Old Bridge – Mostar

Old Bridge in Mostar

Mostar is a city in Bosnia and Herzegovina . Inhabited by 105,797 people, it is the most important city in the Herzegovina region, its cultural capital, and the center of the Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of the Federation .
Formerly one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country, and today suffering geographical division of ethnic groups. The city was the most heavily bombed of any Bosnian city during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina following the breakup of Yugoslavia.

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At the beginning of the war, air strikes destroyed many important buildings and structures, including the cultural and spiritual icon: The Old Bridge (Stari Most).

The Stari Most is hump-backed, 4 metres (13 ft 1 in) wide and 30 metres (98 ft 5 in) long, and dominates the river from a height of 24 m (78 ft 9 in). Two fortified towers protect it: the Halebija tower on the northeast and the Tara tower on the southwest, called “the bridge keepers” (natively mostari).

History of the Bridge

The historic town of Mostar, spanning a deep valley of the Neretva River, developed in the 15th and 16th centuries as an Ottoman frontier town and during the Austro-Hungarian period in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mostar has long been known for its old Turkish houses and Old Bridge, Stari Most, after which it is named.
In the 1990s conflict, however, most of the historic town and the Old Bridge, designed by the renowned architect Sinan, was destroyed.

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The Old Bridge was recently rebuilt and many of the edifices in the Old Town have been restored or rebuilt with the contribution of an international scientific committee established by UNESCO.

The Old Bridge area, with its pre-Ottoman, eastern Ottoman, Mediterranean and western European architectural features, is an outstanding example of a multicultural urban settlement. The reconstructed Old Bridge and Old City of Mostar is a symbol of reconciliation, international co-operation and of the coexistence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities.

Architecture here presented a symbol of tolerance: a shared life of Muslims, Christians and Jews.

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The arch of the bridge was made of local stone known as tenelija. The shape of the arch is the result of numerous irregularities produced by the deformation of the intrados (the inner line of the arch). The most accurate description would be that it is a circle of which the centre is depressed in relation to the string course.

Diving

Stari Most diving is a traditional annual competition in diving organized every year in mid summer (end of July). It has been done 477 times as of 2013. It is traditional for the young men of the town to leap from the bridge into the Neretva.

As the Neretva is very cold, this is a very risky feat and only the most skilled and best trained divers will attempt it. The practice dates back to the time the bridge was built, but the first recorded instance of someone diving off the bridge is from 1664.

2.jpgIn 1968 a formal diving competition was inaugurated and held every summer. The first person to jump from the bridge since it was re-opened was Enej Kelecija.

One of the country’s most recognizable landmarks, it is considered an exemplary piece of Balkan Islamic architecture. It was designed by Mimar Hayruddin, a student and apprentice of the famous architect Mimar Sinan.

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