Transfer from Sarajevo to Belgrade with visits to Visegrad, Andricgrad and Drvengrad offer You to explore interesting places in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.
Visegrad is a town on the Drina river in eastern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is located in the valley of the Drina, in the hilly slopes gently rising high into the mountains. This small town is full of pretty streets but we will dedicate our visit to The Old Stone Bridge, the endowment of Grand Vizier Mehmed Pasha Sokolovic. He is one of the great Ottoman military leader of Bosnian origin.
At the peak of his power becomes Grand Vizier, or the Prime Minister by today’s standards. In the ascendant of his powers, he ordered that the most beautiful bridge must be built in Visegrad on the Drina river. The main architect of the bridge was Mimar Sinan, the greatest architect of the Otoman empire. It was built in the oriental style. It is a masterpiece of architecture in that era. The Bridge is one of the most important national monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was entered in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2007. Ivo Andric, Winner of the 1961 Nobel Prize in Literature, wrote the famous novel “The Bridge on the Drina”. It is a historical novel. The story spans about four centuries and covers the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian periods of the region, with a particular emphasis on the lives, destinies and relations of the local inhabitants. The Bridge symbolizes strength, permanence and stability in spite of all disasters. It is amazing what such a building or the river below it goes through during the centuries. We people only live a very short time compared to anything around us. In the long run, the life of one person is nothing compared to history. Andric manages to describe this very well. The river runs smoothly, or sometimes not so smoothly, and so does the history of man. Leaders come and go, war rages, natural catastrophes, the bridge still stands and watches over the lives of the people who cross the river.
If you have read mentioned novel you may be dissapointed to find out that the old caravan saray from the book is destroyed, altough the old Lotika hotel building is still there.
Just nearby this famous bridge is another tourist attraction – Andricgrad (Andrictown) also known as Kamengrad (Stonetown). Andricgrad is a project of a famous film director Emir Kusturica, inspired by works and characters of mentioned famous writer, nobel prize winner, Ivo Andric. It is a tourist, cultural, administrative and educational complex, situated on a peninsula between the rivers Drina and Rzav in Visegrad. It is actually a vision of how Visegrad would have looked like if the Renaissance and other historical periods had not gone by it. In architectural terms, the city itself is a mix of different eras and styles that have changed through the history of this area: the Byzantine style, the Ottoman period, the Renaissance and classicism. During the walk through the main street – promenade, visitors are able to return to the past, it practically merges periods – the Renaissance fragments with the Ottoman period and the Byzantine Empire. Some of the main objects of Andricgrad are: Ivo Andric Institute, Memorial House, Centre for Slavic languages, Fine arts Academy, Town hall, Renaissance theatre, multiplex cinema, souvenir shops, coffee bars and much more. Andrictown is officially opened for visits in June 2014.
Before we cross the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia we will visit Dobrun monastery. Dobrun Monastery is located in the picturesque mountainous region, surrounded with rocky hills and opened towards the gorge of the mountain stream, in the gorge of Rzav River with numerous springs and fertile fields and pastures. It is dedicated to the Annunciation and was built in 1343 by Duke Pribil and his sons Stefan and Petar. It was entirely fresco decorated.
The most important frescoes preserved up today are scenes of Tsar Dusan and his wife Jelena and their son Uros as well as founder’s composition of Duke Pribil and his sons and son in law Stano. About the building and the early history of Dobrun Monastery there are not reliable records as there are rare existing records. It is only known that Dobrun Monastery was the Metropolitan seat. Dobrun Monastery was restored by Despot Stefan Lazarević and Princess Milica. Sometime on the turn of the 18th and the 19th century Dobrun Monastery was deserted. During its history Dobrun Monastery was several times destroyed and rebuilt. Dobrun Monastery experienced its worst destruction during the Second World War when Germans used it as ammunition storage and blown up in 1945 on their withdrawal. Dobrun Monastery was restored in 1946.
We will finish the tour by visiting third place – Ethno Village Drvengrad. Drvengrad means wooden town and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. Everything is made of timber from conifer trees. It is located in the Zlatibor region in a nature park Mokra Gora, in Serbia. It’s a traditional village, built by mentioned film director Emir Kusturica. This project started with few houses build as scenery for shooting Kusturica’s movie “Life is a miracle”. But soon after, a concept of making something “out of ordinary” gained traction and the few initial wooden-huts mushroomed into a sophisticated ethno-village complex. Drvengrad is also traditional village in its shape and structure: it is of rectangular shape, completely surrounded by a wooden fence, with the entrance gate placed at one end of its longer axis and the main street extending to the other end, where a small church with wooden belfry is situated. In the village centre there is a square paved with wooden blocks and sleepers, surrounded by authentic log cabins brought to the village from the surrounding area. While visiting you can see some beautiful art at the gallery “Macola“, Orthodox church dedicated to St. Sava, pay a visit to the library, watch movies at the cinema house “Underground”, eat some delicious homemade cakes from the cake shop, go to bar to enjoy some jazz music, have a hot drink in the amazing atmosphere of the café “The Damned Yard”, try local and international cuisine at the restaurant “Visconti”, or go to the National Restaurant “Lotika” where you can find some of the best dishes of Serbian cuisine.
There is also a sports & culture center consisting of a gym, a swimming pool, a sauna, a discotheque, a billiard room, and private rooms of Kusturica family. The village also offers handcraft and souvenir shops. Streets of this magical village bear names of the people who have inspired Kusturica throughout his life: Nikola Tesla, Stanley Kubrick, Jim Jarmusch, Maradona, Che Guevara, Joe Strummer, Novak Djoković and the Nobel Prize winning writer Ivo Andrić, after whom the main street is named. There is a display of restored old cars throughout the streets which adds to the antique feel. Drvengrad was inaugurated in 2004. After received Philippe Rotthier European Architecture award in 2005 Drvengrad was pronounced the best architectural achievement in Europe in the previous 3 years. The village gained a status of a 4 star town hotel complex. Since 2008, every year the village hosts Kustendorf Film and Music Festival. This festival has no red carpet, even if great names of cinema are always invited, and it has an anti-commercial position. The official competition shows student films from all over the world. There is also a ski domain built 8 km away from Drvengrad so visitors can enjoy skiing as well. With so many attractions in this small village, it is difficult to leave disappointed. Kusturica has built a cozy little piece of heaven where everyone can find some relaxing distractions from their everyday life.
In this place You can enjoy the train Nostalgia. Sargan Eight is an old-fashioned narrow-gauge railway. Its construction was finished in 1925. Today it represents a major tourist attraction.
If You are interested in old architecture, or You travel across Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia You should definitely visit Visegrad, Andricgrad and Drvengrad at least for one day.
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