The "Old Bridge" enhanced the town's development and prosperity. It was its raison d'être.
Despite reinforcement works sometimes incompatible with modern restoration principles, this construction was in a perfect state of conservation before the outbreak of military hostilities in the region.
Mimar Hajruddin, a pupil of the famous architect Sinan (considered as the father of classic Ottoman architecture), constructed the bridge in 1566. It consisted of a humpbacked arch with an opening of 27 metres, and was 4 metres wide and 30 metres long. It stood 20 metres above the maximum water level in summer. The bridge was flanked by two fortified towers, the Halebija Tower on the right bank and the Tara Tower on the left bank, both dating from to the 17th century. The solidity of the construction was such that it supported the passage of Nazi tanks during the Second World War. Before its destruction in 1993, the bridge was threatened mainly by erosion due to humidity, although this was under control.
Through international financial aid (notably from Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands and France) managed by the World Bank, UNESCO established an International Committee of Experts to reconstruct the old bridge and the old town of Mostar. Work on the foundations has started in June 2001, and work on the reconstruction, in line with 16th century building methods, has been finalized in 2002.
Lead Organization / Sector / Office World Bank
Associated Organization(s) Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands and France (State Members)