Sunday, July 20, 2008

In case you were losing any sleep over the Jablonica bridge issue...

Train and broken bridge over the Neretva in Jablonica

Photo of actual bridge Tito destroyed

We took Doug on a trip to Mostar and Pocitelj this week and on the way down stopped at the War Museum in Jablonica. Amazingly, for the first time since I've been in Bosnia, we found someone inside and got to tour it. It cost 2 KM (about $1.20) and it was really worth only about that much. During "Tito time" as Mirsad explained to us the place attracted hundreds of school children who learned about War War II lore. Now the amphitheater out front where they got these lessons is deteriorated and the display is mostly broken guns and German helmets shot full of bullet holes.

But we did finally settle the question of whether the bridge in Jablonica is real or a fake built for a 1970 movie about the battle of the Neretva. The truth, as is ever so, was more complicated.

The actual bridge that Tito ordered destroyed to trick the Germans (pictured above) was long ago dismantled, carted in pieces to the Zenica steel works and melted. But in 1943 the Germans put up a bridge of their own manufacture as a way to move equipment and people around. That bridge was blown up for the movie and it remains fallen into the river for today's tourists.

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