Old town shops: Bazaar browsing
The restoration of the cobbled streets and old stone shops and houses of Mostar's old town is very successful and has led to the area being placed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. They certainly are full of charm and character, reflecting their Turkish cultural origins. These days the workshops and craftsmens' studios are mostly shops, particularly on the eastern side of the bridge in the street known as Kujundziluk, once the home of the town's metal workers.
The craft and souvenir shops along the western approach to the bridge are interspersed with cafes and there's also a good bookshop with a reasonable stock of English language books on Bosnian history and culture.
What to buy: There's still plenty of metal work to be found in the shops along Kujundziluk - the copper coffee sets are very cute with their fat little sugar bowls and coffee pots sitting on a tray with a set of tiny handless cups in copper holders, just the thing for the jolt of caffeine delivered by traditional Turkish coffee.
Metal work of another kind produces pens and other trinkets made from shells and bullets - war turned kitsch, and just the sort of thing a teenage son or nephew will appreciate, though your own sensibilities may find them rather macabre.
What to pay: In this world of the global market place, it's very difficult to know what is a genuine local handicraft and what has come out of a foreign factory. The cheaper an item appears, the more chance there is that it's factory made. Most craftspeople know the worth of their labour and charge accordingly. A little haggling is possible but nothing really good id going to be given away for a pittance.
Kujundziluk Street: Turkish Bazaar
There is a street on the eastern edge of the Neretva River that runs downhill toward the Old Bridge that reminds me of another time. Walking here, I felt like the clock had rolled back 50 or maybe a hundred years and the shops that line the street are very interesting for browsing. You'll find local handicrafts and tourisy items as well.
Kujundziluk Street: Stone path to Turkish delights
Here's a wide shot of Kujundziluk street. As you walk along this stretch you are surrounded by stone. The street below your feet and the walls surrounding you all are made of ancient, cold stone.
Many of the shops along the street are run by local artisans that sell objects ranging from rugs to copperworks to jewelry and paintings. It's a shopper's delight (even if you're not Turkish).
west side of the town: not too many variety
I am disappointed with the offer of souvenirs, which is very uniform and monotonous. The general impression is that all street vendors offer the same goods and coming from only one supplier. Almost all have identical magnet stickers for the fridge, identical bags and the identical cheap cloths of poor quality. Where are homemade souvenirs or craft works from small manufactures?
Do all visitors of Mostar must take home a completely identical souvenirs?
Plenty to buy
We crossed the bridge and found a delightful street with several cafes where you could take the air and a Turkish coffee while gazing at the river and the bridge etc.
There were charming little shops that sold postcards and cunningly carved scavenged shell cases and bullets. As well as metal work of all sorts, coffee pots, vases, plates, boxes etc. There were embroidered velvet slippers with curved toes and all manner of charming bric a brac and fabrics. Krista bought one of those elaborate belts that belly dancers wear. She said there wasn't as much choice as she thought there would be, and it wasn't particularly cheap, but when she came out of the shop and modeled the two she couldn't decide on - they were both so beautiful we reckoned she should have bought both of them.
BTW there didn't seem to be any public lavatories, but, as in Italy, the cafes have them for the convenience of their customers.
east side of the town: not too many variety
Prior knowledge of a city sometimes has its downside, those who have visited Mostar like 20 years ago know what I am talking about.
I was expecting to find Kujundžiluk as it used to be but it has changed, especially the shops there.
Kujundžija is the Turkish name for a craftsman who creates art filigree objects of gold and silver. Thus, it follows that Kujundžiluk is street where silversmith and goldsmith masters keep their shops, and so it used to be but over 20 years ago.
Present day Kujundžiluk still appears as an attractive place, full of the mob that curiously peers into the shops, but there are now some different shops that offer cheap cloths and uninventive souvenirs.
What to buy: At some other times in Kujundžiluk there were only filigree shops with gold and silver, one Turkish cafe (kahvana) and maybe one aščinica (snack). In front of some shops, there was a small table with a few chairs, designed for serious buyers. The custom was to negotiate for the price of each jewelry. Boss of the shop would order "kahva" (coffee) for a customer, that was served in "cesve" and drank from "fildžan" (coffee cup without a handle). Coffee was usually served with "rahat-lokum" (toffee).
Decorative Plates, Turkish Tea Sets, etc.: If you want something native to the area....
Souvenir shops in the Old Town by the Old Bridge...they sell jewelry, plates, tea sets, metal art pieces, military memorabilia
What to buy: Keep in mind that if you're looking for items from or made in Mostar or Bosnia & Herzegovina, then to ask the shopkeeper. One of them told me that the beautiful plates they sell come from Turkey...hehe....so even though Mostar was heavily influenced by the Turks in the past, some of these items are still bought from Turkey and sold in Mostar. So maybe you will think twice about that if origin is important to you...
What to pay: I bought a 4 person silver tea set for 15 Euros. Prices seemed cheap. For 20-40 Euros you can definitely buy some upper end items.
Mirza and I were a little nervous approaching the bridge. It was a big moment for both of us. I was chatting to him in English, so as to try and not make too big a deal of it. (I had made a huge fuss in the bus about how we were not going to miss out on the bridge just because it was getting late - very nearly a tantrum.) Anyway, the soldiers you can see in the photo turned and smiled at us because we were speaking English - they obviously understood it. I picked they were perhaps Austrian, Dutch.
Anyway just as Mirza and I thought we might blow our cool - there was an icecream stall. So in we dived and got two excellent icecreams (nearly as good as Italian icecream) and approached the bridge like two real tourists, licking away at our cones.
(Pic by KristaB)
Balkan II: Delightful Turkish Delight
Lokoum is the name that this part of the world has given to what we would call Turkish Delight. Of course, as the sweet is more or less native to this region I would think they probably have the name right;-)
If anything it is sweeter than the same dessert at home. It is also more tasty and a lot cheaper.
My Mum bought a kilo of multi coloured and flavoured Lokoum for €5. We found it on sale in a coffee shop where patrons purchased just a couple of pieces to have with their coffee. They seemed a little surprised that we wanted to buy so much at once.
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Kujundziluk Street: Taking you back in time
People have shopping here for hundres of years . As we crossed the famous bridge adn entered this area of shady ( thankfully so as it was so hot) cobblestoned narrow streets with its little shops and venders on both sides we felt we were transported back in time.
What to buy: Dishes, goblets and Turkish coffee pots made of copper specifically date back to the Turkish ruling period. These are made by the engravers in their small shops in Kujundziluk. They also sell handicrafts such as rugs, jewellery and paintings. It is a fun way to spend an afternoon.
- Women's Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Kujundziluk Street: Handmade tablecloths
I saw a lady making tablecloths on the street. On the very beginning of Kujundziluk coming from north. Sitting in the sunny day, she was making them and sell them in her small "shop". It is some traditional crochet tablecloths with some traditional motives.
Green Market: Products you won't find anywhere else
If green market is situated in Old City is has some different soul than others markets. It is small but well supplied. Olive oil is very natural. "Torotan" cheese is something special. Two months prepared sheep cheese is excellent with home-made wine. I will write about this cheese on my Trebinje page ?cause it is originally from Eastern Herzegovina. Grapes, oranges, lemons, figs, pomegranates? are just gathered from the gardens. And, of course, home-made "lozovaca", grape brandy.
Carpet Galery: Carpets
Oriental carpets is one of the things you can buy it here. Next to the Koskin-Mehmed Pasha’s mosque, there is very nice carpet gallery. Most of them are small and you can easily take it with you. They are with oriental motives.
Local crafts 1
In some shops, you can buy old traditional things such as sheppard's bags, tablecloths, flutes... Because the most of the tourists are SFOR soldiers there are some wood maps of Bosnia and Herzegovina, symbols with B&H and flags with SFOR members. Also, you can buy prospects, books and maps of Mostar in several languages.
Streetside Shops and Stalls: War Memorabilia
Some might find it distasteful, but I found it fascinating to browse the stalls and shops and examine the memorabilia from the war. You can buy everything and anything from medals to pins to helmets to weapons, all in the open streets of Mostar.
Some of these items would definitely be collectors goodies whereas others would simply have a sensationalist quality.
I browsed but didn't buy - I don't think the torrential rain helped at all.
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