by Sacha Bunnik
Mostar is the second largest city in Bosnia & Herzegovina and one of the main reasons to visit is to see the famed Stari Most (old bridge) as it’s the icon of the city and must be one of most photographed bridges in Europe.
Built by the Ottomans in the 1550s, the bridge was the longest single arch constructed bridge in the world for centuries. Measuring 29 metres long and 21 metres high, it’s an impressive sight to be seen. The original bridge stood for over 400 years, before it was destroyed in the 1990s during the conflicts in the region. It was rebuilt by the European Union using most of the original stones, to its original specifications and style.
It has become a rite of passage for young men from Mostar to jump from the bridge into the fast flowing and icy waters below. Australian comedians Hamish and Andy featured Stari Most on their TV show “Euro Gap Year” in 2012 and it showed them jumping off the bridge. There is a short 5 minute YouTube video of the jump that is very funny and shows the beautiful old city in the background. I am sure that it has now become part of many young Australians’ backpacker trips to Europe.
When we visited Mostar, there were 3 young men that jumped off the bridge to the delight of the many tourists. Nowadays it has become big business, with locals jumping off for 100 Euro so tourists can take photos. It’s quite an exciting spectacle to witness in person and all part of the Mostar Experience.