We must have seen it a million times in our lives, but few sights hit us as squarely in the heart as Mostar’s famous Stari Most. A quite stunning piece of structural engineering, this is more than a bridge, more than a collection of stones placed together to allow people to move across the Neretva. The Old Bridge is the heart and soul of Mostar — they call it the ‘Old Man’ for a reason — and without it, this city wouldn’t be the place it is today. The original was built way back in 1566 and was a miracle from the start, as the man tasked with building it didn’t think it would stand and ran before its unveiling, fearful as he was that the bridge would fall and Sulieman the Magnificent would have his eyes. The bridge stood and stood tall for 427 years, before the violence of the ‘90s brought it crashing into the Neretva below. It was lovingly rebuilt at the turn of the century and stands once more in the heart of Mostar, where it belongs. Come rain or shine or morning or night, this is a quite remarkable image.
It is grace in civil architectural form, but to stand on it is almost as delightful as to look at it. The views are astounding; the crisp blue of the Neretva out towards Lučki Most, the engrossing existence of Kujundžiluk to the north, all narrow walkways and striking minarets. It can get ferociously busy here in the summer months, expecting anything else is naive bordering on the idiotic, but those lucky enough to happen upon the bridge at a quiet time will find themselves chancing upon nirvana, the envy of all existence for that brief moment at least.