Drama on the Stari Most
At the highest point on the bridge a small figure on the skyline climbed over the rail. 20 metres below him the freezing Neretva River swirled beneath sheer-sided rocks.
Then someone was shouting. “Go on. Do it!”
All afternoon we’d watched the young boys of Mostar jump from the 10 metre board on the riverside just below the bridge, practising for the day they too would qualify for the Stari Most Annual Diving. In Monsar it’s a rite of passage.
The Stari Most (Old Bridge) was commissioned by the Suleiman the Magnificant in 1557. On completion it was the widest single-arched bridge in the world. No one knows how the scaffolding was erected or how the stone had been transported from one side to the other. It seemed a miracle.
For over 400 years, the locals dived from the bridge. No one imagined it would ever end – that is until the 9th November 1993, when the bridge was obliterated in the war. Mostar was in shock. The Stari Most was more than just a bridge – it had been a symbol of unity across a multi-ethnic city. Mostar had to wait until 2004 for the reconstructed bridge to unite the old town again and the diving could recommence.