The city of bridge keepers
Since its construction in the 16th century, the Stari Most Bridge, to which the historic capital of Herzegovina, Mostar – meaning “guardian of the bridge” – owes its name, has always been special for locals. When it was bombed in 1993 during the Bosnia-Herzegovina war, it was like “losing a loved one”, according to my guide Amna – who joined thousands of others who fled the conflict only to return for its reopening in 2004.
But only in the last decade has Stari Most and the town it guards attracted interest beyond local borders. In the immediate vicinity are synagogues, churches, cathedrals and mosques – the 17th-century Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque is the most magnificent. After climbing the narrow staircase to the minaret (entrance €12/£10), I was rewarded with stunning views of Mostar and the surrounding Dinaric Alps. Five times a day, adhan (call to prayer) begins there and floods the valley, awakening his brothers to join in salat as it flows downstream.