2. DESCRIPTION AND EVALUATION OF SITE FEATURES AND POTENTIAL
This section describes
existing character of the Bridge, identification of potential damaging operations
and threats, values and potential of the site.
2.1 Conservation status
«The Bridge is known to have been repaired some time around 1625
(reparation works on the Bridge, as mentioned by E. Çelebi, Turkish
travelogue), and again in 1873-75 (repairs to the piers and wooden tower), 1911
The bridge has suffered a number of major floods, of which the worst was
“Veliki povodanj” or Great Flood of November 1896, when the level of the Drina
was 1.60 m. above the bridge. The flood caused serious damage to the Bridge –
the korkaluk (parapet) of the bridge
collapsed, and was later replaced by a quarry stone wall (Annex IV,
AIVa-1,AIVa-2, Photo of the Great Flood).
In 1911/12, a technical survey of damage and repair work to piers
nos.4,5,6,7,8 and 9 was carried out by Austrian engineers, (Annex III:
documentation from the Archive of Bosnia and Herzegovina).
In 1914/15, during World War I, when the Austrian Army was withdrawing
from Višegrad, two piers were blown up by explosive, because of the war-time
strategic importance of the road and the Bridge in eastern Bosnia. A steel
structure was laid over the demolished sections (Annex IV, AIVa-5, AIVa-6,
Photo of the damaged Bridge).
The following year, the Serbian Army destroyed another pier when
retreating. The bridge remained in this condition until 1939 when it was
repaired. (1939, 1940 – reconstruction of the destroyed sections of the Bridge
– reconstruction of the stone arches and piers of the bridge (Annex III:
documentation from the Archive of Bosnia and Herzegovina).
During the intervening period, 1915-1939, the sections of the bridge that
had been destroyed were fitted with an iron structure to make the bridge passable.
In October 1943, during World War II, when the Germans were in retreat,
that part of the Bridge was destroyed again - piers No. 3,4,5 and 6, along with
five arches were completely destoyed.
In 1950, 1951 and 1952, the Ministry of Local Communications, Roads
Administration, rebuilt the destroyed arches and carried out the restoration of
the surviving sections. The visible sections of the structure were copied from
the surviving originals. The material used was extracted from the old quarry.
The roadway, parapet, sofas and
portal were completely renovated (Annex IIII: documentation from the National
Institute for the Protection of Monuments of BiH).
By Ruling no. 1099/51 issued by the Institute for the Protection of the
Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the bridge
was placed under the protection of the state.
In 1952, granite pavé was laid
on the section between pier II and pier VII. The pavé was laid on a layer of
sand over a base layer of quarry stone. On the rest of the bridge, it was laid
over the original cobbles.
By Ruling no. 02-741-3 dated 18 April 1962, it was registered in the
Immovable Cultural Monuments Register under number 208 as a Cultural Monument
of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
1966 saw the construction of the Bajina Bašta hydroelectric power plant
downstream from the Bridge.
In 1977 the plaque on the gatehouse, the mihrab of the bridge, was
reconstructed and the damage to the bridge was inspected.
In 1978 the roadway structure over the bridge was replaced.
In 1979 work began on drawing up the technical documentation for repairs
to the damage to the bridge.
During 1980-1982, after research works were conducted, the foundations of
three piers (No. 5, 6 and 8) of the Bridge were repaired according to a project
by professor Gojkovic, a civil engineer. The works were suspended because of a
shortfall of funds, (Annex III: documentation from the National Institute for
the Protection of Monuments of BiH).
In 1989, the Višegrad hydroelectric power plant was constructed upstream
from the Bridge.
At a session held 27 and 28 March 1990, the Commission for the
Categorization of the Architectural Heritage, appointed by Ruling no.
10-338-8/89 issued by the Institute for the Protection of the 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 the
cultural and historical heritage, pursuant to article 14 of the law. The
Regional Plan for BiH to 2002 classified the bridge as a Category 0 monument on
account of its outstanding beauty.
In 1991 the ramp was reconstructed, to a design project by the Institute
for the Protection of the
Cultural, Historical and
Natural Heritage of BiH (Annex III:documentation from the National Institute
for the Protection of Monuments of BiH).
In 1992, repair works started on pier No. 2.
In 2003, by Decision of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of
BiH, the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge was designated as a national monument of
Bosnia and Herzegovina (Annex I, AI-11: Decision of the Commission to Preserve
National Monuments of BiH no.: 08.2-6-101/03-5).
In 2003, vehicular traffic was suspended at the request of the Commission,
since heavy traffic posed a threat to the structure (AnnexI, AI-11: Decision of
the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of BiH no.: 08.2-6-101/03-5;
AI-12: Ruling of the Town Planning and Building Inspector no. 16-362-119/05).
In 2004, underwater video recording of the Bridge's foundations was
In 2005 the Bridge was added to the WMF List of the world’s 100 most
In 2005, a geolaser survey of the bridge was begun”.
Chronology of the works
on the Bridge:
1. 1571-1577 – construction of the Bridge,
2. around 1625 – reparation works on the Bridge, as mentioned by E. Celebi,
3. 1875 - reparation works on the Bridge – reparation of the piers and
4. November, 1896 – big flood caused serious damages on the Bridge,
5. 1911/12 - technical survey of damages and repair works on piers
No.4,5,6,7,8 i 9 done by Austrian engineers,
6. 1914, 1915 – damage of the Bridge – two piers were blown up by explosive,
given the strategic
significance of the road
and the Bridge in war-times in eastern Bosnia,
7. 1939, 1940 - reconstruction of the destroyed sections of the Bridge,
8. 1943 - damage of the Bridge for the same reasons as during World War I,
piers No. 3,4,5 and 6, along with five arches were completely destoyed,
9. 1949-1952 - reconstruction of the destroyed sections of the Bridge
(During 1950, 1951 and 1952, the Road Administration of the Ministry of Local
Traffic reconstructed the destroyed vaults and carried out the restoration
works on some sections. The restored sections were constructed to match the preserved
sections. The material was taken from the old quarry. Restored were the
roadway, parapet, sofas and portal.),
10. 1960 – reconstruction of the road leading over the Bridge,
11. 1966 – construction of the hydroelectric power plant of
Bajina Bašta, downstream of the Bridge,
12. 1980-1982 - after research works were conducted, the
foundations of three piers (No. 5, 6 and 8) of the Bridge were repaired
according to the project by professor Gojkovic, a civil engineer. The works were
suspended because of the lack of funds,
13. 1989 - construction of the hydroelectric power plant of
Višegrad, upstream of the Bridge,
14. 1991 - the reconstruction of the ramp; it was designed
according to a project made by the Institute for Protection of Cultural, Historical
and Natural Heritage of BiH,
15. 1992 – repair works started on pier No. 2 but they were
16. 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina cut off the works.
The Bridge, however, did not suffer any damage as a result of immediate war
17. 2003 - the vehicular traffic was suspended as requested by
the Commission since the structure was exposed to the risks of heavy traffic,
18. 2004 - the underwater video recording of the Bridge's
foundations took place.
2.2 Identification of potential damaging operation and
During the procedure of filling the PTA form, in November 2004, an expert
from the Council of
Europe and experts from
the Commission to Preserve National Monuments inspected the monument.
The findings of an on site inspection of the bridge are as follows:
The bridge suffered no damage as a
result of war action,
Since the power plant is in constant
operation, the bridge is exposed to fluctuations in water flow and level on a
daily basis, which directly jeopardizes its stability and future survival.
Piers of the Bridge are constantly exposed to heavy waves and changes of the
environment, which reduces bearing capacity of the stone. Temporary protection
in the shape of steel panels has been erected on the second and fifth piers,
intended to prevent further erosion of the stone, but the intervention has had no
Damages made on the pedestrian side
have caused water leakage through the vaults, and freezing in winter time,
There has been shifting of outer layer
of the stone between the third and fifth vault of the bridge (as a result on
The bridge is at risk of rapid
deterioration as a result of the lack of regular maintenance - due to the lack
of financial means.
The construction of the Bajina Bašta hydroelectric power station and the
below the bridge has
diminished its aesthetic value. The construction of the Višegrad hydroelectric
station has still further
altered the hydrology of the area and poses a threat to the bridge's stability.
The historical monument of the Mehmed paša Sokolovic Bridge is either
directly or indirectly
endangered by the
Geo - Technical Instability / Erosion
of the foundations construction, caused by frequent changes of the water level;
becaused of that and because of ageing proces structure of the Bridge is in the
danger of failure – deformations and collapse, loss of material, detachment,
Dam Construction / Deterioration of the
stone construction of the piers due to frequent changes of the water level,
Neglect and Inadequate Maintenance,
there are no signs, clear paths or guarding around the Bridge,
Lack of Financial Resources for
maintenance and repair,
Inadequate Planning followed by
industrial development that actually ignores existence of the bridge and poor
integration of heritage into development plans; municipality Višegrad, because
of that, became isolated “dig”, concerning economical, cultural and tourism
2.2.1. Development pressures
Impact of Industry on the Bridge:
Industry is poorly developed in the Višegrad Municipality. Important
industrial plants for the production of paint and varnish, furniture, metal
industry (cables bearings) and civil engineering industry plants are not
working today due to insolvency proceedings. At this point in time, industrial
affect the Bridge and its
The impact of industry on the bridge is low, with a tendency to become
The industrial development of the Municipality of Višegrad cannot be restricted
by the designation of the Bridge as a national monument. It is possible,
however, to plan the development in line with the principles of the sustainable
development and environment protection. The industrial development may pose a significant
threat to the environment
and lead to the pollution of waters, air, soil, destruction of flora and fauna,
cultural and historical heritage, including the Bridge and Protection Zone of
This problem can be viewed within the wider context of protection of
tourism potentials. In that context, we can speak about developmental
pressures, potential problems due to unchecked economic development that could
damage and destroy potentials for the development of tourism.
A plan to revitalise existing industrial plants and build new ones is
vital for the development of the
These plans, however, must be made in accordance with the principles of
The development of sustainable tourism entails harmonisation of economic,
ecological, social and
cultural relations on the
territory of a certain destination.
It is therefore necessary to ensure protection from excessive economic
exploitation and devastation of areas intended for tourism activities. This has
already been a considerable problem in the Višegrad Municipality, primarily due
to the operation of the hydroelectric plant on the Drina and the structure of industry
in the Municipality. The current situation (most industrial plants have been
shut down) should be a starting point for a change in planning the future
development of economic and other ventures in the Municipality. Therefore, when
making a decision on the re-launching or re-activation of certain economic ventures
and capacities, it is necessary to ensure a realistic assessment of potential
harm for ecological balance and other aspects of the Municipality. As pointed
out in the section on contents exploitable for tourism purposes, most of them
depend on the preservation of an ecological and natural balance in this territory.
In order to prevent devastation as a consequence of future economic
development, it will be necessary to base Municipal development plans on
reinforcing and further development of the preconditions for the development of
tourism. In that context, future plants should be related to "clean
industry", that is, the operation or activation of those facilities liable
to endanger the environment and the fate of the Municipality's treasure should
Impact of the Use of Land on the Bridge:
The Decision on Designating the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge a National
Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina defines a Protection Zone stretching 100
meters up- and downstream from the Bridge where it prohibits the construction
of residential, commercial and agricultural facilities; the performance of any
works apart from conservation and restoration (upon approval and under
professional supervision of an appointed authority); the deposit of all forms
of waste; access by motor vehicles; infrastructure works, except in exceptional
cases and upon approval from the Republika Srpska ministry in charge of urban
planning and under the expert supervision of an appointed service; the
construction of road infrastructure and power facilities, quarries and other
polluters whose construction or operation could be detrimental to the national monument.
The impact of the inappropriate use of land is low. A negative impact on
the Bridge and Protection Zone of the Bridge may be caused by the improper and
environmentally unadjusted use of land with no respect for the inherited
architecture and Decision on the designation of the Bridge as the National Monument.
The Decision on Designating the Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge a national
monument stipulates strict measures in the first Protection Zone: “construction
of residential, commercial and agricultural facilities is prohibited, all works
are prohibited other than conservation and restoration works carried out according
to an approved project and under the professional supervision of the heritage
protection authority of Republika Srpska, all infrastructural works are
prohibited other than in exceptional cases with the approval of the relevant
ministry and under the professional supervision of the heritage protection
authority of Republika Srpska, construction of any infrastructure or power
facilities, quarries and other pollutants, the construction or operation of
which could be detrimental to the national monument is prohibited”.
The new Spatial Plan of the Višegrad Municipality valid until 2010 and the
new Urban Plan valid until 2015 that are to include the above limitations
pertaining to this area are currently being drafted.
Impact of Infrastructure on the Bridge:
A priority for the Bridge and its Protection Zone is the development of
road infrastructure that would take on all transit traffic as well as the
possible construction of a new bridge to connect the two parts of Višegrad on
the right and left bank of the Drina. It is also important to construct
infrastructure to improve use of the Bridge and its Protection Zone and enhance
it as a tourist attraction: lighting, canals for draining rainwater, benches, a
promenade, bicycle paths, piers for boats, platforms, catering establishments.
The construction of infrastructure in the protected zone which is not in direct
aid of the Bridge, such as landlines, aqueducts, heating systems, etc. could be
detrimental to the Bridge's Protection Zone.
The impact of the infrastructure works, which are not in connection with
the Bridge, is at the medium-high level. Any construction of infrastructure and
infrastructure works that may lead to alterations
in the Protection Zone of
the Bridge could be conducted, following the Decision proclaiming the
Mehmedpaša Sokolovic Bridge, only with a permit issued by the Ministry in
charge of regional planning of the Republika Srpska.
Moderating measure is planned infrastructure works in the Bridge zone.
2.2.2. Environmental pressures
Impact of Climate on the Bridge:
The climate in the Višegrad valley is moderate continental with long and
warm summers and cold
winters. The average
annual temperature is 16 ºC. January is the coldest month in the year with an
average temperature of 1-2 ºC, and July is the warmest month with an average
temperature of 24 ºC. The average annual precipitation is 1000 mm. Rainfall is
heaviest in the autumn and spring. Snowfall occurs in the period from November
to March. The snow cover is mostly up to 10 cm and rarely exceeds 50 cm.
Višegrad and the valley areas along the Drina river are surrounded by
hills. There are two large bodies of water up- and downstream from Višegrad
which frequently causes fog especially in the morning
The impact of climate on the Bridge is low. Snow cover and ice
formed in the wintertime reduce the safety on the Bridge. The Bridge is paved
with stone slabs that are very slippery even when covered with a thin layer of
Regular clearing as foreseen by the Management Plan would eliminate this
Impact of Water Quality on the Bridge:
The river Drina is a clean river rich in fish. The flow of Drina down to
Ljubovija is the original and
natural habitat of the
huchen (H. hucho) which is a protected species. The huchen thrives in clean
whose temperature is low
and which are rich in oxygen. This fish is very sensitive to pollutants, so its
presence in the Drina near Višegrad gives a good indication of the quality of
water. Due to this quality of
water, the river is
suitable for recreation (swimming, rafting, etc.) The town wastewater flows
into the Drina through collectors or, in individual cases, directly. Many
private houses have not been integrated into the sewage network, but have
individual septic tanks. Thanks to a small number of residents and the Drina's average
rate of flow of cca 300 m³/s, the river has a rapid self-purification rate
which contributes to the preservation of its quality and biodiversity.
Industrial facilities that could potentially pollute the river are not operational
today. There is practically no industrial wastewater. A worsening of the
quality of water would have a negative effect on the Bridge and the river as a
whole. This would in turn cause a drop in the number of visitors, poorer
development of tourism and a decrease of sports activities on the Drina and in
the vicinity of the Bridge.
The impact of drainage of the town's waste waters to the Bridge and
Protection Zone of the Bridge is low. It is possible to expect for the quality of waters
to become worse by the revitalization of the existing industrial plants/or by
the construction of the new ones, which would significantly reduce the tourist
offer of Višegrad.
Therefore, the Management Plan provides for monitoring water quality.
Impact of Air Quality on the Bridge:
The air in Višegrad is of top quality. War damages and difficulties in the
process of industrial renewal have eliminated the possibility of air pollution
by inorganic and organic pollutants. The sources of
air pollution in Višegrad
consist of households and other facilities using sold fuels for heating and
traffic. These sources have a negligible effect on air quality. Negative
influences are felt on foggy days and during air inversion when there is a
higher concentration of black smoke and an increase in CO2 and SO2 concentration
due to the burning of wood and fossil fuels. Višegrad does not have a heating
plant. The heating of all facilities is individual.
The impact of the occasional deterioration of air quality on the bridge is
low. Directing the traffic
over the Bridge, may lead
to the deterioration of air quality at the micro location of the Bridge and the
Protection Zone of the Bridge.
Prohibition of the traffic over the Bridge, in accordance with the
decision of the Commission, has
lead to the improvement
of air quality at the micro location of the Bridge and the Protection Zone of
However, the Management Plan foresees continuous monitoring of air
Impact of Flora and Fauna
on the Bridge:
The tourism offer of the Višegrad Municipality is enhanced by a large
number of various plant and
animal species in the
area. The very fact that 60% of the Višegrad Municipality area is forested and
that the river Drina is rich in autochthonous fish says enough of the
possibility to associate various other tourism activities to visits to the
Bridge. This area is famous for its fruit cultivation (12% of the area consists
of orchards) and great possibilities for agricultural development. Village
tourism and organic food production can be included in the tourism offer. The
river is rich in fish. The construction of the Višegrad hydroelectric plant
severed fish migration routes, so that regular introduction of autochthonous
fish into the river became necessary. The banks in the Bridge's Protection Zone
have not been cultivated and mainly contain wild plants. Grass and weeds grow
on the surface of the Bridge and especially on its sides, mainly along the fence,
from cracks between the stone blocks.
The negative impact of flora is at the medium-high level, while fauna has
no impact on the Bridge. The appearance of grass and weeds in the fissures of the
Bridge and between the slabs may cause the
development of cracks in
the slabs and permanent „corrosion“ of the stone blocks, as well as the deterioration
of the Bridge’s appearance.
Management Plan provides for regular cleaning of plant life from the
Impact of Landscape on the Bridge:
The landscape has a significant effect on the image of the Bridge. The
banks of the Drina river in the Bridge's Protection Zone and beyond have not
been cultivated. The Protection Zone lacks both technical and horticultural
design. The soil on the banks in the Protection Zone has not been stabilised;
there are no gutters or drainage canals for precipitation; the grass and trees
are mostly wild. The landscape is also affected by low water levels in the
Drina occurring occasionally during great droughts. In contrast to the Bridge's
Protection Zone that has obviously been neglected, Višegrad's surrounding areas
possess exceptionally beautiful landscapes with attractive scenic views from
the hills and mountains rich in flora and fauna.
The impact of landscape on the bridge is at the medium-high level. The un-landscaped
surrounding area may have a negative impact on the visual and aesthetic
impression of the Bridge.
The Planning and Policy Framework section of the Management Plan foresees
horticultural design for
the I Protection Zone of the Bridge and regulation of the Drina riverbed.
Available documentation: Study of climate
features of the wider area of the municipality of Višegrad planned to be used
for drafting the spatial and urban development plan
2.2.3. Natural Disasters and Risk Preparation
The Drina River is the biggest river in the region, which is spanned by
the Mehmed-paša Sokolovic Bridge. The Drina begins where the Tara and Piva
rivers merge. It flows from the south to the north. The Drina is the largest
tributary of the Sava, which flows into the Danube and belongs to the Black Sea
catchment area. The river is 341 km long. The surface of the catchment area is
19.570 km², the precipitation quantity is 700-3000 mm, the average specific
outflow rate is 19 l/s/km², and the average annual flow velocity at the estuary
is 425 m³/s. At a distance of 1 km downstream of the Bridge is the mouth of the
Rzav River into the Drina River, which is the peripheral part of the storage
lake of the HE Bajna Bašta, which extends to the Bridge itself. The Rzav River
has the features of a torrent river and brings large quantities of water to the
storage lakes of the HE Bajna Bašta during the heavy precipitation events.
The area of Višegrad was struck by a number of heavy floods. The heaviest
flood happened in 1896, when the level of the Drina River went up 1,60 m above
So far three hydro-electric power plants have been built on the Drina
River: the HE Višegrad, HE Bajna Bašta and HE Zvornik.
Impact of Floods on the Bridge:
The impact of floods on the Bridge is very big. Floods can cause
serious damage to the Bridge, have negative impacts on the structure of the
Bridge, its stability and appearance. Floods can cause serious damages to the
Drina River banks, i.e. the Protection Zone of the Bridge.
With proper regulation, the HE Višegrad and HE Bajina Bašta storage lakes
can have a compensatory function in the event of high precipitation. The
Management Plan provides for the establishment of activities necessary for
proper regulation of the operation of these hydroelectric plants.
Quantity of Waters -He Višegrad
The HE Višegrad is located upstream of the Bridge, at a distance of
approximately 2,5 km from the town of Višegrad. The HE Višegrad belongs to the
type of run-of-the-river power plants, with three generator units of the
nominal power of 105 MW each. The useful capacity of the storage lake is 101
mil. m³, the average annual water inflow to the storage lake is 342 m³/s, and
maximum gross water dip is 48,16 m. The prescribed ecological minimum for the
hydro-electric power plant is 50 m³/s.
Impact of the He Višegrad on the Bridge:
The impact of the HE Višegrad on the Bridge is substantial. The improper handling,
untimely reaction in the event of high waters and failure to maintain the
ecological minimum of the HE Višegrad may cause significant damages on the
Bridge, pose a threat to flora and fauna of the Drina River and spoil the appearance
of the Bridge and its Protection Zone.
The overflow fields with segment stop valves to control the quantity of
overflow waters were identified on the dam for the purpose of evacuation of
ten-thousand-year waters (Q 10 000 =5325 m³/s). This significantly reduces the
possibility of floods in the area of Višegrad. In addition, the storage lake
retains the waste that comes down with precipitation waters (During the heavy
precipitation events, waters would bring chunks of wood, stones and even logs
down to the Bridge).
A construction permit was issued to the HE Višegrad under the condition
that the company JP Elektroprivreda SR BiH (today’s JP Elektroprivreda RS) do
the improvement of the Drina river bed downstream of the dam to the Mehmed-paša
Sokolovic Bridge, as well as the repair of the damaged piers of the Bridge. The
company JP Elektroprivreda Republike Srpske has not thus far fulfilled this
The Management Plan provides for a series of activities:
Coordination of a plan to prevent
floods with plans of HE Višegrad,
Coordination of a flood prevention plan
and a system of intervention measures with plans of HE Višegrad,
Obliging HE Višegrad to perform continuous
measurement and report on the quantity of water released from the storage lake,
especially in terms of maintaining the ecological minimum,
Obliging HE Višegrad to devise a plan
of receiving great quantities of water and a coordination plan of water release
from the storage lake of HE Bajina Bašta.
Quantity of Waters -He Bajna Bašta
The reversible HE Bajna Bašta, which is located at the territory of Serbia
and Montenegro, enters the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina with its storage
lake of 130 million m³ and reaches the Mehmed-paša Sokolovic Bridge. The
storage lake of the HE Bajna Bašta is 1,5 m above the height planned by the
project. The waters of the storage lake pound against the Bridge causing thus
permanent oscillations in the water flow, jeopardizing the stability of the
Bridge, causing erosion of the Bridge’s piers and spoiling the visual impression
of the Bridge. The Rzav River (with the river mouth being 1 km downstream of
the Bridge) has the features of a torrent river and during heavy precipitation
events it brings large quantities of water to the Drina River, which
additionally makes the water level in the storage lake of Bajna Bašta rise.
Impact of the He Bajna Bašta on the Bridge:
The impact of the HE Bajna Bašta is big. The storage lake of the HE Bajna
Bašta poses a threat to the stability of the Bridge, causes erosion of the
piers, and spoils the appearance of the Bridge as the visible height of the
piers becomes smaller.
The Management Plan provides for a series of activities that determine
proper regulation of the HE Bajina Bašta storage lake, which can serve as a
compensatory storage lake and receive great quantities of water in the even of
Documentation that can be found in the HE Višegrad:
1. Report on Hydraulic Model Studies of the Impact of the HE Višegrad
Construction on the Downstream Area, Institute for Water Resources Management
Jaroslav Cerni, Belgrade 1982
2. Study of the Alluvial Soils’ Regime in the Upper Stream of the Drina
River, Republic Hydro meteorological Institute of BiH and Hydro technique
Institute of the Faculty of Civil Engineering of
3. Stydy produced as a Partnership Work of the HE Višegrad and RAHE Bajna
Bašta, SOUR Energoinvest, OOUR Higrainženjering, Sarajevo 1983
4. Study of the Impact of the Work Regime of the HE Višegrad on the
Mehmed-paša Sokolovic Bridge in Višegrad, Faculty of Civil Engineering of the
University in Belgrade, Hydro technique Institute, Belgrade 1985
5. Report on the Condition of the Foundations of the Mehmed-paša Sokolovic
Bridge Spanning the Drina River in Višegrad (the so called "0"
condition before putting the HE Višegrad into operation), Institute for
Materials and Structures of the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Belgrade, 1989.
The main objective of the Plan to alleviate the existing and potential
negative environmental impacts on the Mehmed-paša Sokolovic Bridge is to ensure
the acceptability of the plan in view of the identified negative influences,
provide for the efficient implementation of the alleviation measures, identify
the institutions responsible for the implementation of the Plan, establish the
supervision over the implementation of the recommended alleviation measures as
well as set up a programme of regular monitoring of the environment and taken
If managed properly, the storage lakes of the HE Višegrad and the HE Bajna
Bašta may serve as
lakes that will take in large quantities of water in the course of heavy precip
Apart from the above stated objective, the Plan of alleviation measures
identifies the needs to provide education for the local population and wider
community about the protection of environment and
cultural and historical
The Plan of alleviation measures is an integral part of the Management
2.2.4. Tourism pressure and visitors
Impact of Tourism on the Bridge:
Tourism has a positive effect on the development of the Višegrad
Municipality and the use of the
Bridge as an exceptional
tourist attraction. The development of tourism will compensate for the loss of
Bridge as part of a road.
The Višegrad Municipality possesses great potential for the development of
tourism and for combining the tourist attraction of the Bridge with other
offers: the narrow gauge railway, the Dobrun monastery, the church and mosque
in Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic's village, spa tourism, hunting and fishing tourism,
village and eco tourism, etc.
The negative impact of tourism on the Bridge is low, today. The negative impact of
tourism is manifested through dumping waste at the Bridge and protected zone of
the Bridge, graffiti writing, destroying green areas, etc.
The existing state and number of visitors (and to a lesser degree -
tourists) does not constitute a
considerable problem for
the bridge in terms of physical load or potential damage. The reason lies in
the fact that the number of visitors is small and they linger on the bridge
However, the development of tourism and a more aggressive approach to
offering tourist attraction, as well as the creation of advertising aimed at
potential visitors and tourists, demands that this problem be considered form
the very beginning. Since the Bridge allows open access to visitors, without limiting
their number, a larger number of visitors can cause problems mainly related to
pollution and devastation of the Bridge and surrounding area and the deposit of
large quantities of waste materials near the Bridge and on the riverbanks by
visitors and tourists. This pertains primarily to potential problems related to
the organisation of tours and hunting and fishing, as well as other outdoor
It is therefore necessary to implement educational activities in cooperation
with tourist agencies and guides who would convey to the visitors before and
during each visit what is expected in terms of a responsible attitude towards
locations visited. Apart from that, ordinances prohibiting littering,
destruction of plant life and devastation of the area should be properly marked
and a sufficient number of litter bins should be provided as well as their
regular maintenance. Finally, the last link in the chain is the organisation
and engagement of and ecological police force that would implement preventive measures
and sanction inappropriate behaviour.
As far as the protection of the Bridge itself is concerned, there must be
continuous control (at regular time intervals determined on the basis of the
number of visitors) of possible damages and activities must be initiated to
repair such damages and prevent further ones. These controls are to be
implemented under the jurisdiction of the Višegrad Municipality, or a body put
in charge of the management and maintenance of the Bridge and its surrounding
The other aspect of pressure from tourists pertains to a potential
conflict between visitors and tourists on the one hand and the local population
on the other. Namely, buildings that are of interest for visitors and tourists
often have a certain significance for the local population which can lead to a
"conflict of interest" between these groups. The immediate cause may
be an aggressive approach of tourists focused on their own demands and wanting
their expectations to be met, sometimes even at the detriment of the local
community. Apart from that, the local population is often seen as part of the
tourist product of a destination. This mainly pertains to shop owners, those
with crafts workshops, houses for rent, those engaged in civilian and religious
centres, that is, all those participating in the organisation and provision of
various services that can attract visitors.
The main areas of interaction between the local population and visitors
depend on the number of
visitors using the
capacities and services at the destination that are suited to the needs of the
local population and can accommodate a limited number of users. An excessive
number of visitors can jeopardise the stability of services such as
electricity, running water, roads (damages), parking lots, etc. All of this can
affect the quality of life for the local population.
The use of various transport vehicles, whether private or public, for the
organisation of collective visits can jeopardise the local population's freedom
of movement, limit their parking capacity and access to various services they
require and expect. Apart from that, noise and air pollution resulting from an
increase in the number of motor vehicles constitute a considerable point of
conflict of interest between the local population and visitors.
Stakeholders in daily activities and commercial contents used by the local
population and related to the sale of food, cleaning services, etc. are forced
to change their locations because they can no longer afford the high rent
payments imposed in the historical centres of town due to the arrival of
tourists. Extensive commercialisation results from the activities of private
shops and commercial companies seeking to maximise their business through a
combination of advertising, signs and sometimes with the use of sound effects.
Signs that are too large or badly designed can irritate the local population.
On the other hand, the concentration of large numbers of visitors tends to
attract many types of persons seeking possibilities of success.
Behaviour in public places conditioned by a large number of restaurants,
bars and various form of
noise, vandalism, crime and the like, which have a negative effect on the life
of the local population and cannot be compensated for by the positive effects
of tourism development.
The Management Plan determines an approach tourism development strategy
and provides ways of preventing the potential negative effects of tourism.
2.2.5. Number of inhabitants
Impact of Population on the Bridge:
Višegrad has a population of approximately 6000, while the entire
Municipality of Višegrad has 19.419 inhabitants, according to an assessment of
the Statistics Institute of RS done in 2004. The residents of Višegrad are
emotionally attached to the Bridge. This attachment to the Bridge as a symbol
of Višegrad and the centre of life in Višegrad was developed through generations
of residents in this area. The importance of the Bridge for the residents of
Višegrad was best described by a local journalist who said that his first
memory was of the Bridge and that the last image he wanted to take away with
him was the Bridge. Many residents of Višegrad would like to see the Bridge
open for traffic for special occasions such as weddings, funerals, and the like.
The structure of the population has changed considerably since the 1992-1995
war. Many displaced persons have moved here from other parts of Bosnia and
Herzegovina which in turn changed the national, educational and cultural
structure of the population.
The negative impact of the population on the Bridge is low. The negative impact of
on the Bridge is
manifested through dumping waste at the Bridge and protected zone of the
Bridge, graffiti writing, destroying green areas, etc.
It is necessary to implement educational activities about a responsible
attitude towards sites that are visited. Ordinances prohibiting littering,
destruction of plant life and devastation of the area should be
properly marked and a
sufficient number of litter bins should be provided as well as their regular maintenance.
Finally, the last link in the chain is the organisation and engagement of and
ecological police force that would implement preventive measures and sanction
2.3 Definition of the property
“The Višegrad Bridge is among the most impressive bridges in the world,
and in its setting, its engineering and its formal features, as well as in its
durability and solidity, and its readiness to receive and absorb changes to its
environment, it is a masterpiece by a world master architect.
To anyone observing the bridge, regardless of his or her knowledge of
history, art and literature, it is plain to see at first glance that the bridge
in Višegrad reflects the skill of a master architect and builder. The architect
of the Višegrad Bridge was Mimar Koca Sinan ibn Abd al-Mannan, most famous of
all the architects of the Ottoman Empire and one of the greatest architects the
world has known. The Višegrad Bridge is one of his two most important designs
of this type. The uniqueness of the Višegrad bridge is associated largely with
its form – a geniculation 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. This form,
which was that of the bridge on completion, has largely survived in authentic
shape to this day.
What especially makes this bridge unique and outstanding is that it is either
reflection of or reflected on the power, skills and ability of the three the
most prominent historical figures - its endeavour Grand Vezier Mehmed Pasha
Sokolovic, its author - the greatest architect of Ottoman Empire Koca
mimarbasha Sinan and its „biographer“, the Nobel's prize laureate Ivo Andric –
writer of the famous „The Bridge over Drina“. It makes its architectural,
historical and symbolic values merging into the outstanding expression that is
among few icons representing Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Bridge was built at the peak of power and glory of Ottoman Empire, in
the period when several men originating form 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.
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.
The Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge has always been understood by each and
all citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina as their own precious heritage. That is
why this monument survived even the war 1992-1996 when heritage of Bosnia and
Herzegovina was the target of wanton and systematic destruction.
The bridge is associated with important historical events from different
periods of Bosnia -Herzegovinian history. It is a place that lot of citizens
associate with the memories of historical and social
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 value”.
2.4. Boundary – first protection zone
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, dumping of waste is
prohibited, motor vehicle traffic is prohibited, all infrastructural works are
prohibited other than in exceptional cases with the approval of the relevant
ministry and under the professional supervision of the heritage protection
authority of Republika Srpska, construction of any infrastructure or power
facilities, quarries and other pollutants, the construction or operation of
which could be detrimental to the national monument is prohibited.
The original location of the bridge remains unaltered.
2.5. Functional and Usage Aspects in the First
The Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic Bridge was created as a result of a considered
location of a throughway that connects two banks of the river Drina at a place
most convenient with respect to existing
roads. The Višegrad
Bridge has played an important role in the development of the town, because
facilities were built around it to enhance transit traffic (rest areas with
catering establishments, travel insurance for passengers, goods and
merchandise, etc.) Parallel with the development of central functions,
residential districts were built and the residential area expanded along with
the functions and facilities needed by its inhabitants.
The Bridge was thus integrated into the urban structure, both as a traffic
route and by being positioned in the zone of central town functions (the east
side of the Bridge, that is, the right bank of the Drina).
2.6. Facilities and Existing Physical Structures in
the First Protection Zone
The Bridge has been protected by law since 1951. Since then, all interventions
were conditioned by prescribed protection measures defined in accordance with
its status. After the 1992-1995 war and the
establishment of a new
registry of cultural properties, the Commission to Preserve National Monuments passed
a Decision designating the Bridge a national monument and determining a
Protection Zone of 100
meters up- and downstream
from the Bridge. The zone also includes the banks in the area of 100 m up- and downstream
from the Bridge.
There are no buildings on the left bank of the Drina, while on the
opposite bank, there are 8 buildings in the protected zone. This zone contains
physical structures which are not representative due to the state of the
buildings and which spoil the appearance of the Bridge's surroundings.
In the long period of the Bridge's existence, the space surrounding it,
although at the central of town, did not manage to develop or grow into a
firmer urban centre that would make a complete whole along with the Bridge.
Activities geared at an adequate treatment of the space and buildings in
the Bridge's immediate zone began in 2003 with the Decision designating the
Bridge a national monument.
The protection measures defined by the Decision are an expression of
preventive actions preceding the passing of precise guidelines and documents
which will define the regulation of the First Protection Zone.
The left bank included in the First Protection Zone includes the motorway
approach to the bridge in both directions, along the bank of the Drina. There
are not buildings in this area and it is part of the natural backdrop of the
Bridge. The protection of this natural environment should be a primary goal in
the future treatment of this area.
On the right bank included in the First Zone, there are 8 buildings. The
Reliability Chart shows the physical state of these buildings. We can see that
only the building marked with the number 6, upstream
from the bridge, is in a
good state. This is an individual residential building, recently
reconstruction, but under dubitable reconstruction conditions. The hotel
building marked with the number 1 and the residential commercial building
adjoining it, marked with the number 2, fall into the middle reliability
category. They must be repaired in accordance with the prescribed protection
conditions to reflect architectural, environmental and historical values.
The other buildings are in a poor state. Among them are three buildings
that make up the street
façade (buildings marked
with the numbers 3, 4 and 5).
Buildings 7 and 8 are used for residence and auxiliary activities and
occupy individual plots of land.
Annex II: Maps
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
Annex IV: Photo
AIV d: 1 Building 2
AIV d: 2 Building 2,3,4,5
AIV d: 3 Building 5
AIV d: 4 Building 6
2.7. Cultural values
In the context of the “Management Guidelines for World Cultural Heritage
Sites” (1998), the cultural values are recognized in this Plan as:
identity value, namely: age, tradition,
continuity, memorial, legendary, sentiment, spiritual, religious and symbolic,
artistic and technical value and
Cultural values are elaborated in Nomination File para 3.a till 3.d.
Criteria under which inscription of the Mehmed pasha Sokolovic Bridge in
Višegrad is proposed are:
“To represent a masterpiece of human creative genius”,
“To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time
or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or
technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design”,
“To be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or
technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s)
in human history”,
“To be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions,
with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding
“The site must meet the test of authenticity in design, material,
workmanship or setting”.
Criteria are elaborated in the Nomination file para 3.a till 3.d, pg.
15-18, 18-26, 34-39.
“The Bridge in Višegrad, a supreme architectural achievement and an
inseparable part of the lives of not only the residents of Višegrad and across
Bosnia and Herzegovina, but of all travelers that have had the good fortune to
see it, has become an eternal and inexhaustible source of inspiration.
Indirectly and directly, it is connected to tradition and ideas, beliefs
“From 1994, artists gather in Višegrad each year to spend a week in August
socializing and exchanging experience, knowledge and inspiration. They come
from Banja Luka and Sarajevo, Knin and
Moscow, from America,
Belgrade, Budapest and Cacak, Sofia and Shanghai, Užice and Trebinje, Japan,
Sweden, Belgium, the
Ukraine, Greece. In the Višegrad Town Gallery, various transpositions of the
Bridge as motif can be seen in the works of many artists prominent on the
contemporary domestic and international art scene”.
Literary evenings entitled "Down the Višegrad Trails" are
traditionally held in Višegrad to honour
the country's Nobel
Laureate. Ivo Andric brought fame not only to the Bridge, but also to its
natural surroundings, especially the scenic views from the hills that feature
in folk songs, spreading word of Višegrad's landmarks and beautiful nature.
It is necessary to ensure the collection and assembly of all the available
material about the Bridge. This pertains to all forms of records (written,
video and audio) about the Bridge as well as gathering information and legends
which have not been recorded previously.
In that sense, it will be necessary to organise an action, under the
auspices of the local Museum, and invite the residents of this area as well as
other parts of BiH and Serbia and Montenegro who posses various objects,
records or information about the Bridge which should be included in the
collection of materials about the Bridge and exhibited in the Bridge Museum.
The Bridge is an integral part of the history and everyday life of the
local population, part of their
past and their present.
For centuries, Višegrad has integrated the arches of the Bridge and its
significance in connecting riverbanks, people and histories. In that context,
the local population, in the broadest sense, that is, the population of Bosnia
and Herzegovina sees the Bridge as its heritage and its treasure.
It is necessary to use this particular dimension to encourage and motivate
these people to protect and preserve the Bridge and "profit" from the
possibilities it provides for further development and representation of the
Municipality and the country on the global tourism market. In that sense, the
activation of tourism that the Bridge can provide for will steer the possible
integration of the Višegrad Municipality with areas that possess monuments and
cultural properties protected by the most prestigious world institution, and
entered in the list of destinations pertaining to a rich cultural and
historical heritage that imbues them with a specific profundity (a pedigree in
terms of tourism).
It is, therefore, necessary to continue building and enforcing the value
that the Bridge holds for Višegrad and its inhabitants, work on enriching the
collection of artworks, written tracts and other works dedicated to the bridge.
Even in the case where these works are not stored in Višegrad, organising
various events and colonies attended by artists from the whole world presents
and opportunity for information to be spread by way of these, so to speak,
missionaries. Every organised event of this sort should be used to send written
and video records about the bridge and other tourist activities in Višegrad to
different destinations where they may find their way to potential visitors.
2.8. Contemporary economic and use values
The destination of the Višegrad Municipality possesses potentials that
have already been verified as a real basis for the development of tourism.
It possesses considerable historical heritage related to the history of
the Balkans, Europe and Asia, whose fate is intertwined with that of the
Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the course of the First World
War. All these events are still an inexhaustible source of interest and
motivation for travel for many visitors and tourists.
The natural potential for developing tourism pertains primarily to the
medicinal water springs and
the untouched nature that
can serve as a basis for creating various offers organised as part of village
and ecotourism. Proof of this can be found among the indicators of the quality
of water and the data on the number and structure of the plant and animal population
of this area.
Activities and meetings already being organised in the Municipality
(traditionally) are proof of the existence of preconditions for organising
activities outside the scope of "stationary" activities. In view of
the existing facilities, a "superstructure of tourism activities" can
be added to them. New activities in this field can be expected in the second
and third year following the approval of the Management Plan, since in the first
year it will be necessary to realise a series of activities that would
adequately structure existing activities and capacities.
The significance of existing activities and potentials for tourism
development is derived directly from the option for future Municipal
development to be aimed at sustainable development and sustainable
tourism and to prevent
the renewal of "dirty industry" that would devastate the environment
and the Municipality's treasures. Since this imposes limitations on the
possible directions of development, it is necessary to be aggressive and
consistent in the alternative direction, that is, in the development of
The destination is exceptionally valuable due to the diversity of its
contents and potentials for tourism development, and due to its position
relative to other parts of BiH and the region, especially in view of the
proximity of potential visitors from neighbouring countries.
The development of tourism values and offers is the basis for generating
income in various businesses related to tourism.
In the case of the Višegrad Municipality, these pare primarily potentials
for the development and increase of supply of various services: accommodation
at the local hotel and recreation centre, as well as
accommodation in private
houses that would facilitate additional (or basic) income for the population. On
the other hand, income can be generated and increased in local restaurants and
shops, the service sector (banks, hair salons, cleaning services, local
transport), as well as income for organisers of various tourist activities that
are not included in the standard room and board packages: such as hunting,
rafting and fishing. All of these activities are entrepreneurial in nature and
should be under the jurisdiction of the local tourist agency that would
organise inbound tourism, that is, ensure the offer of various activities all
year round, offering the same through tourist agencies in Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, Macedonia, etc. or directly to tour
operators specialising in certain aspects of tourism.
Most of these activities, whether organised by entrepreneurs or with the
participation of the Višegrad Municipality, will contribute to higher
employment rates. If, according to the existing legal regulation, the obligation
to employ a minimum of two persons (apart from the director) in small and
medium enterprises and have one employee per registered independent crafts
workshop is implemented, it is clear that each new enterprise will facilitate
considerable new employment.
However, for a successful realisation of completion of economic impacts on
tourism development, it is necessary to secure an appropriate level of public
services under the jurisdiction of the Municipality, such as locations of water
fountains with water for drink, public lavatories (with fees to provide for
maintenance), public pay-phones, emergency medical aid, post office services,
cleaning and waste disposal services, etc.
“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. Every intention to build a bridge is
based on the intention to achieve its primary and basic function – to link the
two banks of a river, to provide a crossing from one side to the other, to link
two sections of a road, to shorten the distance covered. Over the centuries,
the Višegrad Bridge has had several purposes. … Above all, it was originally a
strategic structure… used by pedestrians, ox- and horse-drawn carts, combat
vehicles, horsemen, merchants and the army. Wedding and funeral processions
wended their way over it…. The second function of the bridge from its very
completion derives from its use as a place of the greatest signif icance 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 verdicts. The
central, wider part of the bridge, known as the kapija (gate), denoted this
focus of the public life of the town…”
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 use”
2.9. Appendices to part 2
For part 2 see following documentation in Annexes:
Annex I: Documentation
AI 1: Ruling no. 1099/51
issued by the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and
Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina
AI 2: Ruling no. 02-741-3
dated 18 April 1962 issued by the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural,
Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina
AI 3: Decision of the
Commission to Preserve National Monuments of BiH no.: 08.2-6-101/03-5
AI 4: Decision of the WMF
List of the world’s 100 most endangered monuments in 2006
AI 5: List of economic
and non-economic operators
AI 6: Study of climate
features of the wider area of the municipality of Višegrad planned to be used
for drafting the spatial and urban development plan
AI 7: Assessment of the
impact of environmental elements from the Management Plan
Annex II: Maps
AII -9 Protection zone
and buffer zone
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
Annex IV: Photo
Annex IV, IVa:1 Photo of
the Great Flood
Annex IV, IVa:2 Photo of
the Great Flood
Annex IV, IVa:5 Photo of
the damaged Bridge (The bridge after 1914)
Annex IV, IVd:1 Building
Annex IV, IVd:2 Building
Annex IV, IVd:3 Building
Annex IV, IVd:4 Building