The UNESCO World Heritage listed Stari Most (Old Bridge) is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the southern Bosnia and Herzegovina city of Mostar. Those old enough to remember (or are aware of Bosnian War history) will know that the original 16th century Ottoman Bridge was famously destroyed by Croat forces in November 1993. It was reported at the time that 60 plus Croat shells hit the bridge before it finally collapsed into the Neretva River and for many, the deliberate destruction of the original bridge was one of the most abiding and saddening images of the war in the Balkans.
Reconstruction work (under the watchful eye of UNESCO, the World Bank and the Aga Khan Trust to name but a few) didn’t begin until June 2001 and the bridge finally reopened in July 2004.
The craftsmen did a great job and the bridge and Old Town of Mostar are now firmly back on the tourist circuit (although there is still plenty of reconstruction work to be done in other parts of the city). Crowds form to watch the young men dive into the Neretva River, a tradition that goes back several centuries. The best time to see the divers is in July when an annual competition is held but throughout the summer divers will jump if enough money is collected from the gathering hordes.