This bridge has changed many names during its existence. Its first identity was during the reign of Ottoman Empire when the bridge was constructed out of wood and it was called “Ćirišhanska ćuprija”. Ćirišhana was a glue factory that resided on the right bank of Miljacka (turkish Ćiriš means glue). As Sarajevo expanded towards the west during the 19th century, influenced by Austro-Hungarian urban principles, the glue factory was no longer needed so close to the city center and all of the glue factories and leatherworking factories were moved outside of the city. In that process, the bridge acquired a new name, “Vrbanje”, after nearby residential area. Etymology of the name Vrbanje has yet to be clarified – some believe it stems from the word “Vrba” (willow tree), while others believe it is from the name “Vrhbosna” – a medieval name of the region. The bridge’s appearance dates from 1950, with the advent of motorized vehicles and the impracticality of small wooden bridges. Its reinforced concrete bridge with three lanes for traffic kept its look until the beginning of war in 1992.
The bridge was at peace for 40 years until 5th April 1992, when the first civilian casualty of war, a student Suada Dilberović, was hit by mortar while crossing it. After several minutes another student, Olga Sučić, was also hit by mortar fire on the same bridge. This date marked the beginning of war in Bosnia and the Siege of Sarajevo. Tragedy repeated itself in May 1993, when Admira Ismić and Boško Brkić (after their deaths they became known as Sarajevo’s Romeo and Juliet) were killed while crossing this bridge. After the war, 6 April 1996, the bridge was named after the first casualty of war, “The Bridge of Suada Dilberović”. A commemorative plaque can be found there with the engraving: “Kap moje krvi poteče i Bosna ne presuši” (a drop of my blood is spilled, so the Bosnia River may never run dry). In December, 1999, the bridge was renamed to “Bridge of Suada Dilberović and Olga Sučić”.
Is this the last chapter in the story about names of this bridge? Or will future generations write new and better stories about this bridge? Only time will tell.
Written by Kenan Muslić, student of Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo Translation and copyediting by Mirza Spužić, student of Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo