the old bridge in mostar, bosnia: destruction and rebirth [vlog]


In the southern region of Bosnia and Herzegovina can be found the city of Mostar, and the famous Stari Most, or old bridge. The original bridge was commissioned by Suleiman the Magnificent in 1557 to replace an older wooden suspension bridge. Construction began in 1557 and took nine years. Charged under pain of death to construct a bridge of such unprecedented dimensions, the architect reportedly prepared for his own funeral on the day the scaffolding was finally removed from the completed structure. Upon its completion it was the widest man-made arch in the world. As a result, this bridge can be classed among the greatest architectural works of its time.

The Old Bridge stood for 427 years until it was destroyed on 9 November 1993 during the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After its destruction a temporary cable bridge was erected in its place. Responsibility for the destruction of the boridge is attributed to Bosnian Croat artillery fire. Newspapers based in Sarajevo reported that more than 60 shells hit the bridge before it collapsed. After the destruction of the Stari Most, a spokesman for the Croats admitted that they deliberately destroyed it, claiming that it was of strategic importance. Academics have argued that the bridge held little strategic value and that its shelling was an example of deliberate cultural property destruction. [Note: the bridge was in fact destroyed in 1993 so disregard the slip of the date in the vlog!]

Destruction of the Old Bridge, 1993.