Old Town, Mostar
Adjacent the Crooked Bridge, on the left side of the river, there is a group of old houses which today hosted restaurant "Taurus", and these buildings and the bridge are older in date than the Old Bridge. In these house was, at that time well known, Vučjaković mill and the bridge, as the folk tradition says, was built just to be the sample for which later on the Big Čuprija across the Neretva river will be built.
When the Big Čuprija (the Old Bridge) was built, and moreover several iron bridges over Radobolja, literally overnight all left The Crooked Bridge, even the pedestrians. The bridge fell into oblivion, and especially after it was covered with dense network of ivy and wild herbs. The mill wheels on the neighboring mills stopped in the middle of the last century and never again restarted to work.
Abandoned houses were covered in dense weeds and through the stone roof sprung the grass and fig trees. The great flood of 1999 destroyed and swallowed the bridge and houses in its vicinity. This part of the old "mahala", which is perhaps the most beautiful part of Mostar, wrenched out of oblivion and was revitalized with a booming tourism in the city. All that part was renovated with the help of UNESCO and financial support from Luxembourg.
Bridge is a common good that has multiple applications, connects the two banks of the river, overcome the canyons and chasms makes passable. The bridge connected people who otherwise would never have met. Through the history bridges always had great strategic importance and also, they served as a means of blackmail and coercion. At some other times bridges were supervised and guarded, especially those who have had great importance for the movement of people and goods.
Next to the bridges there were built towers for the crew which task was to guard the bridge and monitors the free passage. Such an tower (kula) still stands next to the Crooked Bridge.
Čardak is small house at the western entrance to the Old Bridge, local people call it also "hose of light". When on an structure there is no evidence in a written document than people inventing stories or legends. The fact is that this small white colored house, in the shape of a cube, with four roof deck has no name and either its purpose is unknown.
According to one legend, Čardak made workers, in one night only, as a gift and recognizes to Hajrudin, the builder of the bridge. According to another story in the Čardak have met the learned people who discussed various issues of life and Sharia law.
Witty citizens of Mostar say, "Čardak is not in sky and not on earth either", because its construction is rearing over the right gate and does not rely on the land.
For better understanding, in the Balkans "čardak" is the name for the wooden part of the house on the floor, which standing on brick masonry ground.
Čejvan Čehajin hamam (Turkish bath), u Priječka street, was built around 1554. Čejva-Bey was a wealthy merchant and the merchant's guild leader of Mostar. He had 36 stores in the city, built and mosque and Crooked Bridge and han (lodging for the night) in Kujundžiluk. It is assumed that the water from the river Radobolja used for the hamam. Hamam is a steambath which served for cleansing and relaxing.
During war the hamam was damaged but then restored by UNESCO funds and donation from the French Government. Today it is serves as a showroom and gallery.
What you see around I find worth a photo, not because I was curious what happened in the past. If you see around all this historical buildings are old and meaningful. Every corner of town you'll never be alone and taking photos are really hard sometimes without standing in front of it
Either you just visit the old town there is no way to avoid all the shops. This is what Mostar old town, known for everyone. Old town is where every traveler interested maybe not for the shops, but before you head to the sites you all passed through here. Unbelievable to see how crowded how many tourist coming here everyday and they are all from different nationalities
Herceguša is a medieval tower built by Herceg Stjepan Kosača. Stjepan Vukčić Kosača (1404-1466) was a Grand Duke and a member of the Kosača noble family, who ruled a hereditary region of Hum. It was his ducal title "Herzog" that have rise to the names Herzegovina and the town Herceg Novi (now in Montenegro).
It is thought that the tower was erected by Gost Radin, around 1440. By its layout the tower is similar to the late medieval semicircular fortifications.The foundation of the tower immersed in the solid rock above the flow of the river Neretva, and its top ends with jagged battlements, which is characteristic for the military defense facilities.
Fortress Tara is located near the Herceguša tower and is huge construction of six full floors and walls that are three meters thick. Name Tara is of unknown origin and it is unclear after what this fortress was named. The inscription Tara is carved on the left foot of the Old Bridge.
Tara was erected in 1087 and the last upgrade was done in 1676. It was built of cut and rough stone. The fortress once served as a powder magazine, ammunition dumps, and today it is an exhibition space of the Museum of Herzegovina.
Halebija or Halebinovka is a fortress on the right bank of the river Neretva built in 1452. This semicircular medieval tower was later reconstructed and expanded. It had three floors and its top floor is residential upgrading. This 17th century upgrade is attributed to Halebija, who was the most famous captain of the fortress and after which the same was named. The ground floor of the fortress was used as a prison, the dire prison for the worst criminals, and people from Mostar called it "Ćelovina".
Halebija dominates the right side of the river and balanxes the whole composition of very thoughtful architectural mathematics. The towers, on either side of the Old Bridge, was guarded heart and body of the city of Mostar.
Nezir-aga mosque is located in Donja mahala (lower waving), just about 20 meters above the Crooked Bridge. There is no written evidence of who was actually Nezir-aga, but since in the addition of his name stands "aga" it can be assumed that he was person with a military career. Nezir-aga was a donor who financed the construction of mosque, which was completed in 1550.
With the decline of the Ottoman Empire mosque fell into oblivion and building slowly crumbling until finally demolished. Later on the building was rebuilt and in 2004 the mosque was designated as a national monument of BiH.
Due to a very specific smell of the leather, tannery workers had their own mosque, which is located in a small square right opposite to the Big Tannery. It is colloquially called "Tabačica", which comes from the Turkish word "tabac", a tannery worker.
The mosque was built in the 16th century, with the money that was donated by Hadži Kurta. The building itself is characteristic because it is sprung by two stone arch, and is therefore known as the mosque where the imam is standing at the dry and the congregation in the water.
The old town center with the Stari Most and masterpiece is now a real attraction. Our car was parked miles away from the old town, and we have problem with parking meter because we have no local currency. We walk quickly to the town and bought something just to have coin change in (Mark). Just one nice thing here, they seems speak pretty good English and I'm not surprised this place is nothing else than tourist you see around
Mostar itself is not that different modern buildings contrast with the ruins of war; a brand new McDonald's is next to a building full of bullet holes. It is hard to escape the impression that the ruins are left standing as physical reminders of the violence in the countryside and in the city. City dwellers are accustomed to tourists coming to the old bridge. Most people visit for a few hours the old town, walk across the bridge and leave. So come and go every day busloads. Tourists come for the world cultural heritage, not the psychological war scars from the locals
Together with Stari Most, Mostar's old town forms an UNESCO World Heritage Site. The old town includes mainly the cobbled stone area along Kujundziluk, but also extends to Mala Tepa as well as Onekucova Street on the western side. This is the area you are here for and which is worth to explore. Here are some sort descriptions of the main street and some buildings:
Kujundziluk is named after the copper workers and some of these workshops have survived, though they mostly cater for tourist needs. Along Kujundziluk, with its Ottoman era houses, you will find many tourist shops, restaurants etc. Some vendors will try to talk you in, but they are not really annoying. Also keep in mind that the old town is pretty small and that all concentrates here.
Stari Most, the old bridge, is flanked by two towers on the western side. Little Hercegusa seems to be hiiden by Tara. The latter one houses the diver's „guild“ and was a former gunpowder storage. Close to Tara, there is also a court called Tabahan which was once part of a Turkish Bath but is now known for its cafés. Helebija is the name of the tower on the eastern side.
Stari Most, the „Crooked Bridge“ and the two mosques are described in separate tips.
Think twice which shoes you are going to use in the old town. The cobbled streets are hard to walk on, if your shoes have a pretty thin sole. The cobblestones are thick and round. The bridge however can be slippery and thousands of tourists have polished the marble stones just by walking on it.
Handicraftsmen played a huge part in Mostar’s development in the early years of its existence and have continued to do so even today. Now they have one of the key roles in the city’s tourist offer. On the left bank of Neretva we can find Kujundziluk.
The name came from Kujundzije or in English “coppersmiths”. This is a tradition very well preserved even today. Unlike then you can now find them everywhere in the old town and not only in Kujundziluk, as well as you can find other kinds of shops in kujundziluk that are not necessarily coppersmiths.
In Mostar there were also many tailors (terzije), and at last Mostar’s biggest industry, tanners (tabaci). The last two mentioned are today unfortunately as good as gone. “Tabhana”- the palace where the tanners used to process their leather is now a line of cafés. It’s an excellent place to have the morning coffee in an old Turkish atmosphere.
The old town is beautiful - like something torn out of the pages of a Medieval storybook. The pristine white minarets stretch smoothly up to the sky, contrasting with the rusticated stone grey homes and walls that stumble down the steep banks to the river. Frame this with green mountains, blue sky and a crystal azure river, and you have the makings for a fairytale town. And that's not even mentioning the bridge.
You'll want to try and stay as close to this part of town as possible, although the views from the other side of the river are possibly better, because you can see more.
The old town is on the east side of the river, although it stretches out across to the west near the Old Bridge. It's predominantly Bosnian Muslim - hence all the minarets. The town is considered to be the most stunning urban area in Bosnia, and has been recognised as such for decades. That's why the old town is largely protected from the post-war sprawl that has spread out over the rest of the city.