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  • DOSSIERS Inauguration of Mostar Bridge

    Destroyed in 1993 during the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Old Mostar Bridge dating back to the Ottoman period was rebuilt with help from UNESCO, the World Bank, local officials and donor countries.

    On 23 July UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura and the President of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sulejman Tihic, will inaugurate the new bridge, a symbol of reconciliation, in the presence of 10 heads of State from the region.

    © UNESCO/Alain Roussel

    16-07-2004 - Inauguration of the Mostar Bridge (Press release N°2004 - 68)
    nouveauhd1_100.jpgOn July 23rd in Mostar, the reconstructed Old Bridge will be inaugurated by the chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina's tripartite presidency, Sulejman Tihic, and UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, representing the entire United Nations, in the presence of about ten heads of state and other top European political figures. Destroyed in 1993 during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Old Bridge was the symbol of the city of Mostar. Rebuilt 11 years later, this bridge becomes the symbol of reconciliation and human solidarity.
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  • The Mostar Bridge: Fact File
    Date of construction: 1566

    Mimar Hajruddin, a disciple of Sinan, the father of classic Ottoman architecture.

    A single humpbacked arch with an opening of 27 meters. The bridge was four meters wide and 30 meters long, standing 20 meters above the maximum water level in the Neretva River in summer.

    Stari Most was made of 456 white stone blocks, held together thanks to a system of cramps and dowels. The bridge was flanked by two fortified towers, the Halebija Tower on the right bank and the Tara Tower on the left bank.

    Reconstruction project:
    Cost: US $15.4 million, financed via a loan from the World Bank (US $4 million), along with grants from Italy, the Netherlands, Croatia and Turkey. The European Union and the Government of France provided technical assistance.

    Photo: © UNESCO/Robert Chériez (1965)More

    Suleiman the Magnificent decides to have a bridge built over the Neretva River in Mostar, which at the time was an important commercial center.

    Ottoman architect Mimar Hajruddin, a disciple of the famous Sinan, completes construction of the bridge, named Stari Most ("Old Bridge"), after nine months of work.

    Photo: © UNESCO/L.Iglesias

    On November 9, Croatian artillery units destroy Stari Most, the target of two days of intense bombings, with more than 60 shells hitting the structure.

    On March 10, UNESCO launches an appeal for its reconstruction. A first UNESCO fact-finding mission visits Mostar in June and proposes initial emergency measures.

    Signing in December of the general framework for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (known as the Dayton Agreement),which provides for the creation of a Commission to Preserve National Monuments and tasks the UNESCO Director-General with naming two of its five members, including the president of the Commission.

    On May 13, the Commission to Preserve Bosnia and Herzegovina's National Monuments inscribes Stari Most on the list of protected monuments.

    Hungarian army divers retrieve hundreds of the bridge's original stone blocks from the Neretva River, in an operation that lasts from August until December 1st.

    On July 13, UNESCO, the World Bank and the city of Mostar issue a joint statement and launch an appeal for the reconstruction of the Old Bridge in Mostar.

    June 7: reconstruction work begins.

    April 14: the first arch stone is placed, as residents of Mostar look on.

    July 27: official opening of the construction site, attended by Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.

    August 29 and 30: the heads of state of eight southeastern European states meeting in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia adopt the Message from Ohrid, in which they approve the idea of organizing a reopening ceremony at the Mostar bridge and say they plan to attend together.

    July 23: official inauguration of the bridge attended by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura, representing the entire United Nations.More

    Country profile: Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Location: Southeastern Europe
    Capital: Sarajevo
    Area: 51,233 sq. km
    Total Population (2002): 4.1 million
    Adult Literacy Rate (2000-2004): 94.6%
    Life expectancy at birth (2002): 74 years
    GDP (2002): 5.2 US$ billion
    Joined UNESCO: 2 June 1993

    Sources: UNESCO, World Bank.More



    Related Links
    UNESCO Declaration concerning the Intentional Destruction of Cultural Heritage
    17 October 2003

  • Heritage: Mostar, a bridge to peace (The New UNESCO Courier - May 2002)
  • Chronology
  • Country profile: Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • The Mostar Bridge: Fact File
  • Come hell or high water (Sources - Nov. 1999)
  • Crimes against Culture (UNESCO Courier - Sept. 2000)
  • Why we need the old bridge at Mostar by Koïchiro Matsuura. (International Herald Tribune, 6 July 2004)

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