Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Mostar bridge - destruction heralding ethnic separation

Updated: Jul 12, 2018

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Mostar bridge

November 9 is a pretty full day from a historical point of view in Europe. You have of course 1938′s Kristallnacht, which saw the burning of books and the unfolding tragedy in Nazi Germany. 1989 brought down the Berlin Wall, finally connecting those in East and West Berlin after 28 years of enduring separation.

November 9 is also an important date, particularly in the Balkans. On that day in 1993, the “Stari Most” of Mostar was destroyed. The arch bridge over the Neretva River, built in the mid-1500s, was seen as one of the architectural gems still left from the Ottoman era. Celebrated over the last several centruries, it came to mean much more after the war in Bosnia, when the bridge became the de facto border between those of Bosnian Muslim origin on the left bank and those who felt themselves to be Croat on the right bank.

The Old Bridge was rebuilt, religiously following the technique of its original design and construction, meticulously recounted in the book “Mostart, a Bridge Story”, published by UNESCO, the Programme Coordination Unit of the Stari Most and the World Bank. The book itself is a celebration of using all available means (Ottoman archives, photogrammetry, diving, numbering of stones) to rebuild a bridge. The bridge itself was such a success that the Stari Most became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, shortly after its re-opening in 2004. The Bridge itself is a perfect example of an investment which has paid handsome dividends for the City of Mostar. Without the bridge, Mostar would have a fraction of the tourism receipts as the majority of tourists come to see the bridge. By the way, perhaps the best picture is taken from the first bridge to the south, which was the motif used for the Yugoslav tourism photo of Mostar. If you go in the spring and summer, you may be lucky enough to see a few divers going into the icy cold, but amazingly blue waters from a height of over 20 metres. Here it is in its full glory below.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Mostar bridge 25 years after war

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