Mostar: A Tragic Past; A Beautiful Future
Mostar was a city I made a detour to see. It is a tiny city that is located on a winding river. But in the early 90’s the city was ravaged by the war that broke out and enveloped the city in darkness. But the city has been slowly recovering, and the city is facing a Beautiful Future.
Between April 1992 and December 1995 a war erupted in the quiet town of Mostar. It was a city that fluidly blended the different people of its city; Muslims, Christians, and Orthodox Christians. But due to external influences most forcefully from the formal Yugoslavia, the divide between the Bosnian Serbs, Bosnian Croats, and Bosniaks expanded until it cracked.
The river became the physical divide between the religious one. Bullets raced back and forth across the river, and today the signs of the past are still visible. The buildings that line the river are a unique sight. By the end of the war, all the buildings were riddled with holes. But now every odd building has been re-built. Some society, country, or group has stepped in and rebuilt one building at a time. The re-building process is a haphazard one; thus the dichotomy between the past and the future of the buildings and the city.
As I walked around the city, I saw both the past in the buildings and most representatively in the cemetery. With rows on white gravestones all showing a date of passing between 1993 and 1995. The memorial is beautiful, but the sadness lingers; especially as I read the engravings and realize some of the deceased were mere children. But the flowers that are so delicately placed in front prove the War will not be forgotten, these people will not be forgotten.
But the cities future is bright. A uniting factor for this beautiful city was the rebuilding of the Mostar Bridge. The bridge was shelled and demolished during the way to eliminate the passing between the two sides of the river. Today the bridge stands bright, rebuild in its original design and with the original stones. The bridge is such an icon of the city, to rebuild it in its original form is to fight through the past and come out proud in the Future. Mostar is truly beautiful and the bridge epitomizes that beauty.
And fanning out from both sides of the bridge are cobble-stoned roads lined with stores selling tourist goodies; plates, scarves, clothing, sculptures, and my favourite – postcards. The streets are bustling with locals and tourists alike, intermingling, chit-chatting, and enjoying the cities exquisite river setting. I make my way down to the river edge and splash through the river to shock my senses and wait patiently in hopes of a famous diver.
Mostar’s bridge is a prime diving spot. And what used to be a right of passage, is not more commonly put on for tourists. The divers pump up the audience and wait for a specific amount of money before making a performance. I wasn’t in luck on this sunny day – no divers showed to be my entertainment. So instead I sat on the rocks and watched the locals tanning themselves and swimming forcefully against the strong river tide.
I sat by that river appreciating the cities charm. Its mosques minarets peaking out on one side and the churches spires on the other. The strong blue of the river rushing by making the white and red of the buildings gleam more brightly against the blue of the sky. Mostar truly is a lovely city – I made this detour to see the bridge, to see this city and I would suggest everybody do the same.