Mostar: A City of Culture and History

Mostar, a city located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a place of immense cultural and historical significance. Nestled along the banks of the Neretva River, Mostar is renowned for its Old Town, which is filled with beautiful historic buildings and landmarks.

One of the most famous and enduring symbols of the city is the Old Bridge, or Stari Most. Built in the 16th century by the Ottoman Empire, this stunning structure spans the river and connects the two sides of the city. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a beloved icon of Mostar.

In addition to its historic Old Town, Mostar is home to a number of museums and galleries that offer visitors a glimpse into the city’s rich cultural heritage. The Mostar War Museum, for example, tells the story of the city’s history during the Yugoslav Wars, while the Old Bridge Museum offers insight into the history of the famous Old Bridge.

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The Kujundžiluk old bazaar is another popular attraction in Mostar. Here, visitors can shop for traditional handicrafts and souvenirs, such as handmade pottery, copperware, carpets, and jewelry. It’s a great place to pick up a unique memento of your visit to the city.

In addition to its cultural attractions, Mostar is surrounded by stunning natural beauty. The nearby mountains of Herzegovina and the Neretva River offer numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking and rafting. Visitors can also enjoy a leisurely walk along the river, taking in the beautiful surroundings.

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All in all, Mostar is a city that offers something for everyone. Its rich history and culture, combined with its stunning natural surroundings, make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the Balkans. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply someone looking to experience a new culture, Mostar has something to offer.

History

As far as medieval Mostar goes, although the Christian basilicas of late antiquity remained in use, few historical sources were preserved and not much is known about this period. The name of Mostar was first mentioned in a document dating from 1474, taking its name from the bridge-keepers (mostari); this refers to the existence of a wooden bridge from the market on the left bank of the river which was used by traders, soldiers, and other travelers. During this time it was also the seat of a kadiluk (district with a regional judge).

Prior to 1474 the names of two towns appear in medieval historical sources, along with their later medieval territories and properties – the towns of Nebojša and Cimski grad. In the early 15th century the county (župa) of Večenike covered the site of the present-day Mostar along the right bank of the Neretva, including the sites of Zahum, Cim, Ilići, Raštani and Vojno. It was at the center of this area, which in 1408 belonged to Radivojević, who built Cim Fort (prior to 1443). Mostar is indirectly referred to in a 1454 charter of King Alfonso V of Aragon as Pons (“bridge”), for a bridge had already been built there.

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Prior to 1444, the Nebojša Tower was built on the left bank of the Neretva, which belonged to the late medieval county still known as Večenike or Večerić.[14] The earliest documentary reference to Mostar as a settlement dates from 3 April 1452, when Ragusans from Dubrovnik wrote to their fellow countrymen in the service of Serbian Despot Đorđe Branković to say that Vladislav Hercegović had turned against his father Stjepan and occupied the town of Blagaj and other places, including “Duo Castelli al ponte de Neretua.”

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Architecture

Mostar has architecturally noteworthy buildings in a wide range of styles. Historicist architectural styles reflected cosmopolitan interest and exposure to foreign aesthetic trends and were artfully merged with indigenous styles. Examples include the Italianate Franciscan church, the Ottoman Muslibegovića house, the Dalmatian Ćorović House and an Orthodox church which was built as gift from the Sultan.

The Ottomans used monumental architecture to affirm, extend and consolidate their colonial holdings. Administrators and bureaucrats – many of them indigenous people who converted from Christianity to Islam – founded mosque complexes that generally included Koranic schools, soup kitchens or markets.

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Out of the thirteen original mosques dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, seven have been lost during the 20th century for ideological reasons or by bombardment. One of the two 19th-century Orthodox churches has also disappeared, while the early 20th-century synagogue, after suffering severe damage in the World War II, has been converted into a theatre. Several Ottoman inns also survived, along with other buildings from this period of Mostar’s history, such as fountains and schools.

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