THE TRAVELOGUE @ THE TRAVEL ROOM
Mostar - A bridge over troubled water
Posted on Thursday 29 March 2012
Many cities have bridges that are famous, think Sydney and its harbour bridge or San Francisco and the Golden Gate, but very few are solely famous for their bridge alone, which makes Mostar unique. Why is Mostar's bridge famous? Well apart from being a strikingly elegant structure against a naturally beautiful backdrop, the Mostar bridge was victim to one of the more insensitive acts of cultural vandalism during the Balkans conflict of the 1990's when it succumbed to the shells of two aggressors who were battling over the same piece of land with little thought being given to either the human or cultural consequences of their acts.
What you now see in Mostar is a carefully reconstructed recreation of the bridge that stood proudly for centuries over the emerald green Neretva river, rebuilt primarily from the building materials that were left when the old bridge finally crumbled; what couldn't be salvaged being carefully and sympathetically replaced with like for like materials. Sadly this doesn't quite make up for the knowledge that this bridge is effectively about a decade old.
What will also strike you about Mostar is the amount of damage that is still visible from the Balkans conflict, around every street corner you will see graphic evidence of what was wrought upon this small town.
Resisting the urge to do anything more with the cross other than pose for some cheesy photos we plodded up to the large not quite finished cross, finding the remains of what the locals thought of it all, which were primarily used condoms, condom rappers, the cover to a porn movie, tissues and wet ones used after the act of coitus and finally in one case, a graphic find of how one young lady of Mostar lost her virginity at stage 12 of the cross. After seeing what was occurring in a Mercedes Benz at stage 1 of the cross (after which we renamed it 'shaggers point') nothing should have really surprised us, even on this most sacred of trails.
Because when in Mostar, nothing really is quite as it seems.
Apart from the aforementioned bridge there is a limited amount of things to do in Mostar; so if you are feeling energetic, as we were, there is a large cross which looks down from its vantage point over Mostar which is accessible by following the long winding road up to it. As you reach towards the summit you will be following the trail of Mostar's 14 stages of the cross, 2 more than Dani or I knew existed (though we have now discovered some churches practice 15, must be due to inflation!) and complete with your own cross to drag if you so desire.
The famous bridge of Mostar as night falls
One of several Croatian memorials around Mostar, a poignant reminder of the "Homeland War"
Dani recreating the dragging of the cross, just what Jesus would have wanted!
The cross as it looks down on Mostar
El Gato of Mostar and the Mostar bridge
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