The wounds of the conflict are raw and many of the communities involved carry an enduring legacy which on an individual level manifests itself in a range of emotions ranging from unbridled animosity through to optimism about the future.
|Pocitelj - on the road from Dubrovnik to Mostar|
To understand more I hooked up with a local Muslim man called Jakic. Jakic had fought with the Bosnian Army before being airlifted to a German hospital having being shot by sniper whilst trying to lead civilians to safety. We spent a couple of hours walking the areas where the fighting had been most intense - in particular the main front line between the Bosnian Army (ARBiH) and the Croatian Defence Council's forces (HVO).
|Standing in 'No Man's Land' looking East|
|Gutted Building on the Eastern bank of the Neretva|
|An infamous sniper position|
|Sandbagged firing post|
It's a sad fact that post war the city is very much divided. Following ethnic cleansing the Muslim population has settled exclusively in the East and the Christians in the West. The towering minarets and church towers (competing for height) are symbolic of the role religion continues to play in this troubled part of the world.
However, not withstanding the divisions that split the population there are reasons to be positive about the future. The most striking example of this is the rebuilt 'old bridge' - a bridge that has a significance that goes way beyond its' primary purpose. The original bridge was destroyed by Croat artillery fire on the 10th November 1993. The restored bridge was opened on the 23rd July 2004.
|The restored Mostar 'Old Bridge'|
In some bombed buildings people are beginning to find a way of creating homes. This in addition to the outside funding which is making a big difference in rehousing homeless families.
|Flats in derelict building|
Jakic took me to what he described as 'Ground Zero'. This is Spanish Square - a site where 22 Spanish servicemen are commemorated on a newly built memorial. I am told that the last UN soldier to die in Mostar was a Spanish Lieutenant killed by a sniper close to the area where the memorial now stands.
|Hope for the Future|