The Stari Most Bridge Is a Silent Witness To The War in Bosnia-Herzegovina


Stari Most Bridge in the City of Mostar

The war that took place in the district of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s left little sadness and damage. Many residents lost their families, friends, living quarters, and not a few cities felt a split. One of the towns that also suffered destruction in this War was Mostar, the largest city in the Herzegovina district inhabited by 109,000 residents. In 1522, the City of Mostar became the administrative headquarters of the Ottoman Empire in the region of Herzegovina. The city was under the Austrian empire in 1878-1918 when the Ottoman Empire was forced to leave the Balkan area, and then became an element of Yugoslavia. At present Herzegovina is an integral part of Bosnia-Herzegovina which freed itself from Yugoslavia in 1993.

“Stari Most” is an old bridge owned by the City of Mostar and always looks so impressive to tell. Stari Most (Most low bridges and Stari means old), famous as the Mostar Bridge because it is located in the City of Mostar, is a symbol of Bosnia before, during, and after the conflict that occurred in early 1990. The Stari Most Bridge is a legacy of the Ottoman Empire in built-in 1556 at the behest of Sultan Sulaiman, describing the relationship between different customs and religions. This bridge crosses the Neretva River, connecting the western elements of the city which are not few inhabited by ethnic Croats with the eastern aspect of the town which is home to a large number of Bosnian ethnic Muslims.

Bridge construction

In the 15th century, the city of Mostar was a small city divorced by the Neretva River and connected by bridges created from wood. Sultan Sulaiman of the Ottoman Dynasty then ordered a new bridge to be built from a stronger material, to replace the old bridge so that merchants who wished to cross the Neretva river did not worry, to the extent that the economy would be better.

Construction of the Bridge on the Drina River was the result of a member of the Ottoman architect named Mimar Sinan, and the bridge was built in the Visegrad region. The Stari Most bridge connects the western elements with the eastern aspects of the city of Mostar. Hayrudin took nine years (1557 to 1566) to complete the bridge.

The bridge consists of one arch (which was created from local limestone known as tenelija) 30 meters wide, 24 meters high, and 29 meters long. On the west and east side, two buildings are similar to a fortress as the entrance and rising of the bridge. This bridge is a civilization heritage of Islamic architecture in the Balkans and was a modern technology at that time.

When this bridge was built, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire had vowed to execute Mimar Hayruddin if the bridge collapsed after the wood that had been supporting the bridge was taken. Hearing the threat, on the day the wood was removed, Hayruddin was pessimistic, pronounced starting to search for his own grave. But after all the supporting wood is discarded, the results are genuinely beyond the shadow of the architecture. The bridge remained standing and remained standing until 425 years later. This proves that this bridge is built with the best design and construction.

Destruction of the Stari Most Bridge

On November 9, 1993, the Mostar Bridge felt an unfortunate fate when an inter-ethnic war in 1992-1995 hit the area of Bosnia-Herzegovina. At that time the Croatian deliberately destroyed the bridge until it fell into the river below, which is a symbol of multiculturalism that still survives in the area that.

The international community, paying attention to the destruction of the historical bridge and encouraging the construction of new bridges. As much as possible white limestone from the old bridge ruins is secured from the riverbed. New stones were excavated from the mine closest to the destination to create a bridge that was as similar as possible with a bridge that had been destroyed. Finally, on July 23, 2004, the Mostar bridge was only built on the location of the old Mostar bridge. On the deck, there is a stone to commemorate the incident of the bridge damage, the impact of the inter-ethnic war in 1993, which read “Don’t Forget ‘93”.

The construction of this bridge back in 2004 illustrated the reunification of the city of Mostar and became an element of the recovery process of this multi-ethnic city after a long war. Until now the Mostar bridge is still a very iconic landmark of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 2005, because of its beauty and history as a unifying habit and ethnicity, the Stari Most Bridge was made into UNESCO’s 20th Century World heritage website.

If we plan to vacation in the city of Mostar, the perfect times to experience the Old Mostar Bridge are during July or the summer. At that time you can feel or even seek the tradition of plunging from the Stari Most Bridge to the Neretva River, 24 meters below. The tradition of diving into the river has been held for a long time, and only in 1968 was an annual tournament held. Apart from that, of course, we can feel walking in the old town bazaar along the Neretva River, which has a row of shops selling many handicrafts typical of the city of Mostar. Or even enjoy the regular food of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the many restaurants that are there.