HERZEGOVINA & CROATIAN ISLANDS - 12 DAY GUIDED TOUR ITINERARY
DAY 6 - Herzegovina - Mostar Old Town - Dinaric Alps - Prenj Mountain
After breakfast we will explore Mostar Old Town.
Mostar is situated on the Neretva River and is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (mostari) who guarded the Stari Most (Old Bridge) over the Neretva during the Ottoman era. The Old Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century, is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's most visited landmarks, and is considered an exemplary piece of Islamic architecture in the Balkans.
One day in Mostar - a short video.
The stone single-arch bridge is considered an exemplary piece of Balkan Islamic architecture and was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1557. It was designed by Mimar Hayruddin, a student and apprentice of architect Mimar Sinan who built many of the Sultan's key buildings in Istanbul and around the empire.
The bridge replaced an older wooden suspension bridge of dubious stability. Construction began in 1557 and took nine years: according to the inscription the bridge was completed in 974 AH, corresponding to the period between 19 July 1566 and 7 July 1567.
Little is known of the construction of the bridge, thought to have been made from mortar made with egg whites, and all that has been preserved in writing are memories and legends and the name of the builder, Mimar Hayruddin. Charged under pain of death to construct a bridge of such unprecedented dimensions, Hayruddin reportedly prepared for his own funeral on the day the scaffolding was finally removed from the completed structure. Upon its completion it was the widest human-made arch in the world.
The 17th Century Ottoman explorer Evliya Çelebi wrote that the bridge "is like a rainbow arch soaring up to the skies, extending from one cliff to the other... I, a poor and miserable slave of Allah, have passed through 16 countries, but I have never seen such a high bridge. It is thrown from rock to rock as high as the sky."
As Mostar's economic and administrative importance grew with the growing presence of Ottoman rule, the precarious wooden suspension bridge over the Neretva gorge required replacement. The old bridge on the river "...was made of wood and hung on chains," wrote the Ottoman geographer Katip Çelebi, and it "...swayed so much that people crossing it did so in mortal fear". In 1566, Mimar Hayruddin designed the bridge, which was said to have cost 300,000 Drams (silver coins) to build. The two-year construction project was supervised by Karagoz Mehmet Bey, Sultan Suleiman's son-in-law and the patron of Mostar's most important mosque complex, the Hadzi Mehmed Karadzozbeg Mosque.
This tower guards the western entrance to the Old Bridge. Built at the same time as the Tara Tower (1676) opposite, it is also semi-cylindrical, but of lower height (about 18 m) with 3 m thick walls at the base. During the Ottoman period, it housed guards and served as a prison.
This tower was built during the 17th century, exactly in 1676, a century after the construction of the bridge. She was at the same time as her counterpart , the Helebija tower , on the other side. She came e replace another tower of the eleventh century we already called the Tara kula. Almost never remodeled but regularly maintained, it retains its original aspect nowadays. For a long time it served as ammunition depot, its thick walls being the guarantors of the neighborhood security.
Located within the Tara Tower, the Old Bridge Museum opened in 2006 to celebrate the second anniversary of the reconstruction of the Old Bridge. The museum runs across five floors and contains archaeological remains discovered during the 2002 reconstruction, exhibits and displays on its construction accompanied by charts outlining its history, and the "Labyrinth", or a photo gallery. At the top, guests can enjoy a panoramic view of the city, while you can learn about the bridge’s reconstruction through a video.
View from Old Bridge.
The Old Bazar Kudjundžiluk has been in business since the 16th century. It lies in the oldest part of Mostar, along a winding cobbled street. The Market dates back to the Ottoman era when it was a beating heart of commerce in Mostar.
With more than many workshops and businesses, the cobbled street has maintained its ancient looks.
In the past, it was the pulsing heart of the business world in the whole of the region with more than 500 workshops in the Ottoman era. Even with the changes due to the passing of time, this road has maintained its ancient outward appearance, characterized by its ever-present mosques and small inns – and has maintained, up till now, some of its most characteristic crafts, such as the working of copper and the weaving of carpets.
Old stone houses in the old town of Mostar.
The visit of Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph to Mostar in 1910. Yes, traditional Bosnian carpets were put along the route so that the emperor would not slip.
The Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque in Mostar represents another extraordinary piece of Ottoman architecture in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Besides the Karadzoz Bey Mosque, this is the most known and most monumental mosque in Mostar.
It was built in the year 1618/19 and represents the large construction of classical Ottoman architecture in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mehmed Koskija, the founder of the mosque, was the chronicler of the great vizier Lala Mehmed Sokolovic. He died in 1611, and the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque was finished by his brother Mahmud. Besides the mosque, he built a madrasah too.
The Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque has a one-space floor plan with a dome. Designed in the main architecture office in Istanbul, it was built from precisely tanned stone blocks. Its architectural design is very similar to the Karadzoz Beg Mosque, which probably served as a model. Unlike the Karadzoz Beg Mosque, the minaret of the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque is slightly lower, without the stalactite decoration in the area of sherefe. It has a porch with three domes, and an extraordinary well-crafted mihrab and mimbar. The proportions of the Mosque are especially distinguished. The location of the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque is quite specific as it is placed on the cliffs of the Neretva River, in the centre of the city.
View from Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque minaret.
Not far from the famous Mostar Bridge, known as the Old Bridge, there is another ancient structure named Crooked Bridge. The Crooked Bridge is older than Old Bridge by a few years. It spans Radobolja Creek, a modest tributary of the Neretva River. It is a look-alike smaller brother to the Old Bridge. Perhaps it was a test model for the Old Bridge.
It is a stone-arched bridge built the same way as its big brother. The arch is a near-perfect semicircle, 28 feet wide (across the creek) and about 14 feet high. Cubes of stone are fitted into the frontage and vault. Gaps between the vault, frontal walls, and the footpath are filled with crushed stone. Stone steps ascend from each side.
The Bišćević House is one of the magnificent architectural structures of the Ottoman period. From the time of construction, in 1635, to the present day, it belongs to the family whose name it bears. Currently, the owners do not live here, and the house is used as a museum. After the old bridge, the house is the most interesting attraction in Mostar. This real Turkish home is beautiful both inside and out.
Made in accordance with all eastern requirements and traditions. High walls surround the house to protect women from the gaze of strangers. Inside the house is divided into two parts - male and female. The cozy stone-paved patio has everything to relax. Here you can sit in the shade near the murmuring fountain in silence - the sounds of the street are absorbed by the stone wall.
As in all eastern houses, the first floor is occupied by utility rooms and servants' rooms. Living rooms are located on the second floor. At the entrance to the house there are eloquently oriental slippers for tourists, recalling national traditions.
Typical Ottoman rooms: dark furniture looks great against the background of whitewashed walls, the floors are covered with oriental woven rugs. The house is very cool, despite the lack of air conditioning - also due to the peculiarities of the building, which combines stone and wood. As in all Turkish houses, there are many windows, along which, along the perimeter of the rooms, there are low sofas covered with oriental carpets. In front of them are also low carved or metal tables. The walls are decorated with quotes from the Quran: beautiful calligraphy in frames.
There is also a well-maintained courtyard that is modeled in Ottoman style, where you can sit and relax and take in the simple beauty of this historic homestead.
Many original household items are on display, including rugs, furniture and tableware.
In Mostar, there are numerous palaces to be seen, built during the Austrian-Hungarian period, which demonstrate the blending of western and eastern architectural styles (pseudo-Moresque style). Amongst the most interesting: the Secondary School (1898), the most prestigious school of the city and the Public Bath (1914), built according to a project of the architect Rudolf Tonnies with the support of Miroslav Loose.These are imposing buildings in the Austrian-Hungarian style where the Moorish ornamental features are particularly notable.
The Mostar city bath was the first public bath on Balkans and one of the most important objects that Austro – Hungarian government left in Mostar.
When these plane trees were planted in 1887, Mostar was part of the realm of the Emperor of Austria.
We will have lunch on mount Prenj - just 30 minutes of driving from Mostar .
We will try some local dishes - everyones favorite.
We will climb to 1100 m. above sea level and after lunch we will explore the area.
Bosnian Lily - endemic species
We will pass by small Stećci medieval necropolis.
Alpine meadows in Dinaric Alps.
Alpine meadows in karstic landscape. 1300m above sea level.
Alpine meadows in karstic landscape. 1300m above sea level.