June 15, 2009
For several centuries, Mostar was a place where people with strong ethnic and cultural differences could live, work and worship in harmony. But in the 1990s that tolerance unraveled and buildings as well as people became victims.
This mosque, for example is one of only ten surviving houses of Muslim worship in Mostar. Before the war there were over thirty. The rest were intentionally destroyed, as was the famous bridge called Stari Most that spanned the Neretva River.
The bridge has been rebuilt and the mosques are active places of worship again. I think that tolerance has returned but everywhere there are signs of the war including shelled-out buildings and bullet-riddled walls.
The heart of Mostar is a beautiful place to visit and while the people seemed friendly and eager to please, I got the sense that people are still recovering from the pain and hardship of living in a war zone.