The magnificent old bridge welcomes back the world's best cliff divers for the fifth time
Last September Gary Hunt became the first diver to ever repeat a victory in Mostar after five different winners had been crowned in five competitions in the men's and women's since 2015. It was off the famous Stari Most, the old bridge, that Britain's record man gained crucial ground for his latest overall title. When the World Series returns to Bosnia and Herzegovina for the last-but-one stop in the 2019 season, a fanatical crowd will eagerly await what the sport's aesthetes have in store for them.
Diving off Mostar's old bridge dates back to the 17th century, when young men started to dive from the country's most recognizable landmark in a sort of maturity test in a very traditional technique. Today, the fine art of cliff diving is equally respected.
Built in the 16th century, the iconic Stari Most gracefully arches over the emerald water of Neretva River, connecting two parts of the old town in Mostar. On both sides surrounded by fortified towers, it fits seamlessly into the landscape, creating an impressive sight. Together with the surrounding part of the Old City, the bridge is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites, and often cited as one of the most beautiful bridges in the world.
Created by Mimar Hayruddin, disciple of the great Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan, legend has it that the builder never saw the bridge completed, as he left before the scaffolding was removed, having no strength to see if the bridge would stand. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent threatened to decapitate him if the bridge fell.
Eternalized in the city's flag and coat of arms, life in Mostar has been centred on the humpback bridge ever since its construction. Equally iconic as the bridge, is the image of a diver soaring through the air from the bridge towards the fast and cold water of Neretva River.
2018 Gary Hunt, GBR | Adriana Jimenez, MEX
2017 Gary Hunt, GBR | Cesilie Carlton, USA
2016 Michal Navratil, CZE | Lysanne Richard, CAN
2015 Jonathan Paredes, MEX