Mostar Bridge – Stari Most
Historical beauties hardly come to an end in Bosnia, and here’s yet another of them: Mostar Bridge. It is a true work of culture with an inspiring background of history, which extends over more than 400 years into the past. The bridge sure qualifies for its Bosnian name “Stari Most” with the meaning of Old (Stari) Bridge (Most). You’ll also agree once we get done with taking our brief look into the bridge’s history.
# When Was This Bridge Built For The First Time?
Mostar Bridge was first built way back in 1566 by the apprentice of the very Mimar Sinan that built the famous Selimiye Mosque and much more, and that was the head architect of the Ottoman Empire for almost 50 years. This apprentice was named Mimar Hayruddin and he sure honored his teacher with the Stari Most. The 29 meters long bridge crosses the river of Neretva and is 4 meter in width. Today we know that Mimar Hayruddin used 456 blocks of stone to build the Mostar Bridge. However, people don’t cross over the same stones Hayruddin used today because the bridge was destroyed in 1993 and was rebuilt afterwards in 2004. The original bridge survived through 427 tough years, and couldn’t keep up until now.
# Why and When Was The Mostar Bridge Destroyed?
In 1992, there was a dangerous tension between the Croatians and Bosnians which shared the same country, and this tension became the cause of a destructive war. Bosnia and Herzegovina is and was a culture rich country that houses people from many different races from the past, and some unfortunate conflicts between those races were the cause of the war. The sides of the Bosnian-Croatian war was mostly focused on ethnic cleansing and the result was the loss of more than 90 thousand innocent people. Historical records also show us that many war crimes were also committed. In November 9th1923, the Croatian Defence Council arbitrarily and haphazardly launched an artillery fire and the original Mostar Bridge was destroyed in the process.
# When Was The Mostar Bridge Rebuilt?
The first studies to repair the Mostar Bridge started in 1997. Through the repair process, many people from different races worked together in harmony to bring a priceless heritage of culture back to life. It all started with the funding of the UNESCO and the World Bank. The funding was given for the reparation costs of the bridge, and the authorities started the work right after the funding was given. A Turkish company named ER-BU was responsible for strengthening the main structure of the bridge and the construction of the stone arch of the bridge, while some professional Hungarian divers dived deep into the river and challenged themselves to find the lost stone blocks of the original bridge. Some of the blocks were damaged and unusable, tore to pieces and heavily deformed, but was it the end of everything? Of course not! Many people worked hard and reopened the stone pit which created the original stone blocks back in 1566. Through diligent and careful work, many stone blocks that are loyal to the originals have been created and shaped one by one, and given to the respective workers which were just as passionate about the construction as everybody else. It took 16 years. The intense and continuous work of the architects, companies, workers and many more finally gave its fruit in August 2003, when the keystone was put to its place. There was a big opening ceremony for the bridge one year later with the attendance of many countries and the Prince Charles from England. This reparation showed people that the hardest challenges were solvable if everybody worked together.