The old bridge was one of the most impressive examples of ottoman architecture in the Balkans.
It was destroyet in 1991 and then rebuilt thanks to Unesco funds in 2004. On the wall every morning there are a couple of men that jump in the river for tourists after they collect something like 20 or 30€.
We went to Mostar on a day trip from Dubrovnik.
We didn't know a great deal about it, but we did know of it's iconic old bridge, Stari Most.
It had been blown apart during the Bosnian War in 1993, and rebuilt since.
Mostar is now a Unesco Heritage site.
The bridge splits the Muslim and Christian communities, although these days we were told that the divide is less of an issue. Only time will tell but let's hope so.
The old town either side of the bridge is mainly cobbled streets with a lot of Souvenir shops. Some of the stuff they're selling is quite tacky, but some of it is ok.
There is a local custom whereby local lads dive from the bridge into the River below to prove their courage. More often these days they dive for Euros. Once they collect E25 they jump. We didn't see one go but did hear one, and he survived to tell the tale.
As you leave the Old Town there are still plenty of buildings that still show the scars of war, just to remind you that this city has had a troubled past, and not yet 20 years ago !
There are wondeful views from the old bridge. On one side you look over a mosque and the Old Turkish part of town. On the other side you look towards another bridge and over an area where people swim in the river. I would have loved to go for swim in there, too, but time was against us. Spectacular.
This beautiful bridge gives the town its name. It must have been absolutely devastating when it was destroyed in the war. Mostar suffered so much, but this must have felt like having its heart ripped out. The bridge is now beautifully restored and in tip-top condition. It's very steep and very slippy and difficult to walk on.
On both sides of the bridge there are old Turkish areas filled with beautiful craft shops. From the bridge there are spectacular views over town. There is a very good view of the bridge from the Old Turkish Area and also from the garden of Koski Mehmed Pasha's Mosque. I wandered into the grounds of this mosque and took lots of pictures of the view around 7pm on our first evening. We returned next day to find you had to pay an entrance fee to get to this viewing point. I think they only charge this while all the day-trippers are in town.
The bridge was originally built across the Neretva River in 1556. It took 9 years to build. It was totally destroyed by bombs in 1993 and has now been completely restored. A diving competition takes place here each year.
Probably, this is one of the reasons why you come to Mostar. Like no other, Stari Most is the symbol for a bridge between the east and the west. Built during the Ottoman rule, it spans over the river Neva connecting the Bosniak muslims on the east bank with the Croat catholics on the west bank. When it was completed in 1566 (replacing a wooden structure on the same site), it was widely regarded as a masterpiece of engineering. It survived over 400 years before it was destroyed by bombings of the Bosnian Croat forces on November 9th 1993. A cable bridge was installed after the war and reconstruction of the original bridge commenced in 2001. Unfortunately, it was not able to use the original stones anymore since they have eroded in the river and the iron bolts have rusted and cracked some of the stones. However, original construction methods were used as well as the same material. The reconstructed bridge was presented in 2005.
Depending on daytime and season, this place may be very crowded. And better pictures are taken from distance anyway, for example from the terrace close to the Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque. Still, walking over this bridge should be part of every Mostar trip.
Think twice which shoes you are going to use in the old town. The cobbled streets are hard to walk on, if your shoes have a pretty thin sole. The cobblestones are thick and round. The bridge however can be slippery and thousands of tourists have polished the marble stones just by walking on it.
Stari Most is a reconstruction of a 16th-century Ottoman bridge in the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina that crosses the river Neretva and connects two parts of the city.
In 1557, the ambitious and immodest Sultan Sulaiman the Magnificent commissioned the building of the justly-famous Mostar Bridge, the Stari Most. At four metres wide, 28 metres long and a perfect symbol of graceful Ottoman architecture, it was a bridge the likes of which had never before been attempted. Legend has it that the architect Mimar Hajrudin was commissioned to achieve this under pain of death. He so feared for his life that he made arrangements for his own funeral the day the scaffolding was to be removed.
For over 400 years this magnificent structure stood as a testament to Ottoman power.
Mostar's old bridge is actually a new bridge. The original Stari Most was destroyed in 1993 during the Bosnian War. After defending the bridge from the Serbs for months of brutal siege warfare, the Bosnian Croats then shelled the bridge following the break-out of hostilities with their Bosnian Muslim neighbours. Such is the history of this city.
The bridge had stood for 427 years prior to 1993. It was built during Ottoman times, on the orders of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Sultan who brought terror to Europe by conquering the Balkans while wearing a turban the size of a wombat. It became a wonder of the era: an immense piece of architecture. It was so impressive that it drew people from all around just to witness it, as it does to this day.
After its destruction, its reconstruction became a priority of the new Bosnian government and the organisations that supported it. The reconstruction of the bridge was seen as part of the vital rebuilding of bridges between the torn communities. Funding flooded in from the World Bank, the UN, the Council of Europe, among others. UNESCO oversaw the whole venture, and on 2004, over ten years since its destruction, the bridge was unveiled to the world.
The bridge is the thing. It's one of the most impressive pieces of architecture in Europe, and set against one of the most beautiful back-drops. It's of great cultural and political importance, with a history that can both inspire and bring you to tears. Walk across it, admire it, or sit down underneath it and soak up its imposing drama. But don't miss it.
This stone bridge was built, In 1566, by the Ottoman architect Mimar Hajrudin. It spanned the emerald green waters of the Neretva River and came to be known as Stari Most - Old Bridge.
The bridge and its cobble-stoned old town did not change much through the centuries, even during the two World Wars that engulfed the region. However, in Novembre 1993, it was destroyed by artillery and tanks of the Bosnian War.
The bridge had not only been the symbol of the city, which is now divided between Bosnian Croats and Bosniaks, but also a symbol of Bosnia-Hercegovina's historic tolerance for diversity among its peoples.
However magnificent, the Old Bridge and its reconstruction were much more than meets the eye, stress both Larry Hannah, the World Bank Team Leader for the project and Vesna Francic, the local project officer. The project and its success were the fruit of an extraordinary partnership between the people of Mostar, national and local authorities, and the international community. This combined effort was more than a simple pooling of money. It reflected the will of a “coalition of the committed;” one that remains determined to help this city and this country rebuild and start afresh after the suffering and strife of the 1990s.
As a matter of fact, the old bridge was six years old. The old one was destroyed by the war, and this one was built recently, (almost) following the original. What shall I say, about a town that has not much more to offer than a copy of a bridge?
Well, that's the most important bridge I ever saw. Not only a structure to pass from one side to the other across the river, but a connection between religious, linking ethnic and cultural differences.
We were told that one side was Muslim, the other Christian. We didn't notice such difference: in both side we saw signs of both cultures, and people, struggling for life, with respect for us and each other. And so it must continue, as long as the bridge makes its job.
The focus point of the city of Mostar is the Stari Most. The bridge was destroyed during the war and on July 23rd, 2004 the reconstructed Old Bridge will be officially opened. Part of the opening day ceremonies will be the traditional dives from the bridge. Before the war an annual tradition was to hold a diving competiton where competitors dive off the bridge.
If you wish to see live footage of the bridge you can take a look at several live cams around the bridge available at the following website:
Stari Most Live Cam
An ambition of mine to visit Mostar and to see this bridge over the Naretva river, even moreso since 1993, and here I am. Lucky enough to see one of the famous divers too, not quick enough for a photo though. Visit early or in the evening to have it almost to yourself, but looks great at anytime of day.
Yes it's a bit touristy, with gift shops on both sides and the divers trying to solicit money to jump from the bridge. But from an historical aspect, it's a must see. Just watch your footing when walking across the bridge.
It is an enivitable fact that Mostar's Stari Most will very rarely be deserted. During the day you can almost be guaranteed that there will be a crowd gathered at the bridge to take in it's graceful beauty, views or to watch the daring men jumping from the height of it's arch to the green Neretva below.
However, late in the evening, when darkness begins to settle on the city, the bus loads of day-trippers have left, and you can expect to enjoy the beauty and charm of the Stari Most in isolation...if even for a few minutes.
The Towers built at each end of the Old Bridge add even more charm and beauty to the overall appearance of the bridge (as if needed!!!) The towers were not built at the same time as the bridge but were added later but do look to complete the bridge acting as pillars complimenting the bridge at either end. The Halebia tower is located on the right bank while the Tara tower is on the left bank. The towers while not entirely destroyed during the recent conflicts did require considerable reconstruction after the war but now, like the bridge, stand proudly again on the banks of the river. The towers are not mirror images which adds to the uniquesness of the bridge and tower. Entering onto the bridge from the west, you pass through the gate of one of the towers while you do not pass through the tower on the east bank but turn away from it as you cross the bridge as the bridge curves onto a cobblestone street.
The famous stone arch of Mostar's Old Bridge (Stari Most) is the outstanding symbol of the city and is it's most endearing attraction. The bridge which was originally built by in 1566 by Mimar Hajrudin during the Ottoman period and is what gives Mostar it's name...'Keepers of the Bridge'.
Tragically the bridge was completely destroyed by a direct hit from Croatian forces in 1993 and the bridge over the Neretva River, once described by Rebecca West in her famous travel book 'Black Lamb and Grey Falcon' as "one of the most beautiful bridges in the world", was no more.
After conflict ended it was decided to rebuild the Old Bridge and with huge international support reconstruction of the bridge was started in 1997 and was completed in 2004 amid much celebration and rejoice. Once more the beautiful, graceful stone bridge is there to be enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. While the Old Bridge is sorely missed, the 'new' Old Bridge should, in time, come to stand for much more than its predecessor, in that it is now much more than a symbol of the city but also of the resilient and determined nature of its's people and a will to survive in the face of extreme times of adversity.