FOURTH ARCHITECTURAL WORKSHOP MOSTAR 2004, 1998

Fourth Architectural Workshop Mostar 2004, organised under the patronage of H.E. Alija Izetbegovic, President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with the Municipality of Mostar, Mostar, on 20-31 July 1998


The fourth architectural workshop entitled "Mostar 2004" was held in the city of Mostar on 20-31 July 1998. Fifty professors of architecture and senior students from around the world participated in the workshop. As in the previous phases of the project, activities carried out this year were characterised by the enthusiasm and genuine commitment of the participants.

Prior to the workshop, preparatory activities were implemented for the fourth phase of the Mostar 2004 project during the academic year 1997-98, concomitantly in Mostar, Istanbul, New York, Melbourne and Philadelphia. These preparations included four studio works and three M.A. theses. They provided inputs for the workshop.

Under the high patronage of H. E. President Alija Izetbegovic, the Fourth Workshop was jointly organised by IRCICA and the City of Mostar. The following bodies extended their cooperation: the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (Geneva); the Stari Mostar Foundation, Mostar; UNESCO, Paris; the World Bank, Washington; the World Monuments Fund, New York.

The title Mostar 2004 implies the project’s objective to celebrate the reconstruction of the Old Bridge of Mostar and its surroundings on 15 September 2004 in the re-united city of Mostar, in a united Bosnia and Herzegovina. The series of international workshops organised towards this objective started in Istanbul, where the first two workshops were held in 1994 and 1995 respectively, with sessions and studio works at IRCICA and Yıldız Technical University. The third workshop took place in Mostar on 2-30 July 1997.

The Mostar 2004 project has three major components: the preservation of cultural heritage as the essence of Bosnian existence; planning of the city as an open framework for all rebuilding needs; and training, at initial stages, the specialists who would be capable of working on real life problems. The reconstruction of the cultural heritage aims first and foremost to re-assemble the divided city of Mostar and to promote awareness on Mostar’s long multi-ethnic history, to serve as a model for the future of a united Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mostar 2004 can be used as a replicable framework for the preservation of architectural heritage there and elsewhere.

Several activities of high importance for the future viability of the project were carried out this year

support at the inter-governmental level to establish a unique system for the preservation of monuments in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina where Mostar would be a pilot project;

preparation of the necessary economic conditions for the rebuilding projects of key importance for Bosnia; establishment of a documentation centre for architectural heritage;

implementation of a training program on the preservation of heritage with special emphasis on artisans and handicraft works.

During the fourth workshop, special attention was given to three important aspects of the project: rehabilitation of the neighbourhood, restoration of individual monuments, and strategic planning of the historical area. The major areas covered were the following:

the historical area and old city: definition of the historical area and the type of plan needed, subjects related to public participation, preservation guidelines

the Radobolja River area: Kapetanovina, Spile, Nezir Ağa Mosque, regulation of the Radobolja River, Hamam, Bascine Garden

the Main Street area: the Municipality Hall, Vakuf Palace of the Karadjozbegova Mosque complex, the neighbourhood between the Old Bridge and Luka Bridge, Hotel Konak, Metropolit Palace of the Orthodox Church complex, Muslibegovica Kuca, Alajbegovica Kuca, Kuca Sain, Biscevica Kuca.

Speakers at the opening ceremony on 20 July were Dr. Hidayet Y. Nuhoğlu, Deputy Director General of IRCICA; Dr. Stefano Bianca, Director of the Historic City Support Program, Aga Khan Trust for Culture; Mr. John Calame, Program Coordinator at the World Monuments Fund, New York; Mr. Mustafa Delic, Director of Stari Mostar Foundation, Mostar.

On 21 July, the participants heard presentations of the works done after the 1997 workshop. These included the following studies: on the Cernica mahala (district) by Temple University, on the Brankovac mahala and the Hamam by Istanbul Technical University, on monuments and their surroundings by Yıldız Technical University, planning work and studies on the South Camp area and the Boulevard by Columbia University, and planning by Melbourne University. From 22 to 30 July, the participants, grouped in three teams, worked on selected projects.

A press conference was held to mark the closing of the workshop on 31 July. This was also an opportunity to announce the inauguration of the restoration of Nezir Ağa Mosque, which was a major step, taken during the workshop period, towards rebuilding the Old City of Mostar. Following the press conference, a ceremony was held on this occasion on one of the western hills of Neretva River where the mosque is located. The ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Mostar, the faculty, architects and students who participated in the workshop, and representatives of international organisations.

The launching of Nezir Ağa Mosque’s restoration represents a new phase in IRCICA’s Mostar 2004 project and lays the foundation of the restoration of the Old City of Mostar. Nezir Ağa Mosque, constructed in 1551 during the Ottoman period, was completely destroyed in 1946. Its surroundings were heavily damaged during the last war.

IRCICA had launched an international call during the third workshop Mostar 2004, to secure funding for the restoration of the Old City. Positive answers were received from around the world. A generous donation by His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed al-Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, has been allocated to Nezir Ağa Mosque.

On this occasion, IRCICA Director General Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu was received by H.E. President Alija Izetbegovic and also by: H.E. Dr. Haris Silajdzic, Co-Chairman of the Bosnian Government; H.E. Mr. Husein Zivalj, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; H.E. Dr. Fahruddin Rizvanbegovic, Federal Minister of Culture; Reis ul-ulema Dr. Mustafa Ceric; the Mayor of Mostar H.E. Mr. Safet Orucevic. Prof. İhsanoğlu visited the Institute for Oriental Studies and Gazi Husrevbegova Library in Sarajevo, and met with some Bosnian scholars.

Following the inauguration, archeological work was carried out on the Nezir Ağa Mosque grounds for a week’s period.

The report of the workshop was prepared by Amir Pasic and published under the title Mostar 2004 Workshop 1998 Report.