Bosnia marks 19th anniversary of iconic Mostar Bridge's reconstruction

Bosnia marks 19th anniversary of iconic Mostar Bridge's reconstruction

Destroyed by Croat forces during 1992-1995 war, Mostar Bridge continues to unite people from different races

By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Bosnia and Herzegovina Sunday marked the 19th anniversary of the rebuilding of Mostar Bridge, one of the most important Ottoman monuments in the Western Balkans.

The iconic Mostar Bridge, destroyed by the Croat forces during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina and rebuilt after the war, continues its mission to unite people from different races.

Unable to withstand the artillery shots launched by the Croat forces on Nov. 8, 1993, the bridge collapsed into the waters of the Neretva River on Nov. 9, 1993.

The bridge unites the two sides of the city and the Bosniak and Croat people, who still live together.

It was designed by Ottoman architect Mimar Hayruddin, a student of the famous architect Mimar Sinan, and completed in the city of Mostar in 1566.

Many countries did not remain silent over the collapse of the bridge. With the support of Türkiye, it was rebuilt in accordance with the design of the original bridge in 2004.

The reconstruction of the Mostar Bridge began in 1997 with the support of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Islamic History, Art and Culture Research Center, and the World Bank.

The bridge’s original stones were found by the Hungarian army divers from the river bed and removed with cranes.

It was then reopened on July 23, 2004, by the King of England, Charles, in a ceremony attended by many senior representatives of the country.

About 456 blocks of stone were used in the construction of the bridge on the Neretva River, known for its emerald green color. The bridge, which is 24 meters (78.7 feet) high, 30 meters (98 feet) long, and 4 meters (13 feet) wide, gave the city of Mostar its name.

The historical bridge has been a symbol of tolerance and cultural diversity in Bosnia and Herzegovina for centuries.

It has also been used as a "jump platform" by athletes for years. According to tradition, the men of the city jump off the bridge before their wedding to prove their courage to their fiancees.

Mostar Bridge and the old town of Mostar were added to UNESCO's World Heritage List in 2005.

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