Thursday, July 3, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (July 3,2008) - The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is threatening to remove the Mostar Old Bridge from the world heritage list.Now,authorities in the southern Bosnian city of Mostar have asked the state government to help them keep the famous Old Bridge on the UNESCO world heritage list.

Mostar Old Bridge’s position on the list has been jeopardised by the construction of a nearby hotel, which according to UNESCO violates the bridge’s original surrounding. The latest attempt to reach a compromise between the UNESCO, city authorities and the hotel owner appear to have been unsuccessful.

City authorities, Mostar mayor Ljubo Beslic and the president of the City Assembly, Murat Coric, told Bosnian media they would send a letter to state officials asking their support ahead of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Canada on July 2-8.

Mostar’s Old Bridge (Stari Most), is one of the most beautiful single-span stone bridges in Bosnia, originally constructed in 16th century. It was fully reconstructed in line with original blueprints and materials in 2003. Ever since, the Old Bridge attracted millions of Bosnian and foreign tourists.

In July 2005, the Old Bridge was placed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, yet its position there was soon jeopardized by the reconstruction works on the nearby Ruza hotel. UNESCO experts claimed that architecture and height of the hotel violated the bridge’s original surrounding.

Reconstruction works on the hotel were halted by city authorities in 2006 but the city authorities repeatedly 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 the necessary documentation 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.

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