva canton.The Neretva is also the name of the local river, the one that crosses the city and on which passes this old bridge.
On site, the old bridge is downtown. In fact, it is the opposite: It is the city that was built around the bridge, because historically there was on site only an old Roman city, abandoned since the fifth century. It was not until the fifteenth century that the Ottoman Empire decided to build a bridge over the river that barred the road from a commercial port , Dubrovnik, inside the empire. This bridge would soon give birth to a new city, especially since a century later the two defensive towers were built, transforming the place of passage into defense points. This is how Mostar was born, and this explains why the old bridge is right in the center of the city.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
On this map of Europe, Bosnia and Herzegovina is highlighted. It is east of the Adriatic.
If you go to the country you will see that the Adriatic coast is essentially taken by the neighboring country, Croatia. The little facade Bosnia has is near Mostar in the south of the country.
Aerial view of Mostar
In aerial view, the geographical situation of the city is obvious: The local river, Neretva, separates Mostar in two parts, while the whole agglomeration is taken in the mountains, at the bottom of a valley. The old city is in the East, in Muslim neighborhoods.
Aerial view of the bridge of Mostar
Approaching we see that the bridge is flanked by its two defensive towers. The bridge is right in the city center.
Distances with other cities
If you want to go to Mostar, here are some distances to know before leaving:
To go from Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to Mostar, it takes a little more than 2h drive. But there is only 130Kms. If we take so long to travel so little distance, it is because there is only one road, inevitably congested, and that it follows the valleys, it is therefore rather sinuous. For Dubrovnik, Croatia, count a little less than 3 hours, for 140Kms only. The road runs along the Croatian coast, which is nice to walk. Coming from Belgrade, the Serbian capital, it takes about 8h drive, for only 420Kms. And finally, from Zagreb, the Croatian capital, you will need 6:30 to 420Kms.
If it takes so long to travel relatively short distances, it is mainly due to the relief of the region, the Balkans, which is a mountainous area. The roads are winding, pass by passes, descend valleys, etc. Besides, Mostar is in a valley, too.