Saturday, 4 March 2017

BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA: Roman Bridge At Buna

When you turn to the main road M17 about fifteen kilometers south of Mostar towards the village on Buna with the same name, you’ll get to the bridge called Roman bridge. Most likely you will not even notice the bridge, you will see the asphalt, ugly iron fence, and lamps from thirty years ago.

You will not have the impression that you’re on a bridge whose beauty once was famous far away from this area, which is the longest that Herzegovina saw.

Large bridge at Buna was built probably in the 16th century as one of the first major infrastructure projects of Ottomans after their arrival to this area. Evliya Çelebi, the famous travel writer of the time, mentioned this bridge as Daniel Pasha’s bridge. He accurately described its 13 stone arches and beautiful site of the mouth of Buna and Neretva.

Some people link the bridge with Karadjozbeg, the largest donor of the 16th century, the brother of Ottoman vizier Rustem Pasha Opukovic, but there is no concrete evidence.

The bridge was unavoidable for any traveler who was traveling in a north-south of Mostar, from Bosnia to the sea or the western borders of the great empire. Because of his grace, but above all because of its imposing length, it quickly became famous away from these areas.

Regardless of misinterpretation of its origin and builder, the bridge was attracting with its beauty until the end of the World War II. German forces mined the bridge due to its strategic importance for the withdrawal in 1945, as well as several bridges in the area.

So the beautiful Daniel Pasha’s bridge from the 16th century, mistakenly called Roman Bridge, was erased from the face of the earth.

In the post-war years, the crossing of Buna was improvised by plank bridge. Older generations stated that in those years was often speculated about the need to restore the bridge, especially in its original form, but unfortunately, it never happened.

At the end of the sixties, the then government constructed the bridge which unfortunately was not a replica of the old Daniel Pasha’s bridge. It was the concrete, stone bridge with only half of arches than the one from the 16th century had.

The form and appearance of the new bridge only partially reminiscent of the one that was so beautiful and grandiose that the Russian Consul thought that the Ottomans could not make it.