On my first day, I explored the city, and on my first night, I followed the advice of several locals and tourists alike and headed to THE BLACK DOG PUB, an extremely popular dive bar in a reclaimed mill, in the heart of old-town next to the famous ‘crooked bridge.’
THE BLACK DOG PUB brought back fond memories of some of the great dive bars I have been to around the world and seeing bras hanging from the ceiling, I got nostalgic for the now gone HOGS AND HEFFERS in the old meatpacking district of Manhattan.
It was extremely easy to meet people here, and by the end of the night, I had made some friends to explore the town with the next day. An unofficial tour led by our new friend Vanessa.
The other guys on the tour were Tiberio, a professional skateboarder from San Diego, who’s been traveling a bit while turning public areas around the world into impromptu skateboard parks. His recent videos of skateboarding down the abandoned Olympic luge track in Sarajevo are awesome. Also Dante from Houston, who is some kind of space engineer with the Mars Rover.
Vanessa talked quite a bit of history to the city as well as the unique political dynamics of Mostar, which still has different neighborhoods that favor fascist, communist and socialist ideologies.
But of course, the main attraction in this city is the bridge.
When the iconic Stari Most (or Old Bridge) of Mostar collapsed from tank shelling in 1993, it was like the heart was ripped out of the city’s inhabitants. Even mentioning the bridge for many years after it fell to the bottom of the Neretva River could invoke tears as it symbolized both the city and the country as a whole. One decade later, the beautiful stone structure that had spanned the river for over four centuries, once again arches across its raging waters. The bridge was and is Mostar’s core, and it’s reconstruction meant that life was slowly and surely returning to normal.
If you look towards the beach under the old bridge, you will see massive rectangular boulders randomly laying around. Those giant rocks are remnants of the original bridge that was destroyed.
For such a small city, Mostar had much to offer.
One of the insane highlights for me was climbing the ‘Sniper Tower’ in the center of the city. Locals will say, calling this structure ‘THE’ sniper tower is kind of foolish because every single building in town was a sniper tower. But this eerie building holds the title and designation on Google Maps.
I had first approached the abandoned structure on my own, and I was not brave enough to go in solo. So I waited for the rest of the posse to join me, and we climbed under a fence and began climbing the tower.
Thank you, Mostar (and the Black Dog Pub) for a great time.
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