Thursday, 25 May 2006

Mostly Mostar

From Dubrovnik I visited Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina - learning on the way that B-H, which I had assumed was entirely land-locked, in fact has 15 km of coastline, containing a beach resort called Neum. When you go to Mostar from Dubrovnik, you have to cross the frontier twice: first into this 15 km strip, then you are back in Croatia, then you turn inland and cross the frontier again, where passports are controlled, though disappointingly not stamped. Controls are generally not carried out in B-H on transit traffic crossing the Neum corridor, at least on Croatian vehicles. Apparently this is in exchange for Croatia having agreed to lease the nearby Croatian port of Ploče to B-H for 30 years, which provides B-H with an outlet to the sea for its bulk goods and an entry point for oil from Saudi Arabia, etc. It will be interesting to see how this works if Croatia accedes to the EU before B-H - I can't think of any other example of a port in EU territory being leased to a non-EU country, and wonder quite how this would work from the control point of view! The World Bank is financing the building of new cargo terminals at the port, which will be interesting for Croatia if the lease is not extended when it expires...

The famous 16th century Stari Most (old bridge), that was blown up by Croatian tanks in 1993, has been rebuilt with stone from exactly the same quarry as was used for the original one, financed largely by UNESCO and re-opened less than 2 years ago.

The beautiful green river that separates the ethnic Croatian side of the city - right bank - from the Bosniak (Muslim or, here, sometimes "Turkish") side - left bank - is the Neretva.


At 26/5/06 02:39, Blogger boo said...

castle, bridge & moat. what a bootiful place :)


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