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An analysis on the interventions done in the reconstruction of

the Mostar Bridge and its social impact up to the present day.

Why was the bridge so important to the people of Mostar?
The bridge was constructed to serve as a functional
structure to connect the ‘supposedly heterogeneous
cultural communities’ (Coward, 2008: 5), eventually it
acquired an additional monumental value to the people of
Mostar. It also served as a symbol of the cultural mix in
Bosnia-Herzegovina ‘where Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim
communities co-existed’ (Coward, 2008: 5).
The destruction of the bridge during the Bosnian War left
the people without an identity.
Reconstruction of the bridge

The reconstruction of the Mostar Bridge was proposed in order to socially

reunify the city. However, the Dayton agreement failed to look at the
institutional division present in the city and the country at a large scale.
Why was there pressure to rebuild the bridge as it was?

A replica of the bridge was created to erase the images of the Bosnian War, going against the ethical value.
Second principle of restoration states:

‘Restoration should aim to re-establish the potential oneness of the work of art, as long as this is possible without committing
artistic or historical forgery, and without erasing every trace of the passage through time of the work of art.’ [C. Brandi,
Theory of Restoration p. 50]

Will the future generations be able to distinguish the fact that the bridge is not the original?
Burra Charter Article 20.1 Reconstruction:

’Reconstruction is appropriate only where a place is incomplete through damage or alteration, and only where there is
sufficient evidence to reproduce an earlier state of the fabric. In rare cases, reconstruction may also be appropriate as
part of a use or practice that retains the cultural significance of the place.’’
Venice Charter Article 12:

‘’Replacements of missing parts must integrate harmoniously with the whole, but at the same time must be
distinguishable from the original so that restoration does not falsify the artistic or historic evidence.’’
The bridge was reconstructed using materials extracted from the same quarry of
Brandi speaking about historical and
the old bridge, hence having no age value. aesthetical values states that:

‘’The material is hardly the same, as it

joins current history through being
worked now and so it belongs to this
epoch and not to a time gone by.
Although chemically the same, it will be
different and will amount to no more than
a historical and aesthetic forgery.’’ [C.
Brandi, Theory of Restoration (1977), 54.]
How much did the concept of ‘oneness’ still exist after the destruction?
Mostar Bridge did not have the potential unity as whole after it was damaged.
Did the reconstruction of the bridge really unify
the people?

To this day, Mostar is still split with Croats on the west side of the
riverbank and Bosniaks on the east. The bridge should be a symbol of
reunification, which has not been yet proved 15 years later.

The government and the international community focused their attention

on the restoration of the iconic sites and not on the towns and villages
which had the most severe destructions.
‘’It’s better than it was 20 years ago but now things are bad in different way.
There’s a new kind of violence — an economic strangling that leaves the poor
behind […] and people still hate each other’’ – Mostar citizen

[Storm, Christian. "'People Still Hate Each Other': Inside A Bosnian City Still Ravaged By Civil War, Twenty Years
Later". Business Insider Australia. N.p., 2017]

The reconstruction of the bridge was necessary but not to construct a replica. It was based on the wrong reasoning.

The rebuilding of the bridge was done to symbolize the restoration of the country and the multi-ethnic society of Bosnia and
Herzegovina, but to this day the ideology that initiated the war has remained undefeated.
1. "Another War's Cultural Cleansing And Rebuilding: Bosnia And The Destruction Of Cultural Heritage".
N.p., 2017. Web. 10 May 2017.
2. Brandi, Cesare, and Giuseppe Basile. Theory Of Restoration. 1st ed. Roma: Istituto centrale per il restauro, 2005. Print.
3. Clark. "Opinion | Bosnia Still Needs Fixing". N.p., 2017. Web. 2 May 2017.
4. Nomination Dossier “The Old City Of Mostar”. 1st ed. UNESCO, 2005. Web. 12 April 2017.
5. Storm, Christian. "'People Still Hate Each Other': Inside A Bosnian City Still Ravaged By Civil War, Twenty Years Later". Business
Insider Australia. N.p., 2017. Web. 3 May 2017.
6. Taylor, Alan. "20 Years Since The Bosnian War". The Atlantic. N.p., 2017. Web. 10 May 2017.
7. The Burra Charter. 1st ed. Australia: Australia ICOMOS Inc., 1999. Print.