Modern day Mostar – Mari Nicholson
Famous for the bridge that was destroyed in the 1990 conflict in the Balkans, the historic old town of Mostar in Herzegovina that spans the deep valley of the Neretva River, is somewhere that should be visited by anyone who travels to Dalmatia. Most of the old town, as well as the bridge, was destroyed in that dreadful war, signs of which are still in evidence around the area.
Mostar, Astride the River – Mari Nicholson
Dating back to the 15th century, Mostar was developed as an Ottoman frontier town and was further developed during the 19th and 20th centuries when the Ottomans were seemingly unstoppable as they pushed at the gates of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.
Long known for its old Turkish houses and the iconic bridge, Stari Most, after which the town is named (mostari meaning the bridge-keepers) many of the dwellings in the Old Town were restored or rebuilt in 2004 with the help of UNESCO. The Old Bridge was originally designed by the architect Hajruddin, under the direction of his famous architect teacher Sinan, and its reconstruction was based on thorough and detailed analyses, use of authentic materials and techniques: the reconstructed portions have been left visible.
Before the war, Muslims, Christians, and Jews, mosques, churches, and synagogues existed side-by-side indicating that the Roman Catholic Croats, the Eastern Orthodox Serbs, and the Sephardic Jews, had lived peaceably together with the Bosniak-Muslims for more than four centuries and the town is an outstanding example of a multicultural settlement with its pre-Ottoman, eastern Ottoman, Mediterranean and western European features.
It is hoped that the reconstructed old bridge and city of Mostar will serve as a symbol of the coexistence of the diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities in this region.