This section describes
the property and the context within surrounding region, provides cultural and environmental
information and interests.
1.1. General information
1.1.1. Country (and State Party if different)
Bosnia and Herzegovina
1.1.2. State, Province or Region
Entity Republika Srpska
Sarajevo Macro Region
1.1.3. Name of Property
Mehmed paša Sokolovic’s
Bridge in Višegrad
1.1.4. Geographical coordinates to the nearest second
Višegrad: 43.78°N 19.30°E
paša Sokolovic’s Bridge in Višegrad: 43°46’53,2’’ N 19°17’16,89’’ E
1.2. Summary description of the property
The historical monument - the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge in Višegrad -
is a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as laid down in the Decision
no.08.2-6-101/03-5, issued by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.
The national monument benefits from the highest degree of legal protection. All
executive and development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions
of the Decesion are hereby revoked
The Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge was built in 1571-77 over the River
Drina, on the main route between Bosnia and Istanbul, the capital of the
Ottoman Empire, it was a key point in the development of the town of Višegrad,
and the surrounding region.
This is an outstanding example of bridge architecture, founded by the
locally-born Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic, later the Grand Vizier to three sultans,
and designed by the great court architect Sinan. The Bosnian novelist Ivo
Andric was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1961 for his epic novel The Bridge over the Drina, which
celebrates its long and dramatic history and the role it has played in the
lives of the people.
The Bridge has been glorified by folk tradition and folk poetry, by
historiography and writers, artists and visitors more then any other piece of
human work in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The bridge is one of the most magnificent works of architecture. The
uniqueness of the Višegrad
bridge is associated
largely with its form – a geniculate structure composed of a section with
eleven arches spanning the Drina, and a four-arched ramp by means of which the
bridge takes a right angle to join the left bank, following the lie of the
land. The bridge is carried by nine great stone piers. The width of the road over
the bridge is 6.00 m. The parapet walls are 60 cm thick and 179.44 m. long. The
access ramp is about 6.60 m. wide including the parapet walls, and about 120.00
m. long. There are four arches in the ramp, a larger one in the angle (4.50 m.
wide) and three smaller ones spanning a brook that flows into the Drina. The arches
are classical depressed arches with relatively small eccentric centres - about
1.00 m., with a depth of 85cm – making them almost semicircular.
Above the facing walls, at the level of the roadway, is a moulded
limestone cornice 30 cm high on
which rests a solid stone
parapet. The sixth pier is ornamented. On the upstream side, it is of
triangular profile, grading into a rectangular extension bearing a blind portal
with chronogrammatic inscription. On the downstream side it is polygonal in
shape, grading into a rectangular extension with built-in seats, which are
still used to this day. The stone from which the bridge was built was quarried
in Banja, about five kilometers downstream on the right bank of the Drina.
Beyond its local significance, the immediately recognizable Višegrad
Bridge is one of the few
features that could be
accorded the role of iconic representation of the identity of Bosnia and
Herzegovina. The bridge is the symbol of the potential of Bosnians and
“By comparison with every other major bridge in the Balkans, the Mehmed
Pasha Sokolovic Bridge in Višegrad is the most important engineering and
architectural achievement, preserving the highest degree of authenticity,
thereby representing a valuable and unique testimony to classical Ottoman
bridges erected in the Balkans in the 16th century”.
As returned for pedestrian, the management plan provides for it to be
revived by holding summer
meeting, "Coffee on
the Bridge," discussions, poetry evenings, art exhibitions on the bridge
and the like.
The original use of the
bridge can thereby also contribute to its presentation and sustainability of
1.3. Location and Setting
The bridge was built to span a fast-flowing, capricious river Drina, which
dictated the engineering
treatment based on
lateral forces. The original location of the bridge remains unaltered.
With the construction of the Bajina Bašta hydroelectric power plant in
1968, followed in 1990 by the Višegrad hydroelectric power plant, the setting
of the bridge has lost its original features. The construction of the dam
raised the water level of the Drina, which has markedly altered the proportions
of the visible part of the bridge. Since the power plants were built, the piers
have largely been submerged in calm, deep water.
The boundary of the Bridge, encloses structure itself and a zone extending
100 meters upstream and downstream from the bridge, and 100 meters in width on
both sides, covers area of app. 0,2 hectares, was formally designated as the
First protection zone. Within I protection zone strict measures are designated forbidding
new constructions except conservation-restoration works.
1.5. Appendices to part 1.1. – 1.4.
Annex II: Maps
AII -1 THE MAP OF BOSNIA
AII -2 THE MAP OF BOSNIA
AND HERZEGOVINA – ENTITIES
AII -3 THE MAP OF
AII -4 SITE MAP
AII -5 TOPOGRAPHY MAP OF
AII -6 AREAL VIEW OF
AII -7 ORTO-PHOTO RECORD
OF THE CITY
AII -8 ORTO -PHOTO RECORD
OF THE BRIDGE
AII -9 PROTECTION ZONE
AND BUFFER ZONE
AII -10 ORTO -PHOTO
RECORD OF THE BRIDGE - PROTECTION ZONE AND BUFFER ZONE
AII -11 GEOLOGICAL MAP OF
BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
AII -12 MAP OF
EARTHQUAKES IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
AII -13 MAP OF
EARTHQUAKES IN VIŠEGRAD MUNICIPALITY
AII -14 RELIABILITY OF
BUILDINGS IN THE FIRST PROTECTION ZONE
AII -15 CURRENT USE OF
THE BUILDINGS IN THE FIRST PROTECTION ZONE
AII -16 HEIGHT OF
BUILDINGS IN THE PROTECTION BELT
AII -17 DRAFT REGIONAL
PLAN OF RS TO 2015
AII -18 DRAFT REGIONAL
PLAN OF RS TO 2015
Annex III: Technical
AIII: 1 PLAN OF VIŠEGRAD
FROM AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN PERIOD
AIII: 2 SITUATION OF THE
BRIDGE IN THE SCALE OF 1:1562,5 FROM 1911
AIII: 3 PLANS OF
INVESTIGATION WORKS FROM 1911
AIII: 4 FACADES FROM 1907
Annex IV: Photo
AIV: AIVb-1 Mehmed-pasha
Sokolovic bridge in Visegrad, view from the approach road, 2002.
AIV: AIVb-2 Mehmed-pasha
Sokolovic bridge with surrounding, downstream façade, view from North, on the
left side of the photo, the right river bank with Orthodox Church is showed,
AIV: AIVb-13 Mehmed-pasha
Sokolovic Bridge in Visegrad, downstream façade, view from the left river bank
during the high water level, 2004.
AIV: AIVb-15 Mehmed-pasha
Sokolovic Bridge in Visegrad, downstream façade, view from the left river bank,
1.6. Cultural information
There are many prominent persons – the architect, picture conservers, and
writers – associated with the bridge in Višegrad. The works of three of them
have left a significant mark on the history of human kind: Grand Vizier Mehmed
Pasha Sokolovic, who endowed the bridge; the architect of the bridge in
Višegrad, Sinan; and the writer Ivo Andric, whose lyrical reflections on the
bridge, in the form of the novel Na Drini
cuprija (available in English as The
Bridge over the Drina), received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Mehmed-paša Sokolovic (1505-1579), founder of
the bridge and Grand Vizier to three sultans –
Suleyman the Magnificent
(1520-1566), Selim II (1566-1574), and Murat III (1574-1595), was one of the
most prominent characters
in the Ottoman Empire of the second half of the 16th century and, concerning
political life, the most
prominent Bosnian in Ottoman period.
Mimar Koca Sinan ibn Abd
the architect of the Višegrad Bridge, was the most famous of all the architects
of the Ottoman Empire (from 1548 to 1588) and one of the greatest architects
the world has known. The Višegrad Bridge is one of his two most important
designs of this type.
Ivo Andric (1892-1975), the most
important prose writer from this region in the past century, received the
highest recognition in literature, the Nobel Prize in 1961 for the novel “The
Bridge over the Drina”. Published in 1945, the Novel is a chronological account
of great event surrounding the Bridge over the Drina, testimoning: Everything passes, only the bridge remains
to show the frailty of human destiny.
Literary evenings entitled "Down the Višegrad Trails" are
traditionally held in Višegrad to honour the country's Nobel Laureate.
“The Bridge over the Drina left an impression on travelogues of all
epochs, from Evlija Celebija in
the 17th century to
authors from the 20th century such as Peter Handke, Joe Sacco, Peter Maas”.
legends relating to the
Višegrad Bridge have been recorded in older Bosnian-Herzegovinian
periodicals—in almanacs published at the end of the 19th and beginning of the
20th century, as well as in the first professional journal for history,
archaeology and ethnology—the Annual of
the National Museum in Sarajevo”.
The Bridge inspired the folk poetry; has become motiv and inspiration in
The oldest known drawing of the Višegrad Bridge was published in the Allgemeine Bauzeitung in 1873. The
Bridge has been a motif and inspiration for the artists; the
Bosnian-Herzegovinian prominent ones from the second half of the 20th century:
Vladimir Vojinovic, Mario Mikulic, Ibrahim Ljubovic, Vojo Dimitrijevic, Mica Todorovic
and Mladen Kolobaric, Hasan Fazlic and Mersad Berber. “In the Višegrad Town
Gallery, various transpositions of this motif can be seen in the works signed
by Veljko Mihajlovic, Biljana Vukovic, Divna Jelenkovic, Zdravko Mandic, Branko
Nikitovic, Melisa Poper, Erika Marija Gutenšvager, Julija Suhoveckaja, Hadik
Ðula and many other artists whose works are prominent on the contemporary
domestic and international art scene”.
Višegrad Bridge was featured in documentaries, a Film News segment on old
stone bridges on Drina and Žepa in 1970s; and later immortalised in the film by
the famous Yugoslav director Žiko Ristic.
“..at the moment the 200 Convertible Mark bill is decorated by a portrait
of Andric and the splendid Bridge over the Drina”.
1.7. Environmental information
The Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge is situated in Višegrad, a town where
the river Rzav flows into the river Drina.
The Bridge was built at the 93rd kilometre of the Drina river which
measures a total of 350 km. At
the location of the
Bridge, there is a small valley in Drina's canyon system, immediately to the
south of the
mouth of the river Rzav.
The local relief conditions, as well as the Višegrad lake and the relatively
low altitude make for a moderate continental climate with certain microclimatic
characteristics. The valley is enclosed by mountain ranges of the karst relief
on the west and mountain ranges of the fluvio-denudational relief on the east.
This is where the river Drina moulded its bed at a depth of some 800 m.
The town is situated in the middle of the municipality positioned on the
eastern border of Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina, towards SR Serbia
on the east. Due to its position, Višegrad has always gravitated towards
Sarajevo, but it also represented a link between BiH and Serbia. The
Sarajevo-Višegrad-Užice highway passes through town. In the past, traffic on
this highway used to pass over the old bridge. When a new bridge was built in
1991, about a kilometre downstream, the traffic was redirected towards it. Following
the Decision of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments which proclaimed
the Bridge a national monument in January 2003, it was taken out of the motor
traffic system completely.
The town developed on the mobile ground morphology of the steep river
banks which came together so that the elevations were integrated into the urban
structure of the central part of town. These elevations make up the immediate
surroundings of the Bridge, especially on the left bank where there are no
buildings since it is made up of the steep sides of the surrounding hills.
The specific morphology conditioned the construction in the narrow belt along
the road parallel with the river. Other buildings were added in a narrow belt
along the road, some 60-50m from the bank. Dynamic traffic activities around
the Bridge prompted the development of accompanying functions (trade,
Residential areas developed at the same time. The land portion at the place
where the Rzav river flows into the Drina, which is like a narrow peninsula
invading the water, has developed as a residential and commercial block ending
in a sports and leisure zone. This attractive space with significant tourist
and recreation potential is located some 600m downstream from the Bridge.
The zone surrounding the Bridge has always represented a place of central
town functions. In this
part of town, some 500m
from the bridge, the town administrative centre developed. Today it is the town
of Višegrad, the centre of the Višegrad Municipality which, according to the
estimates of the RS Institute of Statistics from 2004, has a population of
There are no buildings on the steep left bank. The highway passes along it
from upstream coming
from Sarajevo and
Rogatica and continuing on towards the new bridge, downstream from the Mehmed
Pasha Sokolovic Bridge. The natural environment of the left bank and the space
upstream from the Bridge, also without buildings, is an extraordinary natural
environment that brings out the beautiful architecture of the Bridge even more.
Today, the steep hills above the Bridge contains some buildings with the
church dominating one of the hilltops. Southeast from the Bridge, railroad
tracks cut across the Drina canyon and pass through the town along its southern
With this development of urbanisation, the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge
found itself in the southern zone of town which is also the urban centre of
Višegrad, but which cannot spread upstream or to the west of the Bridge due to
the configuration of the terrain. Therefore, the Bridge's form and architecture
are made even more dominant in this specific natural environment.
The area around Višegrad is rich with sources of thermal waters with
healing qualities. At one such source, in the mountain larch forest only 5 km
from the centre of town, there is a hotel with cottages offering tourism, spa
and recreational contents. The thermal waters gush by the hotel, cascading down
towards the valley of the Drina. The hotel was named after an endemic plant
called "fairy whisp" that grows by the stream. (Adianthum capillus – veneris (fairy whisp), found in Banja Luka
(Vrucica), Srebrenica (Crni Guber), Višegrad (area around the spa. The species
is characterised by an exceptionally narrow ecological primary property and can
be found only near thermo-mineral springs of a certain temperature and a
certain chemical composition).
The potential of the thermal waters was grasped by urban planners some ten
years ago when, under the auspices of the town, they devised a plan of a
tourist village on the right bank of the Drina, in the beautiful environment of
the valley where the Drina spreads out into a lake. At that location in the immediate
vicinity of the thermal springs, they envisioned a modern tourist centre based
on the principles of eco-tourism, and the bio-climactic and natural advantages
of the location. The tourist, recreational and
health potentials of the
thermal waters were included in this concept, but were also seen as an energy resource
that could be used to heat buildings and provide hot water in the tourist
Unfortunately, this project was never realised due to a lack of material
means in the local community.
To the east of the town, near the village of Dobrun, there is a Christian
Orthodox monastery from the 14th century. Today it is a complex with a church
and accompanying buildings. This tourist destination is located near the
Višegrad-Dobrun-Vardište railroad tracks which are being reconstructed in order
to revive railroad transport methods from the past as a tourist attraction.
The railroad will connect to the already constructed tourist railroad in
SR Serbia known as the "Shargan 8". The "Shargan 8" with
its sites was a tourist attraction of cultural, historical and traditional significance.
The last film of the famous director, Emir Kusturica was about the fate of the
people who lived along this railroad during the recent tumultuous period of
history in this region.
The local relief conditions, as well as the Višegrad lake and the
relatively low altitude make for a
climate with certain microclimatic characteristics.
The average annual air temperature in Višegrad is approximately 11ºC. In
Višegrad, the winters are moderate with temperatures of 0.5 ºC above freezing
point on average (Tab.1). The first snowfall occurs usually around 1 December
and the last around 16 March, so that the snowfall period in the Višegrad
valley is on average some 30 days shorter in comparison to the valleys along
the upper portion of the Drina.
Average summer temperatures in Višegrad are around 20.5ºC, and due to a
low occurrence of
cloudiness and pronounced
frequency of calms, the summers are mostly sunny, warm and calm.
As stated earlier, the Višegrad Bridge is located in a smaller valley in
the canyon system of the Drina river. The valley is enclosed by mountain ranges
of the karst relief on the west and mountain ranges of the fluvio-denudational
relief on the east. This is where the river Drina moulded its bed at a depth of
some 800 m. The inclination of slopes towards the Drina varies between 20 to
30%. The western mountain slopes are generally steeper. Some 400m southeast of
the Višegrad Bridge, the valley narrows and the Drina enters a canyon.
Downstream from the Bridge, the Drina flows in a moderate arc – changing its
direction from northeast towards the north and northwest.
The river Drina is the main water flow and lowest erosion level in the
Višegrad area. Surface and subterranean waters are drained from the surrounding
mountain ranges, down their sides and along numerous gulches. Some 200 m
downstream from the Bridge, the torrent creek Jablanica flows into the Drina
from the west, and some 800 m downstream the torrent stream Rzav flows into the
With the building of the Bajina Bašta hydroelectric plant in 1968, an
accumulation of water 54 km long was created in the Drina reaching the upstream
area of the Bridge. The Bridge piers are thus often 5 m deep in water.
With the building of the Višegrad hydroelectric plant 2.5 km upstream from
the Bridge which causes disturbances in the regular flow of the Drina and has a
direct effect on the foundation ground of the Bridge's piers, the Bridge is
1.7.4. Geological Composition and Structure of the Area
The area where the Višegrad Bridge was built is made up mainly of Triassic
-Jurassic rock of diabase igneous formation, Triassic quartz arenite, clay
minerals, shale, breccia sandstone and conglomerates as well as massive and
layered microspars and biointra-packstones and dolomites.
The above rock base is covered on the surface by diluvial,
diluvial-proluvial and proluvial deposits
of varying depth.
The riverbed is filled with deposits of sand, gravel and muddy sediments
of various thicknesses.
In this area, the river Drina separates the structural tectonic unit
(zone) of Praca—Drina—Lim on the west from the structural tectonic unit (zone)
of Višegrad in the east.
1.7.5. Geological Engineering Qualities of Rocks and Rock
Deposits of gravel and sand make up the Drina riverbed. They are
Pleistocene-Holocene sediments. Although mainly made up of sand and gravel, the
structure of this complex is partly made of clay and mud sediments as well.
Their thickness varies as to their physical and mechanical qualities. These
sediments are mainly permeable.
The alluvial sediments of the riverbed are exposed to processes of erosion
1.7.6. Seismic Characteristics
According to the data from the Seismic Chart of the Rulebook on Technical
Norms for Building Construction in Seismic Areas, this area is located in a
zone of maximum expected earthquake intensity of 8ºMSC, seismic coefficient
Cs=0.050 for a tertian period of 500 to 10,000 years.
1.8. Resource use history
Occupation: In regular use
Current use(s): Currently in use as a pedestrian bridge.
After listing the Bridge of Mehmed paša Sokolovic, in January 2003, the Commission
has urged the authorities of municipality Višegrad to forbid use of the Bridge
for traffic. In August 2003 vehicle traffic was forbidden on the Bridge.
Through its 430 years of existence “the bridge in Višegrad has retained
its original function as a crossing point, meeting place and public space, but
the way it has been used has differed at various times in the past…Above all,
it was originally a strategic structure, linking two sections of the road
between East and West. …, was the one real and permanent crossing in the whole
middle and upper course of the Drina and an indispensable link on the road
between Bosnia and Serbia and further, beyond Serbia, with other parts of the Turkish
Empire, all the way to Stambul."
“Once completed in 1577, the bridge was used by pedestrians, ox- and
horse-drawn carts, combat vehicles, horsemen, merchants and the army. Wedding
and funeral processions wended their way over it. Changes in communications and
in particular in methods of transport led to changes in the load borne by the bridge.
In the 20th century, motor vehicles used the bridge; … the incompatibility of
pedestrian and motor traffic on a narrow bridge such as the one in Višegrad,
even though the original primary function was preserved, had an impact on the
original way in which it was used. The use of the bridge for motor traffic was
the reason the parapet was removed from its original position where it met the
ramp at a right angle, parallel with the river (1952). This provided motor
vehicles with direct access from the road to the bridge, avoiding the tight
right-angled turn that the bridge originally had. The parapet and original form
of the bridge were restored in 1986 after the new road bridge over the Drina
By Decision of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments no.
08.3-6-101/03-5 of 2003, and Decision of Višegrad Municipality no. 01-022-6/03,
which followed hard upon the publication of the Decision of the Commission, all
motor vehicle traffic over the Višegrad Bridge was banned. Since March
2003 the bridge has been
used solely by pedestrians, more as a promenade than an everyday, obligatory
route. The extent to
which the original function and use have been preserved in this case is
albeit adapted to
changing ways of life in the modern age by comparison with the time when the
bridge was first built…
The second function of the bridge from its very completion derives from
its use as a place of the
greatest significance in
the town of Višegrad. The bridge also served as town square, meeting place, an open-air
coffee shop, a place to idle away the hours and for the public proclamation of
official decisions, and even, at times, of verdic ts. The central, wider part
of the bridge, known as the kapija
(gate), denoted this focus of the public life of the town. In the award-winning
novel by Ivo Andric, the bridge is described as follows: "The [central
terrace] on the right as one came from the town was called the sofa. It was raised by two steps and
bordered by benches for which the parapet served as a back; steps, benches and
parapet were all made of the same shining stone. That on the left, opposite the
sofa, was similar but without benches. In the middle of the parapet, the stone
rose higher than a man and in it, neared the top, was inserted a plaque of white
marble with a rich Turkish inscription, a tarih,
with a carved chronogram which told in thirteen verses the name of the man who
built the bridge and the year in which it was built. Near the foot of this
stone was a fountain, a thin stream of water flowing from the mouth of a stone
snake. On this part of the terrace a coffee-maker had installed himself with
his copper vessels and Turkish cups and ever-lighted charcoal brazier, and an
apprentice who took the coffee over the way to the guests on the sofa. Such was
At the time when the bridge was used for motor traffic, this original and
extremely important function for the preservation of the authentic use of the
bridge was neglected. The management plan provides for it to be revived by
holding summer meeting, "Coffee on the Bridge," discussions, poetry evenings,
art exhibitions on the bridge and the like. The original use of the bridge can
thereby also contribute to its presentation and sustainability of use.
In both folk tradition and literary works the bridge is often shown as a
place where harsh punishments were publicly carried out. This aspect of the
bridge is perhaps most strikingly described in the Bridge over the Drina…. In
1992 the bridge was used in this way in reality, as a place of public torture
and the brutal mass execution of several hundred of the inhabitants of
Višegrad. … – and this aspect of authenticity could be presented through the
memorial function of the bridge as the place where people were killed, a place
of reconciliation and mutual understanding, as provided for in the management
1.9. Land use history
“The bridge over the river Drina, which “is one of the most monumental examples of the architectural heritage of
the Turkish period,” was built between 1571 and 1577, on the spot where a
road linked Bosnia with the East. In the mediaeval period this was already a
strategically important place, as a result of which a settlement grew up there
for the purpose of both controlling merchants’ caravans and serving them as a
way station. The town then belonged to the powerful feudal Pavlovic family. In
half of the 16th century,
the Drina was spanned by a wooden bridge, which is shown on Kuripešic’s
drawing. This suggests that the Sokolovic Bridge was not built at some
arbitrarily-chosen spot, but at a place where the need to cross the Drina
served the state economy and the Empire’s expansion strategy.”
The oldest documents about the Bridge are concerned with the expropriation
of land necessary for its construction (protocols from the Višegrad
administrative area from the Ottoman period).
The town of Višegrad developed around the Bridge, in the tame and spacious
valley of the Drina
river, in the past 4 and
½ centuries. The Višegrad caršija
stretches from the Bridge on the right bank. The caršija is partly in the
valley and partly on the hillside. At the edge of the main part of the caršija,
Rzav flows into the river
Drina. The main part of the caršija is situated in the triangle between the
right bank of the Drina and the left bank of Rzav. Nova Mahala, a newer part of
town, is situated on the right bank of Rzav. Beyond Nova Mahala are the
residential quarters of Bijelo Polje, Vucine, Glavica, Garce and Kalata.
1.10. Public and private interests
“The Bridge was built at the peak of power and glory of Ottoman Empire, in
the period when several men originating from Bosnia were influential and
authoritative in the very heart of Empire. Their influence resulted in ability
to build glorious endowments in their homeland. Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic was the
most famous among them and his legacy is immense – but the bridge across the
river of his origin – this bridge in Višegrad - is in fact the most famous… The
bridge is associated with important historical events from different periods of
Bosnia -Herzegovinian history. It has been glorified by folk tradition and folk
poetry, by historiography and writers, artists and visitors more then any other
piece of human work in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It is a place that lot of citizens associate with the memories of
historical and social changes, rebellions, wars, persecution of civilians –
what adds to this old structure built in 1551-1557 – a new symbolic and
semantic layer that some World Heritage sites have as a basic and prevailing
Both in the past and in the present, the Bridge has been part of the
history and everyday life of the local population. For centuries, Višegrad has
integrated the arches of the Bridge and its significance in connecting banks,
people and histories. In that context, the local population, in the widest
sense of the word - meaning the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, sees the
Bridge as their heritage and their treasure.
Since 1951, the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge was placed under the state
protection, by Ordinance no. 1099/51, issued by the Institute for Protection of
Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of
Bosnia and Herzegovina.
By Ordinance no. 02-741-3, dated 18 April 1962, it was registered in the Immovable
Cultural Monuments Register, under the number of 208, as a cultural monument of
Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During a session held on 27 and 28 March 1990, the Commission for
Categorization of Architectural Heritage, appointed by Ordinance no. 10-338-8/89,
issued by the Institute for Protection of Cultural, Historical and Natural
Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, issued an Opinion that the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic
Bridge should be listed as a Category I asset of cultural and historical
heritage, pursuant to Article 14 of the Law on Protection of Heritage of Bosnia
The Bridge was classified as Category 0 - monument of international
importance in the Regional
Plan for BiH up to 2002.
The historical monument - the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge in Višegrad -
is a national
monument of Bosnia and
Herzegovina, as laid down in the Decision.
The Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge is public property owned by the state.
In the first protected zone there are no buildings on the left bank of the
Drina, while on the opposite bank, there are 8 privately owned buildings in the
The narrow belt along the bank (5-10m) is public property.
The remainder of the regulated natural environment is contained in the
green terrace beneath the
hotel, immediately next
to the Bridge.
Before 1992, some buildings and plots of land in the immediate
surroundings of the Bridge were
owned by the state. These
were the hotel, two residential and commercial buildings, a shopping centre and
a high school. After 1992, the above buildings became privately owned through
the privatisation process. The high school building, however, remained the
ownership of the state.
Immediately before the war in 1992, private investors set up prefabricated
buildings – shops along the road in the immediate vicinity of the Bridge.
The hotel complex is the most valuable construction potential in the 1st
This zone contains physical structures which are not representative due to
the state of the buildings. In the long period of the Bridge's existence, the
space surrounding it, although the central part of town, did not manage to
develop or grow into a firmer urban centre that would make a complete whole
along with the Bridge.
The main problem of the squalid state of the buildings and spaces in the
zone around the Bridge is the unfavourable investment potential of their
present owners and the absence of a vision for the design of this important
It is necessary to plan the design of private plots of land with
individual residential building upstream from the Bridge in accordance with the
values of their environment.
The planning and design of the space and protected zone is of public
interest from the town and the state.
1.11. Economic interests
The Višegrad region is currently economically underdeveloped, and the
inscription of the Bridge to the World Heritage List would act as a spur to
sustainable development programmes and strategies, potentially bringing back
displaced persons and encouraging cultural tourism, as well as saving a
monument of international significance.
For reviving economic potentials and individual economic systems, tourism
should be seen as a
source of income for
companies, entrepreneurs and the municipality as far as the activation of
certain capacities is concerned.
The existing potentials of the Municipality imply the possibility of
developing a tourism offer intended for various market segments:
cultural and historical heritage of the
Municipality, primarily the Višegrad Bridge, but also the childhood home of
Nobel Laureate Ivo Andric are important preconditions for the development of cultural
the Dobrun Monastery with a collection
of icons and its accompanying elements of religious architecture is another
potential for tourism development intended for tourists and visitors interested
in religious sites,
health spa services,
various activities related to
eco-tourism, outdoor activities, tours in environments of untouched nature,
study of endemic plant life,
hunting, fishing and rafting,
art colony events and activities,
literary meetings dedicated to the life and works of Ivo Andric,
additional activities that could be
organised during the height of the tourism season in relation to the history of
the Bridge – various performances, meetings, catering events that would enliven
the Bridge and its surroundings.
With respect to the current state of (under)development of the Višegrad
Municipality and the absence of significant plans (according to the existin g
Municipal Development Strategy) for reviving economic potentials and individual
economic systems, tourism should be seen as a source of income for
and the municipality as far as the activation of certain capacities is
In that respect, increasing tourist visits would contribute to increasing
the income and business for the recreation centre (health spa), the Višegrad
hotel, a museum that could be established in Ivo Andric's childhood home, as
well as room and board income for the monastery inn (pending completion of
construction works) and
income of all accompanying contents such as local shops, restaurants and
catering establishments, shops that would sell souvenirs and other products
related to the cultural sites of Višegrad.
According to the data and results of the survey, income from tourism
(presented in Bosnian-Herzegovinian statistics only as income from catering,
but pertaining to room and board) has multiplication effects in the amount of
1.20 to 1.64 depending on the quality and scope of accompanying contents. In
any case, visits to certain locations cause chain reactions of spending and
income generation at the location, and the amounts depend primarily on the
originality and quality of goods or services on offer.
In this context, income for the Municipal budged would be directly secured
through tax and other
duties imposed, and also
from residential taxes and tariffs associated with certain locations.
Apart from these fiscal foundations for the development of tourism, Višegrad
already has a developed basis for organising various tourism events and
activities that facilitate a seasonal increase in the number of visitors and,
hence, the necessary preconditions for being "introduced" as a
tourist attraction on the tourism map of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region.
Namely, there is the art colony organised at the monastery and spa, the
"Down the Višegrad Trails" Literary Evenings dedicated to the life
and works of Ivo Andric and librarianship meetings.
The event dedicated to the life and works of Ivo Andric is an
underexploited potential for attracting tourists from abroad interested in
literature for various reasons, including Nobel Laureates (in both this and
other categories). This is a very diverse set of potential visitors that can
serve as a basis for spreading information about the site.
The natural potentials of the area facilitate the development of other
forms of tourism, primarily relating to preserved natural environments and
hunting and fishing facilities, as well as various outdoor activities and
winter sports. In that context, Višegrad should be promoted as a destination
not only of cultural tourism, but also offering spa and eco-tourism.
The basis for these activities should be a network of all potentially
interested participants (bearers of tourism offers) including the owners of
private houses or summer houses that could provide accommodation for tourists
in natural (untouched) conditions and contribute to activities unrelated to
urban life. Namely, this would be a type of tourism whose significance and
number of customers have increased considerably in the past few years, however,
not as mass tourism, but as a result of focusing on special groups interested
in this type of tourism. In that sense, when promoting these potentials, it is
necessary to establish a web page and use the Internet as the best way to reach
According to everything stated above, the key bearer of tourism
development is the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge. Its place and role in the history
of this area, but also in that of the Ottoman Empire, place it on the
historical map which is indispensable for all those in any way connected with
this field. The Bridge should therefore be used as:
the primary element of tourism to be
complemented by other activities, and
as an exceptionally important secondary
factor of the offer to be presented in various tourist package deals for the
territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, making it a "secondary bait" for
opting for the "Vilina vlas" recreational centre and spa as opposed
to a similar destination elsewhere in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Diverse offer primarily determined by cultural and historical promotion is
an advantage of the
destination and the
Municipality of Višegrad and that it should be used in advertising geared at
tourists and visitors.
1.12 Appendices to part 1.6. – 1.11.
Annex I: Documentation
relating to the Bridge of Mehmed pasha Sokolovic in Višegrad