Adding to our Bosnian Bridge Collection

In Mostar we visited our third notable Bosnian Bridge. The Balkans are dotted with these ottomans marvels and I’m a bit obsessed with them. 


The former Yugoslavia is and incredible intersection of cultures—it is a synergistic breath of otherness which I find beautiful. Here, Ottoman architecture is overlaid onto a European canvas like cursive flourishes in a manuscript typed in Helvetica. Minarets puncture the sky with the bravado of exclamation marks and arching bridges become ampersands in a paragraph full of periods and commas.


We came to see the Mostar bridge, but we were thirty years too late. This 15th century masterpiece was destroyed in 1993 during the war there. This bridge and this city, like many places in Bosnia & Herzegovina, were caught in the tendrils of war and permanently engraved with scars. Yet, seeing a reconstructed bridge was not as disappointing as it sounds, because it was symbolic of what survivors do, they rebuild. 


We also visited the capitol city of Sarajevo. Much like Mostar, it is punctured with bullet holes and it’s cemeteries are congested with slabs of granite—every headstone with the same year furrowed onto its face—1993. 


A walk through side streets is to drown in bullet holes and gravestones. I couldn’t help but connect this to the anguish of my dear friends in Ukraine.


All of this burst my heart into a thousand heartsick pieces, and yet, the people here were full of kindness—the helpful ladies at a store, the man who gave us directions, the driver who waved us across the street. Exceptional hospitality from a city that is still threadbare from war. This kindness glued my crushed heart back together like kintsugi gold. 


After our initial walk, Mark suggested we track down the local missionaries and take them to lunch.


Over a meal, we learned about these two girls in the prime of their life—their lives on hold at home, families far away, and their growing love for the people here.


This lunch was the highlight of our visit. There’s no monument or historical sight as awesome as meeting people trying to help others span the distance between the heaviness of history & a future deserved, they are modern day bridge builders!

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