MOSTAR, the capital of Herzegovina, situated 81 m. S.W. of Serajevo, on the river Narenta, and on the railway from Serajevo to Ragusa. Pop. (1900), about 14,500 including the garrison. Mostar is the seat of Roman Catholic and Orthodox bishops, a district court, and an Austrian garrison. Half Turkish, half Italian in character, it commands the gateway through which all heavy traffic must pass on the seaward road. A single arch of great beauty, 89! ft. in span, and 61 ft. high, leads to the Roman Catholic quarter, on the right bank of the river. This bridge has been the theme of many legends, and its origin has been much debated. Probably it was built by the Turks, in the 15th or 16th century, after Italian designs; but some antiquaries ascribe its foundation to the Romans. Since 1881, when an iron bridge was opened, its use has been confined to foot passengers. Mostar possesses a gymnasium, a school of viticulture, and a massive Orthodox cathedral.
The present name of the city has been derived from the SerboCroatian most, a bridge, and star, old. Its earlier Slavonic name was Vitrinicha. Whether it may be identified with Pans Vetus, Andretium, Bistuae, Saloniana, or Sarsenterum, it certainly dates from Roman times. Mostar was enlarged in 1440 by Radivoi Cost, mayor of the palace to Stephen, first duke of St Sava. Immediately on their conquest of Herzegovina it was chosen by the Turks as their headquarters. The environs of the city are interesting. Within a few miles are the sources of the Buna, a small affluent of the Narenta, which issues from a cavern at the foot of Podvelez, amid scenery celebrated for its wild grandeur.
See Sir G. Wilkinson, Dalmatia and Montenegro (London, 1848), vol. ii. (view and plan at pp. 59, 60); J. Asboth, An Official Tour through Bosnia and Herzegovina (London, 1890), pp. 255-262; and R. Munro, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Edinburgh, 1900), pp. 179-188.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)