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Guide To The Mostar Bridge & Mostar Bridge Jump, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Mostar and notably the Mostar Bridge, or Stari Most as it’s known locally is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s major tourist attractions. In fact, most people visiting Split or Dubrovnik in Croatia will take a day trip to Mostar to see the iconic bridge.
So what makes this bridge so special? I think it’s a combination of its striking Ottoman architecture, the beautiful blue Neretva river it crosses, the divers who leap from the jump into the depths of the river and the long history which has seen it destroyed and then restored from the rubble.
Earlier in the year, we decided to visit Mostar and experience the place for ourselves. The Little Donkey absolutely loved the bridge, and we decided to sit at one of the little cafe’s that overlooks the bridge and observe it in all its glory. Interestingly the old bridge area is just as fascinating as the bridge with its Ottoman buildings which house cafe’s, restaurants and souvenir shops. It’s easy to forget you are in Bosnia and Herzegovina. One thing is for sure; everyone needs to pay a visit to Mostar and walk across the UNESCO inscribed Mostar Bridge and experience if for themselves.
Mostar Bridge Bosnia & Herzegovina
The Mostar Old Bridge is also known as Stari Most, Mostar Most, Bosnia Bridge, Mostar Bridge, Mostar Stari Most, Mostarski Most, or Stari Most and is the shining light in Mostar, a city where the Neretva River snakes its way through the picturesque Mostar valley.
Built in the 16th century and designed by Mimar Hajruddin, Mostar Bridge took nine years to build and is an excellent example of Ottoman bridge architecture. For its time the bridge was technologically advanced for a single span stone bridge.
The Mostar Bridge height is around 29 meters in its full length and is around 4 meters wide. It has two towers which historically housed the Mostari (bridge keepers). Despite its gentle appearance from afar, do be aware that the bridge is a little slippery and has an incline, so be prepared and wear appropriate footwear.
History Of The Mostar Bridge
The bridge was designed by the renowned architect Mimar Hajruddin and stood for a proud 427 years before being destroyed during the war.
After a few years, an international scientific committee was established by UNESCO and arranged a team for the reconstruction of the bridge, along with many parts of the Old Town which were also damaged and destroyed. The Stari Most and adjoining area are a valuable historical, cultural and architectural treasure to the world worth preserving and fortunately, this was recognized by UNESCO, and they took action.
In 2004 the bridge reopened, and from that time it has remained one of the most famous and unique attractions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Bridge Jumping Tradition
One of the best things to see in Mostar are the bridge divers. They draw large crowds who want to see them perform their death-defying leaps into the Neretva river below. Now, this is not something you should decide to do willy-nilly, because the waters are dangerous, and many people have been injured or even killed by merely deciding to try it for themselves.
The tradition of jumping off a bridge in Mostar began in 1664. Local tradition says that 16-year-old boy must jump from the bridge as a right of passage, but more importantly, it is said that the boys’ life will be a complete failure if he doesn’t jump.
Doesn’t leave you many options, I mean who want to be a complete failure!?
Since the reconstruction of the bridge, the Mostar Diving club have been maintaining records of all those that jump from the bridge.
Whether it is competition time or not, you will often see young men in swim shorts walking around the vicinity to the bridge trying to collect money, and when they deem enough has been collected, they please the crowd by performing an elaborate jump from the bridge, plunging down the 24 meters to the surface of the water – it’s quite a thrilling sight!
As we mentioned, don’t ever try and simply jump off the bridge yourself without permission. You obtain training from the local jumpers, where you will learn how to jump off a bridge, how to land, and you will then receive a certificate for your own personal jump!
Guide To Jumping The Mostar Bridge – From Someone Who Did It
Written by Bradley Williams from Dream Big, Travel Far
When traveling through Europe back in April 2018, I was lucky enough to take part in one of the best high-adrenaline activities still available in Europe … the Mostar Bridge jump!
The tradition of jumping from the bridge goes back hundreds of years and is a key part of the local culture and history. In fact, there’s a good chance you will have seen people jumping or diving from the bridge in the past.
It is a common spot for hosting the Red Bull Cliff Diving Championships which then get broadcast all around the world. In fact, they are due to return later this year in August. So if you’re interested in seeing how the professionals dive from the bridge, then be sure to tune in! But if you are looking to do the jump yourself, well, then here’s everything I learned from my experience.
A Few Important Things To Know About Jumping From Mostar Bridge
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, here’s a quick rundown of the most popular questions people have and are the same ones which I had before doing the bridge jump.
How Much Does The Bridge Jumping Cost
It costs 20 Euros to sign up to the bridge jumping into water, and an additional 10 Euros for your practice jumps from a smaller 10-meter platform. But if you do the practice jumps and then decide that the full jump is not for you, then you only have to pay the initial 10 Euros.
If you do the whole thing and pay the full 30 Euros, then be aware that you will also become an official member of the Mostar Dive Club! What does that mean? Well, it means you can return any time you want and jump again for free!
What Should You Wear While Jumping
Before you jump, the dive team will outfit you with a wetsuit. As such, it doesn’t really matter what you wear underneath. Personally, I still kept on my swim shorts.
Is The Bridge Safe To Jump Off?
The answer to this question is never going to be “yes, it is 100% safe!”
Any number of things could go wrong with your jump. Such as you leaning forward too much and hitting your face/stomach as you enter the water. Or perhaps you rotate backward on the way down and land on your back. These are both possibilities if you fail to jump properly. However, there’s no reason for this to happen!
Prior to the jump, the team takes you to a practice board where they show you the safest way to complete the jump. They will ask you to jump a few times until you get the technique correct.
This technique allows you to remain perfectly straight the whole way down and to counteract any rotation on the way down. In turn, as long as you do what they say then you should have no problems with your jump!
If anything does go wrong for whatever reason, then multiple members of the dive club are around to help. They are there to jump in and bring you back to shore if for any reason you do hurt yourself. Also be aware that it’s very deep below the bridge, so there’s very little chance of you going so low that you hit the bottom.
How Many People Need To Jump
When we went, there were 3 of us. But I do believe that they are happy to let you jump even if there’s just one person.
How Can You Jump From The Stari Most Bridge
OK, now we’ve covered a few basic concerns, let’s get onto the juicy bits, how you go about jumping the Stari Most
First up, you need to speak to the diving club.
As you head up onto the bridge, you will see a small building on the side of the bridge with the overhead arch. You can’t miss it. This building is where the Mostar Dive Club is based and, in the daytime, there is usually someone about. If you arrive there during a busy time of day, then you likely won’t even need to visit the office.
Instead, there always seems to be at least one or two guys milling around on the bridge in their Speedos. These guys are experienced jumpers and divers and will jump a few times each day once they get enough interest (and donations) from passers-by. Just go and speak to one of those guys; they are very friendly and helpful.
You’ll then need to do a few practice jumps.
Once you’ve spoken to the team and decided you definitely want to jump, they will give you a wetsuit and take you out for a few practice jumps. I don’t think it’s essential to wear a wetsuit, but I would 100% recommend it. The water is very cold, and it will help to keep you at least a little warm. Also, if you do land a little off balance, then having the wetsuit on will reduce any pain you feel on impact.
The 10-meter board is located on the side of the cliff, and just a few minutes walk away from the bridge. Here they show you the exact way to jump and how to keep yourself level on the way down.
They will ask you to keep doing it until you get it just right. If you can’t get this bit correct, then I doubt they will even let you jump; so it’s important to take it seriously (though it’s really not that hard).
Head Back To The Bridge And Prepare Yourself
Once you’ve perfected your technique, they’ll take you back up to the bridge for the actual jump. When we arrived back up, a large crowd of spectators had gathered. There’s a lot of excitement around people jumping, so expect to see dozens of people with their phones and cameras out, ready to record you!
What happens now is, one at a time you cross over the wall of the bridge, and stand looking out over the water. One of the dive instructors will be there as well to steady you and help you over.
Get On With The Jump!
Once you stand there over the barrier, it’s important that you relax and take your time. Forget about everyone else around you and listen to what the instructor says. They will tell you to be calm and go whenever you’re ready. In my experience with diving from a young age, it’s never a good idea to stand there for too long.
If you do, then you can easily start to overthink things, and it then becomes harder and harder to jump. My technique was to stand there and take 3 deep breaths. This is enough time to completely calm yourself and block out the people all around you. Then, just do exactly what you’ve been taught so far and step off.
Before you can even really think about it, you hit the water! It’s an incredible feeling as you sink below the water and have the sudden realization that you’ve done it!
Better yet, as you come back above the surface, you are greeted by dozens of spectators clapping and cheering you for your effort.
Receive Your Certificate And Pay
Once done, you are more than welcome to jump again. Personally, one jump was enough for me; but feel free to have another go if you’re that way inclined! Either way, you’ll need to travel back up to the bridge to see the team, get changed and pay. There will be lots of handshaking and high-fives at this point, it’s great!
Back up in the clubhouse, they will fill out a certificate that you can take home. They will also enter your name into the official record books alongside the hundreds of other people who have completed the jump. You will then pay your 30 Euros here and go about your merry day.
Is Jumping The Mostar Bridge Worth It
In my honest opinion, hell yeah, it’s worth it!
Jumping from the bridge in Mostar was one of my all-time favorite memories from driving all across that part of Europe. It’s not exactly very expensive and, as long as you’re into thrill-seeking activities, it’s the perfect thing to do in Mostar. If that bridge was located in most other countries in Europe, I feel like you would struggle to get permission from local authorities to do such a jump.
Health and safety in places like the UK are very strict these days, and this jump is a novel and exciting way to get a hefty boost of adrenaline. Also, and as discussed above, the jump itself really isn’t that dangerous. Sure, there’s always a chance you could hurt yourself with a slightly dodgy landing, but the whole team is there on hand to jump in and help you.
But as long as you jump, as they’ve instructed, you’ll be fine. Plus, the videos and pictures of your jump are awesome for sharing online and a great way to scare your friends and relatives back home!
If jumping off bridges isn’t for you, there is a little beach just below the bridge where many people go to dip their feet into the waters. It’s also a great place to take a photo of the divers in action.
How To Get To The Mostar Bridge
- Bus: There are two main bus stations in Mostar, and they are both within walking distance of each other. You will find that buses run between the capital and Mostar regularly, every hour, and the scenic journey is around 2.5 hours in length.
- Train: The train ride from Sarajevo to Mostar is probably is an experience in itself with picturesque landscapes, ancient viaducts and tunnels, steep mountains and abundant greenery. The train departs twice per day and takes just over two hours.
- Drive: Mostar is very easy to reach by car, either from within Bosnia & Herzegovina itself or from neighboring Croatia. If you are coming from the latter, from Zagreb simply drive along the A1 towards Split, and then head towards the border. From there, the journey is pretty much straight on. If you are driving from Sarajevo, it is around two hours’ drive, through the beautiful Neretva River Valley – be sure to stop off for a few pictures as you go, but stay on the paved roads and routes.
The Stari Most of Mostar really is one of the sites that you must absolutely visit when traveling through the Balkans.