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Minarets belonging to mosques, such as the Old Town’s stunning Koski Mehmed Pasha, reach up along the city skyline. They stand alongside a Roman Catholic cathedral, a synagogue, Orthodox churches, a Croatian and a Bosnian National Theatre, plus a shiny new shopping centre and plenty of bars. The call to prayer rings out every day, and people spill out of clubs late at night. The 105,000-strong population is a mixed one – today it’s split almost evenly between Muslims and Catholic Croats – but the city is now seen very much as a whole. When I ask Amela where she would say she’s from, she answers: “I prefer Yugoslavian – I’d prefer it all together.”

The combination of cultures is even more apparent in the food – hearty meat pies are eaten off the same tables as Middle Eastern-style sweets. So next up, we’re heading to a flat on the former front line for a local cookery lesson. Armel, a hostel and travel company owner, has lived here since he was a child, and his friend Azra, a law student who takes the classes in her spare time, is going to teach us some Bosnian foodie basics: peppers stuffed with beef; rice and veg; burek – a coiled meat roll with extra-thin pastry; and hurmasice, a sweet doughy dessert soaked in sugar syrup.I tentatively roll and stretch out the pastry dough for the burek under Azra’s instructions. “It usually ends up on the chandelier,” Armel jokes. 

The pair tell stories about being children during the war, interspersed with that typical Bosnian positive spin and wit – they both laugh as they remember hunting in bombed-out houses for firewood, but being more interested in finding sweets. Tucking into dinner as we chat to Armel and Azra, it hits me that Bosnia really does have it all – food, history, architecture, natural beauty, a fighting spirit and a darn good sense of humour. 

For more information see  visitmostar.net

Balkan Road Trip offers a seven-day Bosnia Adventure tour, with two nights in Mostar from £299pp  balkanroadtrip.com

 

GETTING THERE

Flights from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik, in neighbouring Croatia, cost from £108 return when booking with easyJet.  easyjet.com

For return flights to Sarajevo from £151, book with Lufthansa. lufthansa.com


 

   GETTING THERE

Flights from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik, in neighbouring Croatia, cost from £108 return when booking with easyJet.  easyjet.com

For return flights to Sarajevo from £151, book with Lufthansa.
 lufthansa.com


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Short Break: Mostar, visit the rising star of the Balkans
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