The original Stari Most ("Old Bridge") in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina dated back to 1557, when it was built by Mimar Hayruddin at the behest of Suleiman the Magnificent. Under penalty of death, Hayruddin was ordered to erect the widest man-made arch in the world, an eventual accomplishment that shocked even the builder himself, and remains one of the most laudable architectural works of its time. Sadly, on November 9, 1993, the beatifically arcing stone bridge saw its destruction at the hands of Bosnian Croat forces fighting the Croat-Bosniak War. Today's Stari Most is a reconstruction, 8 years into its march towards--and hopefully beyond--the age of 427 its predecessor reached.
From its "bridge keepers", the Helebija tower to the northeast and Tara tower to the southwest, Stari Most arches a stunning 78'9" at its peak, and covers 98'5" across the Neretva River to connect the two main thoroughfares of Mostar. For its construction, architects and builders used limestone linked to wing walls along the waterside cliffs for structural stability, instead of standard foundations. A local stone called tenelija comprises the bridge's buff-colored, hump-backed arch.
Adrenaline-seekers visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina might join the young whippersnappers of Mostar in their traditional leaps from the bridge into the icy waters of the Neretva. It is a risky proposition, but one nonetheless highlighted by an annual diving competition held in the summer. Check out the video above for some stellar dives...and a look at the contest's apparent Red Bull sponsorship. Perhaps it will be an upcoming stop in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.
Like the Stari Most, much of Mostar itself has also been rebuilt or rehabbed since the Croat-Bosniak War. Today, the city sports a relatively cohesive mix of ancient, neoclassical, and contemporary architecture.
- Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series: http://www.redbull.com/cs/Satellite/en_INT/Red-Bull-Cliff-Diving/001243156279621