Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Bridge on Kožetina, the historic monument

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Status of monument -> National monument

Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 30 August to 5 September 2004 the Commission adopted a






The historic monument of the bridge in Kožetina is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 3899 (new survey), cadastral municipality Cvilin, Foča Municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The provisions relating to protection measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 9/02) shall apply to the National Monument.




The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Government of the Federation) shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, conserve, restoration and display the National Monument.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments (hereinafter: the Commission) shall determine the technical requirements and secure the funds for preparing and setting up signboards with the basic data on the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




            The following protection measures are hereby stipulated, which shall apply to the area defined in Clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision:

  1. all works are prohibited with the exception of research, conservation and restoration works, including works designed to present the monument, pursuant to approval from the Federation ministry responsible for regional planning and with the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
  2. The Government of the Federation is required in particular to ensure that the following measures are carried out:
    • drawing up a programme for the demining of the site
    • drawing up a programme to determine the current condition,
    • conducting a geodetic survey of the current condition,
    • conducting a study of the materials and state of the structure,
    • analyzing available information on the bridge,
    • conducting a preliminary structural analysis, and
    • drawing up a project for the repair, restoration and conservation of the structure.

The project for the repair, restoration and conservation of the structure should include:

  • archaeological investigation of the part not yet investigated;
  • a structural analysis of the terrain and the structure of the bridge with measures to make good the terrain and the bearings on which the structure of the bridge rests, with repairs to the abutments of the bridge
  • repairs to damage to the barrel with lightweight movable scaffolding, together with cleaning the joints and filling with lime mortar;
  • repairs to the upstream and downstream wing walls;
  • the removal of all structures not executed in conformity with the principles of reconstruction and the repeat execution of conservation and restoration works;
  • clearing the bridge and removing self-sown vegetation from the structure;
  • making good the surroundings of the bridge, together with the removal of self-sown vegetation;
  • drawing up and implementing a programme for the presentation of the National Monument.



All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are hereby revoked.




Everyone, and in particular the competent authorities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Canton, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation thereof.




            The Government of the Federation, the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning, the Federation heritage protection authority, and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II to V of this Decision, and the Authorized Municipal Court shall be notified for the purposes of registration in the Land Register.




Pursuant to Art. V para 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, decisions of the Commission are final.




This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption and shall be published in the Official Gazette of BiH.


            This Decision has been adopted by the following members of the Commission: Zeynep Ahunbay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović, Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.



No.: 07.2-2-768/03-2                                                           

30 August 2005


                          Chair of the Commission

Ljiljana Ševo


E l u c i d a t i o n




Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina  and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of  BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a petition for the property in question has been submitted or not.

Pursuant to a petition from Goražde municipality, dept. of regional planning, submitted on 15 April 2003, and to the provisions of the law, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching a final decision to designate the Property as a National Monument, pursuant to Article V of Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.




In the procedure preceding the adoption of a final decision to proclaim the property a national monument, the following documentation was inspected:

  • Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data of war damage, data on restoration or other works on the property, etc.
  • Copy of Land Register entry and details of ownership
  • Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision.

The findings based on the review of the above documentation and the condition of the site are as follows:


1. Details of the property


The historic monument is located in Kožetina near Ustikolina, at the confluence of the Gabeoski brook and the river Drina.  It stands on the route of the old road that led downstream from Foča to Goražde and onwards to the north.

It was built on cadastral plot no. 3899 (new survey), cadastral municipality Cvilin, Foča Municipality headquartered in Ustikolina, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

            Ustikolina is a town located between Foča and Goražde. It was already known as a market in 1394, important for the activities of the local population, which traded in particular with the military.  Merchants from Dubrovnik appeared there quite early by comparison with other markets in the district, so that by June 1399 the decision was already taken to appoint a consul and two judges to resolve a dispute between certain traders from Dubrovnik.  The consul was one Mikoč Đurđević, who again featured in this capacity in October that same year.

            At that time there was a market in the town, established by Pavle Radenović, where customs duties were charged because of the considerable turnover of goods.  This was probably salt, i.e. a salt market.

The development of Ustikolina did not last long.  From the second decade of the 15th century there is less and less information on the activities of the local people and those from Dubrovnik.  The likelihood is that Ustikolina could not compete with the more advanced markets of Goražde and Foča nearby.

Ustikolina was for a long time an isolated stronghold of the Pavlović family in the Kosača estates, but it seems that after the death of Radoslav Pavlović it too belonged to the Kosača family (Kovačević, Kojić, pp. 91,92).

Before the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina there was a mosque in Ustikolina, believed to be the oldest mosque in BiH, probably dating from the second half of the 15th century. It is said to be have been built by one Turhan Emin bey, a man about whom there are many legends, but not a single piece of historical evidence.

There is no information on the builder or date of origjn of the old bridge in Kožetina.  There is not even a reference to it in archive documentation, nor have any particular archaeological remains on the site provided irrefutable evidence that it dates from the mediaeval period.  As in the case of most buildings and structures in the Balkan peninsula, many legends and traditions survive among the local people, dating the bridge to the Roman period, as a result of which it is known as the Roman bridge or the Greek bridge.

On the basis of the manner the bridge was built, the building materials and binders used, giving a certain degree of rusticity to the bridge, and without rejecting the local tradition, the bridge can be dated to the late mediaeval period, to the time prior to the arrival of the Ottomans in this part of the world(1). The age of the road on which the bridge was built, leading from Foča and crossing the Gabeoski brook at its confluence with the  Drina, is estimated at some 2000 years.  The morphology of the terrain itself and the route of this ancient road suggest that there could have been a bridge here in Roman times.

Only two bridges survive in this area that Mujezinović and Čelić believe date from the mediaeval period.  The first was close to the village of Kašičara, and the other was the bridge in Kožetina.


2. Description of the property

Better-quality, longer-lasting bridges were erected on all major trade routes.  As a building material, stone was tailormade in essential characteristics and formal potential for stereotomic forms.  The fundamental stereotomic form common to all bridge-building world-wide is the arch – a single arch between two banks, or a number of arches linking the river-banks in a certain rhythm(2) .

In bridge-building, the configuration of the terrain and the width of the river have a major impact on the choice of site for the bridge, and play an important part in determining its form.  Wider rivers, that were navigable in one way or another, originally had ferries for crossing purposes (Bosna, Drina, Vrbas), while narrower ones, particularly those with steep banks and variable water levels (Miljacka, Žepa, Prača, Bistrica), were crossed by bridges.

The bridge in Kožetina was built on steep terrain, and is now about 10 metres long.  It was built of blocks of quarry stone of varying sizes. The foundations are laid directly on the riverside cliffs above the brook.  The barrel of the bridge is round, and made of roughly dressed but more or less regular limestone blocks.

The upper walkway of the bridge is almost horizontal.  Whereas traces of the lime mortar used as binder when the bridge was built can still be seen on the barrel, the side walls look as though they were dry-laid.  This is not very likely, and the most probable reason for this appearance of the side walls is that they have been exposed for so long to adverse weather conditions, so that rain has washed the lime mortar out over the years.

The bridge has no decorations or inscription.  All that is visible in the crude building technique is secondary stone plastic which takes the form of the final course of slabs projecting outwards from the spandrel wall by some 10 cm.  The bridge has no parapet, nor any features that could serve as the basis for identifying features that would enable a reconstruction of its earlier appearance to be carried out.  It is not impossible that the small span of the bridge meant there was formerly a wooden railing with uprights on the banks.

The bridge is 3.30 metres wide and the span of the arch is 5.50 m.  The bridge is 5.80 m. above the river bed, and the height of the structure of the walls on the banks about 4 m.  The barrel is 50 cm thick.

The bridge has survived in its original form, but as a result of its poor condition can be used only by pedestrians.


3. Legal status to date

            The bridge has not previously been under protection.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works:

            According to the work by Džemal Čelić and Mehmed Mujezinović, Stari mostovi u BiH, publ. 1957, conservation and restoration works were carried out on the bridge.  There are no details of the designer and contractor of the said works. The work consisted of resurfacing the roadway, adding a protective layer of concrete designed to protect the interior of the structure from the penetration of precipitation, renovating part of the retaining wall by the north access to the bridge, and pointing the walls in various places.


5. Current condition of the property

The bridge has not been kept maintained.  There is visible damage to the stone facing on the left-hand downstream (south) side of the bridge.  The final course of slabs is damaged at midspan over a length of some 2 metres.

The presence of self-sown vegetation was observed.  As a result of the continued penetration of precipitation, the binders are constantly being washed out, leading to some of the stone blocks falling out.


6. Specific risks

It is very likely that there is a minefield in the immediate vicinity of the bridge.  The absence of a programme of protective protection and the failure to take any steps to protect the bridge are leading to its further deterioration.




Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument (Official Gazette of BiH nos. 33/02 and 15/03), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above.

The Decision was based on the following criteria:

A.  Time frame

B.  Historical value

C.  Artistic and aesthetic value

C.iii. proportions

C.iv. composition

C.vi. value of construction

F. Townscape/ Landscape value

G. Authenticity

G.v. location and setting

H. Rarity and representativity          


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

§         Copy of cadastral plan

§         Copy of land register entry and proof of title;

§         Photodocumentation – two photographs of the structure;

§         Site plan

§         Cross-section

§         Upstream façade

§         Downstream façade

§         Photodocumentation

§         Photodocumentation from Foča-Ustikolina municipality

§         Photodocumentation of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of BiH



During the procedure to designate the Bridge in  Kožetina as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


1882. Matković, P., Dva italijanska putopisa po balkanskom poluotoku iz XVI stoljeća (Two 16th c. Italian chronicles of travels around the Balkan peninsula), Starine X, p. 206,


1891. Zarzycki, M.,Varošica Ustikolina, Jnl of the National Museum III, vol. II, Sarajevo, 1891, p. 210


1936. Sergejevski, D, Kameni spomenici iz Rogatice i Ustikoline (Stone monuments from Rogatica and Ustikolina), Jnl of the National Museum, Sarajevo 1936, pp. 3-4,


1945.  Bejtić, Alija,  Sokolovićev most na Drini u Višegradu (The Sokolović bridge on the Drina in Višegrad) Sarajevo 1945.


1953.  Čelić, Džemal,  Obnova Sokolovićeva mosta u Višegradu, Naše starine I, 1953.


1954. Mujezinović, Mehmed, Džamija na Ustikolini (The mosque in Ustikolina), Naše starine II, Sarajevo 1954,


1961. Gojković, Milan, Katanić, Nadežda, Građa za proučavanje starih mostova i akvadukata u Srbiji, Makedoniji, Crnoj Gori  (Materials for the study of old bridges and aquaducts in Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro), Belgrade 1961.


1968.  Bašeskija, Mula Mustafa, Ljetopis (Chronicle), trans. M. Mujezinović, Sarajevo 1968.


1978.  Kovačević, Kojić, Desanka, Gradska naselja srednjevijekovne bosanske države (Urban settlements of the mediaeval Bosnian state), Sarajevo, 1978.


1998.  Čelić, Džemal, Mujezinović. Mehmed, Stari mostovi u BiH (Old bridges in BiH), Sarajevo Publishing, 1998.


(1)  The remains of a mediaeval fortress have been found in Kožetin

(2)  The basic components of stone bridges are:

  • the foundations of the bridge – by which the structure is linked to the terrain.  This component is of major importance for the stability of the structure;
  • the piers of the bridge – the pier is the element via which the load of the structure is transferred to the foundations, and which is thus exposed to the constant action of the water;
  • the arches/barrels of the bridge – the most important part of the structure, function and form of the bridge;
  • the spandrel walls – elements defining the roadway of the bridge;
  • the infill –  material used to fill the cavities within the bridge
  • relieving apertures – elements resulting from attempts to reduce the load and thus relieve the structure itself;
  • the string courses – architectural details the moulding of which accentuates the division of the bridge into the load-bearing structure, the bearing structure of the barrel and arch, and the roadway with its parapet;
  • the korkaluk or parapet – an architectural element designed essentially for safety;
  • additional structural elements – wing walls, access ramps and the like;
  • additional architectural elements – portals on the bridge, benches to rest on;
  • guard towers.


Bridge on KožetinaArchival photo of the bridge on KožetinaArchival photoUpstream facade
Downstream facadeBridgeKožetina 

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