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 on 25 January 2003 the Commission adopted a
D E C I S I O N
The historical monument of the Mehmed paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad is hereby designated a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The structure is in Višegrad Municipality, Republika Srpska, on state-owned land with no cadastral plot reference, cadastral municipality Višegrad I, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The provisions relating to protection and rehabilitation 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 specified in the preceding paragraph.
The Government of Republika Srpska shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, conserve, display and rehabilitate the National Monument specified in Clause I of this Decision.
For the purpose of preserving the property and preventing its further deterioration, the Government of Republika Srpska (RS), in the shape of the Ministry of Urban Planning, Public Utilities, Construction and the Environment of RS, is responsible for acting in accordance with Ruling no. 06-362-116/90 dated 20 February 1990 issued by the Ministry of Regional Planning and the Environment of Bosnia and Herzegovina requiring that shut down the Višegrad hydroelectricity plant, in regard to which approval for trial operations expired on 1 August 1991, until such time as the conditions have been met for final operating approval as follows:
- the regulation of the Drina river bed downstream from the dam to the Mehmed paša Sokolović Bridge, and
- the repair of the piers of the old Mehmed paša Sokolović Bridge in conformity with the technical documentation certified by the relevant heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska
The Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (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.
To ensure the ongoing preservation of the property, the following zones are hereby defined:
Protection Zone I, covering the structure itself and a zone extending 100 metres upstream and downstream from the bridge. Within this zone, the following measures shall apply:
- the construction of residential, commercial and agricultural facilities is prohibited
- all works are prohibited other than conservation and restoration works carried out to an approved project and under the professional supervision of the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska
- the dumping of all kinds 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
- the construction of any infrastructure or power facilities, quarries and other pollutants the construction or operation of which could be detrimental to the national monument specified in Clause 1 of this Decision is prohibited.
All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are to be revoked.
Everyone, and in particular the competent authorities of Republika Srpska, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument specified in Clause I of this Decision or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation thereof.
The Government of Republika Srpska, the Ministry for Urban Planning, Housing and Public Utilities, Construction and the Environment of Republika Srpska, the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska, 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, III and IV of this Decision, and the Authorized Municipal Court shall be notified for the purposes of registration in the Land Register.
The elucidation and accompanying documentation form an integral part of this Decision, which may be viewed by interested parties on the premises or by accessing the website of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments (http://www.anek8komisija.com.ba)
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 and the Official Gazette of Republika Srpska.
This Decision has been adopted by the following members of the Commission: Zeynep Ahunbay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović, Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.
4 March 2003
Chairman of the Commission
E l u c i d a t i o n
I – INTRODUCTION
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 (hereinafter referred to as the Commission) 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 (hereinafter referred to as Annex 8) and as 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.
At a session held on 22 July 1997 the Commission issued a Decision to add the Mehmed-paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, numbered as 767.
Pursuant 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.
II –PROCEDURE PRIOR TO DECISION
In the procedure preceding the adoption of a final decision to proclaim the property a national monument, the following documentation was inspected:
Ÿ Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data of war damage if any, data on restoration or other works on the property if any, etc.
Ÿ 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 monument are as follows:
1. Information on the Site
The Mehmed-paša Sokolović Bridge is located in the town of Višegrad, with no cadastral plot reference, c.m. Višegrad, Višegrad Municipality, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The bridge was built between 1571 and 1577 over the river Drina where the road linking Bosnia with Istanbul ran (known as the "Carigradska džada" or road to the Imperial city). The construction of the bridge was entrusted to the great court architect Kodža Mimar Sinan, not only the leading architect of the Ottoman Empire but one of the greatest builders in the entire world. The benefactor who funded the construction was Mehmed paša Sokolović, Grand Vezier to three sultans from 1565 to 1579: Suleyman the Magnificent, Selim II and Murat III. Mehmed paša Sokolović was born in the village of Sokolovići near Višegrad, from which he was taken to Turkey as a very young lad. Many other members of his family also occupied the highest positions of state at that time, making the Sokolović family the most powerful both militarily and politically in the Ottoman Empire in the second half of the sixteenth century.
The stone from which the bridge was built was quarried in Banja, about five kilometres downstream on the right bank of the Drina. A wooden tower formerly stood on the middle of the bridge; the date of its construction is unknown, but it was pulled down in 1886. The tower was used as a guard-room, with a passage beneath closed by massive oak doors on both sides. The tower was equipped with several small cannons known as šibe. On the bridge itself, there were two chronograms engraved with the years 971/1571 and 985/1577 respectively. The bridge has experienced a number of major floods, of which the worst was in 1896, when the level of the Drina was 1.60 m. above the bridge.
The bridge is known to have been repaired in around 1664, and again in 1875, 1911 and 1939/40. When the Austrians withdrew from Višegrad in 1914 one of the openings of the bridge was destroyed, and the following year the Serb army destroyed another one when retreating. The bridge remained in this condition until 1939 when it was repaired. During the intervening period, 1915-1939, the sections of the bridge that had been destroyed were provided with an iron structure to make the bridge passable. When the Germans retreated in October 1943 that part was also destroyed.
Legal Status to Date
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. 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.
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 paša Sokolović Bridge was to 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 category 0 because of its outstanding beauty.
2. Description of the Monument
The bridge is one of the most magnificent works of architecture of the fifteenth to nineteenth century in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The part of the bridge that spans the river consists of eleven arched openings, of which the end opening on the right bank rests on two retaining walls with the smallest span of 5.20 m. The other ten arches have a span of from 10.70 to 14.80 m. The bridge is carried by nine great stone piers with a width of from 3.50 to 4 m, and a length of about 11.50 m. On the left bank the endmost opening rests on the angle of the bridge where it grades into the ramp. 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 the excentricity of the centres relatively small - about 1.00 m., with a depth of 85cm – making them almost semicircular. The piers, arches and facing walls are made of limestone from the locality of majdan Višegradske banje. Some of the stone blocks are held together by iron clamps sealed with lead. 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 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(1).
3. Research and Conservation and Restoration Works
Given the strategic significance of the road and the bridge in times of war in eastern Bosnia, they suffered significant damage in 1914, 1915 and 1943. The reconstruction of the destroyed sections of the bridge was carried out in 1939 and 1940, and in 1949-1952. The hydroelectric power plant Bajina Basta downstream from the bridge and the Višegrad hydroelectric power plant with dam located upstream from the bridge, endanger this historical monument(2).
During 1950, 1951 and 1952, the Roads Authority of the Ministry of Local Traffic reconstructed the destroyed arches, and carried out restoration works on the surviving sections. These works were carried out to a project designed by engineer Weber from the Regional Design Institute from Sarajevo, the contractor was GP «Put», and engineer Sorokin supervised the works. The restored sections were reconstructed to conform exactly to the surviving sections. The material was taken from the old quarry. The roadway, parapet, sofas and portal were fully restored. The restoration of the inscription was by M. Mujagić, and the stonemason Ivan Vrlec cut and dressed the stone.
The reconstruction of the ramp was designed by a project drawn up by the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH. The works started in 1991, and the reconstruction of foundation of the pillars (towards the left river bank) was carried out in 1992. The war of1992-95 stopped these works, but the bridge did not suffer any damage as a result of war action. Bearing in mind that the power plant is continually operational, the bridge is regularly exposed to fluctuations in water flow and water level, which directly endangers its stability and future survival.
4. Current Condition of the Structure
Throughout its 430 years of existence the bridge has largely retained its original appearance, and is one of the oldest surviving bridges in Bosnia and Herzegovina and indeed in the region as a whole. Previous natural disasters, as well as dynamiting during World Wars I and II, led to the destruction of some sections of the bridge, which were restored to their original condition using original materials. The construction of the Bajina Bašta hydroelectric power station and the accompanying reservoir below the bridge has diminished its aesthetic value. The construction of the Višegrad hydroelectric power station has still further altered the hydrology of the area and poses a threat to the bridge's stability. The findings of an on site inspection of the bridge are as follows:
Ÿ The bridge suffered no damage as a result of war action,
Ÿ Since the power plant is in constant operation, the bridge is exposed to fluctuations in water flow and level on a daily basis, which is directly jeopardizes its stability and future survival. 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 rest of the bridge remains unprotected,
Ÿ The structure is exposed to the specific risks of heavy traffic, weathering etc.
Ÿ The bridge is at risk of rapid deterioration as a result of the lack of regular maintenance.
III - CONCLUSION
Based on the date of its construction, historical value, workmanship and proportions, the Mehmed paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad is an outstanding example of public buildings, specifically bridges, within the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument, adopted at the fourth session of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments (3 to 9 September 2002), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above.
The Decision is based on the following criteria:
C.Artistic and aesthetic value
C.i. quality of workmanship
C.ii. quality of material
C.v. value of details
C.vi. structural value
D.Clarity (documentary, scientific and educational value)
D.iii. work of a famous artist or builder
D.iv. evidence of a certain type, style or regional manner
E.iii. traditional value
E.v. significance for the identity of a group of people
F.i. relation to other elements of an ensemble
F.ii. meaning in the townscape
F.iii. the building or group of buildings is part of a group or site
G.i. form and design
G.ii. materials and content
G.iii. use and function
G.iv. traditions and techniques
G.v. location and setting
G.vi. spirit and feeling
H. Rarity and representativity
H.ii. outstanding work of art or architecture
H.iii. work of a prominent artist or architect
The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:
- Ruling on the protection of the property by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments no. 1099/51 and no. 02-741-3 dated 18 April 1962,
- Technical documentation from the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH;
Bejtić, Alija, Sokolovićev most na Drini u Višegradu (The Sokolović Bridge on the Drina in Višegrad) Sarajevo 1945.
Čelić, Džemal, Obnova Sokolovićeva mosta u Višegradu (Restoration of the Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad) Naše starine I, 1953.
Čelić, Džemal, and Mujezinović, Mehmed, Stari mostovi u BiH (Old Bridges in BiH) Sarajevo 1969
Gojković, Milan, Kameni mostovi (Stone Bridges)
Herman, K, Journal of the National Museum, 1889 . Vol. I
Korkut, D., Obnova natpisa na Sokolovića mostu (Restoration of the inscriptions on the Sokolović Bridge) Journal of the National Museum, 1939, Vol. II
Mujezinović, Mehmed, Obnova natpisa na Sokolovićevom mostu u Višegradu (Restoration of the inscriptions on the Sokolović Bridge) Naše starine I, 1953.
Styh, E, Bauwesen in B. und H. , Vienna, 1887.