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Published: December 6th 2008
Kids jump into this river from the Stari Most for cash from tourists.
We took a bus from Split to Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Upon crossing the border, we immediately noticed the damage done to this region in the fairly recent war. There were plenty of abandoned buildings covered in bullet and bomb holes. Mostar itself was one of the hardest hit cities in the country and was under siege for about 3 years. All of the medieval bridges were destroyed and many of the old buildings. Despite all of this happening only 15 years ago, the city and the people have bounced back remarkably well. The Bosnians are well known as being the friendliest people in the Balkans. This was immediately evident as we were unexpectedly welcomed by the hostel owner as we came off the bus. The hostel we had contacted was officially closed for the winter but because we had emailed the lady directly, she took us in.
With the hostel being closed and all, we had the entire flat to ourselves. It became home base for the next 3 days as we relaxed and enjoyed the sights in Mostar. A lot of the buildings in the city are still covered in bullet holes while some have been nicely
Please leave your dogs & guns outside the supermarket!
restored. There was a massive new church next to our place that was recently completed and some new buildings going up. All of the bridges were rebuilt in their original style including the most famous, the Stari Most (Old Bridge). In the summer, local kids are paid by tourist groups to jump off this bridge into the river below. These kids are paid up to 300 euros for a proper dive as the 24 m height make it quite dangerous. You can pay to jump yourself too if you're man enough. Apparently we just missed a jump by a few hours, which is too bad because a jump this late in autumn is pretty rare.
The old town of Mostar was pretty well still intact. There are a couple old Mosques that survived the war and this was the first place we've been to where the call to prayer could be heard throughout the city. In the old town there are many souvenir shops selling odd trinkets such as Yugoslavian-era Tito memorabilia and pens made from empty bullet shell casings.
Overall, we were happy with our short trip into Bosnia & Herzegovina. It is truly a remarkable place
Stari Most bridge.
and once again becoming a hot spot on the tourist trail. I would have liked to move on to Sarajevo but it was getting cold inland and we wanted to head South and stick to the warmer coast. Back to Croatia and the tourist town of Dubrovnik.
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