Stari Most
Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Old Bridge (Stari Most) connects the two banks of the Neretva River at the narrowest point of the river gorge around which the city of Mostar developed. It replaced a medieval wooden bridge that marked the center of the first settlement here in the fifteenth century. By the middle of the sixteenth century, the settlement had grown significantly, making Mostar the main regional connection between the Adriatic Sea and the interior, linking cities to the north, south and west. Its strategic location led Ottoman Sultan Süleyman I  (r.1520-1566/926-973 AH) to commission the production of a more substantial and permanent crossing. Constructed between 1557/964 AH and 1566/973AH by Ottoman architect Hayreddin, a student of the master architect Sinan, the Old Bridge is known for the elegance and structural ingenuity of its slender single-span masonry arch.

The bridge spans twenty-nine meters and carries a roadway four meters wide. The vault supporting the roadway is seventy-seven centimeters thick. The entire structure was built in local tenelija stone, a pale limestone known for its physical and chemical endurance. Individual stones were held together by iron clamps and then joined with molten lead. The bridge was later fortified at either end with a tower where bridge guards (mostari) would have been stationed. The tower on the west bank of the Neretva is known as the Halebinovka or Celovina Tower. It dates to the seventeenth century. On the east side, the Tara, or Hercegusa Tower dates to the sixteenth century.

On November 9, 1993/Jumada al-Awwal 24, 1414 AH, during Bosnia's inter-ethnic war (1992-1995), Bosnian Croats purposefully destroyed the Old Bridge of Mostar, an enduring symbol of the region's multiculturalism. The international community immediately responded to its destruction and rallied for a global partnership to contribute to its urgent reconstruction. After a second ten-year construction period, the "new" Old Bridge was inaugurated on July 23, 2004/Jumada Al Thani 5, 1425 AH. Joined under the framework of the International Stari Most Foundation, the World Bank, UNESCO, the Council of Europe Development Bank and various governments -- including Italy, the Netherlands, Croatia, Turkey and France -- offered financial and technical support for the reconstruction process together with the local and national governments of Mostar and Bosnia and Herzegovina. ER-BU Construction and Trade, a Turkish company specializing in the reconstruction of Ottoman stone bridges, reconstructed the Stari Most with local tenelija limestone mined from the same quarry as the original bridge. Original stones recovered from the river were also used in the "new" Stari Most.


Mostar urban heritage map and rehabilitation plan of Stari Grad, 15-19. Firenze: A. Pontecorboli, 1997.

Bosnian Institute. "Wartime Destruction/Post-War Reconstruction". Accessed July 28, 2004. 

Center for Peace and Multiethnic Cooperation. "Old Bridge". Accessed July 28, 2004; inaccessible October 4, 2013.

Center for Peace and Multiethnic Cooperation. "Old Bridge - The Monument of Peace". Accessed July 28, 2004.

ER-BU. "Rehabilitation of the Old Bridge". Accessed July 28, 2004; inaccessible October 4, 2013.

General Engineering. "Stari Most: Rehabilitation Design of the Old Bridge of Mostar". Accessed July 28, 2004.

International Herald Tribune Online. "Why We Need the Old Bridge at Mostar". Accessed July 28, 2004; inaccessible October 4, 2013.

Pašic, Amir. The Old Bridge (Stari Most) in Mostar, 6-21. Istanbul: Research Centre For Islamic History, Art, and Culture, 1995.

Project Coordination Unit: City of Mostar. "The Rehabilitation of the Old Bridge Mostar". Accessed July 28, 2004; inaccessible October 4, 2013.

Stari Most. "Stari Most Online". Accessed July 28, 2004; inaccessible October 4, 2013.

World Heritage Centre. "Bosnia and Herzegovina - Stari Most, Old bridge of Mostar." Accessed May 27, 2014.

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Associated Names
Site Contains
1557-1566/964-973 AH, rebuilt 1994-2004/1414-1424 AH
Style Periods
Variant Names
Stari Most
Old Bridge
Building Usages
World Heritage Sites