Fragments of the Past – The Scars of War in Mostar

While most of the touristic Old Town of Mostar has been painstakingly restored, a walk around the city centre shows that traces still remain of the tragic all-too-recent war during the 1990s. Apartments stand covered in bullet holes, chunks missing and walls patched up. Bombed buildings stand abandoned, overtaken by trees bursting through the rotten boards nailed over the doors and windows. The ‘Sniper’s Nest’ still remains, and one of my regrets is not taking the time to explore this old apartment block.

The crumbling brick walls of buildings, the concrete flats empty and broken; the shells of a former life remain a constant reminder that Mostar has not long been the peaceful city we see as visitors. And yet so much has been rebuilt, and much is in the process of being torn down and replaced. Boards in different areas state the millions donated by the EU, or by other nations, for the rebuilding.  Today, Mostar still bears visible scars, but for how long?

Some of the broken buildings seem to be serving as makeshift rubbish dumps, others as squats for the homeless. Many bear warning signs advising you not to enter; apartments falling down along the main streets have signs warning you against parking beneath them, but the lines of cars parked below evidences the respect given to such signs. That, or parking is scarce. Had the weather been more friendly, I’d have done a lot more exploring. Damn you, rain!

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