A Jump without Applause marked the 25th Anniversary of the Old Bridge Destruction

November 9, 2018 8:00 PM

The worst day in the history of Mostar, the one when the Old Bridge was crashed, was marked in a traditional way. Around 10:16 a.m., a siren could be heard from the tower, children were throwing flowers from the bridge in Neretva River, and the jumper jumped without applause. This year, the honored jumper was Admir Delic.

Mostar’s spectacular 16th-century stone bridge and one of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s greatest architectural treasures, collapsed in 1993 in a barrage of Croatian shells. It was a moment Bosnians, particularly those under siege in east Mostar, had prayed would never happen.

For at least 25,000 Bosnians trapped on the city’s east side the collapse is a disaster – a tremendous blow to morale and a strategic victory for the Croats.

The bridge was the only access to a source of drinking water which people retrieved by scurrying across at night under threat of sniper fire. It was also the main route to the places where the front line crossed into west ‘Croatian’ Mostar.

Built in 1566, supposedly with mortar made from egg whites, the 66ft Stari Most was the last and most treasured of seven across the Neretva river gorge. It was once compared with a ‘rainbow rising up to the Milky Way’ and was included in the United Nations list of worldwide cultural heritage. But the war turned it into a battle-scarred monument to the gap between the Croats and Muslims fighting for Mostar.

After 25 years, the tragic event in Mostar still represents a painful topic for all those who have seen the horrible scene and those who learned about it through the media.

The famous Mostar jumper Benaid Kalajdzic recalled that he had an interview on the Old Bridge just half an hour before the tragic event occurred and he even saw the first grenades.

He saw the grenades falling and said that it is a scene that he will never forget. He described the Old Bridge as an old man who was standing in one place for years without disturbing anyone and painfully suffered for two days of severe wounding until his final fall.

(Photo: TVSA)

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