The Old Bridge in Mostar

It was good to be back in Mostar for a few days, to visit with friends and wander in the town, I was reminded of the first time I came to Mostar in 1998 and seeing all the devastation along the Neretva River that was basically the front line of the hostilities there. The iconic 400-year old bridge had been destroyed in 1993 and the whole east side was battered.

I had a photo that I took of the bridge in 1998 and went back to the same spot, now the terrace of a restaurant by the river. I asked a young waiter if I could go down by the railing to take a comparable photo and showed him what I was trying to copy. He showed my phone pic to a waitress friend. Her response was “where is the bridge?”. She was 2 years old in 1998 and the young man was not yet born. They never saw first hand the devastation that the war caused although there are still buildings that remain waiting repair.

The historic old part of the city has been mainly restored and now attracts a lot of tourists. In 1998 there were none. It is good to see this recovery.

The destroyed bridge in 1998
From the same vantage point 25 years later.
The bridge photos above were taken from the far corner of the restaurant by the trees.
In May 1999 that riverbank looked like this.

Here are some photos of the old bridge area now.

Video: A montage of photos of the old bridge in May 2023.

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5 thoughts on “The Old Bridge in Mostar

  1. It’s quite amazing that throughout Europe, they’ve been able to rebuild structures destroyed due to war and managed to replicate them so well

    • You are right, Molly. But it seems such a shame that these structures are destroyed in the first place after surviving for centuries and only to inflict cultural damage and insult. St Petersburg in Russia seemed the same. It is much easier to recreate these structures with modern machinery and materials. So incredible to see the same thing that was created without all our more modern equipment and engineering.

  2. I recall standing in the beautiful main square in Warsaw, Poland, knowing that 85% of the city was destroyed due to German mass bombings in WWII. They had rebuilt from historical plans and photos, to recreate what appeared to be very old buildings. As you say, John, modern equipment and engineering assist greatly…as does the human spirit.

  3. Beautiful, John! A story of recovery ❤️‍🩹 from war trauma. The Old Bridge is an iconic metaphor of post-traumatic growth. I have a wonderful pic of Melida, her daughter and me standing on the restored bridge in June, 2006.

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