Višegrad is a city on the banks of the river Drina in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The town is well known for its UNESCO World Heritage site, Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge, and the poet Ivo Andrić, nobel prize winner in 1961 for the novel The Bridge over the Drina.
Višegrad has parlayed this identity into a niche tourist industry by building Andrićgrad, a small but likeable mock-historical city core nominally celebrating the author.
Višegrad is located at the confluence of the Drina river and the Rzav river in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, on the road from Goražde and Ustiprača towards Užice, Serbia, which is part of the geographical region of Podrinje.
Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge
Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge is a historic bridge in Višegrad, over the Drina River in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was completed in 1577 by the Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan on the order of the Grand Vizier Mehmed Paša Sokolović. UNESCO included the bridge in its 2007 World Heritage List.
The Bridge on the Drina is a heritage of the Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic (in Turkish Sokollu Mehmed Paşa, 1505. or 1506-1579). He is one of the greatest Ottoman war generals by origin from Bosnia. He was born in the village of Sokolovići near Rudo in 1505. or 1506, as a child of Orthodox parents. The bridge was built in the period from 1571 to 1577 by at that time, the most famous Ottoman architect Koca Mimar Sinan.
The bridge consists of 11 arches with mild ascend towards the middle section and it has a descending ramp on the left bank.The total length is 179.5 m, height above the normal water level of the river is 15.40 m and the width of the bridge is 6.30 m.There are extensions above the sixth pillar on both sides of the bridge.
In the middle of the bridge a sofa was built and it was designed for passengers to rest and across from the sofa a stone portal (gate) was built. There are two plates made of white marble with verses of the poet Nihadi in Arabic alphabet, talking about the constructor and the year of construction.
The bridge was fully repaired in the period from 1949. to 1952.
In 2007, bridge was entered in the UNESCO list of world cultural heritage, as a bridge with big cultural impact, and also as a best representative of a classical ottoman style in bridge making.
Andrićtown (meaning “Andric’s town“) also known as “ Stonetown“ is the town dedicated to famous writer Ivo Andric, Nobel prize winner. Construction of Andrićtown started on 28 June 2011, and it was officially opened on 28 June 2014. From that day, every year on Serbian slava Vidovdan, Andrićtown celebrates its anniversary.
Andrićtown is tourist, cultural, administrative and educational complex. It is situated on a peninsula between two rivers the Drina and the Rzav in Visegrad.
Andrićtown is a project of a famous film director Emir Kusturica, the Stonetown inspired by the literary works and characters of Nobel prize winner Ivo Andrić. However, architecture is a mix of different eras as well as styles that passed throughout the history of Višegrad: the Byzantine style, the Ottoman period, the Renaissance, the Classicism.
Some of the main objects of Andrićtown are: Ivo Andric’s institute with a centre for Slavic languages, Fine arts Academy, Town hall, the Church of Saint Lazar, renaissance theatre, multiplex cinema, accommodation objects and much more.
Andrictown attracts tourists from all over the world, as well as people from public life, some of them are: Novak Djoković, tennis player ; Jose Mujica, ex president of Uruguay; Monica Bellucci, an Italian actress, etc.
Nowadays, Andrićtown is one of the most significant visitor attraction in the region, together with Mehmed Pasha Sokolović bridge, the Drina river boat cruise, and reconstructed narrow gauge tourist railway Višegrad – Mokra Gora.
Dobrun monastery, also known as Kruševo, is located in the vivid mountainous area on the road from Belgrade to Užice, 12 km away from Višegrad, in the valley of the Rzav river. It is dedicated to the Dormition of the holy mother of God and was erected by župan Pribil and his sons Stefan and Petar in 1343.
In 1383. as a monk Jovan built a very rich annex painted with marvellous frescoes. Already in 1393 when Turks got through in Bosnia for the first time, the monastery was ruined. It was reconstructed by despot Stefan Lazarević and princess Milica. On the crossing of the 18th and 19th century the monastery got abandoned.
There are no reliable data regarding the establishment and the history of the monastery. It is known that it was the centre of Metropolitan for a while. In its history the monastery was destroyed and reconstructed many times.
The worst destruction took place during the Second World War, when Germans used it as a weapons warehouse, and set it to explode during their withdrawal in 1945. The monastery was reconstructed in 1946.
The monastery was painted with many frescoes. The best known frescoes preserved until present day are those of Tsar Dušan with his wife Jelena and son Uroš, as well as the fresco of the monastery founder zupan Pribil along with his sons and son in law Stan. In the rocks above the monastery there is a cave whose entrance area was closed with stone blocks.
Višegrad Spa is located at 5 km from Visegrad. It is surrounded by thick pine forest at the altitude of 414 m. Because of this altitude and of natural environment it has the characteristics of the health resort. Thermal waters of Višegrad spa consist characteristic radioactive carbonates, with the temperature of 34ºс.
The main healthy characteristic exist because of its radioactivity, with the main element radon and the products of its disintegration process. Višegrad spa is the first listed spa by the level of its radioactivity in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and it is rated as the second one in ex-Yugoslavia. The level of radiation is optimal for medical therapies, and there is no space of eventual accumulation of radioactivity or even side effects.
Radon is capable of diminishing pain, increasing the resilience of body; make a positive impact on some endocrine glands, respiratory and allergic deceases. Water of Višegrad spa is used for the prevention and curing of all age groups.
The water is used for treatment of rheumatic diseases, neurological disorders, orthopaedic disorders and deformities, gynaecologic diseases, diseases of respiratory organs, geriatric diseases.
Getting to Višegrad
Daily bus departures from Sarajevo, Banja Luka, Trebinje, Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš, Užice.
From Sarajevo, Višegrad can be reached by the M5 road after 120 km. There are a few daily buses from Sarajevo to Višegrad. All buses go from the Eastern Sarajevo-Lukavica station. To get there catch a city trolley from Skenderija centre to Dobrinja and get off at the last station. From there, it is 150 meters to the Istočno Sarajevo bus station. The trolley ticket is €1, and the bus ticket from Sarajevo to Višegrad is around €11.
From Belgrade, Višegrad can be reached by the road M5 via Čačak and Užice, after 280 km in total. Daily buses during the whole day. Užice to Višegrad 470 Serbian Dinars (€4.70).