Mostar Bridge and Old Town (World Heritage)

Mostar Bridge and Old Town (World Heritage)

According to youremailverifier, the Starimost, the old bridge over the Neretva, was built in the 16th century and connected the Croatian part west of the Neretva and the Bosnian east part for 400 years. During the civil war, Mostar’s landmark was destroyed in 1993 and rebuilt from 2001 to 2004 with the support of UNESCO. The bridge is now a symbol of reconciliation between Christians and Muslims. Mostar’s old town has been able to maintain its oriental character to this day.

Mostar Bridge and Old Town: Facts

Official title: Bridge and Old Town of Mostar
Cultural monument: Bridge of Mostar (“Stari Most”) over the Neretva river with the two older towers Halebija and Tara on both banks and their surroundings; Dimensions: length 28 m, width 4 m, height 21 m; numerous historical buildings in the oriental style, including six preserved mosques from the 16th and 17th centuries; Orthodox church from the 20th century; numerous houses from Ottoman times
Continent: Europe
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location: Mostar
Appointment: 2005
Meaning: Exceptional testimony to a multicultural urban settlement; outstanding example of Ottoman architecture; Symbol for ongoing efforts towards peaceful coexistence between different peoples and cultures

Mostar Bridge and Old Town: History

1474 First mention of Mostar; Bridge made of wood
15./16. Century Development of an Ottoman border town
1566 Construction of the stone bridge “Stari Most” by Turkish builder Mimar Hajrudin
1991 War in Slovenia
1992 Independence from Bosnia-Herzegovina
1991-95 War in Croatia
1992-95 War in Bosnia-Herzegovina
November 9, 1993 Destruction of the old town of Mostar, including the Stari Most bridge, by Croatian guns
1998-2004 Reconstruction of the bridge with international aid
July 23, 2004 Ceremonial opening of »Stari Most«

Bridging the gap – bridge and old town of Mostar

As part of an international workshop for fine arts in 2000, flags with quotes from twenty international writers were set up along the traditional route over the old bridge of Mostar, which was still interrupted at the time. One of these donations of words on the subject of humanity, urbanity, multiculturalism, change and bridging comes from Beqë Cufaj from Kosovo: “The history of the Balkans is sadly ironic, because pain is the same for everyone and has no rank.” cruel Balkan war and the political, ethnic and cultural dilemma of the region is reflected in these words.

Peace reigns in the city of Mostar, the medieval city in what is now Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mostar means “bridge guard”. Its landmark, destroyed in the war, the historic stone bridge “Stari Most” has been rebuilt. At a dizzying height, it connects the two parts of the city and the Halebija and Tara towers. The bridge that gave the city of Mostar its name rises in a hauntingly beautiful and graceful manner in a steep arch of brightly shining stone over the emerald green mountain river Neretva. A masterpiece of Ottoman architecture with a long and moving history: the crossing was built in 1566 in the Ottoman Empire by the Turkish master builder Mimar Hajrudin. A quite daring undertaking, because the first attempt to build a bridge, the building fell into the Neretva, what had aroused Suleijman’s anger. Still, Hajrudin got a second chance; before completion, however, he had dug his own grave in the cemetery, suspecting that his work would collapse again and that the Suleijman would have him beheaded. The bridge held up, even survived centuries in the turmoil of conflicts and wars.

Here the children played while their mothers chatted and in summer the boys jumped headlong over twenty meters from the bridge in front of the girls and dipped their tanned bodies in the waters of the Neretva; that made them men, they thought. Not all of them survived the leap into adulthood. Should the bridge last forever? In fact, it lasted 427 years: Before the war, Mostar was considered a multiethnic city, and the bridge was a symbol of the peaceful coexistence of cultures. Initially, Croatians and Bosniaks had jointly defended their city and their bridge against the Serbs. No one can give an answer today as to why this alliance did not last. The most painful symbol of this is the destruction of the connecting bridge in November 1993 by Croatian bombardment. The ruins became a memorial to hatred. With international aid, the architect Amir Pasic rebuilt »Stari Most« with stones from the quarry that had supplied the building material to Hajrudin in the 16th century. Today the steep arch is often so overcrowded that it is difficult to find your way through the crowd. The bridge is a popular motif for tourists. The street cafes and the relaxed hustle and bustle in the winding, cobbled streets convey a Mediterranean flair. Despite visible war scars, Mostar appears friendly, soon to be idyllic; There is little to suggest that one of the most merciless street wars in the Balkans once raged here, and that Mostar is still a divided city today: the Croats live behind the boulevard, not far from the bridge in the west. Here you can find modern skyscrapers and shopping malls. The smaller and visibly poorer Muslim area in the east can shine with the wonderful, picturesque old town. Nobody is forbidden to enter the other part of the city. As before the war, »Stari Most« connects the east with the west. There are no limits, but the limits in your head are difficult to tear down.

The reconstruction of “Stari Most” took nine years to build, nine years in which there was almost no contact between the two parts of the city. The bridge is intended to become a symbol of reconciliation between Muslim Bosniaks and Catholic Croats. The way there is proving to be rocky. Broken trust cannot be restored as easily as the broken bridge can be rebuilt.

Mostar Bridge and Old Town (World Heritage)