Last week I was very pleased to find out that reconstruction of the famous bridge over Drina is finished. Every time I go by this bridge on my way to Republic of Srpska, it is alway under reconstruction, covered, hiding its beauty from the eyes of passengers. But this time it was proudly standing, straddling mighty Drina river, with its access to both side of a river. Access to the left side was not posible for a long time and I was so happy I will be able to go down there.
Passing through the tunnel that leads to the water, I suddenly felt the breath of the past and the peace that comes as much from the clear emerald water as from the shade of the bridge and surrounding steep hills.
This famous bridge was built in 16th century by the order of Mehmed-Pasa Sokolovic, born in a Serbian family but taken from home by Turks (as an impost of Turkish goverment over Serbian people called “danak u krvi”, “devşirme” or “blood tax”). Sokolovic become one of the most influential viziers of Ottoman empire but never forgot his ortodox roots and ordered a construction of this bridge as a gate to the wild nature and hospitable people of Hercegovina.
Although it represents wonderful example of classical Ottoman architecture, this bridge would never become so famous if it wasn’t described by the Nobel prize winner, Ivo Andric, who gave such an insightful description of people and events, so unique and realistic and so universal at the same time.
This wonderful historical town always gives me such pleasure, even if I just drive by and even more if I have the chance to have a drink in the shadow of a trees by the river, but this time, with the bridge in such a good shape and water so peaceful, I was enchanted. Centuries have gone by, but never took its magic.