Bosnia and Herzegovina
August 2010 • Mostar has the unfortunate distinction of being the most heavily damaged city in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the wars of the early 1990s. It's also one of the hottest tourist destinations in the Balkans now, and for once I don't feel churlish about that. The local economy is limping along, so tourist money is a much-needed boon. The city is still a bit ragged around the edges, but the amount of repair work—particularly to the bridge that dominates the old town—is flat-out amazing. I stayed for a few days with the Kekic family, several of whom went into exile in Norway during the worst of the fighting. They're proud of Mostar's multiethnic history and its ability to move beyond the recent past. But they'll never forget how neighbor turned against neighbor, and they'll never fully recover from the war as long as family members are still living in the Bosnian diaspora of Oslo.
Stari Most and Neretva River
Mostar, circa 1993 (photo by Ron Haviv)