It measures 38m long, has an unusual loop that runs right in the middle and best of all, is designed by three students. Go take a walk on the Festine Lente in Sarajevo.
I was looking for the Latin Bridge. The same bridge that brought Sarajevo into the limelight and had the whole world at war with itself in 1914. Not like it is hard to find. On a good day, expect to see curious tourists milling around the bridge and the building wall close by.
Surprisingly, it was this other pedestrian bridge that caught my fancy. The Festine Lente, or looping bridge. It translates as ‘make haste slowly’.
The steel and aluminium bridge, over the river Miljacka, connects the historic stone walls on Radic street with the green grounds of the church on Mak Dizdar embankment, close to the Academy of Fine Art. What makes it unique is an unusual loop in the centre of the bridge, encouraging walkers to slow down and enjoy the views. There are also a couple of wooden seats on either ends inside the loop, giving those who pass under it an opportunity to take shelter with a bit of privacy. Expect to spend a few more minutes than required admiring its unique architectural design or reflecting on the history of the city.
The best part: it was designed by three students from the Academy of Fine Arts – Adnan Alagic, Amila Hrustić and Bojana Kanlic. They put in their entry to a contest as students in 2007. Then, on the 22nd of August 2012, they saw their winning design come to fruition. While the design of the bridge is open to various interpretations, according to the designers themselves, “The basic idea of the bridge is the union of the secular and spiritual with the loop as a symbolic gate.” Makes sense, when you consider that the former church is the now the centre of the Academy.
While I didn’t see it at night, I believe it is illuminated with white LED lights, giving it a modern urban look and feel. Hats off, I say.