Mostar? Most Art.

I know the last post was a bit of a bummer. (But TBH, #sorrynotsorry – I didn’t want to gloss over such an important part of Mostar.)

The city is definitely still healing.

And one major way that people are rebuilding Mostar is through street art.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Ugh, so true. I balloon heart Mostar.

 

Despite the fact that the war ended over 20 years ago, bullet holes, mortar damage, and destroyed buildings are still commonplace. Nearly every street you walk down has at least one crumbling, empty husk of a building, reduced to rubble, overgrown by weeds and garbage.

(Sometimes adjacent to modern reconstruction, for full effect.)

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
A reminder that the city is healing, but old wounds still linger.

 

One way that locals have decided to transform the city is by turning Mostar into a canvas.

To use these buildings, walls, and local spaces as a place to facilitate dialogue and bridge cultural divides.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Get it?? ~Bridge~ cultural divides… like this piece, showing the reconstruction of the Stari Most bridge.

 

Since 2012, the city has hosted the yearly Mostar Street Arts Festival, where artists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Slovenia (as well as other countries worldwide) come together to cover the city’s public spaces in art.

It’s an opportunity for amateurs, as well as renowned artists, to make their mark on the city.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Get it? Make their ~mark~ on the city. Literally! (I’m so sorry. I’ll stop now.)

 

Because of this annual tradition, it isn’t too difficult to find street art as you wander through Mostar.

The fresh coats of paint provide a new visual identity for the city. Despite the current state of disrepair that remains, it’s a way of healing and moving forward.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
And what says healing more than two dogs wearing suits and holding owl masks?

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Okay, this one seems slightly more symbolic, “breaking down walls” and such.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
This is a fav. Love the rose shape, the linked arms, the tangled roots, and the new growth.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
And you can’t go wrong with Armin van Buuren lyrics.

 

The place with the highest concentration of art is the Staklena banka, a dilapidated old Ljubljanska bank building, better known as the Sniper Tower.

During the war, this high rise was used as a sniper’s nest where assassins would pick off unsuspecting Bosniak (Muslim) citizens below.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Depressing? Absolutely. But I like how it’s being reclaimed by local artists.

 

The outside walls are covered in bullet holes and art.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Including some local pride.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Some space aliens.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Some wishful thinking. (Can a charging port replace sleep?)

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
And some reflection.

 

While it’s not exactly allowed (or even encouraged)… many people have taken to urban exploration of this once grand, now crumbling, concrete skeleton.

So there’s also plenty of graffiti and street art inside.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
(Along with piles of trash, strewn bank documents, bullet casings, used needles, and broken glass.)

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Be careful if you decide to go, and take a buddy.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Again, not encouraged, but the “entrance” involves climbing over the wall by the Mandela quote.

 

Some of the art is hopeful.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Hope rises like a phoenix from the ashes of shattered dreams.

 

Some is sad.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
From Google Translate: Everything is hungry, but the eyes are blind. Find justice and look at the ground. He’s just dying to look at the sky.

 

And some is silly.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Beam me up Scotty! There is no intelligent life here.

 

It offers a medium for social commentary.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
We are all living under the same sky.

 

And a way for people to voice their post-war perspectives.

 

Mostar Art | Bosnia and Herzegovina | The Travel Medley
Pick your glasses. (Something between rose colored and glass-half-empty sounds nice.)

 

Mostar is not an easy place to write about. It’s complex. It’s divided. It’s still reeling from the recent war.

But it’s also healing.

And street art plays an important role in distracting from the war damage.

It’s a way to be hopeful, sad, and silly. To be more than broken buildings and shattered glass.

To reclaim the city, and to move forward.

 

 

{Want to see more of the Sniper Tower? After hearing stories about squatters living there (often drunk or high to forget the war atrocities they saw), I wasn’t super keen to do a lot of exploring. But that hasn’t stopped other tourists. Read this account or watch this video.}

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *