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August 15, 2002
|Today we saw the Herzegovina region of Bosnia Herzegovina. This state is named for Herzeg, a famous duke that ruled many years ago. Indecision must be the reason that both words - Bosnia and Herzegovina - apply to this country. Personally, we think it's too small for two names; it's just under twice the size of Maryland with the same population. The bus ride from Sarajevo to Mostar follows the turquoise Neretva river between towering mountains of granite and limestone. Mostar is the largest city of Herzegovina but it's divided between Croat and Muslim. Heavy fighting occurred here during the war and an unmarked line still exists; Croat lives on one side, Muslim on the other.|
The Turks founded Mostar in the 15th century at a strategic bend in the Neretva River. It retains an Islamic atmosphere today and in better tourist days people visit from the Croatian beach resorts for an instant splash of Muslim culture.
Mostar witnessed heavy fighting between Croatians and Muslims during Bosnia's recent civil war. In May 93, Bosnian Croats began a tenth month seige of the Muslims on this side of the river, climaxing in the destruction of Mostar's famous Turkish bridge that had arched 60 meters over the Neretva River since 1566.
Picnic on the banks of the Neretva - the water is clear but freezing.