05 May 2009

Herzegovina - Mostar

Mostar makes a great side trip from either Sarajevo or Dubrovnik, given its location almost halfway between the two. If you are on the coast, the Stari Most and the old town's Ottoman influenced architecture make for a nice contrast to the Venetian and Ragusan structures you've become accustomed to. Aside from the Stari Most, meander by the Kriva Ćuprija (Crooked Bridge), the bazaar (Kujundžiluk), and the Karadžojbegova mosque. And give up trying to avoid the tour buses – you can’t. For warm nights, the café scene is much better than you might guess. For starters drop by the bars in Tabhana – the old Turkish baths. If the competing music is too much (or the crowds too young) you still have a number of options, from Bijeli Bar to the bookstore-cum-café Kerabit or terraced Oscar on Onerscukova street, or of course the late night Ali Baba - Pećina on Kujundžiluk (you've got to go just to see it - the disco is actually in a cave). Make sure you take comfortable flat shoes – Prada sandals or Manolo Blahnik heels are not the thing for the old town (this from experience). The biggest drawback to your visit to Mostar is the dearth of variety on the dining scene – everything in old town basically has the same menu, with the exception of Veneranda, which is still not all that.

Motel Kriva Ćuprija
Kriva Ćuprija 2
+387 (36) 550 953
Small motel in the heart of old town next to the crooked bridge. The owner, Majda, is quite a character and for some reason the hotel had quite the gay clientele on the editor’s visit (2 French boys, 2 Italian guys, and what most certainly seemed to be a Croat lesbian couple. There was also the somewhat out of place middle-aged british couple.) Three ‘suites’ and seven rooms. Not luxurious, but then you’re probably only here for a quick break from either an excess of sun in Dalmatia or fog in Sarajevo.

Hotel Bevanda
Stara Ilička bb
+387 (36) 332 332
+387 (36)332 335 fax
The first “four star” hotel in the Federation, not to mention Mostar. It’s bright pink. And the fountain – hard to take before coffee in the morning. Yet somehow considered to be the “nicest” hotel in Mostar. Her Majesty Queen Noor didn’t complain (at least very much). Parking garage available for your “four wheel pet”.

In the Biosphere, this is Mostar’s top dining spot – HM Queen Noor’s dinner in Spring 2007 was here.

Pavarotti Music Centre
M. Tito 179
+387 (36)552 080
Yes, Pavarotti. Cultural centre in the old town, near the river.

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