A Day in Počitelj and Mostar

Of all the places I travelled in 2016, Mostar absolutely surprised me. My friends and I arranged a bus tour with EuroAdria which was very convenient. The bus was very comfortable and clean and the tour guide and driver were both knowledgeable and accommodating.

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Počitelj

From Dubrovnik, it was quite a lovely drive seeing the Dalmatian coast along with the Croatian and Bosnian countryside. We made a quick stop in the small village of Pocitelj, an Ottoman-Mediterranean settlement. It is situated along the Neretva River, the largest river in the region. It was developed through various periods of history beginning with the medieval period and has served an important role throughout the region’s history.

Arriving in Mostar, you will be greeted by this distinctive Bell Tower which is the tallest structure in the city and is conveniently located next to the car park (quite a helpful landmark to find your way back to your parking spot). The Franciscans initially came to Mostar in the 14th century and built a church and monastery in the 15th century. Despite the execution and the destruction brought on by the Ottoman Turks, the Franciscans persevered in serving the spiritual needs of Catholics in the region

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Saint Peter and Paul Monastery is a new Catholic church built on the foundations of a previous church.
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It has the biggest bell tower in the city and is located a few steps away from the heart of the Old Town.

As we started to do a walking tour around the Old Town, I managed to take a few decent shots while listening and catching up with our local tour guide…

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The point where the pebble rocks start is the beginning of the original Old Town. Restoration efforts have been made to make it look like how it was before the war.
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Entrance into the Stari Most or Old Bridge.

Mostar is a city of contrast, culture, religion and cuisine. A picture perfect medieval city with warm and friendly locals. There is a unique and distinctive Turkish- Muslim influence in the arts and crafts and the structures all over Old Town.

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The city’s population is comprised of Bosnians, Croats and Serbs whose language is of Slavic origin. The people living here are either Catholics, Muslims or Non-religious and have lived harmoniously for centuries despite the differences in faith and cultural backgrounds.

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The Hamam Museum is an old Turkish Bath House and is a great introduction if you have never been in one.

Mostar being located in the Herzegovina region in the south, enjoys a much warmer climate than its Bosnia counterpart in the North. It is a wine growing region and its popular cherry liquor is a must try.

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Restaurants line up along the Neretva River affording unparalleled views of the Stari Most and the Old Town. There are so many restaurants to choose from. The Cevapi is a must try. It is a Balkan version of the Kebab.
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The city is divided by the crystal clear waters of the Neretva River which is the coldest river in Europe.
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A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Stari Most is a 16th-century Ottoman bridge which stood for 427 years, until it was destroyed in 1993 during the Croat–Bosniak War.
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Images like these can be found all over the Old Town reminding the people of the iconic bridge’s unfortunate destruction.

Biscevica Kuca (Biscevic House)

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This was probably my favorite part of the tour. It was my first time being in a Turkish House  and this one is said to be the oldest house in Mostar built in 1635. It gives you an insight into what it was like living here in the 17th century.

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The city is definitely worth a day trip or more if you have enough time to spend a few days to explore various parts of the region. It is one of those less traveled parts of Europe that might just end up surprising you as well.

Things to remember:

  1. If doing a day trip from Dubrovnik, be sure to bring your passport!
  2. Bring sunscreen and hydrate. Being located in the valley, it can be quite hot and humid in Mostar.
  3. Wear comfortable shoes. Preferably sneakers. The Pebbled streets of the Old Town is quite uncomfortable after a while and the walk up and down Stari Most (Old Bridge) is very slippery.
  4. Go local! Shop local! And definitely try the local food and wine. Enjoy!

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