MOSTAR - The name of the city of Mostar was given by the guardians of bridges called "bridgears."It is an old city, developed in the 15th and 16th centuries as an Ottoman frontier town and during the Austro-Hungarian period in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mostar has long been known for its old Turkish houses and Old Bridge, Stari Most. The bridge was built by the Ottomans in the 16th century according to the orders of Turkish ruler Sultan Suleyman to replace the only, old hanging iron bridge and is exemplary of typical Islamic architecture and fine engineering. It crosses over the beautiful turquoise Neretvariver, and is at the heart of Mostar’s historic Old Town. It is now on the UNESCO World Heritage List, having received this status in 2005 soon after it was rebuilt, and it attracts thousands of tourists to Mostar every year.
MehmedPasa Mosque built in 1618, is a simple but stunning mosque, which is not only an attraction itself, but is also a spot for some of the best views of the Stari Most. The mosque was built in the early 1600s by the Ottomans, and today it is one of the best preserved mosques in the area. There is a small entrance fee that includes the climb up the minaret for 360º views of the bridge, and a stroll around the outside courtyard which also offers amazing views. The interior of the mosque features some lovely ornate decorations.
KrivaCuprija or ‘Crooked Bridge’
For a smaller and less touristic version of the Stari Most, the KrivaCuprija is worth a visit. It is older than the Stari Most, and is thought to have been a test-run of sorts for the later construction of the larger and more famous bridge. It has only one arch so is relatively small, but still exemplifies typical Islamic architecture of the 16th century, and is a much more peaceful place to sit and enjoy a relaxing lunch at one of the nearby restaurants.
Is one of Mostar’s best examples of Ottoman architecture and is the protected national monument. It was once inhabited by the noble Muslibegović family, and now is both, a luxury hotel and a museum. The interior is in keeping with traditional eastern styles, such as Ottoman rugs, white walls and wooden furnishings, with the museum exhibiting items such as books, manuscripts and handmade crafts. One of the highlights is the outer courtyard, which is shady and well-kept with plenty of lush flowers and greenery.
In the heart of Mostar’s picturesque Old Town is its market, or čaršija. There is a market on each side of the river near to the Stari Most and it has a distinctly eastern feel, thanks to the historic Ottoman influences, with stalls selling rugs, painted plates, copper items, and souvenirs.