While I was staying in Sarajevo, I did a day trip to Mostar, stopping off at points of interest on the way, which I have already written about on the site. The historic town of Mostar, spanning the 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 is known for its old Turkish houses and Old Bridge, Stari Most, after which it is named.
Stari Most means ‘Old Bridge’ and the bridge’s swooping arch was originally built between 1557 and 1566 on the orders of Suleiman the Magnificent. An engineering marvel of its age, the bridge was destroyed and fell into the river during a deliberate Croatian artillery attack in November 1993, one can see the some of original stone blocks in the river. After the war, Stari Most was painstakingly reconstructed using 16th-century building techniques and stone sourced from the original quarry. It reopened in 2004 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The men standing on the rails of the bridge are divers who, once a certain amount of money has been raised, dive 20 meters into the icy waters below. I didn’t get to see a dive during my visit.
The Old Town area, most of which was destroyed in the civil war, has examples of Ottoman, Eastern Ottoman, Mediterranean and Western European architectural features, and is an example of a multicultural urban settlement.