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Visit Stari Most, the Old Bridge in Mostar that dates back to the 16th century and learn about it’s rich history. The Old Bridge Area is a unique cultural experience filled with history, local food and Bosnian souvenirs.
Spanish Square, Mostar 88000, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mostar is the city of contrasts, wide roads, narrow streets, the traditional Kujundziluk (old bazaar) and a contemporary center, a city in which the culture and art of the east and west meet, which have left visible traces that have withstood the test of natural forces and rulers. Next to modernly built edifices there rise the towers of churches and the minarets of mosques. Nonetheless, the most magnificent stone monument is the Stari Most (Old Bridge), built in 1566 according to the plans of Hayruddin, the great Turkish architect of the 16th c. It has a large stone arch and the monument has been entered on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Ottoman house or Bišćevića corner, is one of the most beautiful preserved residential structures from the Turkish period. It was built in 1635. Throughout the house one can see original household items whilst the courtyard is a fine example of the Ottoman style. Upon arrival you will be welcomed with homemade juice.
The town is hands down the most unique and architecturally endowed cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Old Town, with its striking Ottoman design, is the magnet pull for most visitors. The artisan galleries, handicraft shops, cafés and restaurants service guests from every corner of the world. But Mostar offers so much more. Be sure to wander and explore to the Kajtaz and Muslibegovic national monument homes or the plethora of good restaurants in Mostar.
Spanish Square or the main square in Mostar, considered to be a central spot of the city. If you are coming to Mostar, make sure to take a walk through or stop by at Spanish Square. It is one of the main spots the city, a place where everything (and everyone) is intersecting. The square will give you a bit different picture of Mostar then the Old Bridge and older part of the town. City park, gymnasium building, promenade, city hall and government institutions, coffee bars, theatre, street art building from where the amazing view on the whole of Mostar is spreading – all of that can be found in the close area around the square. Spanish square is only 5-10 minutes of walking distance from the Old Bridge. It’s a perfect place to take a rest, eat and drink something, or just to sit and enjoy the sunsets.
Trg Musala was once the heart of Austro-Hungarian Mostar. Today the square is a messy mishmash of architectural styles around a fountain garden. While the 1914 City Baths building has been restored close to its original glory, the ruins of the once-splendid 1892 Hotel Neretva teeter on the verge of collapse from damage inflicted during the 1990s conflict.
The use of public baths (hammam) was common practice in the Ottoman era. The Turkish public bath near the Tabačica mosque and the Tabhana (the town district encompassing leather processing workshops) was built between the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century in the classical Ottoman architectural style. It is the only Turkish bath still existing in Mostar and one of the few remaining examples in the whole of Herzegovina.The Hammam comprises a central room used as an antechamber, an intermediate space (tepidarium) and the room for the bath itself, called calidarium.This type of building is conceived for a purely functional, public use without any pretence to opulence: the external parts usually have no decorations and, surrounding the Turkish bath, there often stands a mosque, an Islamic school or a public kitchen. The Cejvan Ćehajin Hamam has no windows and has a roof made of domes designed to protect the privacy of its users. At the end of the Ottoman era, the Bath ceased to be used and, restored during the reconstruction of the historic centre, thanks to the aid of France and Turkey, it is nowadays used to host exhibitions and cultural events.
Mostar is a city rich in mosques, to be found in each and every district, which well represent the typical Ottoman style. Small but elegant, both from an architectural and a cultural point of view in a wider sense, these are buildings that are well worth visiting not only for the beauty of their interiors but also for tangible evidence of the life and culture of the Ottoman period in Bosnia Herzegovina. The Karadjoz-Beg mosque, slightly outside the city centre, is one of the most representative monuments of sacred Islamic architecture in the 16th century. Built in 1557 according to a project of the Turk-ish architect Kodža Mimar Sinan, it is internally decorated with sumptuous arabesques and phytomorphic drawings. According to the style and tradition of the period, the mosque is ﬂanked by other buildings in its courtyard: a fountain for washing (sadrvan), an Islamic school (madrasa), a library and even a public kitchen for the poor. Damaged during the war, the Karadjoz-Beg mosque and its minaret have now been re-opened to the public for visiting, after a long and careful restoration. Behind the mosque there is the most antique Muslim cemetery of the city.
In order to breathe in the atmosphere of daily life during the Ottoman period, all one needs to do is visit one of the three Turkish dwellings still present in town: these are the houses of the inﬂuential Bišćević (1635), Kajtaz (18th century) and Muslibegović (end of 19th century). Intriguing and well-maintained antique dwellings testify in detail to the residential style and to the real ﬂavour of domestic life in that period.
Each house is surrounded by high walls to protect the intimacy of Muslim family life. The delightful internal courtyards have characteristic decorations on the ﬂoors, romantic fountains, exotic plants, ﬂowers and fruit trees. Comfort reigns supreme in these interiors, with objects of daily use, precious carpets and small libraries with rare texts. To visit a Turkish residence is a way to come into touch with a reality often only imagined and then to take it away with you, once you have returned home.
In the centre of the city, you can admire one of the oldest parts of Mostar, the Kujundžiluk, which winds along a small, pretty, cobbled street, dating back to the middle of the 16th century, where characteristic crafts shops and traditional restaurants are found. In the past, it was the pulsing heart of the business world in the whole of the region with more than 500 workshops in the Ottoman era. Even with the changes due to the passing of time, this road has maintained its ancient outward appearance, characterized by its ever-present mosques and small inns – and has maintained, up till now, some of its most characteristic crafts, such as the working of copper and the weaving of carpets. Together with the Old Bridge, undoubtedly the chief attraction of the whole district, the Old Bazaar represents a characteristic example of the architecture and, at the same time, of the daily life of Mostar, as seen in the vitality of the workshops, in the little restaurants (where you can taste excellent traditional dishes) and in the crowded cafes which characterize the local atmosphere.
The old Mostar Tabhana was built in the mid 16th century, at the place where the river Radobolja flows into the Neretva. The tanners moved to the present-day tannery, the Upper or Large Tabhana, before 1664.
Because of the smeli of the leather, the tanners’ guild was the only one that had its own mosque. The Tabačica (Hajji Kurt) mosque was built in the 16th century on a branch of the Radobolje, which it spanned with two stone arches, leading to its being known as “the mosque where the imam is in the dry and the congregation in the wet: The Cejvan bey hammam stands by the mosque.
On the Radobolja River, near to where it joins the Neretva, close to the Old Bridge, stands the Crooked Bridge, a miniature version of The Old Bridge -Stari Most. Built in 1558, eight years prior to the more famous Old Bridge, it is believed to have been built as a trial attempt for the following, more daring, construction. Destroyed in 2001 by the river ﬂooding, it has recently been rebuilt.
An almost instinctive image comes to mind when one thinks of Mostar and that is that of its splendid Old Bridge; it thereby follows that this stone masterpiece is the monument that has given its name to the city and which symbolizes its many signiﬁcances.It was built during the Ottoman period by the Turkish architect Hajrudin and commissioned by the sultan Soliman the Magniﬁcent; it was completed in 1566 after nine years’ work. Right from the start, the bridge became part of various local legends, one of which narrates the stubbornness of Hajrudin who stopped underneath it for three days and three nights in order to demonstrate its absolute solidity. And it remained so for 427 years, until 1993, the tragic year when the bombing of the bridge became not only a strategic, political and military objective but also the most vicious way to strike the heart of the town’s unity and beauty.The reconstruction of the Bridge lasted almost ten years and it was truly a notable enterprise for it was decided to use the same antique building techniques, dating back to the 16th century, as well as its original method of assembling the parts and with the stones cut in an approximate manner in order to recreate the imperfections and the uniqueness of the prior structure. The Tenelija stone, with its crystal clear and ever-changing tonalities according to the intensity of the sunrays, was extracted from the same quarry as the ﬁ rst time and some of the surviving pieces from the old bridge were used again in its reconstruction.The Stari Most joins the two banks of the Neretva River together and is situated between the Herceguša and Tara Towers, on the left bank, and the Halebija on the right: it is 28.7 metre long, 4.49 metre wide and is characterized by a single stone arch which, in summer, stands 21 metres above the water. Something not to be missed is the exciting diving competition which, since 1968 every year in July, takes place from the bridge.
And, some historic sources conﬁrm that this has been common practice since the very construction of the bridge. Youngsters coming from all over the world meet here to participate in an impressive athletic event.The meeting takes its inspiration from a local ritual that has always taken place during summer, when the youth of the Diving Club (which has its headquarters nearby the Halebija Tower) show oﬀ their own virility by leaping into the icy waters of the Neretva River: a unique spectacle with a complex and all-embracing ritual. Amidst the frenetic applauses of the crowd, these young men reach the highest point of the bridge; then, in the typical silence that precedes a tough trial, they jump oﬀ in an exciting thrill, and this continues constantly all day long.The new Old Bridge of Mostar was oﬃcially inaugurated in July 2004 to symbolize, once again, the city of Mostar and its wish for its rebirth, based on its glorious past and around its most beloved monument. In July 2005, the Old Bridge and the entire old city became oﬃ cially a part of the Cultural Heritage of the UNESCO.