Human settlements on the river Neretva, between the Hum Hill and the Velez mountain, have existed since prehistory. The name of Mostar was first mentioned in a document dating from 1474, taking its name from the bridge-keepers (mostari). The stone bridge, the Old Bridge (Stari Most), was erected in 1566 on the orders of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman ruler. Later becoming the city’s symbol, the Old Bridge is one of the most important structures of the Ottoman era and perhaps Bosnia’s most recognizable architectural piece. The famous traveler Evliya Çelebi wrote in the 17th century that “the bridge is like a rainbow arch soaring up to the skies, extending from one cliff to the other. …I, a poor and miserable slave of Allah, have passed through 16 countries, but I have never seen such a high bridge.” Mostar is the sunniest city in the country with an average of 2291 solar hours a year.

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