During my trip in Bosnia Herzegovina I really felt that Mostar was the most interesting city of my trip. In this city you can still clearly see the scars of war. Unlike Sarajevo, the renovations have not started yet. More than 20 years after the war and you still see many ruins in the streets of Mostar. The local government seem to give little priority to starting the reconstruction. This has partly to do with the division in the city. The former front line at Bulevar Revolucije still splits the city in two. On the one side, the Bosnian Muslims live, on the other side the Croatian Christians live. The two groups almost live separate lives and politically they never agree with each other. Therefore the issue of the war ruins is still not addressed.
In the meantime, every summer Mostar is filled with daytrip tourists who want to see the Stari Most (Old Bridge). The bridge is of important value for the city and bears the pet name “father”. The city is even named after it (Most and Stari = Mostar). The main attraction of Mostar is the old center with the pebblestone streets. I’ll tell you more about it in a next article, but first I’ll show you the alternative side of Mostar. In the city you can find a decent amount of street art, thanks to the International Street Arts Festival that is organised here since 2012. The canvas for the artists: the war ruins. I will tell you where you can find the best works.
The most prominent war ruin at the Bulevar Revolucije is the Staklena Banka (Glass Bank). This building once served as a bank in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1943 – 1992). In the early nineties the republic disintegrated and the Bosnian civil war broke out. The tower was given a new function: the Sniper Tower, referring to the snipers who shot many Bosnian Muslims from this tower. Nowadays the tower is partly destroyed and abandoned. Street art artists have taken advantage of this abandoned spot. The walls inside and outside are covered with colorful works. Some paintings refer to social issues or the war, but other works have nothing to do with the war, but were made out of artistic love. Do you want to take a look inside the sniper tower? Then you have to climb over a wall at the back of the tower. The original entrance has been bricked up. Officialy it is not prohibited to enter the building, but the local government discourages it because of the decay and scattered glass on the floor. Personally I prefered to stay outside. Furtherore, there is also street art in the area around the tower, for example at the small construction site in front of the tower and around the Spanish square.
Street art on the walls of the Sniper Tower.
Street art around the Sniper Tower.
Murals along the frontline
If you follow the Bulevar Revolucije, it will take you to the Alekse Šantića Street. This street was also part of the frontline and the war damage is still today very visible. I crossed buildings without a roof, buildings that consisted of only a few walls standing up and walls riddled with bullet holes. Luckily, there is also a positive note: murals! In the area around the youth center OKC Abrašević you can find some nice murals. When I walked through this street I did not see any tourists. It seems that most tourists stay on the other side of the river visiting the old center. Personally, I found the contrast with ruins and the colorful murals very interesting to see.
Open-air gallery around the bus station
I only discovered this part on the morning that I traveled from Mostar to Dubrovnik. My boyfriend and I were on our way to the bus station very early in the morning. Unfortunately my dearest boyfriend had read the ticket wrong and we arrived an hour early at the abandoned bus station of Mostar. We decided to kill the time by walking a bit along the Maršala Tita. Surprisingly, the walls along this street showed a long series of colorful street art. Suddenly, I did not mind at all arriving too early at the bus station. Otherwise I would not have seen this. My favorite was the mossy painting of the two giants.
I took these photos around 6 am in the morning, that is why they are a bit dark.
Are you also a fan of street art?