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Mostar

Mostar

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Position

Mostar is a city situated on the Neretva river and is the administrative center of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina with a population of 113,169 people and is the fith largest city in the country making it the most significant town in the Herzegovina region, due to it's cultural and economic capital. It's name originates from the medival period after the bridge keepers (mostari) guarded the Old Bridge which was built in the 16th century by the Ottomans over the river Neretva. The city is filled with some of the most beautiful examples of ancient Islamic architecture in the Balkans, the old bridge being one of them.


History

The history of Mostar is one of which has many roots stemming from a number of ruling empires. Human settlements on the river Neretva date back to prehistory between the landscapes of Hum Hill and Velež Mountain. Although evidence of Roman occupation has been discovered beneath the present town as far as medieval Mostar goes few historical sources were preserved and not much is known about this period

The name of Mostar was first mentioned in a document from 1474, taking its name from the bridge-keepers (mostari); guarding the Old Bridge which was originally made of wood and used to access the market on the left bank of the river which was used by traders, soldiers, and other travelers.
Following the orders of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman ruler in 1566 the bridge was rebuilt in stone making it the stone bride (Stari Most) that later became the city's symbol. It is one of the most important structures of the Ottoman era and perhaps Bosnia's most recognizable architectural piece. It was designed by Mimar Hayruddin, a student and apprentice of the famous Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan.

In 1468 Mostar came under Ottoman rule and the urbanization of the settlement began. The town was organized into two distinct areas: čaršija, the crafts and commercial centre of the settlement, and mahala or a residential area. In 1468 Mostar acquired the name Köprühisar, meaning fortress at the bridge.
In the late 16th century, Mostar was the chief administrative city for the Ottoman Empire in the Herzegovina region.

The first church in the city of Mostar was Serbian Orthodox, built in 1834 during Ottoman rule. In 1881 the town became the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mostar-Duvno and in 1939, it became a part of the Banovina of Croatia. During World War II Mostar was an important city in the fascist Independent State of Croatia.
Austria-Hungary took control over Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878 and ruled the country until the aftermath of World War I in 1918, when it became part of the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs and then Yugoslavia. During this period, Mostar was recognized as the unofficial capital of Herzegovina.

More recent history and tragedy proceeding the 90's was after the fall of Yugoslavia.Throughout late 1992, tensions between Croats and Bosniaks increased in Mostar. The city was divided along ethnic lines and in November, the Stari Most bridge was destroyed.The conflict ended in 1995 and the bridge rebuilt 2004.

Mostar: What to do / What to see?

 
 

Indulgence and fun

Mostar being a city rich in culture and history means there are many interesting sites to observe from the old town to inner city ruins. There are remains scattered around from the Yugoslav war that can be viewed as a memory of the countries past specifically displaying the role which the city played in the division of the people commonly signified by the Old bridge. The most recognisable feature of the city is the Old Bridge dating back to the Ottoman empire, it is situated in the old town which is lined with cobbled stones and picturesque passageways with ancient stone buildings filled with various local gifts.
During the summer, the town is thriving with visitors who gather to see the famous tradition of jumping from the Old Bridge. A tradition that has lasted over 450 years, as well as the more recent red bull cliff diving competition. On warm summer nights there are music festivals that can be enjoyed such as Mostar Summer Festival and Mostar Rock and Blues Festival accompanied by Street Art Festival that brings together creative collectives of local artists as well as an international crowd.

Local foods found in Mostar are those of the traditional Bosnian cuisine a rich mixture between Western and Eastern influences. The food closely resembles that of which can be found in the Middle East and Balkan cuisine. Specialities include cevapi, burek, dorma and sarma consisting of subtle herbs and minced meats wrapped in vine leaves or specially prepared filo pastry. Desserts come in a wide range of Eastern sweets dating back to Ottoman occupation such as baklava and halva.




Sports and recreation

Because of the unique positioning of Mostar the ecosystem surrounding offers a diverse experience of outdoor activity. As a past time there are many cycling routes that connect the city to rural landscapes and routes that stretch far across plains of greenland and mountains even spanning to croatia, the mountainous settings bring about climbing ranges and expeditions many routes of which start in the old village of Blagaj.

One of the most celebrated sports in Mostar is football. There are two main football grounds: Bijeli Brijeg Stadium (former stadium of FK Velež) and Vrapčići Stadium providing base to both of the towns most successful teams FK Velež Mostar and Zrinjski. Today both teams compete in the premier league of Bosnia and Hercegovina.
In basketball, HKK Zrinjski Mostar competes at the nation's highest level while the Zrinjski banner also represents the city in the top handball league.