In July 2005 the Old Bridge and Old City section of the historic town of Mostar were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Mostar, a city of more than 110,000 people located in southern Bosnia and Herzogovina, was first developed during the 15th and 16th centuries as an Ottoman frontier town. The town is named after its famous old bridge, Stari Most (derived from “mostari” – the bridge keepers).
The town developed above a deep valley of the Neretva River and the old bridge, dating from 1459, was a masterpiece designed by the revered Islamic architect Hajruddin. During the Bosnian war of 1990 Stari Most was destroyed but thanks to UNESCO and other NGO’s, the bridge was rebuilt to its original standards and opened again in 2004. Many other buildings and structures in the Old City of Mostar were also leveled during the 1990 conflict and many were rebuilt at the same time as the bridge under the same UNESCO project.
Today, the reconstructed Old Bridge and Old City of Mostar are symbols of reconciliation, international co-operation and of the coexistence of diverse cultural, ethnic and religious communities. The city has long been representative of tolerance and its rich and brilliant architecture presented a shared life of Muslims, Christians and Jews. Mosques, churches, and synagogues existed side-by-side, and Roman Catholic Croats, Eastern Orthodox Serbs, Sephardic Jews and Bosniak Muslims shared this city for more than four centuries. Mostar is the perfect example of a city where East truly meets West.
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