Mostar – A City Devastated by War


The story of Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina is a tragic one. When the country declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1992, a vicious war broke out and the Yugoslav People’s Army bombed Mostar on April 3rd of that year, the beginning of a devastating time for the city.

The Yugoslav People’s Army to establish control over the city and laid siege to Mostar. The Croatian Defence Force and the Bosnia-Herzegovina Army reclaimed the city however as the Yugoslavs retreated, they shelled Mostar destroying many of its buildings including historical landmarks. A Fransiscan monastery, catholic cathedral and 14 mosques were among the buildings destroyed. Others were abandoned and have remained in their derelict state ever since, many in danger of collapsing.

Much of the trouble in Bosnia-Herzegovina stems from the fact that there are three main ethnic groups living in the country. The Muslim Bozniak population, the Serbians who declared the Republika Srpska independent and The Croats. It was they who declared The Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia in 1991 and when the Yugoslav army was forced from the city and in the years until the war ended, they destroyed many institutions including most of the city’s orthodox churches. The Croats were also the ones charged with destroying the famous Stari Most bridge.

Today the city continues to recover from the effects of the war. Destroyed and abandoned buildings remain throughout Mostar and the below video was filmed on a recent trip there.

This is a report from TripAdvisor about the hugely popular Death Of Yugoslavia tour.

After having studied the history of the former Yugoslavia at university, I was keen to go on this tour. The three sites are things that you wouldn’t find or think of looking for on a visit to a town so famous for its beautifully reconstructed Ottoman bridge. The guide drove us everywhere so travelling was easy, and he provided an accurate, well structured and highly objective history from the start of the trip and throughout. However, he was fantastic because he was constantly asking our opinions and making sure we were totally involved, rather than just feeding us information, he was brilliant at interacting with us. The first site is fascinating and unexpected, the second particularly poignant as it feels as though you are at the centre of the conflict. This was brilliant as it was great talking with an extremely knowledgeable guide who has experienced the conflict first hand, which makes it a far more interactive and relevant experience. He’s also great fun and has a clever sense of humour! Honestly, don’t go to Mostar without doing this trip! The final site is one of the best, a brilliant monument in the unique style of the Yugoslav communist era. The fact it is overgrown is particularly interesting as it is a tangible reflection of the change from the years of communist supremacy to the new, this makes it a far more interesting place to visit and it makes it seem particularly eerie! Despite the formality of the review, the experience of the tour is relaxed and fascinating! Don’t miss it!

Location: Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina

Category: Ghost Town

Abandoned: 1990s

Abandoned building in Mostar

Abandoned car park in Mostar

Damaged building in Mostar

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