Mostar is an old city situated on the banks of river Neretva in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It is a cultural and economic capital of Hercegovina region.
It was named after the bridge-keepers (mostari) who in the medieval times guarded an Old Bridge over the Neretva river, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century.
The bridge is one of the most popular landmarks in Bosnia and also one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans.
Mostar is a city of contrasts and differences. Nowadays it is a divided city – Western bank of the river is mostly occupied by Croatians and Eastern part of the city by Muslims.
Although such a division can create problems in everyday lives of Mostar’s citizens, the city functions well and both sides have a lot to offer.
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 Corovic House and an Orthodox church which was built as gift from the Sultan.
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.
The majority of administrative buildings are from the Austro-Hungarian period and have neoclassical and Secessionist characteristics.
A number of surviving late Ottoman houses demonstrate the component features of this form of domestic architecture – upper storey for residential use, hall, paved courtyard, and verandah on one or two storeys.
The later 19th-century residential houses are predominantly in neoclassical style.
A number of early trading and craft buildings still exist, notably some low shops in wood or stone, stone storehouses, and a group of former tanneries round an open courtyard.
Once again, the 19th-century commercial buildings are predominantly neoclassical.
A number of elements of the early fortifications are visible.
Namely the Hercegusa Tower dating from the medieval period, whereas the Ottoman defence edifices are represented by the Halebinovka and Tara Towers – the watchtowers on the ends of the Old Bridge, and a stretch of the ramparts.
Apart from the architecture, Mostar is also well known for its cuisine, which is balanced between Western and Eastern influences.
Traditional Mostar food is closely related to Turkish, Middle Eastern and other Mediterranean cuisines.
However, due to years of Austrian rule and influence, there are also many culinary influences from Central Europe.
Some of the dishes include ćevapčići, burek, sarma, japrak, musaka, dolma, sujuk, sač, đuveč, and sataraš. Local desserts include baklava, hurmašice, sutlijaš, tulumbe, tufahije and šampita.
Počitelj is a small hillside town, a historic location on the banks of the Neretva River and a very popular tourist stop on the way from Dubrovnik to Mostar.
This fortified town consists only of a few scattered homes and cafes, an unusual mosque, a tower and a citadel, all surrounded by the remains of the city walls.
The main construction dates from two different periods – medieval and Ottoman.