When it comes to such an amazing town, I don’t even know where to start. Trying to write about my experience now brings all amazing images to my head, places I have seen, scenery I did not come across before. I did visit more than 45 countries before visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina, thinking that I’ve seen it all, but no, I could not be more wrong. Pictures, I am memorizing now, makes me want to write and write about it. It could be a messy blog without concentrating and thinking, how to shortly introduce Mostar and surrounded area to you all.
Mostar is a city in southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Neretva River. Though, it is a must see place on every Balkans backpacker`s list, it does attract all kind of tourists from all over the world. It’s well known for the iconic Stari Most (Old Bridge), medieval arched bridge that has been found by Suleiman the Magnificent in 16th century. This Ottoman construction crosses the town river and connects two parts of the city. I was surprised to learn that after the 427 years it was destroyed in 1993 by Croat forces during the Croat–Bosniak War, and then rebuild again in 2004, gaining at the same time the title of one of the UNESCO sides. As of 2017, it is one of the most remarkable bridges in Europe and a main point of tourist interest of the whole country. The images of Stari Most come as a first top mach in all internet search engines, associating Bosnia and Herzegovina with it. The simplicity of the design and structure, enriched by two medieval fortified towers along with beautiful and green river running underneath, makes it truly as a worth see place. The very interesting fact is that it is a most crowded place in the whole town, with people standing on it all day long. Crazy local jumpers (for money) probably participate in this fact too. I, myself, was sitting on the wall near by staring at the bridge for hours. I really did not need more. Apart from this outstanding overpass, you can find the medieval spirit in Old Town, on the side of the bridge. Alleys are full of shops and market stalls, and the Museum explores the bridge’s long history.
There is a bad in good of being in Mostar. I mean, it is great to visit the town, but it is bad if you have just one day to explore. Though, the uniqueness of this city will leave an amazing memories, it would be very unfortunate not to see the things around. So what are they?
Blagaj is a village located just 10 kilometers south-west of Mostar. It can be reached by bus that unluckily does not operate very often, but it is an option.
The morning service leaves at 9.00 and 11.30. It is a yellow one that has got few stops in the town, and one is located next to the main bus terminal. I would suggest a perfect option of catching this transport at 9.00 and coming back at 11.30. You will have enough time to look around and be able to plan something for the afternoon. The ticket cost just 4.20 Marks for both ways. The return service from Blagaj is at 11.30, 13.00, and 16.30, but please rechecked with locals, as I’ve been told that some might not run or are known to be late even for one hour. Road to Blagaj is also good for a good bike trial. The whole way is nice and easy, roads are not so busy, and the view of mountains and rivers is outstanding. The third option might be an organised tour from Mostar or a taxi, and the last one is not that pricey as you may think. Depending on the amount of people in your group and your negotiation skills, it could become a cheap and very convenient option to choose. Once there, the village itself is not really the place you want to see. The point of interest, called Blagaj Tekija, is a Dervish Monastery that’s nearly 600 years old. Situated at the base of a cliff next to the source of the river Buna, creates a very picturesque space. It can be accessible by both sides, and the view from them is impressive. On one side, next to the Monastery by the river, you can find few coffees and restaurant, where you can stop by and rest, eat, and drink or just enjoy this stunning place.
Beautiful waterfalls, called Kravice, are easily reachable from Mostar. The height of the falls is about 25 meters, and the radius of the lake in the base of the waterfall is 120 meters. The distance equal 40 km, so it would make a little bit difficult to cycle there, but can be easily approach by car or taxi. The last one, I mentioned, does not mean an expensive option if you are going in a group of 4, as the price for one way can start from just 50$ for ride for all.
This time I can’t advise you on the bus service, as I don`t think there`s any direct one from Mostar, at least I haven’t heard of it. I have bought a day tour from my hostel, and I would also highly recommend this way of doing so, as you will be able to visit a six different places in one day (including Blagaj and Počitelj). However, during the summer time, I would recommend spending there the whole day. Not only because of the pretty waterfalls. This place makes as a perfect day trip. You can swim there, have a BBQ, sit and enjoy. The area around makes this place as a perfect recreation spot for families, group of friends, or just a single person.
Fortress like village, called Počitelj, is one of the most picture-perfect architectural place in the country and a must see. The main construction dates from two periods – medieval and ottoman, same like Mostar and loads of other cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This one, however, just can`t escape your attention with the uniqueness of all the buildings, attached to each other by the tiny stairs in between, that lay on the hill side.
The history of this small village take us back to 1383 year. It is believed that the fortified town, along with its attendant settlements, were built by Bosnia’s King Stjepan Tvrtko I. In the 1562 the construction of the large Hadži Alijina Mosque has been completed, however it got destroyed later on, in 1990s. People yet did want to make Počitelj as a magnificent and unique place again, so the mosque got restored. The most dominant residential structure in the village is probably Gavrakanpetanović House, a complex of one large and two smaller buildings, built during the 16th and 17th centuries. Following its destruction in 1993, it was restored in 2003 once again. The Sahat-kula, a silo-shaped fort that towers from the top of the hill above, is another magnificent structure that makes this village so unique. In January 2003, the historic part of town of Počitelj was proclaimed a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 2007, Počitelj submitted an application for the UNESCO world heritage list and as of today is one of the most popular tourist attraction.