Cracks show in rebuilt Mostar landmark

Cracks have begun to appear in the Bosnian city of Mostar's historic bridge, which was rebuilt three years ago after being blown up by Croatian nationalists during the Bosnian war.

Cracks show in rebuilt Mostar landmark
Experts have been called in by the city authorities to investigate the damage to 10 of the limestone blocks spanning the length of the 27m-long, 21m-high Unesco World Heritage site above the river Neretva. The visible cracks in this key landmark in Bosnia and Herzegovina are believed to have been caused by minor earthquakes which have struck the area in recent weeks.

Known as the Stari Most (Old Bridge), it was originally a 16th-century construction designed by the Ottoman-Turkish architect Mimar Hajrudin. The bridge remains one of the most potent symbols of the Bosnian war of 1992 to 1995. It was brought crashing down in November 1993 by Croatian artillery shells - an act seen as a triumph among Croatian nationalists. The Croatian forces drove almost all of Mostar's Bosnian Muslim population across the bridge to the eastern side, before subjecting the city to an 18-month siege.

In 1995 a stone-for-stone reconstruction of the single arch bridge began in the same local limestone as the original in a £5m internationally financed project. The unveiling of the elegant new Stari Most in 2004 was hailed as the start of a new and peaceful era for the municipality that today is divided between Croatians on the west and Bosnians on the east bank. Divisions remain entrenched in a city that, until the war, was seen to be the most ethnically integrated in the whole of the former Yugoslavia.

Engineers are expected to establish in the next few days whether the cracks pose a danger to the safety of the bridge, which counts as one of the most significant constructions of the Ottoman empire.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Aralık 2007, 13:39