The town of Mostar

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Escutcheon of the town of Mostar. Click to enlarge the image.Mostar is more the big city and the capital city of Herzegovina, the southern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Situation of Mostar. Click to enlarge the image.In the complicated administrative unit of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mostar is part of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the canton of Herzegovina-Neretva from which it is the chief town. Its population is estimated at a little more than 70,000 inhabitants, after the losses undergone at the time of the war of Bosnia (2 000 exiled deaths and 26,000 inhabitants).

Old bridge seen since the Koski mosque. Click to enlarge the image.Mostar is regarded as one of the treasures of medieval Othoman architecture in Europe.

Its “District of the Old Bridge of the Old city of Mostar” is registered on the list of the world heritage of UNESCO.

EtymologyEtymology
Mostar draws its name from the “mostari”, the guards who assembled the guard of the bridge on Neretva and who made pay a right-of-way.

In 1452, a document mentions the city - then in possession of Raguse - as “duet castelli Al big shot of Neretua”.

In 1468, this strategic place passed under Othoman domination. Until 1477, the locality named “Köprühisar”, Bridge-of-Castle, of “köprü” (bridge) and “hisar” (castle). The bridge, still of already strategic wood but, was indeed protected by towers located on both sides.

Into Serb Cyrillic, Mostar is written Мостар.

SituationSituation

Chart of the surroundings of Mostar. Click to enlarge the image.The town of Mostar is located at approximately 100 km in the south of Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia, to approximately 40 km north of the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, and to 50 km of Neum, the only coastal town of Bosnia and Herzegovina located on the Adriatic Sea.
Mostar is in the steepsided valley of the Neretva river, nestled up to the clear mass of the Velež mount, which pushes it to be tightened on itself, narrow passage in the middle of the fertile valley of low Neretva and in the imposing shade of the southernmost buttresses of the solid mass of Prenj.

Panorama of the old bridge (author Luigi Guarino). Click to enlarge the image.

Mostar seen of plane. Click to enlarge the image.

VisitsVisits

The Town of Mostar
Plan of Mostar. Click to enlarge the image.The town of Mostar actually consists of two cities: on western bank of Neretva, a modern city and activates, in great Croatian and catholic majority, and, in the east, an old city, turned towards the past, with Bosnian and Moslem majority. In spite of a decree of the European high representative in Bosnia in February 2004, unifying the two cities theoretically, the two communities do not mix, an orthodoxe Serb minority playing the part of referee.

Boulevard separating the two cities. Click to enlarge the image.The two cities are separated by “Bulevar Narodne Revolucije” (Boulevard of the National Revolution), the longest avenue of Mostar. It is this boulevard, but rather an avenue, which marked the demarcation line at the time of the conflict of 1992-1995; it still shows the traces of the terrible destruction. The absence of control panels referring of the one with the other part of the city is rather revealing of this tearing.

The modern city, in the west, does not present much tourist interest: tourism concentrates on Othoman the old working of the oriental party, who was partially rebuilt.

Eastern Mostar
Old town of Mostar. Click to enlarge the image.The oriental party of Mostar is located between the “Bulevar” and the trunk road which connects Sarajevo to the Croatian coast and which skirts the buttresses of the Velež mount; it is this mountain which limited the development of Mostar towards the east. Between these two roads, the oriental party is crossed by Neretva; the district is developed all in length between Neretva and the Velež mount. It is on this Velež mount that the Muslims registered in giant letters: “Tito volimo you” (“Tito we let us love you”).

The oriental party is smaller than the Western part, but it is oldest: one finds there, in south-east, the Othoman historical quarters, the Turkish old city (Stari grad).

It is in 1468 that Mostar passed under Othoman domination and that the Turkish urbanisation of the district started. According to the not written Eastern rule, the city was organized in two distinct zones: carsija, the artisanal and commercial zone of the colony, and mahala, the residential zone; in this residential zone the Othoman houses, hung askew to steep cliffs of Neretva, stage their terraces.

Building ruins some. Click to enlarge the image.Street Onescukova. Click to enlarge the image.Damaged building. Click to enlarge the image.
Neretva
The town of Mostar was initially built around Neretva; the river, of a color single green emerald in the world, crosses the old city in a small rock canyon, with about twenty meters below the Old Bridge.

Ivo Andrić, writer Bosnian who received Nobel Prize of literature, described it as follows:

“It is reverberated like a gilded reflection, exuberant in glass of Žilavka, wine of Mostar. She saw, like in charge of force and soft savor, in your fishings and your cherries… By this light, Neretva is your most luminous waterway, it gives to the karst stripped of the surrounding mounts a supernatural size. ”
The Twisted Bridge (Kriva cuprija)
Twisted bridge (author Rocco Dell' asterix). Click to enlarge the image.Before the construction of the famous Old man Bridge by the Hajrudin architect, another Othoman architect, Kethoda Cejvan, tested on more a small scale one completely new concept of construction of bridges; hitherto this architect was known only for the construction of mosques. This bridge was built in 1558 - eight years before - to 150 m of the future site of the Old Bridge. This miniature very similar to “Stari Most” exists still today: it is the Twisted Bridge (Kriva Cuprija) which spans the small river Radobolja, an affluent of right-hand side of the Neretva river, just before it is thrown in Neretva.

The Twisted Bridge, or Curved Bridge, is a bridge hones some in the shape of low-size arch. The arch is a perfect half-circle of 8.56 m width and 4.15 meters height. The frontage and the vault are built with regular blocks of stones which were integrated into the horizontal layer all the way along the vault. Space between the vault, the frontal wall and the roadway is filled with broken stones. The roadway of the bridge and the access roads are paved rollers as for an important way of the city. Rise of the bridge on the two east coasts facilitated by stone steps. The oldest bridge with only one stone arch with Mostar.

On December 16th, 1999, of the dramatic floods took place with Mostar: water of Neretva and Radobolia submerged together the Twisted Bridge, but this bridge initially seemed to resist. On December 22nd, an unforeseen collapse of the basement caused serious damage and, on December 31st, the bridge collapsed. It has had for rebuilt summer in a more or less happy way at the same time as the Old Bridge.

The Bridge Lucki (Lucki Most)
The Lucki bridge is located downstream from the Old Bridge and offer of beautiful sights on this last. The bridge was built in 1913 during the period Austro-Hungarian. At the time of its construction it was the longest bridge with single span: it crosses Neretva over a length of more than 72 meters. As all the other bridges it was not saved by the war of Bosnia, and was even the first bridge with being destroyed by Yugoslav artillery. But it was the last with being rebuilt later 13 years, similarly with the original bridge.
Lucki bridge. Click to enlarge the image.Lucki bridge. Click to enlarge the image.
The Old Bridge (Stari Most)
Jump in Neretva since the old bridge (author Michael Bueker). Click to enlarge the image.The Old Bridge (Stari Most) connects since centuries the two parts of Mostar: it makes it possible to pass from a bank to the other of the Neretva river. Symbolically, he is also regarded as the bridge between the East and the Occident, not only between the world of Christendom and the world of Islam but also between the Croatian and orthodoxe catholics Serb.

Old Bridge in 2008 (BathoryPéter author). Click to enlarge the image.The old bridge also was as from the years 1960 until the end as of years 1980, a popular tourist destination.

It is of tradition for the young men of the town of jump of the bridge in Neretva. As Neretva is very cold, it is a very risky exploit to which only the most qualified plungers and best formed are risked. This practice goes up at the time where the bridge was built. The Old Bridge accommodates as in the past the traditional championship of dive whose room is the Cardak maisonnette located at the Western exit of the bridge.

Since the Middle Ages a bridge out of wooden suspended with chains existed at this strategic place of Mostar which connects the south and the north of Herzegovina. The old bridge with doubtful stability: “was made of wood and was hung on chains”, the Othoman geographer Katip Çelebi writes, and it “oscillated as much as people crossed it only with one fear mortal”.

This old medieval bridge was rebuilt by the Sultan Fatih Mehmed between 1468 and 1481, but like the economic and administrative importance of Mostar grew during years 1550-1560, the replacement of the precarious bridge out of wooden by a surer bridge imposed itself.

Mostar. Click to enlarge the image.Old bridge seen since the minaret (author Ramirez Hun). Click to enlarge the image.The construction of a new bridge was ordered in 1557 by the sultan Soliman I the Splendid one.

It is the Bey Mehmed Karadjoz which was responsible for the behavior of the accounts of the construction financed on the funds of the sultan; the bridge would have cost 300,000 drams (silver coins).

The realization, it, was entrusted to the architect Mimar Hajrudin (or Mimar Hayreddin), a pupil of the great architect Mimar Sinan, father of traditional Othoman architecture, author of the mosque of Karadjoz Bey in Mostar.

The bridge was designed like a bridge with only one arch. Its construction lasted of 1557 to 1566: according to an inscription in visible Othoman on the bridge before its recent destruction, this one was finished in year 974 of the Hegira, i.e. between on July 19th, 1566 and on July 7th, 1567.

The little story tells that Hajrudin would never have seen the completed bridge: fearing to have the distinct head if the bridge crumbled, he flees before the scaffolding was withdrawn.

Old bridge seen since banks of Neretva (author Iron Filol). Click to enlarge the image.As of its completion “the Old” Bridge was the largest bridge with arch built in the world and it quickly became a wonder of its time. The famous writer-traveller Evliya Çelebi wrote at the 17th century that the bridge
“is like a rainbow flown away to the sky, extending from one cliff to another. … Me, poor and miserable slave of God, I travelled by sixteen countries, but I never saw such a high bridge. It is thrown of a rock until as high as the sky. ”

Old Bridge in 1974 (ville_mostar_040_ (author Jean-Pierre Bazard jpbazard). Click to enlarge the image.The bridge consists of a very pure single arch in hogback, 28.7 m of free range, 4 m of width and 30 m length; it rises to 21 m above level of Neretva in summer. The arch of the bridge was made local stone of known very white color under the name of stone of tenelija.

Stari Most is regarded as the masterpiece of the civil engineer of the Othoman time in Balkans. The technique used conferred a great solidity to him: the bridge gives the impression to be made with only one block of stone; with that a reason: the blocks are only maintained by pins of iron sealed with lead. The solidity of this work was such as it resisted when, during the Second world war, of the German tanks crossed it.

The Old Bridge had thus resisted during centuries all the conflicts, and the principal danger which threatened it was erosion due to moisture.

Two strengthened towers protected the bridge: the Halebija tower on Right Bank and the lathe Tared on left bank.
During the war of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1993, the Croats and Bosnians clashed during a little less than one year with Mostar. The old bridge was used by the Bosnians to pass from one banks to the other of Neretva; also the forces of the Council of Defense Croatian (Hrvatsko Vijeće Obrane or HVO) of Bosnia and Herzegovina decided her destruction - the bridge was also the symbol of the last Othoman domination. After 427 years of existence, the Old Bridge was destroyed by artillery shootings on November 9th, 1993; more than sixty shells touched the bridge before it crumbled.
Provisional suspension bridge (Npatm author). Click to enlarge the image.After the end of the war of Bosnia, a temporary bridge, in the shape of a suspended bridge with cable, was installed. This bridge was useful until the effective beginning of the rebuilding of the faithful copy of “Stari Most”.
Bridge in rebuilding in 2001 (author Donar Reiskoffer). Click to enlarge the image.The decision to rebuild the Old Bridge was made by 1995 under the aegis of UNESCO.

The choice was made of a rebuilding as similar as possible to the original bridge of 1566, by using the same Othoman techniques of the 16th century and same materials. Some stones of the old bridge, recovered in the river by plungers of the Hungarian army, were used, in particular for the coating of the bridge. But the majority by 1088 blocks installed had to be recut in the same stone of tenelija and miljevina coming from the same local careers, in order to reproduce the bridge with the identical one.

After long years of studies and work, the rebuilding began on June 7th, 2001. The unveiling of the new bridge took place on July 22nd, 2004, and its commissioning the following day. Work had cost 15 million euros.

Stari Most and its district in the old city of Mostar were classified with the world heritage of UNESCO in 2005.

Old bridge seen since the Koski mosque. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).Old bridge seen since the Koski mosque. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).Old bridge seen since the Koski mosque. Click to enlarge the image.
The Tower Halebinovka (Kula Halebinovka)
Halebinovka turn. Click to enlarge the image.The Old Bridge is flanked of two quadrangular turns of defense: the Halebija tower and the tower Tared.

The tower Halebinovka or Halebija (of the name of the Halebija captain which completely rebuilt the tower starting from the end of the 17th century) rises on Right Bank. The lower part of the Halebinovka tower was used as prison while the upper floors were used as observation posts.

She was also named Celovina tower, of the name of Mustafa Čelić, governor of Bosnia of 1714 to 1716, which did work of enlarging.

The Tower Tared (Kula Tara)
The Tara tower is located on left bank. It was built in 1676 and was used as warehouses of ammunition; this is why its walls are 3 m thickness. It preserved this function until the occupation Austro-Hungarian in 1878.
The Tower Herceguša (Kula Herceguša)
The Herceguša Tower is located on left bank of Neretva beside the Tower Tared.

It was built by the duke (Croatian herceg) Stjepan Vukčić-Kosača in first half of the 15th century to protect the bridge on Neretva, at one time when the bridge was still the bridge out of wooden suspended with chains.

The Museum of the Old Bridge (Muzej Stari Most)
The Museum of the Old Bridge occupies the Tower Tared and presents in particular the history of the rebuilding of the Old Bridge.

The museum is open 10:00 to Fermé 18:00 Monday.

The Mosque Koski Mehmed Pasha (Koski Mehmed-Pašina džamija)
Mosque Koski Mehmed Pasha seen since the old bridge. Click to enlarge the image.The mosque of Koski Mehmed Pasha is located on the edges of Neretva, with hundred meters approximately upstream of the Old Bridge, between Mala Tepa and Kujundžiluk.

It was completed to build in 1618 by the Pasha Mehmed Koski, secretary of the top dog Lala Pasha Sokulluvić.

Mosque Koski Mehmed Pasha (author Alistair Young). Click to enlarge the image.Mosque Koski Mehmed Pasha. Click to enlarge the image.Interior of the mosque Koski Mehmed Pasha. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).
Interior of the mosque Koski Mehmed Pasha. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).Interior of the mosque Koski Mehmed Pasha. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).Interior of the mosque Koski Mehmed Pasha. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).
This mosque is of square form (12 X 12 m), with an octagonal drum; it is surmounted by a covered lead cupola. It is equipped with a pleasant court and a fountain to ablutions with the stone roof and is surrounded by six columns of stones connected by arcs.

Its minaret is set up to 5 m of bank, just above Neretva; one can go up at the top of minaret from the interior of the mosque and admire the sight on the valley of Neretva.

Minaret of the mosque Koski Mehmed Pasha. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).Mosque Koski Mehmed Pasha. Click to enlarge the image.Fountain of the mosque Koski Mehmed Pasha. Click to enlarge the image in Fotolia (new tab).
The Turkish House/House Bišćević (Bišćević Kuća)
Bišćević house. Click to enlarge the image.The House Bišćević (Bišćević Kuća) one of the most beautiful Othoman houses of the 17th century, is built in 1635.

The Bišćević House is one of the rare authentic Turkish houses of mahalla, with its court of rollers and its wood galleries; it is a true haven of peace with its fountain and its terrapins.

Visit 9:00 at 17:00

Tariff of entry: 8 km.

Balcony of the Bišćević house. Click to enlarge the image.Balcony of the Bišćević house. Click to enlarge the image.
Bišćević house. Click to enlarge the image.Bišćević house. Click to enlarge the image.
Bišćević house. Click to enlarge the image.Bišćević house. Click to enlarge the image.
Bišćević house. Click to enlarge the image.Bišćević house. Click to enlarge the image.Bišćević house. Click to enlarge the image.
The Old Bazaar (Kujundžiluk)
The bazaar was in the center of Mostar which extended on the two sides of the river, the two parts being connected by the bridge. From there a maze left streets which formed the mahalas. This system was modified considerably for the period Austro-Hungarian with the construction of new districts according to the European principles of urbanisation as well as new bridges on the river.

The old bazaar of Kujundžiluk is located on left bank of the river, north of Vieux Bridge. It draws its name from the goldsmiths (kujundzije) who worked the gold and whose gravers were numerous in the district under the Othoman domination. The goldsmiths - and other craftsmen like the tailors (terzije), tanners (tabaci), ironmongers, dinandiers, saddlers and tisserands - played a significant role in the development of Mostar at the time Othoman.

Today its lanes inclined paved of round rollers and its traditional gravers with the stone hoods accommodate especially the shops where authentic paintings, engravings are sold on copper or of bronze sculptures of Stari Most or of grenades (the natural symbol of Herzegovina), or famous “the stećci” in miniature (a stećak is a medieval tomb stone pre-Othoman).

Old bazaar. Click to enlarge the image.Old bazaar. Click to enlarge the image.Turkish consulate, street Mala Tepa. Click to enlarge the image.
The Mosque Karađoz Mehmed Bey (Karađozbegova džamija)
In 1558, the notable local Othoman, Karađoz Mehmed Bey, brother of the Top dog Haydar Pasha, made build, in the town of Mostar in the fast most monumental expansion, and the most harmonious mosque of Herzegovina as well as a Koranic school with his library, a soup kitchen for the poor ones, a caravanserai for the travellers and finally of the bridges, at various places of the sector of Mostar.

The Mosque of the Bey Karadjoz was completed in 1557; it is the work of the Othoman architect Mimar Koca Sinan. It is surmounted by a large cupola and has a high minaret; that makes of it the largest mosque of the area; a fountain (sadrvan) was in the court, in front of the mosque. This court gives access to the médersa (medressa) that one can also see since the avenue Maréchal Tito (Maršala Tita).

Western Mostar
Cross dominating the city of the west (Mostarac author). Click to enlarge the image.It is for the period of the occupation Austro-Hungarian (1878-1918) that the Western part of Mostar changed with the opening of broad avenues and the construction of administrative buildings or residential modern such as the town hall, the high school or the district around the Place Rondo. Rondo place leave six avenues, favourable with the walk, broadsides of plane trees and limes.

On the Mount Er which dominates Mostar in the west draws up cross a catholic, 10 height m, enlightened the night.

The Catholic Cathedral
The cathedral church Saint-François is located between the two arms of the small Radobolja river, tributary of Neretva. It was built in 1847, when Mostar became the seat of the catholic bishopric of Mostar-Duvno, at the same time as the adjacent Franciscan monastery. The convent contains 50,000 rare books of 1554 to our days and a collection of painting of the Italian Masters of 16th and 17th centuries.

The cathedral was destroyed in 1992, as well as the monastery and the episcopal palace, by bombardments of Serb artillery. Its rebuilding - out of concrete - and that of the monastery are in the course of completion. It was however inaugurated in 2001 and can be visited.

Its very high and very slim bell-tower seems to compete with the minarets of the mosques located on other bank.

The Orthodoxe Cathedral (Crkva Saborna)
Postcard of the orthodoxe cathedral. Click to enlarge the image.Since 1767 Mostar was the seat of the orthodoxe metropolitan; the Serb orthodoxe cathedral of Mostar, or cathedral of the Holy Trinity, was built of 1863 to 1873. It was a church in the shape of cross with dome. It was destroyed in June 1992 by the Croatian forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina and had not been rebuilt in 2011.
The Synagog (Sinagoga)
The synagog, dating from the beginning of the 20th century, was located in the district of Brankovac at a hundred meters of the Old Bridge. Seriously damaged during the Second World War, the synagog was transformed, in 1952, in a puppet theater…

InformationPractical information

General information
Tourist office
Telephone: 00,387 36 580275
Transport
Chart of the area of Mostar. Click to enlarge the image.Concerning the highway network, Mostar is on the M-17 main roads which connect Sarajevo to the Croatian coast.

Mostar is connected by the railroad to the capital, Sarajevo, and in Ploče on the Croatian coast, with two trains of passengers per day between Sarajevo and Ploče. This railway line was built at the time where Bosnia-Herzegovina was annexed in Austria-Hungary. The station is located east of the town of Mostar.

Mostar has also an international airport located at approximately 6 km in the south of the center town.

Weather and forecasts

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