At first sight, Mostar is a beautiful town on the Neretva river. But as with many places in Bosnia and Herzegovina, traces of the deadly conflict can be seen everywhere.

View from Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque, Mostar View from Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque.

I walk along the cobblestone-clad alleys in the old town, where the houses still bear the scars of war in form of bullet holes in the walls. I see several tomb stones at a cemetery where most graves are marked 1993.

The deadly conflict that ravaged the Balkans in the 1990s claimed thousands of lives and reduced half a millennia of architectural wonders to rubble.

Old town, Mostar Here be trinkets.

Every road eventually leads to the iconic Stari Most. The bridge was built in 1566 on orders of Suleiman the Magnificent during the Ottoman era, and stood proud for 427 years before it was destroyed by artillery fire in 1993.

A decade later, it was reconstructed and the brave local youths could once again take up the tradition of diving into the river, a tradition since 1664.

Old town, Mostar Along the cobblestones.

We ascend the narrow spiral staircase to the top of the minaret in Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque. The wind is strong but the view of the river and Stari Most is breathtaking. From this height, I can try to forget the horrors of war for a few minutes.


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