The Map of Invisible Bridges that Connect the Citizens of Mostar

Published: Jul 19, 2023 Reading time: 4 minutes
The Map of Invisible Bridges that Connect the Citizens of Mostar
© Photo: Tereza Hronova

In Mostar, the local Youth Cultural Centre OKC Abrašević created the interactive "Map of Invisible Bridges". This map was created with a desire to overcome the perception of Mostar as a city marred by conflict and to highlight its cultural and historical heritage, and also the possibility of life together.

The map was initiated through Project Mostar - Spaces to Activate and Rejuvenate, which is supported by the United Kingdom Government, to show young people all the streets of this beautiful city. Although life in Mostar has changed considerably in recent years, there remains in the minds of some people an invisible line which separates them from the idea of living together and strengthening the multi-ethnicity that this city naturally carries.

Locations worthy of attention

Using the map, young people can visit locations worthy of attention, admiration, rediscovery, and further research.

"The point of the map is to offer young people in Mostar new views of their city, their streets and to give them the chance to discover old parts of the city destroyed in the 90s. Those parts are very important for the history of the city", says Boris Filipić from OKC Abrašević.

In the past, OKC Abrašević released numerous pieces of sociological research, together with regional partners, about the life and behaviour of young people living in divided communities. Young people from Mostar show a lack of interest and local patriotism in relation to the border established by the conflict in the 90s.

That is why the map has the basic goal of searching for hidden, invisible, forgotten, or historically significant locations in Mostar to create awareness of Mostar as a city for all.

Four map routes

The map contains four routes called "My Jerusalem", "Hum as a Horseshoe", "Avenue of Socialism", and "Komadina's Transversal".

Two of the routes offered on the map cross the borders of the division established by the conflict of the 90s: "My Jerusalem" shows 4 key sacral objects of monotheistic religions. Whilst "Komadina's transversal" symbolises the invisible line or "transversal" from east to west and vice versa, which structures the architectural life of Mostar.

"Socialism Avenue" is an invisible bridge that clarifies the architectural and urban development of the city from the end of the Second World War to the beginning of the 90s. At the same time, "Hum as a Horseshoe" shows the architecture and urbanism of the first residential settlements and hamlets in Mostar.

The project listens to the needs of the citizens 

This map was created through the three-year project Mostar - Spaces to Activate and Rejuvenate, which aims to improve the contents and use of Mostar's public spaces. The project works through the active involvement of citizens and support for their initiatives that contribute to the quality of civic, cultural, and economic life in Mostar.

Thanks to the support of the United Kingdom Government, the project is able to empower citizens and local authorities in effectively using new skills, tools, and mechanisms to address priorities in an inclusive, gender-sensitive, participatory, and systematic manner

"The Mostar project improves the local community, provides an opportunity for citizens to cooperate and socialise, and to realise that all public spaces are actually their spaces. Also, [the project] listens to the needs of citizens and works for their welfare. We believe that the planned investments and participatory mechanisms of democracy will contribute to positive developments in Mostar in the future," said Veronika Jelinkova, Project Mostar director.

Investments and plans for the future

Since the beginning of 2022, with funds of almost 1.2 million BAM, the project has supported 12 public and cultural institutions in the adaptation and renovation of their premises. Ten local organisations received about 250 thousand BAM to realise project ideas contributing to citizens' lives.

In 2023, the project will support individuals, schools, informal groups of citizens, and non-governmental organisations in realising their creative project ideas through the grant scheme "A City for All".

In addition to investing in institutions, the project also revitalised public spaces, such as the Trimuša forest park, where lighting was installed. In the near future, additional investments will be made in the Zrinjevac, Avenija and Vrba parks and in Buna-Bunica, the famous Mostar picnic spot.

Through a series of innovative activities, local partners initiated and included citizens in a dialogue between communities about common priorities in the city through civic and youth activism, public policies, culture, ecology, and inclusion. The project continues to support education, concerts, public events, and actions to improve public spaces in which citizens from all groups and communities actively participate.

We, People in Need (PIN), are the project lead; we are a Czech non-profit, non-governmental organisation that provides humanitarian and development aid in more than 30 countries worldwide. Four other organisations are equal partners in the consortium: Everyday Peace Indicators (EPI), Youth Cultural Center Abrasevic (OKC Abrasevic), Local Democracy Agency Mostar (LDA Mostar) and Nesto Vise (NV).

The project is funded by the Government of the United Kingdom.
Autor: Šabić Adin

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