Extract

Memories of Old Mostar

The relentless bombing of Mostar (1992) is destroying the fruits of five centuries of peaceful coexistance in Bosnia. Marian Wenzel recalls how the old Ottoman city looked when she lived there in the Sixties

The name of the city of Mostar, in the Herzogovina region of former Yugoslavia, might seem to hint at its most famous landmark, the old stone bridge across the deep chasm of the river Neretva – most means ‘bridge’ and star ‘old in the local Slavic tongue.

In fact, though, the town name does not commemorate the famous present bridge – which was built by the architect Hayrettin, a student of Sinan, at the command of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent and completed in 1566 – but comes from an earlier time, perhaps even before the arrival of the Ottomans, when there was a Bosnian kingdom and a wooden suspension bridge spanned the river at this point. Certainly there was such a bridge in the earlier days of the Ottoman town, and it was kept by guards known as *mostari’.

Mostar has once more become a flashpoint of danger and brigandage, as it was before the Ottoman Turks conquered Herzegovina and it was part of the medieval Bosnian state.

Now a Bosnian state exists once more, but its emergence has reduced Mostar almost to non-existence. For weeks last summer the town was bombed every day…

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Issue 3, 1992/93 The Pink House
£30.00 / $38.42 / 207.24 TL
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Buy the issue
Issue 3, 1992/93 The Pink House
£30.00 / $38.42 / 207.24 TL