Old Bridge (Stari Most), Bosnia-Herzegovina

On the Neretva River in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina's beautiful city, one of the most elegant bridges of the world stands.The bridge which not only connects the Bosniak and Croat sections, but also gave its name to the city, bears the traces of the painful years.

Following the Neretva River and on the road connecting the Adriatic Sea and the Balkans, Mostar city is like a historical engraving that has come from the hands of a painter who is famous for works from the Ottoman Period sprinkled in natural beauties. "Most" means bridge in Bosnian language; "Stari Most" aslo means the old bridge, and Mostar also means "bridge keeper".

Mostar, where joined the Ottoman lands during the reign of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror, was changed as "Köprühisar" as the Ottomans came to the region and began to gain importance before long. In this period, a wooden hanging bridge was built in 1481 instead of a very old and unsafe chain bridge located in Mostar.

The Mostar Bridge which has a legendary place inside Ottoman stone bridges, was built by Mimar Sinan 's student, Architect Hayreddin in 1566, at 24 m height, 30 m length and 4m wide.

Construction of the The Mostar Bridge, one of the most beautiful examples of Ottoman architecture in Europe, began in October 1557 and could be completed in 9 years together with the fortification walls near it. The bridge undertook a cultural symbol task by uniting Catholics, Orthodoxs, Jewishs, and Muslims. Young people's the jumping over the bridge arch tradition, has continued continuously since the bridge was built. 

It was first attacked by Bosnian Serbs during the civil war that began in Bosnia and Herzegovina. On November 9, 1993, Croatian tanks destroyed the bridge completely which had stand for 427 years, by giving more damage. The giant stones of the bridge lost in the waters of the Neretva River. This incident was actually meaning that the rejection of Mostar's multinational heritage.

After the war, the construction of the historic bridge in Mostar was re-started in 1997 with the support of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), UNESCO, IRCICA and the World Bank. The bridge was removed from the water as 3 parts by Hungarian army divers.

The original stones could not be used due to they were damaged by bombing and river waters.

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