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THE MOSTAR BRIDGE

(THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA)

V. Ryan 2002-2009

 

     

The Mostar Bridge was a very famous and historical bridge before its destruction in 1993 during the war in Bosnia and Hercegovina (part of the former Yugoslavia). The elegant bridge spanned the River Neretva and was designed by the Ottoman (Turkish) architect Mimar Hayruddin. It was completed in 1566 after nines years of building and the surrounding town became a thriving trading centre. The bridge was 29 metres in length and stood at a height of 20 metres, a classic example of a single span, stone arch bridge and was an example of advanced technology in its time. It became a World Heritage site during the twentieth century..

   

Mostar Bridge

   

The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire swore to execute Mimar Hayruddin if the bridge collapsed after the wooden supports were removed (how is a stone arch built ?). It is said that Hayruddin started to dig his own grave on the day the supports were removed. However, the bridge stood for 429 years, a testament to its excellent design and construction.

 

One of the more unusual ways the bridge was used was as a magnificent diving or jumping  platform. The photographs on the left show 'divers' jumping off the bridge during an annual contest. This not only took training and dedication but also great courage.

   

   

 

   

The final moments of the bridge  are captured in this picture (November 9th, 1993). The bridge was bombarded by a tank until it collapsed into the river below.

   

After the war the British Royal Engineers were the first to build a temporary bridge in place of the old one but this was only the first step. New technology using a steel structure replaced the ancient technology of the stone arch.

   

UNESCO, the World Bank and the City of Mostar have launched a project  to rebuild the old bridge. As much of the original white limestone as possible will be salvaged  from the bed of the river below. New stone will also be quarried from nearby quarries with the aim being to complete reconstruction in 2004. The rebuilding of the bridge will symbolise the reunification of Mostar and will be part of the healing process for this ethnically divided town.

   

FOOTNOTE - July 23rd, 2004, the reconstructed Mostar Bridge was opened by the Prince of Wales (PrinceCharles)

   
 
   
1. Find Mostar on the map of Europe and draw a simplified version.

2. With the aid of diagrams and notes, explain how the Mostar bridge was built.

   

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