top of page

Bosnia Hergevina – Sarajevo and Mostar

The drive through the mountains continuous hairpin turns on single lane roads was incredible – little shoulders with long drops.  233 km Dubrovnik to Sarajevo – most of the way did an average of 30km/hr. Beautiful views of the mountains and the gorges.  Not a lot of development – the ‘towns’ were very small (a few homes).  Saw many cows walking in the road.  Stopped near the entrance of the national park for a quick bite overlooking a mountain that looked like half dome in Yosemite.  Got in to Sarajevo mid afternoon and found our small ‘Old Town Hotel’ – not bad 3 star hotel in the old town area. 


We met our guide, Vedran, at the little bar next to the hotel to try the local beer (and relax after a long drive) – also tried out the locally made pear brandy (or was it peach or plum or …).  While we relaxed with Vedran he gave a fascinating description of Bosnia and Sarajevo – people, culture, politics, Tito, history, the war (he was 12-13 during the siege). 


He described being a boy of 13 during the 452 day siege in Sarajevo – running in the streets avoiding the snipers from the hills, seeing others killed, scrounging food/water/fuel.  Going to the aid station for children in the morning with one name and the afternoon with another of someone he know had been killed.  The numbers of people killed (something like 8000 in Sarajevo alone) are staggering – longest siege in history – with snipers, mortars, and bombs for 452 days – hundreds per day.

After a while we finally started the tour through the old town.  Saw the metal artisan’s street with fine craftsman.  Many shops.  It is where ‘east meets west’ – about 75-80% Muslim with many head scarves but very relaxed atmosphere.  Though Vedran is Muslim he still drinks. 


Saw the water fountain that is the symbol of Sarajevo.  Visited the outside of the Town hall (more on that later) and saw another wedding photo session.  Walked along the river that runs through the city with many bridge.  Went to the site of Arch Duke Ferdinand’s assassination (not on the bridge).  Visited the four different religions within 100 meters of each other – Mosque (biggest), Orthodox church, Catholic Church, and Jewish Temple.  Went to a traditional Bosnian dinner.

Nice breakfast at the hotel followed by traditional ‘Turkish’ coffee in old town served in copper cups and servers with sugar.  Wandered around the old town and took many pictures in the light.  Walked through the mosque and talked with the Iman about Islam religion a bit.  Walked up to the Town Hall (where the Arch Duke had met with official prior to meeting his death shortly after), and toured the beautiful building.  Building was eastern and part western (Austrian influence).  Many eastern arches, marble inlays of geometric design.  Toured in the hall the museum of the atrocities committed during the war and the tribunals that found them guilty – horrible photos of thousands of bodies tortured and killed.  Grab another Bosnian traditional lunch and then packed up and got in our little Opel Corsica to head to Mostar. 


On the way out of town, stopped at the ‘Tunnel of Hope’ which was a little hard to find but is out by the airport.  The tunnel was dug during the siege between  the Bosnia controlled areas, under the UN controlled airport, and into Sarajevo.  Tons of supplies, soldiers, fuel, electricity and ammunition was brought in each day through the 1.8 meter high by 4km tunnel.  Drove on to Mostar in central Bosnia.  Again lots of mountainous driving but also drove along a beautiful lake in a gorge between two mountain ranges.  Many tunnels through the mountains.


Drove in  to Mostar a small town half way between Sarajevo and the Croatian Coast.  After a little trouble finding the small Pension, we got checked in the small local place overlooking the river and bridge – simple but nice.  Betsey quickly went to take some pictures of this most photogenic of bridges from upstream on the rocks.  Capturing the blue hour light as well as the bridge, river, and mosque.  Her Sherpa managed the tripod and scouted for the best spots (as well as dinner locations).  Had another traditional dinner overlooking the bridge from a nice restaurant.  Got some nice evening shots of the bridge as well. 

Got up early for some morning shots of the bridge.  Got some nice photos of the bridge and the mosque.  Nice to walk around this little town with no one around.  Met Mikala for a tour of Mostar.  Sat and had coffee at his favorite place.  He related his family history and a bit about the politics of Mostar – he seemed to know everyone.  He took us to the new cathedral (very modern) across the street and then to the Jewish park.  Walked through old town and across the bridge.  Saw the guys preparing to dive off the bridge – about 40 meters high – required to be trained.  Water is the biggest issue – its only 10   degrees C – air about 30.  Saw a few jump.  Took a tour of the inside of the bridge tower (original) all the way to the top – interesting construction and restoration.  Then walked down to the substructure.  Left Mostar and headed for Croatia coast.  Tiny one lane road up and down the mountain.

bottom of page