UNESCO monuments in Mostar


UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, is a specialised agency of the United Nations system. The World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of special cultural or physical significance.

The Old Town in Mostar was proclaimed UNESCO World Heritage Site while there are also three other monuments that have been reconstructed by UNESCO.

  1. Kriva Cuprija bridge of Mostar

Beside the famous Stari Most (Old Bridge), a genuine symbol of the town destroyed in 1993, there is another ancient bridge in Mostar: the Kriva Cuprija (or the Crooked Bridge).

It crosses the Radobolja creek, a right-bank affluent of the Neretva River. The exact date of its construction and the name of its founder are not known.

Kriva cuprija is a stone one-arch bridge of small dimension and closely resembles the Stari Most. The arch is a perfect semicircle 8.56m in width and 4.15m in height. The bridge footpath and the approaching roads are paved with cobblestones, as is the case with the main roads in the town. Stone steps enable people to ascend to the bridge either side. The floods of December 2000 destroyed this bridge.

A reconstruction project has been initiated by UNESCO, financed by the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The project was completed in the year 2001.

  1. Tabacica Mosque

This historical mosque, situated in the vicinity of the Old Bridge, in the most touristic part of Mostar, was built c. 1600.

This monocameral mosque had a rectangular plan a roof of slates and a slender minaret, twenty metres high. A wooden porch marked the entrance.

This picturesque little mosque suffered considerable damage during military operations in 1992 and 1993: the minaret was razed, the roof collapsed and the wooden porch was destroyed. Naturally, the interior was utterly devastated.

With the assistance of Professor Carlo Blasi of the University of Florence and who has collaborated with UNESCO on various occasions, and thanks to the work of the historical monuments architect, Mr Jean-Louis Taupin, the restoration project is now completed and the restored mosque was inaugurated in June 2000.

  1. Stari Most, Old Bridge of Mostar

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.

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.

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