Between 1992 and 1993, after Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia, the town was subject to a nine month siege.
The Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) first bombed Mostar on April 3rd, 1992 and over the following week gradually established control over a large part of the town. On April 8th, the Herzegovina Croats founded the Croatian Defense Council (Hrvatsko Vijec´e Obrane, HVO) as their military formation which engaged the JNA forces in combat. The JNA shelling damaged or destroyed a number of civilian objects. Among them were a Franciscan monastery, the Catholic cathedral and the bishop's palace, with a library of 50,000 books, as well as the Karadz±oz-bey mosque, Roznamed-ij-Ibrahim-efendija mosque and twelve other mosques.
On June 12th, the HVO military force amassed enough weaponry and manpower to force the JNA troops out of Mostar, together with several smaller formations made up of Bosniaks. The 4th Corps of the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the primary military formation of the Bosniaks, was founded the same year in Mostar. During the siege that ensued, the city was bombarded by the Bosnian Serbs from the mountains to the east.
In 1993, the Bosnian Croats and Bosniaks began a long struggle for control of Mostar. The Bosnian Croats launched an offensive on May 9th where they relentlessly bombarded the Bosniak quarter of the city, reducing much of it to ruin, including numerous other mosques and houses from the Ottoman era, including the Kujundz±iluk. During this conflict Croats established concentration camp for Muslims on Mostar's Heliodrome.
The 16th century stone bridge Stari Most that had been built by Mimar Hayruddin, by order from emperor Suleiman the Magnificent, was destroyed on November 9th by Bosnian Croat mortar fire.
A cease-fire was signed on February 25th, 1994. The city remained divided between the two hostile parties. Some normalization ensued with a redistricting in 1995 and reestablishment of the ability to move between the two parts of the city in 1996.

These photographs were taken during a three months stay in Mostar during winter 1994.
Urban-Resources thanks Action Contre la Faim for its welcome and Wikipedia for this historic.


© All photographs by Marc Le Flour - 1994


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