The Center for Peace and Multiethnic Cooperation marked the anniversary of the rebuilding of the Old Bridge in a special way on Thursday.
On this occasion, an illumination was organized on the facade of the Old Bridge, which was accompanied by fireworks and the beats of Santic’s “Emina” on the trumpet, for which the music was written by maestro Djelo Jusic, Vijesti.ba news portal reports.
“In this way, we want to send a message of gratitude and respect to the states, organizations and individuals who most directly participated in promoting and successfully implementing the idea of building the Old Bridge on the Neretva River in Mostar as an international project and UNESCO monument to peace, unity and cooperation. Namely, due to objective circumstances caused by the ubiquitous danger of spreading the coronavirus pandemic, the Center for Peace canceled the traditional international event “Mostar does not forget friends”, which marked the anniversary of the reconstruction of the Old Bridge every July 23, and awarded prizes and recognitions to deserving individuals.”
The Old Bridge of Mostar, which dates back to 1566 and for centuries acted as a physical and symbolic link between the various communities of the multi-ethnic town, was destroyed by bombing in 1993, in a deliberate attempt to erase a people’s cultural identity.
UNESCO provided technical and scientific expertise for the reconstruction work that began in 1999, funded by the World Bank, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Croatia, the Council of Europe Development Bank and the City of Mostar, and the new bridge was inaugurated 5 years later, on 23 July 2004.
Today, the reconstructed Old Bridge of Mostar stands as a reminder to local communities of their shared past and encourages the international community to strengthen its commitment to safeguarding cultural property in times of conflict.
The historic town of Mostar, spanning a 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 has long been known for its old Turkish houses and Old Bridge, Stari Most, after which it is named. In the 1990s conflict, however, most of the historic town and the Old Bridge, designed by the renowned architect Sinan, was destroyed.
The Old Bridge was recently rebuilt and many of the edifices in the Old Town have been restored or rebuilt with the contribution of an international scientific committee established by UNESCO.
The Old Bridge area, with its pre-Ottoman, eastern Ottoman, Mediterranean and western European architectural features, is an outstanding example of a multicultural urban settlement. The reconstructed Old Bridge and Old City of Mostar is a symbol of reconciliation, international co-operation and of the coexistence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities.
(Photo FENA/Mario Obrdalj)