Hiking Hum Hill in Mostar

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Hum – pronounced ‘Hoom’- hill dominates the south-west portion of the city. It’s not a mountain, definitely a hill, but it’s large and extremely up close. We decided our outdoor activity for the area would be to climb it. Luckily for us, we had run in to a local who chatted with us for a bit in the marketplace. His salient warning was to not climb the city-facing side of the hill. There’s a road that runs around the back and is the only safe trail to get to the top of the mountain. The rest of it is still mined.

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To get there, we crossed the bridge to the west side of the river. We then passed through some of the more typical residential areas – medium sized soviet style apartment buildings and their associated markets and restaurants. The prices here are much, much lower than in the old town.

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After the residential area, the road started heading up into the hills and the the houses started becoming a bit more decrepit. Not every house was like this, but a fair number were.

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The top of the hill is marked by a giant cross. In a Muslim majority country, this was something of a big deal when it went up. Many people were quite unhappy, and it doesn’t seem to foster good relations.

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The road winds up and up, here we looked back at the city. There’s not much of a space for pedestrians to walk. It’s much more common for people to drive up and then walk around after the highway ends, but the locals are used to pedestrians hiking up the mountain. It’s still very important to be aware and careful though, especially around the curves.

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At some point near the top the road ends and the hill-road begins. It’s a fairly long hike all told, and the split is roughly halfway.

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Along the side of the mountain road are these stone settings – they each show Christ or another religious figure. The whole mountain was apparently decorated with religious symbols around the time the cross went up.

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One of these comes around every hundred meters or so.

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From the back of the hill you can look down on to the edge of the city and the green hills and mountains surrounding it.

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In the other direction, the majority of Mostar. Even during the hike up there’s a fantastic view.

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Along the way we spotted some amazingly vibrant blue flowers.

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At the top the cross looms large. It’s a fairly minimalist, concrete structure, fairly similar to the one in Skopje, but less Eiffel-tower like.

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On the other side of the cross is the part of the hill facing the city – the mined part. There are some clearly marked trails that people have been through, and the view is very nice.

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We took some time to soak in the view. It seemed fairly important to not go off trail, despite the fact that there had been clear human presence in some of the ‘off-limits’ areas.

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The only other people we had seen go off the road were a family picking up cans and foraging herbs. We ran into another family on the way up who talked with us for a bit, lamenting the downfall of Mostar and the rampant inequality.

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The famed bridge was not quite visible from the safe areas. To get a view of it we would have had to walk out onto the face of the hill we had been warned against.

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Having seen the landscape and the city sprawl, we headed back down the mountain. It was starting to get near sunset and the temperature was dropping.

 

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