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Višegrad (Serbian Cyrillic: Вишеград, pronounced [ʋǐʃɛɡraːd]) is a town and municipality located in eastern Republika Srpska, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is resting at the confluence of the Drina and the Rzav river. As of 2013, it has a population of 10,668 inhabitants.


Coat of arms of Višegrad
Coat of arms
Location of Višegrad in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Location of Višegrad in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Coordinates: 43°46′58″N 19°17′28″E / 43.78278°N 19.29111°E / 43.78278; 19.29111Coordinates: 43°46′58″N 19°17′28″E / 43.78278°N 19.29111°E / 43.78278; 19.29111
CountryBosnia and Herzegovina
EntityRepublika Srpska
 • MayorMladen Đurević (SNSD)
 • Total448.14 km2 (173.03 sq mi)
389 m (1,276 ft)
 (2013 census)
 • Total10,668
 • Density24/km2 (62/sq mi)
Postal code
Area code(s)(+387) 058

The town includes the Ottoman-era Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge, a UNESCO world heritage site which was popularized by Ivo Andrić in his novel The Bridge on the Drina. A tourist site called Andrićgrad (Andrić's Town), dedicated to Andrić, is located near the bridge.


Višegrad is a Slavic toponym meaning "the upper town/castle/fort".


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. It is also part of the historical region of Stari Vlah; the immediate area surrounding the town was historically called "Višegradski Stari Vlah",[1][2] noted as an ethnographic region[3] in which the population[which?] was closer to Užice, located on the Serbian side of the River Drina, than to the surrounding areas.[1]


Middle AgesEdit

The area was part of the medieval Serbian state of the Nemanjić dynasty; it was part of the Grand Principality of Serbia under Stefan Nemanja (r. 1166–96). In the Middle Ages, Dobrun was a place within the border area with Bosnia, on the road towards Višegrad. After the death of Emperor Stefan Dušan (r. 1331–55), the region came under the rule of magnate Vojislav Vojinović, and then his nephew, župan (count) Nikola Altomanović.[4][5] The Dobrun Monastery was founded by župan Pribil and his family,[6] some time before the 1370s. The area then came under the rule of the Kingdom of Bosnia, part of the estate of the Pavlović noble family.[7]

The settlement of Višegrad is mentioned in 1407, but is starting to be more often mentioned after 1427.[8] In the period of 1433–37, a relatively short period, caravans crossed the settlement many times.[8] Many people from Višegrad worked for the Republic of Ragusa.[8] Srebrenica and Višegrad and its surroundings were again in Serbian hands in 1448 after Despot Đurađ Branković defeated Bosnian forces.[9]

According to Turkish sources[citation needed], in 1454, Višegrad was conquered by the Ottoman Empire led by Osman Pasha. It remained under the Ottoman rule until the Berlin Congress (1878), when Austria-Hungary took control of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ottoman periodEdit

The Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge was built by the Ottoman architect and engineer Mimar Sinan for Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha. Construction of the bridge took place between 1571 and 1577. It still stands, and it is now a tourist attraction, after being inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.[10]

In 1875, the Serbs from the area between Višegrad and Novi Pazar revolted and formed a volunteer military corps, who fought in the valley of the River Ibar in 1876.[11]

Austro-Hungarian periodEdit

Višegrad railway station in 1906

The Bosnian Eastern Railway from Sarajevo to Uvac and Vardište was built through Višegrad during the Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Construction of the line started in 1903. It was completed in 1906, using the 760 mm (2 ft 5 1516 in) track gauge. With the cost of 75 million gold crowns, which approximately translates to 450 thousand gold crowns per kilometer, it was one of the most expensive railways in the world built by that time.[12] This part of the line was eventually extended to Belgrade in 1928.[13] Višegrad is today part of the narrow-gauge heritage railway Šargan Eight.

World War IIEdit

During the Battle for Višegrad in October 1943 Chetniks attacked German garrison and captured the town whose Axis garrison had 350 dead and 400 wounded soldiers.[14]

Bosnian WarEdit

Višegrad is one of several towns along the River Drina in close proximity to the Serbian border. The town was strategically important during the conflict. A nearby hydroelectric dam provided electricity and also controlled the level of the River Drina, preventing flooding downstream areas. The town is situated on the main road connecting Belgrade and Užice in Serbia with Goražde and Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a vital link for the Užice Corps of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) with the Uzamnica camp as well as other strategic locations implicated in the conflict.[15][16]

On 6 April 1992, JNA artillery bombarded the town, in particular Bosniak-inhabited neighbourhoods and nearby villages. Murat Šabanović and a group of Bosniak men took several local Serbs hostage and seized control of the hydroelectric dam, threatening to blow it up. Water was released from the dam causing flooding to some houses and streets.[16] Eventually on 12 April, JNA commandos seized the dam. The next day the JNA's Užice Corps took control of Višegrad, positioning tanks and heavy artillery around the town. The population that had fled the town during the crisis returned and the climate in the town remained relatively calm and stable during the later part of April and the first two weeks of May.[16] On 19 May 1992 the Užice Corps officially withdrew from the town and local Serb leaders established control over Višegrad and all municipal government offices. Soon after, local Serbs, police and paramilitaries began one of the most notorious campaigns of ethnic cleansing in the conflict.[16]

There was widespread looting and destruction of houses, and terrorizing of Bosniak civilians, with instances of rape, with a large number of Bosniaks killed in the town, with many bodies were dumped in the River Drina. Men were detained at the barracks at Uzamnica, the Vilina Vlas Hotel and other sites in the area. Vilina Vlas also served as a "brothel", in which Bosniak women and girls (some not yet 14 years old), were brought to by police officers and paramilitary members (White Eagles and Arkan's Tigers).[17] According to victims' reports some 3,000 Bosniaks were murdered in Višegrad and its surroundings, including some 600 women and 119 children.[18][19] Bosniaks detained at Uzamnica were subjected to inhumane conditions, including regular beatings, torture and strenuous forced labour. Both of the town's mosques were razed.[15][16][17] According to victims' reports some 3,000 Bosniaks were murdered in Višegrad and its surroundings, including some 600 women and 119 children.[20] According to the Research and Documentation Center, at least 1,661 Bosniaks were killed/missing in Višegrad.[21]

With the Dayton Agreement, which put an end to the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina was divided into two entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Republika Srpska, the latter which Višegrad became part of.

Before the war, 63% of the town residents were Bosniak. In 2009, only a handful of survivors had returned to what is now a predominantly Serb town.[22] On 5 August 2001, survivors of the massacre returned to Višegrad for the burial of 180 bodies exhumed from mass graves. The exhumation lasted for two years and the bodies were found in 19 different mass graves.[23] The charges of mass rape were unapproved as the prosecutors failed to request them in time.[24] Cousins Milan Lukić and Sredoje Lukić were convicted on July 20, 2009, to life in prison and 30 years, respectively, for a 1992 killing spree of Muslims.[15][25]


YearPop.±% p.a.

According to the 2013 census results, it has a population of 10,668 inhabitants.

Ethnic groupsEdit

The ethnic composition of the municipality:

Census of the Municipality of Višegrad
Year 2013. 1991. 1981. 1971.
Bosniaks 1,043 (9.77%) 13,471 (63.54%) 14,397 (62.05%) 15,752 (62.04%)
Serbs 9,338 (87.53%) 6,743 (31.80%) 7,648 (32.96%) 9,225 (36.33%)
Croats 33 (0.30%) 32 (0.15%) 60 (0.25%) 68 (0.26%)
Yugoslavs 0.00 (0.00%) 319 (1.50%) 758 (3.26%) 141 (0.55%)
Others 54 (0.50%) 634 (3.37%) 338 (1.45%) 203 (0.79%)
Total 10,668 21,199 23,201 25,389

According to the 1991 Census, the town of Višegrad had a population of 11,828 residents.[26]

The ethnic composition of the town:

Census of the Town of Višegrad
Year 1991. 1981. 1971.
Bosniaks 7,413 (62.67%) 2,854 (47.66%) 2,429 (49.91%)
Serbs 3,512 (29.69%) 2,446 (40.84%) 2,141 (43.99%)
Croats 28 (0.24%) 52 (0.86%) 53 (1.08%)
Yugoslavs 300 (2.5%) 518 (8.65%) 107 (2.19%)
Others 575 (4.9%) 118 (1.97%) 136 (2.79%)
Total 11,828 5,988 4,866


The following table gives a preview of total number of registred employed people per their core activity (as of 2016):[27]

Activity Total
Agriculture, forestry and fishing 135
Mining and quarrying -
Manufacturing 205
Distribution of power, gas, steam and air-conditioning 354
Distribution of water and water waste management 68
Construction 10
Wholesale and retail, repair 211
Transportation and storage 58
Hotels and restaurants 196
Information and communication 24
Finance and insurance 16
Real estate activities -
Professional, scientific and technical activities 27
Administrative and support services -
Public administration and defence 265
Education 146
Healthcare and social work 156
Art, entertainment and recreation 22
Other service activities 30
Total 1,923




The House of Culture

The House of Culture was founded in 1953. Film screenings and other cultural activities take place in there, including amateur drama programs. The City Gallery, which was opened in 1996, is located in the House of Culture.[30] There is also a folk dance ensemble operating in Višegrad under the name KUD "Bikavac".[31]                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


  1. ^ a b Biblioteka Nasi Krajevi. 4. 1963. pp. 16–22.
  2. ^ Petar Vlahović (2004). Serbia: the country, people, life, customs. Ethnographic Museum. p. 31. ISBN 978-86-7891-031-9.
  3. ^ Etnološki pregled: Revue d'ethnologie. 12-14. 1974. p. 83.
  4. ^ Синиша Мишић (2010). Лексикон градова и тргова средњовековних српских земаља: према писаним изворима. Завод за уџбенике. pp. 73-. ISBN 978-86-17-16604-3. У ово време Добрун је у саставу државе Немањића и то у пограничном подручју с Босном, на путу који води за Вишеград. После смрти цара Душана (1355) припадао је кнезу Војиславу Војиновићу, а затим његовом синовцу ...
  5. ^ Etnografski institut (1950). Zbornik radova Etnografskog instituta. 17-18. SANU. p. 18.
  6. ^ Драгиша Милосављевић (2006). Средњевековни град и манастир Добрун. Дерета. p. 104. ISBN 978-86-7346-570-8. Били су то жупан Прибил н>егови синови Петар и Стефан и једна ман>е позната лич- ност знатно вишег ранга - nротоовесrajар Стан - юуи је као такав и представл>ен у ктиторскоj поворци у Добруну.20 Вероватно пе временом ...
  7. ^ Историјски гласник: орган Друштва историчара СР Србије. Друштво. 1981. ... земље Павловића простирале су се од Добруна, на истоку, до Врхбосне на западу. ...
  8. ^ a b c Desanka Kovačević-Kojić (1978). Agglomérations urbaines dans l'état médiéval bosniaque. Veselin Masleša. p. 99.
  9. ^ Milan Vasić (1995). Bosna i Hercegovina od srednjeg veka do novijeg vremena: međunarodni naučni skup 13-15. decembar 1994. Istorijski institut SANU. pp. 98–99.
  10. ^ "Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. 2007. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  11. ^ Gale Stokes (1990). Politics as development: the emergence of political parties in nineteenth century Serbia. Duke University Press. p. 335.
  12. ^ "Narrow-gauge railway in Višegrad". Tourist organization of Višegrad. Archived from the original on 17 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  13. ^ "Uskotračne željeznice - Grafikoni" [Narrow-gauge railways - Graphs]. (in Croatian). Retrieved 17 September 2016.
  14. ^ Dušan Trbojević (1998). Cersko-Majevička grupa korpusa, 1941-1945: pod komandom pukovnika Dragoslava S. Račića. D. Trbojević.
  15. ^ a b c "ICTY: Milan Lukić and Sredoje Lukić judgement" (PDF).
  16. ^ a b c d e "ICTY: Mitar Vasiljević judgement" (PDF).
  17. ^ a b Annex VIII - Prison camps; Under the Direction of: M. Cherif Bassiouni; S/1994/674/Add.2 (Vol. IV), 27 May 1994. Final report of the United Nations Commission of Experts, established pursuant to security council resolution 780 (1992). New York: United Nations. 1994-05-27. Archived from the original on 2007-02-03.
  18. ^ Kaletovic, Damir (2005-06-09). "Bosnia's ideal fugitive hideout". ISN Security Watch. Centre for Security Studies. Archived from the original on 2015-11-27. Retrieved 2019-09-11.
  19. ^ "Hope for Bosnia town whose bridge will shine again". Reuters. May 26, 2007.
  20. ^ Kaletovic, Damir (2005-06-09). "Bosnia's ideal fugitive hideout". ISN Security Watch. Centre for Security Studies. Archived from the original on 2015-11-27. Retrieved 2019-09-11.
  21. ^ "IDC: Podrinje victim statistics". Archived from the original on 2007-07-07.
  22. ^ "Visegrad in Denial Over Grisly Past". Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  23. ^ "Bosnian Institute News: Has anyone seen Milan Lukic?". Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  24. ^ Investigation: Visegrad rape victims say their cries go unheard Archived June 18, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Hague: Bosnian Serbs Sentenced". The New York Times. 21 July 2009. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  26. ^ "Popis stanovništva 1991" [1991 Census]. (in Bosnian). Federal Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  27. ^ "Cities and Municipalities of Republika Srpska 2017" (PDF). (in Serbian). December 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  28. ^ Aspden, Peter (27 June 2014). "The town that Emir Kusturica built". Financial Times. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  29. ^ Политика, издање од 6. јануара 2008. године
  30. ^ "Javne ustanove za kulturu" [Cultural institutions]. (in Serbian). Tourist organization of Višegrad. Archived from the original on 2016-09-05. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  31. ^ "Kulturno umjetnička društva" [Culture and art associations]. (in Serbian). Tourist organization of Višegrad. Archived from the original on 2016-10-03. Retrieved 12 September 2016.


External linksEdit

  Media related to Višegrad at Wikimedia Commons