The city market or once called Tepa in Mostar was the center of events and life.
For a large part of the population of Mostar and the surrounding villages, Tepa was once the place where all of them gathered and the reason for their arrival to Mostar. This was the green market, but also a gathering place for meeting people. Many came to Tepa not just for work but also to see who else was in the Tepa and in the surrounding area; people liked to just come and drink coffee with friends and acquaintances.
In case you have missed it, read our previous story – The tradition of coffee in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The very word “tepa” is rooted in the Turkish language, which has the meaning “hill or hills with the sleek top of the hill, but the Mostar version of this word has only one meaning – the old Mostar market”.
During the Ottoman rule in Mostar were two sites that contained the word “tepa” – Large and Small Tepa. The large Tepa occupied the area of the former Cejvan Cehaja street and it’s the place on main street in front of the present-day museum and the Cejvan Cehaja mosque, the part from which you can descend down the stairs to the Old Bridge area. The small Tepa occupied the space of today’s marketplace, and it also included the street leading from it to the area of Kujundziluk.
The large Tepa got its name because it was compared with hendel (part of the Old Town, which is located between Kujundziluk. and the Old Bridge), in fact , t was located on a hill, below the top of the Hendek.
The small Tepa was part of the former Sinan pasha mahala, which was located in the area of Mejdan (today`s Square May 1st), so for first inhabitants of this part of town, the small Tepa was on a hill in relation to Mejdan.
For many years the Tepa had been a gathering place for people, merchants, salesman, and buyers; they all spoke at the same time so you could always here the noise of their voices all gathering together into; everyone could hear and understand each other.
People brought their homemade products, beverages, fruits, vegetables, shoes, clothes to sell. You could buy and find anything you needed on the Tepa, from needle and thread to a car.
Tepa was a place of daily meeting and exchange of thinking, over coffee. There was even a fish market, many cafes and they never lacked around Tepa.
People would sit up from their chairs just to get out of the warm room and stretch my legs. They went to Tepa and back. It was also like that in Mahala, Tekke, Avenue or at Balinovac.
The Tepa had its own monument – a colt. An animal that is noble and stubborn, able to bear any burden.