The town of Višegrad first became a major settlement in the mid 15th century.
The powerful Pavlović family, who governed from the medieval settlement of Dobrun, ruled it. The hilltop ruins above the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge, called Pavlovina, are from this era. Višegrad was a gateway for the slow Ottoman invasion of Bosnia. Incursions by Ottoman armies started early in the 15th century but it is said the town was finally conquered in 1544 by Osman Paša. Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge, better known as the Bridge on the Drina, was constructed several decades later. The city remained under Ottoman rule until 1878 when Bosnia and Herzegovina came under the military and political rule of the Austro-Hungarians.
As with many towns in BiH, the European urbanization began at this point. Many of the public buildings and infrastructure are from this period – the most conspicuous being the narrow gauge railway that ran from Sarajevo to Serbia via Višegrad.
Bridge over Drina
Today’s Višegrad, although still struggling with poor economic conditions, has steadily improved its tourism infrastructure. In 2007, UNESCO named the Mehme Paša Sokolović Bridge a World Heritage Site. Since that time, tourism has been identified as the main opportunity for economic development in the area. Višegrad has three main sites of cultural and historic interest.
The Dobrun Monastery and Old Town come from medieval times. The Mehmed Paša Sokolović bridge is a testament to the ingenuity and beauty of Ottoman architecture.
And the narrow gauge railway, just recently re-activated, is a symbol of Austro-Hungarian influence in the wider area. These are the city’s strongest tourism assets. Everything, though, is coupled with the natural beauty of the Drina River.