Mostar Fortresses: Austro-Hungarian building worth visiting

June 24, 2018 4:00 PM

With their arrival in the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, besides new culture and new way of living the Austro-Hungarian monarchy also brought along a new way of modern warfare and new way of defending the borders. One of novelties was also the construction of belt fortifications i.e. rings consisting of several independent forts and interpositions (so-called intervals) around a larger inhabited area.

The Austro-Hungarian engineering directorate dedicated great attention to the defense and fortification of its eastern borders. The most threatened part of the eastern border was located in Herzegovina, thus 90 percent of fortifications built in B&H were built precisely at this area.

The first fortified line was at the area of Trebinje and Bileća, including Avtovac as impedimental area. The defense line Kalinovik, Ulog-Obrnja, Nevesinje, Stolac was built as the second line within Herzegovina. The belt fortification Mostar was a background stronghold, a logistics base and command spot for the first two lines, and eventually the administrative and military headquarters of Herzegovina.

In addition to numerous fortifications in the area, a huge infrastructure network was also built as logistics support, in terms of roads, railways, warehouses, water tanks with collectors, water supply network in the urban area of Mostar, firing fields, hospitals, army cemeteries, air base in Jasenica, etc.

Unfortunately, not many fortresses are preserved around Mostar today. Remains of six military fortifications can be seen in the area of Podveležje, which have been used in the past war as well by military formations passing through this area. Therefore, even twenty years after the last war the remnants of weapons and military equipment can still be found around the forts.

All facts mentioned above indicate that Mostar was the most fortified city in B&H, and some areas such as Podveležje and especially the hill Hum above Mostar make up possibly the densest system of fortifications in the world.

The forts in Herzegovina have completely served their purpose during the First World War, thus this part of the battlefield was never endangered.

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