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news 01 Mar 11

Dodik, Kusturica Plan 'Andric Grad' in Bosnia

Republika Srpska President Milorad Dodik and renowned Serbian director Emir Kusturica have announced plans to build a new mini-city within the Bosnian city of Visegrad.

Vecernje Novosti

The new city, which will be called Andric Grad, will include some fifty mainly stone buildings and will be located at the mouth of the Drina River, the setting for the Nobel prize winning book The Bridge On the Drina by Ivo Andric.

The project must still obtain several permits before breaking ground, and it has faced resistance from some, including those who object to changes to the historical Drina Bridge site and victims of wartime atrocities in the city.

Dubravko Lovrenovic, a member of the State Commission to Preserve National Monuments, told Balkan Insight that the Commission will not react until they see the official project documentation.

"The Republika Srpska Ministry of Physical Planning will issue construction permission, and if the bridge is not directly threatened, the Commission will not react," Professor Lovrenovic said.

As they walked through Visegrad on Monday, Dodik and Kusturica, who was born in Sarajevo, said that the new mini-city would celebrate the history and culture of the Balkan nations, and be the most important undertaking of the era.

Dodik explained that he was impressed by Kusturica's boyish enthusiasm and energy for this "massive project". "I realised that I wouldn't be able to dissuade him, but I thought: he will get tired and worn out. But he didn't!" the Republika Srpska president said.

The men said that construction, which is scheduled to begin in June, would take four years to complete and would cost between KM 20 and 25 million (some €10-12 million).

Kusturica called the Andric Grad project "the biggest, most spectacular project of my life". He said that the new mini-city would feature stone streets, gates and towers, and would include a cinema and theatre, marina, gymnasium, craft workshops, hotels, sports facilities, the "Visegrad twin towers" (a new building for the Visegrad municipality), galleries and churches, and a reconstructed stone han.

He is expected to use "Andric Grad" in his planned movies Pancho Villa and The Bridge on the Drina.

The filmmaker previously built an ethno-village in Serbia, near Mokra Gora, called Drvengrad.

Dodik and Kusturica explained that Andric Grad will be built as part of a public-private partnership. Kusturica will be the largest financial contributor to the project, while the government of Republika Srpska will provide part of the funding. The city of Visegrad will provide the location and infrastructure, and Elektroprivreda the power supply.

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