I know I’m getting closer to Turkey when I start seeing Ottoman architecture in the landscape…
I once saw a picture of Mostar in a catalog and noted it as a future destination so here I am. The Ottomans, like the Romans, were remarkably tolerant to all sorts of religion which resulted in Mostar becoming one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse places in Europe. Muslims, Christians, and Jews once lived without conflict here.
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While it suffered a lot of devastations during the Bosnian and Herzegovina war in ’93, as can be seen by bullet hole riddled buildings all over the place, most of the architecture is rebuilt.Still, it’s magnificent to behold. People are amazingly friendly and accommodating.
This is in contrast to Croatia, where I did not feel welcome at all – Croatia is a beautiful place and I’ve managed to capture some grand landscapes of Plitvice National park, but hospitality pales in comparison to Poland and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Stari Most (old bridge) is one Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most recognizable landmark. It is an exemplary example of Ottoman architecture in the Balkans. It was built around 1557 and took nine years to complete, according to an inscription on the bridge. Unfortunately, it was destroyed on the 9th of November in 1993 during the Croat-Bosnian war. It was reconstructed and rebuilt and was opened in July 2004. I find the bridge really interesting because it reflects a conflict that’s still ongoing to this day. The history behind it is very raw and you can still see the scars of these conflicts and warfare that is now part of the bridge’s history.
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On this video, I was exploring the Neretva river overlooking the Stari Most (bridge), built in the 15th century by the Ottomans when a song broke out. There’s a storm brewing on the horizon and you can clearly see storm clouds spinning above the bridge. Not soon enough there’s a dude jumping off the bridge to a round of applause. I don’t know if it was intended or it was a dare from friends, but it was quite dramatic and comical, to say the least :)
I came to Europe because I’m fond of history and I’ve read a lot of history books. But history, as they say, is written by the victors. History says the Ottoman Empire was tolerant to all religions, but yet there was the massacre in Armenia which I wouldn’t have known had I not met the Armenian man in Lithuania to shed light on the matter. Much is to be deciphered in the old world.
So much to learn and so little time for me here. What I’ve read in those textbooks, doesn’t quite jive what I’m learning here person.
Have you been to Bosnia and Herzegovina?
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