Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina - C. XVI
Approx. Nº of pieces: 5.900
Difficulty degree: 8/10
Sizes (Mm.): 215 x 690 x 355
The monument and its history
Mostar is in the south of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is the second largest city in the country.
The Stari Most or Old Bridge was one of the last monumental works built by command of the Ottoman sultan Sulayman the Magnificent (1520-1566). It was built in 1566 under the direction of Mimar Hajruddin, a disciple of the famous architect Sinan. In both the Old Bridge and the new Old Bridge the arch has a span of 29 metres, is 30 metres long and 4 metres Wide. In low waters it stands 20 metres over the River Neretva.
Two fortified towers flank the ends of the construction on each riverbank. To the west, the Halebija tower, and to the east, the Tara tower, both built in the 17th century. Before the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina (1878), the Stari Most was the centre of Muslim life and a source of inspiration for poets and walkers.
In 1993, during the bloody Balkan War and after the total failure of what was called the Vance-Owen peace plan, which attempted to divide the country into three ethnically pure parts, old alliances between Bosnians and Croatians were broken and new conflicts blew up. Sadly, Mostar became the leading player in the conflict and the Old Bridge was blown up on the 9th of November 1993 by the Croatian artillery, becoming a symbol of the conflict that between 1992 and 1995 left more than 200,000 people dead. The Halebija and Tara towers were also affected.
It was reopened on the 23rd of July 2004. The reconstruction work of both the bridge and the adjoining buildings cost around 13 million euros. The Stari Most or Old Bridge was rebuilt using similar methods and materials to those that the Turkish architects used 500 years before in order to obtain an exact replica.
A project was concluded that had begun in 1998, when UNESCO, the World Bank and the Mostar City Council made a joint international appeal to be able to start rebuilding the bridge. Five countries (Croatia, France, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey) and the Council of Europe Development Bank responded to the call and the work carried out made the reconstruction a reality.
The Old Bridge of Mostar is one of the most famous historical monuments in the former Yugoslavia and forms part of the list of World Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO.
Eleven years later, Stari Most is once again standing, symbolising unity and reconciliation in the multiethnic society of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Mostar is no longer divided by the River Neretva.