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If you are about to plan your journey to amazing Bosnia & Herzegovina - Europe’s last undiscovered gem, you will undoubtedly want to visit one of the country’s landmarks – lovely Višegrad town and its three masterpieces. Besides the inspiring cultural & historical insight, this place hides some of the most incredible outdoor experiences, so make sure that exploring the jewels of Višegrad by boat & train is on your bucket list as well. Let me introduce you those not-to-be-missed spots.
In the land of magnificent rivers, like nowhere else in Europe, the Drina River is renowned as one of the most beautiful in Bosnia & Herzegovina. Not surprisingly, the Drina River canyon, the second deepest in Europe, with its exceptional wilderness and untamed nature, is considered as a national treasure. With a total length of 341 km, the Drina River flows through canyons and gorges in its upper course, while the lower course is rather large and wide. Marked by stunning mountains and canyon lands, the upper part of the Drina River is perhaps the most rugged part in the country yet endowed with so much beauty. The downstream between Zvijezda and Tara mountains passes through the deepest part of the canyon with some peaks rising over 1000 m. This breath-taking scenery is also the habitat of many wild animals, birds and fishes. In the remote hills, one can even hear the howl of wolves at night. The best way to explore this canyon is by cruising the Drina River. During three hours of sailing on crystal blue water, swimming in the lake and admiring wonderful landscapes everyone gets a refreshed mind.
When it comes to trains, their history and legends, Višegrad hides one of the most attractive parts of the old railways in Europe. On the narrow-gauge railroad from Višegrad to Morka Gora (in Serbia), you will feel like entering the time machine and going back at least a century ago. This old railroad belonged to the former East Bosnian railway, which was an essential part of the narrow-gauge line that connected two big cities of the region Sarajevo and Belgrade. Built between 1903 and 1906, by Austro-Hungarian empire, this was one of the most expensive railways in the early 1900s. The whole construction cost 75 million gold crowns or one kilogram of gold per one meter of the railway. For almost 50 years this railway played an important role in connecting Bosnia and Serbia before it was closed in 1974 due to profitability reasons. The idea of reconstructing one part of the former railway only for tourists was always present, but it took 30 years to implement it. Since then, the legendary narrow-gauge train “Ćiro” is connecting those two places, not on a regular basis, but on a request for organized tours, since some works are necessary for the future.
During the spectacular train ride from Višegrad to Morka Gora, you will stop to visit Dobrun, a charming medieval monastery. Also known as the Kruševo shrine, this monastery is nestled in the quaint mountainous region in the valley of the Rzav River, only 12 km from the town of Višegrad and almost on the border between Bosnia and Serbia. Constructed in 1343 by župan Pribil and his sons Stefan and Petar, the Dobrun monastery was destroyed many times during its turbulent history. The worst demolition was at the end of the WWII when the Germans used it as a weapons storage and made it explode during their withdrawal. Despite all devastations, the monastery preserved some extraordinary frescoes worth seeing. Close to the monastery, 150 m high on the rocks one can find the ruins of the medieval town of Dobrun. In the 15th century, this was the most significant fortification in the region with Duke’s residence and three watch-towers. At the same time, it was a seat of church and civil authorities, and it attracted merchants from Dubrovnik.
When you come to Višegrad, prepare yourself for the masterpieces and jewels therapy. On such a small piece of land you’ve got to see the famous “Bridge on the Drina River“, a fascinating Emir Kusturica’s time-machine called “Andrićgrad” and a charming medieval monastery and the fortification Dobrun. Also, you will have a chance to explore the jewels of Višegrad by boat & train – such as sailing on the mind-blowing Drina River Canyon and riding a legendary narrow-gauge train “Ćiro”.
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