There are two bridges, side by side, and they are both called Skenderija. Legend says that the old Skenderija, a pedestrian bridge, was built with the same materials as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and to this day, some people refer to it as the “Eiffel Bridge”.
Between the 15th and 16th century Bosnian Sandžak beg Skenderpaša (Sandzak Bey Skenderpasha) built a wooden bridge which served the city for almost four centuries. His son, Mustafa beg (Mustafa Bey) built a mosque which lasted until 1960, at which point on this site construction of the large Skenderija Sports Center began.
Cultural and Sports Center Skenderija was opened in 1969, with first showing of the film “Battle of Neretva” before approximately 6000 guests. On 29 November, Republic Day of former Yugoslavia, this fascinating complex was officially opened by Josip Broz Tito, the President of Yugoslavia. Besides Tito, the entire political elite was present, as well as local stars Milena Dravić, Ljubiša Samardžić, Boris Dvornik and Bata Živojinović and international names such as Yul Brynner, Maria Schell, Silva Koščina, Sergei Bondarchuk, Sofia Loren and Omar Sharif. The report from VUS Zagreb (Wednesday’s News – newspaper) titled “Neretva floods Sarajevo” describes the plateau in front of the large Skenderija Hall being festively decorated with flags, huge posters of all the main movie characters, as well as the scale model of the bridge on Neretva and the original cannons used during filming.
Skenderija Center is a remarkable architectural ensemble with its various purposes, amenities, dimensions and expertly designed composition. It was designed by Živorad Janković and Halid Muhasilović and in that same year it won an award by Magazine “Borba” (The Battle) – special recognition for the best architectural work in Yugoslavia. Since its opening to date, Skenderija has remained the center of cultural, sporting and economic life of the city, as well as one of the favorite gathering places for all Sarajevans.
For the purpose of ice hockey competitions at the XIV Winter Olympic Games Sarajevo 84, a new ice hall was built along the existing complex. A large sports hall within the complex carries the name Mirza Delibašić, in recognition of the top BiH athlete of the twentieth century.
Skenderija today doesn’t have the same glow as it once did, but it remains the center of many urban stories, both sport and music related. The cult places to go out to, Dom Mladih (The Youth Club) and Kaktus (Cactus Club) were both located within the area of today’s Museum of Contemporary Art ARS AEVI. Gallery Collegium Artisticum is also located in Skenderija Center.