Mostar marked the eighteenth anniversary of the reconstruction of the Old Bridge yesterday.
The Old Bridge was built way back in 1566, and was destroyed in the war in 1993. Its reconstruction was a demanding construction project, but also a project to restore the ties between the people from the two banks of the Neretva River that had been destroyed during the war.
The opening ceremony of the Old Bridge 18 years ago was attended by numerous guests from the country and delegations from more than 50 countries around the world. The television broadcast of the event on the Old Bridge was also taken over by some foreign television companies, while 22 planes landed at the Mostar Airport.
The former mayor of Mostar, Neven Tomić, then stated that the reconstruction of the Old Bridge means a lot for Mostar in a historical, cultural and economic sense.
For the reconstruction of the Old Bridge, the World Bank approved a cultural heritage loan for the first time, in the amount of four million dollars with a 10-year deferred payment, 35-year repayment, with an interest rate of 1.5 percent. The Italian government also gave three million dollars, the Turkish government gave two million dollars, the Dutch government gave one million dollars, while the City of Mostar participates in the entire project with two million dollars.
Among the first donors for the reconstruction was the Croatian Government with 600 thousand dollars. The Development Bank of the Council of Europe donated one million US dollars. France donated technical equipment and the preparation of project documentation for the reconstruction of the bridge.
One year after the solemn opening of the renovated bridge, on July 15, 2005, the Old Bridge was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List at the session in Durban, South Africa, which was the first entry of a monument from Bosnia and Herzegovina.