One of Europe’s most beautiful bridges
If you’ve heard about Mostar than you’ve probably heard about Old Bridge too. A beautiful sight to see which amazes everyone who comes to Mostar. The bridge was built in 16th century by Ottoman Empire but it was destroyed in the Croat–Bosniak War in 1993. After it was destroyed, bridge was rebuilt as an original and opened on July 23rd 2004. Original bridge was built by famous Ottoman architect Mimar Hajrudin. He built many of the key Sultan’s buildings in Istanbul. The legend says that Hajrudin escaped Mostar and embarked on a ship, day before the bridge opening. Due to complexity of the construction, he feared the reactions of Suleiman the Magnificent if the bridge arch fell down.
This beauty that inspired painters, writers and musicians still stands even today, and is made of tenelija stone. Tenelija, exploited only 5 km from Mostar, is also used for building Karađoz Bey Mosque, Crooked Bridge ( smaller version of an Old Bridge), and a few more buildings through the whole town.
Symbol of the city
The bridge, as a symbol of the city, is located in the center of Mostar, crossing the beautiful river Neretva and connecting two parts of the city. It is surrounded by beautiful Ottoman towers – Tara on the east and Halebija on the west, old buildings and mosques. All of this creates unique sight to see, that you need to experience to understand it.
Highest peaks around Mostar are Hum, Planinica and Velež. But being in the center of Mostar at top of the arch of the Old Bridge will leave you breathless. Looking around yourself can give you a small hint of the history in this lovely town. You can notice big tower of The Franciscan Church, a magnificent Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Koski Mehmed Pasha Mosque, beautiful madrasah and “Mujaga Komadina” bridge from 1913 and other interesting buildings.
Perfect scenery for photographers
Old Bridge is one of the most popular objects for professional and amateur photographers. Together with other buildings in Old Town and mesmerizing Neretva river it creates a perfect scenery for taking photos. But words and pictures can’t bring you the real experience of seeing it in person and enjoying it. You need to stay in Mostar at least 24h, because your experience will not be complete if you haven’t seen this magnificent bridge in the evening.
Today, Old Bridge is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also one of the most recognized objects of the whole country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Except that it represent symbol of the town, Old Bridge is also a symbol of connection between two different cultures, two different worlds, between West and East.
Over 400 years old tradition of bridge diving
Old Bridge is also known by traditional annual diving competition. It is organized every year in mid-summer (end of July) and it has been done more than 450 times. It is traditional for the young men of the town to leap from the bridge into the Neretva. Neretva river is indeed cold one, it is one of the coldest rivers in Europe. Even during summer temperature doesn’t get higher then 8 °C. Also, the gap between the river and the bridge is very high – 24 meters. That being said, leaping from it is very risky and the people who want to attempt it must be very brave.
But don’t worry. If you want to see people jumping, you don’t need to come on that specific day when competition is held. You can see professional jumpers doing it almost every day on the summer. Besides that, since 2015 Old Bridge has become the tour stop in world famous competition – the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.