Mostar, straddling its beloved river, is the leading city of the southern part of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mostar feels Turkish because until the early 20th century, it belonged to the Ottoman Empire. When the Ottomans vacated, they left behind a large population of Muslim converts.
 You feel this Turkish heritage everywhere. It's embodied in a skyline of minarets and in the five times daily call to prayer. And Mostar's 400-year-old stone bridge was commissioned by Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent.
With its elegant, single pointed arch, the Old Bridge symbolized the town's status as the place where East meets West in Europe. When it was part of Yugoslavia, as in centuries past, Mostar was a place where cultures mingled — where Catholic Croats, Orthodox Serbs, and Muslim Bosniaks lived together in relative harmony.
[65,] But then, as Yugoslavia broke apart in the 1990s, Mostar itself became embroiled in war. Neighbors and friends took up arms against each other. First, the Croats and Bosniaks forced out the Serbs. Then the two remaining groups turned their guns on each other — establishing a bloody front line that ran through the middle of this town.
 Locals, like tour guide Alma Elezovich, lived under siege during that frightening time.
 Transcribe: The conflict reached its peak with a symbolic moment that resonated around the world. This venerable Bridge was pummeled by artillery shells from the hilltop above until, finally, it collapsed into the river.
 While the city has been at peace since 1995, the sectarian symbolism remains powerful. Still, both religious communities seem determined to build upon this fragile reconciliation.
 The ten minarets, rebuilt since the war, once again pierce Mostar's skyline like Muslim exclamation points. Each Friday, the town's mosques are busy with worshippers. Across town, twice as high as the tallest minaret, towers the Croats' Catholic Church spire. Like the mosques, this new church is busy serving the faithful in its community. Observing this, it occurred to me that I've never met anyone — from either community here — who called the war anything but a tragic mistake.
 Mostar is rebuilding...it's moving on, and those ethnic divisions are gradually fading. Soon after the war, the Old Bridge was rebuilt using the original materials. The new Old Bridge was immediately embraced as a promising sign of reconciliation.
 And today, as they have for generations, young Mostarians jump from the bridge. Divers make a ruckus collecting donations at the top of the bridge. They tease and tease, asking for more money...and more money...and more money. Finally, they take the 75 foot plunge.
 Leading up the hill from the Old Bridge is Coppersmiths' Street — a lively shopping zone with the flavor of a Turkish bazaar. Hammered-copper decorations, artists' galleries, and a local twist: old Yugoslav army kitsch.
 And in the evening restaurants along coppersmith street and the rest of Mostar's riverfront clamor for your business. Grilled meats are big here — including shish kebabs and the little sausage links called cevapcici. And everything tastes better with a dab of ajvar, that's a condiment made of eggplant and red pepper — like Bosnian ketchup with a kick.
[80,] An after-dinner stroll inspires confidence in this region's ability to heal its wounds. Young and old, everyone's out embracing life. Masala Square — literally "place of Prayer" — is designed for big gatherings. And tonight, the students are out...and Bosnian hormones are raging. Being young and sexy is a great equalizer. These twenty-something Bosnians were toddlers during the war. Seeing them tonight, it's clear they see a bright and promising future.
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