Remember Civil War
Remember Civil War
It's hard to forget. The warmth of the people and the bitterness caused by the civil war.

At the end of 20th century, the slaughter in the heart of Europe, the tolerance continent, shames us all.

Many homes still have the scars of ethnic and religious anger. The nightmare is still felt by people, but  the feeling that rich Europe do not want engage them, also.

Mostar is beautiful, the bridge is unique in any travel itinerary. Sarajevo is to not forget near Miss Sarajevo.

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01/68 
start stop bwd fwd

The starting point was Dubrovnik in Croatia in June 2013. A long journey which forced us to get up early.

After two city buses we arrived in port and got the main bus to Mostar (or Stari Most).

It was 8am. The bus destination was Sarajevo.

The journey has stunning scenery. On the left, the port of Dubrovnik and the sea. This view ends in the isthmus that belongs to Bosnia. It is very small and results of peace agreements to Bosnian Republic has maritime access. The problem was the stops in custom-houses. Until reach border with Bosnia I had to show five times the passport.

Vestiges of war in the war MostarVestigios in Mostar
Vestiges of war in Mostar

The traveling time to Mostar was 3.20h. Over half an hour was in customs. The most time-consuming stop was on the main border to Bosnia. Dozens of buses and trucks stopped. A long line of cars. In the middle of nothing, beside a road.

The Europe of the rich did not get here. Neither minimum organization of border regions.

The landscape within Bosnia reveals a poorer country than Croatia. Also reveals the wounds of civil war that began in 1991.

Two decades later were still visible war wreckages.

Land that could not be used, destroyed homes and many other bumpy. Recent cemeteries, large and small,  on some hills. Holes in walls were frequent, mainly in houses on strategic locations.

Sometimes we were tempted to imagine the clashes and war strategies in these places.

Mostar -road gare
Mostar -bus stop

On bus were some tourists but also local. Short people, with clothes that resemble the Portuguese from rural areas. Old people.

The bus stop in Mostar is on the end of the city.

We crossed the city bus and we returned on foot to the center.

A walk of about ten minutes to the National Monument Muslibegovic House.

Muslibegovic House
Muslibegovic House

It is a national monument that works also as museum and hotel.

It belongs to an Ottoman family for over 300 years. A wealthy family that decided to keep the building with the original design and also decided to stay in Mostar. The area for women, the high wall to avoid them being seen, rooms with traditional furniture, the walls decorated with local design ...

We had to leave shoes at entrance, we move on the carpet and then up the stairs and we stop on the room with a small window. The bathroom is also small, with traditional equipment and tasteful.

Access to rooms was in a common space. A room that is open to museum visitors and pay two euros to visit. The next day, as visitors, we made a visit. A unique situation, being a guest and visitor simultaneously. Or perhaps it is the rule rather than the exception when we go for a simple hotel.

The monument employees were very friendly. They received us with a welcome drink and explanation how open the gate lock that leads to the building's courtyard.

The friendliness extends to the first incursion into the city. It began thunder and rain and lend us an umbrella. Good omen because, shortly after, it stopped raining and we did the whole tour without a drop of water and walking the magical umbrella.

Mostar Bridge
Mostar Bridge

The city is not big and all roads lead to the bridge over the Neretva river.

Symbolic place. The war between Croats and Muslims. Hope of peace. Love between people of different cultures and religions who died in the middle of the bridge, victims of intolerance.

The bridge was destroyed in 1993, rebuilt in 2004 and is the city's icon. It is also Unesco World Heritage Site together with the historic city center.

Many tourists go down the cobbled streets, surrounded by souvenir shops and restaurants towards the Neretva. Tourist groups that seems new armies.

Day and night the bridge is plagued by flashes. From various perspectives. The beginning of the slope, descent that leads to the bridge, a small viewpoint which is near restaurants that are on the side of the river ... Everywhere the bridge is the focus. And it's beautiful.

Mostar Bridge
Mostar Bridge

During the day the noise from the tourist bustle overshadows the environment. At evening is fantastic. There is the river flowing, a faint light causes glare on the white stones of the bridge and the bright green of Neretva waters.

Crossing the bridge is also a imagination exercise. As it would be in wartime? Where were the snipers? Anger that led these people to decimate families! These thoughts ended with a phrase that is inscribed on a rock in middle of the bridge: dont't forget 93.

Fisherman
Fisherman

Across the bridge there were narrow streets surrounded by restaurants. A small waterfall causes some noise while generate curiosity to follow a more narrow paths.

Down a man is on the river's edge to fish trout. In a little while the result of fishing is a plate to one tourist.

At first there was no significant difference among the two banks of the river. Later they begin to be evident that we are in a different territory. First, there, on top of the mountain, a cross. Well visible. Even from the Muslim side. After some churches and a local radio, Radio Stari Most (on Bosnian side, in front of our accommodation, is the RTM, broadcasting from Mostar).

Mostar
Mostar

Houses and streets seem a higher level of wealth (or less poverty) than on Muslim side. A more organized territory but also colder, more distant.

The other side is more confused. Streets unfinished, ruined houses and damaged by weapons, children running on the road, more shopping street, mosques and minarets, cafes with men drinking tea and coffee on the terraces ... Different environments that refuse to dilute on Neretva waters.

On both sides, particularly in the historic area, the common point is the stone houses with slate roofs. They give a gray hue that contrasts with the liveliness of the bridge and the river.

The cost of living for a westerner is not high. There is provision for various pockets. In some restaurants you pay the comfort and uniqueness of the landscape. But they also sell food in the street shops and two croissants with sweet sausage costs about two euros.

view from the Mostar bridge
view from the Mostar bridge

The accommodation offer is small but varied. Many visitors dont stay and sleep. They make a brief stop. They come on tours from Croatia and leave Mostar in the evening.

However, Mostar deserves more than a "stop over". The night is very different. It is a quiet and beautiful place essentially in the historic area.

You can stroll at night, there is no more danger of aggravated recommendations than in any other city. Despite the memories of place.


Sarajevo:

Bus to Sarajevo
Bus to Sarajevo

The bus trip to Sarajevo took 2.30h with lots of stops.

On the way we are joined by many mountains and the rail link. Rial is not great alternative to the bus because it is too slow, though, several reports says it's an interesting journey by landscaped view.

In the big cities the memory of war remains with marks on buildings.

The surroundings and the Sarajevo entry is not promising.

Tram in Sarajevo
Tram in Sarajevo

Old trams, a gray and sad environment and pollution in some streets. The bus station is hearthbreaking. It was frozen in time. The taxi ride to the hotel also does not promise much. Narrow streets, dark, snaking a hill and old houses.

The hotel Michele is an island in this location. Opened in 2006, it is a family run and bet on the classic décor. It has a large lounge with paintings, classical and traditional furnishings. In the dining room every table has a different set of tableware. Does not seek refinement. Just comfort with a particular taste.

The Michele has received Bono, Richard Gere, Kevin Spacey, Morgan Freeman, Steve Buscemi, Terence Howard, Michael Moore, etc. Thus it is written on the site, which also states that there is hospitality but no spa or pool. These were the arguments that convinced us. Well yet. I liked it a lot.

More than enjoyable facilities were conversations with family that makes the hotel management.

SarajevoMulher woman in a street a street in Sarajevo

 

The first night we were (me and the owner of the hotel) to smoke in the lobby.

She spoke of the war in anger and politics with disappointment. Lost relatives in the civil war and concludes that it was all stupid. Do not see sense. Do you think that nationalism and the political exploitation were at the root of the conflict and there was no religious motivation. But with quiet voice choked with emotion, mind the broken families, the absurdity of everyday life, the known people who saw die. Do not tell him it was for religious reasons. Refuses to believe. In its famiília profess various religions and this was never an issue of contention. Never. We had hope for peace. But it was short lived. Europeans refuse us. Local leaders have learned nothing from the war. Keep vices, divisions and all this guarantees the survival of a large number of political leaders and officials of the central administration.

The child picks up a pack of cigarettes and says: Smoking kills. We all know and Bosnia all understand any of the languages ​​of the various communities. However, a pack of cigarettes, the updates must be written in three languages. Now expand this to forms, traffic signals, bureaucracy, political representatives ... and corruption.

Another interesting contact the hotel was a young employee. A Bosnian boy, journalism student and interacted in a forum with Portuguese students. It has great self-esteem for their community. Feels out of place and his dream is in other European countries. This was an expressed desire by many Bosnians. Being European in its own right.

 

SarajevoVista view of Sarajevo

 

It's easy to get from the hotel to the city center. The hard part is back. Spend time walking and end the day going up the ramp to reach the hotel is not very encouraging. Patience, you can not have everything and taxis are cheap. Anyway, calmly, we got well.

On the other hand, it is not dangerous to walk the walk at night in the tourist areas of Sarajevo. There are always people in the streets, particularly in the bazaar and the shopping streets.

Can you go to dinner, take a walk, sit on a terrace to have a coffee and walk back to the lodge.

 

The first few hours in Sarajevo served to discover the old town. Also to change their minds. It is to discard the first impression. After Sarajevo funny. Interesting in architecture, cultural variety, in rapid move markedly belonging to a local community.

 

Inat Kuca KucaInat

 

The day ended with dinner at Inat Kuca. It was recommended by the owner of Michele and serves Bosnian food.

Two meals cost about 17 euros.

The place is very welcoming, the architecture is traditional and has an interesting history. True or false, it does not matter. It is this: when the municipal headquarters building wanted to demolish the traditional house that was near. The owner refused ever. Nothing deterred and was so peremptory that had to change the house, stone by stone, to the other side of the river near the bridge Ćehajas.



View of the river and river municipioVista seat and the seat of the municipality

 

This side of town we have a breathtaking view that follows the course of the river Miljacka and several bridges. Particularly at dusk, is stunning. Crosses the flat area of ​​Sarajevo and each piece of land has a story. The historic district, Baščaršija, which originated in the century. XV, you want to store the Ottoman foundation and is a reconstitution of the bazaar, a refuge for Jews fleeing the Iberian Peninsula, Latin Bridge where he was killed Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, and that led to the First World War, war between Bosnians, Serbs and Croats that for three years has caused huge casualties and destruction and, finally, the signs of some economic recovery to peace and international support.

 

It is this area of ​​the city which has the main sights.

One of the first destinations was the Old Orthodox Church, one of the oldest religious buildings in town. It was built in the sixteenth century and repeatedly destroyed by fire. Now houses a museum. It is decorated with numerous paintings and has chairs where we can sit and meditate. Right next, there is a bar with sale of bottles of wine and a beer garden. Soon after, a pavilion with many frames, ornaments and Orthodox artefacts. Some of the paintings are stunning and century. XIV.

Mosque Gazi Husrev-Beg Mosque Gazi Husrev-Beg

 

One block on the adjacent Ottoman old town, the Baščaršija, is the imposing Mosque Gazi Husrev-Beg and next to the madrassa.

They are part of a large architectural complex and very popular. The mosque was built in the century. XVI and is the largest Muslim place of worship in Bosnia. It is also in history for being the first mosque to have electric lighting in 1898.

Almost a century later is also in history for its reconstruction, after being heavily damaged in the civil war and the Serbs attack.

As a place of worship, the mosque is very crowded.

Mosque Gazi Husrev-Beg Mosque Gazi Husrev-Beg

 

On the other hand, it is also a meeting place and conviviality of the Muslim community.

In the lobby, where a beautiful fountain is, many people take the opportunity to talk. What actually worried tourists because they want to shoot people without the power to overshadow the structure. When it's sunny, some faithful sit in the corridors of the outside, next to carpets and include passers by.

The mosque is not lost because of its size and the height of the minaret. Still, for the most distracted, could not fail to notice because of the call to prayer.

The madrasa is the oldest school of Bosnia. It was founded in 1537 and has functioned uninterrupted mode. In madrassa can have access to the central zone. Opposite, in the garden, are two dozen gravestones of dead in the civil war. Next, in contrast to the architecture of this area is a new building which houses a library.

 

SinagogaSinagoga

 

Interestingly, not far from this Muslim complex is the first synagogue in Sarajevo and one of the most important in the Balkans because of its historical significance.

The Muzej Jevreja is now a museum and its history is impressive. Create / destroy; integrate / run ...

Since the founding, the reception of Jews expelled from the Iberian Peninsula, integration in Sarajevo, the destruction caused by the Austrians and the Holocaust in World War II.

The stone building is austere, has the marks of a place of worship and is very beautiful.

In the three floors has a number of articles on display, each floor is dedicated to a theme. Kept in memory that in the 30 century. XX had a female handball team. Well evolved, Orthodox nothing.

Baščaršija Baščaršija

 

Sarajevo is to visit on foot. In some places, like in the old bazaar, a maze seems easy but is a turn. The river serves as a guide and the polestar fortress.

Up there on the hill surrounding the city is the fortress. Ever vigilant. It was built in the century. XVI for this purpose. Later, the Austro-Hungarian empire was expanded. With white stone and gave rise to the White Fortress name (other yellow flame). The Bijela Tabija had a strategic position because it was one of the input ports in Sarajevo.

With their cannons and together with a wall protected the city. Today does not have this function. It's just a lookout. Fantastic for an overview of the city.

 

Sarajevo view of fortalezaSarajevo view of the fortress

 

We walk, which is not recommended. It is a long and strenuous way. It's easier to take a bus from the city center.

We had to work around the tunnel, passing next to the hotel and then drag us by a very steep ramp. It should not leave the road because of mines. No warnings at some points.

The fortress is nearly 700 meters. Many meters for a climb. Overhead we feel the compensation effort. The stop is doubly mandatory. By fatigue and by sight. Has a unique perspective: the valley crossed by the river, the various bridges and monuments, in the distance the new part with very high buildings. Nearest the fortress look points to residential areas in green spaces, with steep streets.

A place to espraiar eyes. Calm, a slight breeze, the sky slightly enovoado. A young woman sitting on the side tasted the landscape and a cigarette. That's right, being, feel ...

The fort is not open to the public. White stones lend an air of great sustainability but, in fact, one gets the idea that the structure is in ruin. There is a project to transform the castle into a tourist spot of Sarajevo with cultural and entertainment venues.

CemitérioCemitério

 

The decline was walking on the other side of the hill. The fortress we had seen and the eye does not forget a long cemetery. A space where the green is a thousand times broken by the white crosses. All aligned, all recent. Some people run walk the immense cemetery.

Next to a paved street that led us to the valley. Just down there the cemetery is overshadowed by houses.

The return to the historic district.

The fatigue was large and required a good rest. In a restaurant, the first one found. We have not succeeded. The menu was not translated and the man who served customers also showed no effort or sympathy to enlarge their customer base. A street later, another restaurant of the same chain and with many places to have lunch. The antipathy was repeated but now with a woman.

CevapiCevapi

 

We ask for a dish like that some sites were to taste. Bread, sausage, onion and mayonnaise. Something like a cevapi.

The maid was in a hurry and do not yield to ask for a coffee, put the bill of 11 brands on the table. Heck, tourist spot here's how: fast with traditional food.

We can not generalize. For example, one of the snacks was quite different. It was in Remis. A street with houses bazaar. The experience had three highlights: a young very friendly maid, pears with whipped cream and a drink with seeds and aniseed, yellow and strange flavor.

Another dining experience with an American photographer who met in Sarajevo was a small restaurant in Baščaršija. . It is located between the central square and the county seat. The food was tasty, made in front of us. Meat wrapped in vegetables, tea and bread.

Emperor's Mosque Emperor's Mosque

 

The walks by Sarajevo show a wide variety of sites with history and places of cultural and religious interest.

In a moment we passed the Latin bridge, the theater, the university and the Emperor's Mosque. It stands beside the river and the imposing minaret has the mountains as a backdrop. It was the first mosque built in the city in the mid-century. XV, following the conquest of the Ottoman Empire.

It is a large place of worship and considered one of the most beautiful Ottoman mosques in the Balkans.

The religious who makes the call had a long talk. It is Istanbul and uses the cases to be heard the sound of his calling. Friendly and true to its mission. He said he had converted to God's call an Argentine and a Slovenian.

 

FerhadijaFerhadija

 

Of religion to a pagan activity: trade. The Ferhadija street is one of the highlights. Through town from the old town.

It is a pedestrian street parallel to the river. This is where are some monuments, theaters, many restaurants, ice cream parlors, outdoor cafes and commercial spaces, some brands that are in all Western cities.

Trade is more interesting in the bazaar area. The craft shops, clothing, toys, ice cream ... There is still a small market closed. Near Ferhadija, in a secluded street, there is a popular market. With many counterfeit products. It was here that I bought a waterproof because the weather in Sarajevo is unstable. It was cheap and very useful.

 

Back in Ferhadija I had to buy a pen for trip notes. Then I noticed it was the only stationery that found throughout this town. The same is true of music sales stores.

Man in <p dir =

 

The Ferhadija is a street that also serves as a reference to those visiting the city on foot because it is a frequent transit point.

One of the crossings was a man screaming, sitting next to the flame that integrates the monument of World War II. I was very agitated. In the following passage the police was already put in a car.

Again, we see a demonstration of support and solidarity with the Turkish people in the BBI square, next to the shopping center which is located in Marsala Tita, the street that continues the Ferhadija.

report of Hayat TVreportagem of Hayat TV

 

One of the protesters was being interviewed by Hayat TV but it was not easy. A man who was on the terrace did not agree with the protest and even discussed with the respondent.

 

Near the monument of World War II, at another time it was the turn of we watch a concentration of former military.

Fighters lined up by the armies of Austria, Italy and Bosnia. They marked a battle. There were military orders, speeches and many photographs. The date is evoked each year in a different country.

Finally, (as the civic avida is stirred in Sarajevo!) Still assitimos a demonstration in the historic area against the construction of a dam inside Bosnia.

Mosque Ali Pasha's Mosque Ali Pasha

 

Not far from the BBI Center is the mosque Ali Pasha. The path is good, with lots of people at bus stops. The scenery changes a little. Uninteresting buildings, squares with lots of hustle and bustle and traffic. The mosque is, however, a green haven.

In this end of town the mosque is one of the few points of interest. The best is the return by the river to the bridge Eiffel with a stop in a garden bench, right next to the Iranian embassy.

Contemplate the the city from the river perspective. People walking, two men sitting pesacar on the river edge, routine ...

Academy of Fine ArtesAcademia of Fine Arts

 

There later on a modern bridge, with a resting area right in the middle of the structure, arouses curiosity. We have to sit on that bench. Ahead lies the Academy of Fine Arts. The building is of Moorish architecture, very beautiful and is indented with a garden in front which is neighbor to the river. At night, on the other hand, it is stunning, with the lights to stress the lines of the building.

At the time of our visit we were in electronics exhibition.

 

The return to the city center can be done to a park, next to the Orthodox church.

Many local essentially elderly, join here.

Popular xadrezPopulares playing chess

 

On the floor is painted a chessboard and. with huge plastic parts, various locations are passing the time. They look too closely at the movements of the players. Discuss, comment privately, make suggestions, nod in disagreement signal ... With a playful tone, but others, with inflamed air. They take seriously the game.

 

Sometimes there are also some wooden stalls with selling handicrafts, tea, honey ...

The Orthodox Church, named Cathedral Church of the Nativity of the Theotokos, is one of the largest temples of the Serb community in Bosnia and we arrived between 1863 and 1868. The main tower is very high and very beautiful. The interior is also very beautiful with an imposing altar.

OrtodoxaInterior church interior Orthodox Church

 

We visited yet another ortoxa but much smaller church.

Konak is close to the street on the left side of Mijacka .. It's really small and the altar dominates the look. A religious did the cleaning. Moreover, an absolute silence broken only by the sound of my

 

Very close is also the holy church Anthony of Padua. It is not easy to find and we had this experience. It has a very unique architecture and its origin is due to Catholic families who lived in Sarajevo in the century. XVII.

Sarajevska Pivara Pivara.Sarajevska.

 

Gold is next to the Konak Sarajevo brewery, the Sarajevska Pivara.

It is a great edifio, brick color with a very wide input for transportation of goods. The other side has access to the museum and brewery. It is spacious, with two floors, classic décor and hear Western music.

The beer is nice with intense flavor.

 

The return to Dubrovnik was the bus again. The trip took about six hours.

In the match, the bus started the course, I said goodbye to the city to hear Miss Sarajevo, U2. Unforgettable.