Mostar Bridge is standing up
1Lt. Ender Guner
First published May 7, 2003
The 30m-long, 20m-high, single-span Mostar bridge known
as 'Stari Most' (Old Bridge) was built by Ottoman Turk Architect
Mimar Hajrudin in 1566 of 456 blocks of stone. It was blown
up by Bosnian-Croat forces in November 1993. Old Mostar Bridge
was an UNESCO world heritage site, including eleven other
historical buildings constructed in Ottoman Turkish era. It
is under reconstruction by the Turkish Company ER-BU.
For several months, the workers of the Turkish Company ER-BU
have begun reconstructing and reinforcing the foundations
and the arch of the bridge.
The contractor and the chief of the workers, Mr. Metin Cetin,
said that they were proud of reconstructing such a historical
bridge, which had been built by their ancestors. He also added
they were approximately 30 Turkish personnel in the site who
worked with incredibly superior emotions.
|Mimar Hajrudin, a Turkish
architect, was in 1566 the builder of the Stari Most,
which was destroyed in Nov. 1993 by Bosnian-Croat shells.
Hajrudin was the disciple and the colleague of the greatest
architect from the Ottoman Empire, Mimar Sinan. It is
to Sinan that we owe many of the most splendid mosques
One of the stone-masters said, "Some parts of the bridge
rescued from the river after its destruction had been used
to rebuild the stone span. Now, we rebuild the arch of the
bridge and use new stones extracted from quarry along the
river. Our intention was to rebuild the bridge to match the
For the old timers from SFOR, one has to remember that the
first three-ton block of the destroyed bridge came to the
surface of the Neretva River Sept. 29, 1997. It was one of
the most impressive - and unfortunately forgotten - operations
performed by the Hungarian Engineer Contingent (HEC). SFOR's
decision to become involved in the reconstruction process
had meant intense work for the HEC. The then COMSFOR, Gen.
Eric K. Shinseki, attended this memorable day.
According to the architect of the bridge, Ms. Halide Sert,
"This work is the most honourable duty of mine. We have
use the latest technology to construct the arch of the bridge.
I feel myself full of emotion when I think of how Mimar Hajrudin
built this bridge with the technology of the 16th Century.
Besides, it is impossible not to be affected when considering
the bridge was built over four centuries ago and served thousands
of people in Bosnia and Herzegovina."
Link to the Future
Eleven other historical structures, built by the Ottoman Turks
and also destroyed during the 1992-1995 conflict, are included
in the project. After completion of the project, not only
a bridge would be built but also a link for the future of
Mostar's children would be constructed. Additionally, the
old atmosphere will have been caught in Mostar, which was
one of the most destroyed cities in Europe during the conflict.
In this respect, the reconstruction of the Old Mostar Bridge
symbolises reunification. As one of Mostar's inhabitants said,
"We, the men, used to show our bravery to our fiancees
by jumping to the river from the deck of the bridge before
getting married. This did not belong to a specific ethnic
group. It was a common tradition."
As local people wish that the bridge will link the city which
is ethnically divided after the conflict. Today's children
will compose the future of Mostar. They will enhance the city
life and make the common traditions to live in the future.
Related links: Engineering,
Mostar Bridge Project
Nations of SFOR: Hungary
SFOR at Work