MOSTAR, Bosnia (July 7,2008) - Bosnia’s famous Old Bridge located in the southern city of Mostar will remain on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites on condition that a nearby hotel is redesigned.The member of the Bosnian Commission for Heritage Sites, Amra Hadzimuhamedovic, said today that UNESCO, during its meeting over the weekend in Canada,accepted a local report and plan for the Old Bridge.
The plan requires Mostar city authorities to publicly advertise for a redesigning of the Ruza hotel, which should be completed by February 2009.
Mostar’s Old Bridge, is one of the most beautiful single-span stone bridges, originally constructed in the 16th century. The Old Bridge was destroyed by the Croatian barbarians in 1993,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia.It was fully reconstructed in line with original blueprints and materials in 2003. The Old Bridge has attracted millions of tourists from within the country and abroad.
In 2005, the Old Bridge was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, yet its position there was soon jeopardised by reconstruction works at a nearby hotel. UNESCO experts claimed that the architecture and height of the hotel violated the bridge’s original surroundings.
City authorities halted all reconstruction works on the hotel in 2006 but failed to find a compromise between UNESCO requirements,which included the removal of the top fourth floor of the Ruza hotel and hotel owner, local businessman Emir Keco, who had already obtained all necessary documents for the works.
Keco even threatened to press charges against city authorities for damages worth as much as 50 million Bosnian Marks (25 million Euros) due to the two-year delay in the hotel’s reconstruction.