Mostar (môˈstär) [key], city (1991 pop. 75,613), in Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the Neretva River. Its name means "Old Bridge," referring to the 16th-century stone bridge built by Ottoman sultan Sulayman the Magnificent, which, along with numerous Turkish mosques and old houses, was destroyed in the 1993–94 siege of the city during the Bosnian civil war; the bridge was rebuilt in 2004. Prior to the war, Mostar had been the chief city of Herzegovina. It produced tobacco, wine, and aluminum products, with bauxite mines and a hydroelectric plant operating nearby.
Known in 1442, Mostar became (16th cent.) the chief Turkish administrative and commercial center in Herzegovina. It passed to Austria in 1878 and to Yugoslavia in 1918. In 1993, as Bosnia and Herzegovina was torn by civil war after declaring independence from Yugoslavia, Croats and Muslims began a nine-month-long struggle for control of Mostar. Bosnian Croats relentlessly bombarded the eastern, Muslim section of the city, reducing most of it to ruins. Since a cease-fire in 1994, attempts to restore civic unity to Mostar have proceeded fitfully.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.