Mostar

Facebook reminded me of a humanitarian trip I embarked on. Bosnia-Herzegovina five years ago. I felt it necessary to post something. Not my entire trip but pieces so that you can learn something from what I experienced and take away a little part of history, a little part of what I witnessed. 

In April 1992, Serbia set out to "ethnically cleanse" territory by systemically removing all Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks). Serbia, together with ethnic Bosnian Serbs, attacked Bosniaks with former Yugoslavian military equipment and surrounded Sarajevo, the capital city. This country was left broken. In faith. And in family. And it sadly continued up until 1995.

I remember the year like yesterday sitting in my World History class, watching the nightly news, wondering with sadness as I watched thousands walk hundreds of miles fleeing to borders to stay alive. Some made it. And some did not. Pain was real. Despair. Hopeless. Fears. Felt thousands of miles away.

Speed up to 2011. 

In May, I travelled to Mostar, Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nemila and Sarajevo to learn about Muslims living post war. I witnessed war torn buildings still standing but empty, abandoned homes left for good and families still struggling to find their loved ones' remains.

I was privileged to witness faith and traditions honored. Learn through barriers. Talk during silence. Smile with ease. And understand.  Walking stretches of land, meeting faces, living - some with peace and some with a loss found deep if you stare long enough. 

My first day, we (Truth) traveled to the City of Mostar.  It is the most important city in the Herzegovina region, it's cultural capital.  Mostar is situated on the Neretva River and is the fifth largest city in the country.  Although, seventeen years past, some structures remained and others rebuilt.

The Old Bridge Area, with it’s pre-Ottoman, Eastern Ottoman, Mediterranean and Western European architectural features, is an example of a multicultural urban settlement. The reconstructed Old Bridge and Old City of Mostar are symbols of reconciliation, international cooperation and the coexistence of diverse cultural, ethnic, and religious communities

This bridge, Stari Most, is significant in this city. It stood for 427 years until it was destroyed during the war in 1993. And rebuilt by post-war restoration efforts in 2004.  The bridge represents a symbolic point within an unmitigated disaster which unleashed itself upon the Muslims of Bosnia. 

I felt a sense of peace. Although it is seen without struggle, there is peace. Architectural and primitive - boasting with history.

These images only portray my one day trip to Mostar.