Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Bridge of sighs



When I was a teenager, one of my boyfriends gave me a small watercolour that he had painted himself from a picture in a magazine. It was the Old Bridge (Stari Most) in Mostar, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which has soared over the River Neretva since 1566, connecting the east and west of the city. Ever since then I have wanted to visit and see it for real - and then twenty years ago, you will remember, it was destroyed during the Balkan wars. I thought then that I had missed my chance. It has, however, been faithfully rebuilt, together with the ancient streets around it, and now stands as a symbol of peace. I can't tell you how moved I was to actually stand on it.

The city of Mostar itself is a ruggedly beautiful place, still bearing the scars of conflict. You can even now see some burnt-out and shrapnel-scarred buildings, some left deliberately perhaps, as a reminder of the pain and futility of war. There are also exhibitions and videos on display that stand as a sharp reminder of all that the city has suffered, under siege for eighteen months. (I saw some memorable photos by Wade Goddard who lived with a family in the city during the seige - see here. The one of the little girl riding her bike through the rubble will stay with me forever.)

To take this photo, I dared myself to climb to the top of the minaret of the Koski Mehmed Pasa Mosque. The top platform was inches deep in rainwater so it's a miracle this picture turned out sharp. I was shaking with the exertion of the climb up the rough spiral staircase, and with my fear of heights! And standing on tip-toe to avoid the water. It was worth it for the view though.



10 comments:

  1. Beautiful shot Jenny, and what makes it truly amazing is the story behind it...the rebuilt bridge looks quite authentic...

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  2. Quite simply, the finest photograph you have shown on this blog, to date. And there have been some 'corkers'!

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  3. Oh my goodness, the climb was well worth the effort. Magnificent photograph.

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  4. I'm so glad you made the climb because this picture is beautiful!

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  5. You made a fabulous picture, thank you for climbing when you were so scared by vertigo!
    The city is beautiful and also very moving through those wars memories ..

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  6. I'm impressed. Not just by the photo, but by your determination to get it despite your fear of heights - a fear I share.

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  7. Beautiful shot, Jenny! Worth the climb.

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  8. Hi Jenny
    Over from Betsy's - a very nice bunch of people and thought I'd say Hi.
    I think your climbing experience and standing on tip toe in the water was well worth the effort because the photo is beautiful. And you overcame your fear of heights - must be a brave lady.
    Glad they faithfully restored the bridge - that war was tragic wasn't it! ~ Eddie

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  9. It is a beautiful scene and beautiful photo, jennyfreckles, a tale of triumph in overcoming your fears, and another tale of triumph in rebuilding so that the bombing did not defeat the citizens.

    And, your old boy friends wooed you by giving them paintings? That never occurred to me. No wonder I couldn't get any dates!

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  10. I couldn't have done it...I am petrified by heights...but this view is beautiful!

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