Mostar is a city and municipality in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Inhabited by 113,169 people, it is the most important city in the Herzegovina region, its cultural capital, and the center of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of the Federation. Mostar is situated on the Neretva River and is the fifth-largest city in the country. Mostar was named after the bridge keepers (mostari) who in the medieval times guarded the Stari Most(Old Bridge) over the Neretva. The Old Bridge, built by the Ottomans in the 16th century, is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s most recognizable landmarks, and is considered one of the most exemplary pieces of Islamic architecture in the Balkans.
Mostar has architecturally noteworthy buildings in a wide range of styles. Historicist architectural styles reflected cosmopolitan interest and exposure to foreign aesthetic trends and were artfully merged with indigenous styles. Examples include the Italianate Franciscan church, the Ottoman Muslibegovića house, the Dalmatian Corovic House and an Orthodox church which was built as gift from the Sultan.
The Ottomans used monumental architecture to affirm, extend and consolidate their colonial holdings. Administrators and bureaucrats – many of them indigenous people who converted from Christianity to Islam – founded mosque complexes that generally included Koranic schools, soup kitchens or markets.
Out of the thirteen original mosques dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, seven have been lost during the 20th century for ideological reasons or by bombardment. One of the two 19th-century Orthodox churches has also disappeared, while the early 20th-century synagogue, after suffering severe damage in the World War II, has been converted into a theatre. Several Ottoman inns also survived, along with other buildings from this period of Mostar’s history, such as fountains and schools.
Mostar, and Herzegovina area in general, have more affinity to the Croatian region of Dalmatia, which can be oppressively hot during the summer. In the summer months, occasional temperatures above 40 °C are not uncommon, with a record temperature of 46.2 °C. The coldest month is January, averaging about 41 °F (5 °C), and the warmest month is July, averaging about 78 °F (26 °C). Mostar experiences a relatively dry season from June to September. The remainder of the year is wet and mild. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is Cfa, which in this case is an “Oceanic climate with hot summers and Mediterranean tendency” (close to Csa subtype). Mostar is the sunniest city in the country with an average of 2291 solar hours a year.
During the 2012 European cold wave, Mostar experienced unusual cold weather with freezing temperatures lasting for days and a record snow depth of 86 cm (34 inches).