Besides the Old Bridge in Mostar and the Bridge on the Drina River in Višegrad, there is one more elegant masterpiece of Bosnia & Herzegovina, that is undeservedly in the shadow of those two. Situated in the southernmost city called Trebinje, the third landmark of the country, when it comes to bridges, is perhaps smaller and less famous, but arguably more charming and some would say even more scenic. The watercourse of Trebišnjica, world’s longest sinking river, is crossed by many bridges, but the one that steals the glory is, by all means, a 16th-century masterpiece - Arslanagića Bridge. This bridge has a fascinating story to tell to those who are lucky to explore this hidden gem.
A piece of unusual architectural beauty, built during the Ottomans occupation, Arslanagića Bridge has a significant place in the Balkan’s architecture of that time. What connects this construction with the Bridge on the Drina River in Višegrad is the same constructor - Grand Vizier Mehmed Paša Sokolović. Built in 1574, three years before the one in Višegrad, Arslanagića Bridge is a sort of an endowment to his son, who was killed during the battle with the Venetians. Situated about 6 away km from the urban zone of Trebinje, this bridge consists of two large and two small semi-circular arches.
When the Turks were pushed by the Venetians to leave Herceg Novi in 1687, among many of them who moved to Trebinje was Arslan-aga. In Trebinje, he was given the land in the eastern part of the city, and he was assigned to collect the bridge-toll. Since then, this bridge was named after him. Arslanagića Bridge, one of the best examples of the Ottoman architecture, had a strategic role on the trading route between Herceg Novi in Montenegro and Dubrovnik in Croatia.
The main curiosity of Arslanagića Bridge is its location or better to say - locations. The original location of the bridge used to be 10 km upstream from the current one. In 1965, due to the construction of the hydropower plant Grančarevo Dam, on the Trebišnjica River, the bridge was flooded by the water of storage lake. So, the bridge had to be dismantled stone by stone and moved upstream to the new location, between the settlements Gradina and Police. It took almost six years to reassemble the bridge entirely, making sure that this valuable cultural and historical monument gets the proper treatment. Besides having two addresses, another curiosity of this bridge is its two names. In fact, as from 1993, it has been called Perovića Bridge.
If you happen to be in Dubrovnik (Croatia) or perhaps Herceg Novi (Montenegro), and you would like to explore a hidden gem that only the locals know about, it will take you less that one hour of ride to the north to reach the city of Trebinje, where Arslanagića Bridge, a 16th-century masterpiece waits to be discovered.
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