Актуальні проблеми слов’янської філології. Серія: Лінгвістика і літературознавство

The city and cities in the stories, novels, essays and letters written by the Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andric Шолак, З.

УДК 821.163.41–3.09 Andric I.

Шолак З.,
доктор экономических наук,
Висока пословна школа,
(Нови Сад, Сербия)


The cities in which he grew up, the cities he lived in, in which he stayed, the cities
he visited, the cities he wrote about and the cities chosen as settings for major or minor
events of his books and stories comprise a big collection of cities about which the Nobel
Prize winner Ivo Andrić made his notes.
Different cities can be found in his biography. He was born in Travnik and grew up
in Višegradu, both small cities in Bosnia. He finished grammar school in Sarajevo, the
capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He started his studies in Zagreb in Croatia, and
continued them in Vienna and in Krakow. When Prince Franz Ferdinand was
assassinated in Sarajevo, just at the onset of the World War One, was arrested in Split, a
seaside city where he was on vacation. He was imprisoned in (now Slovenian) city of
Maribor. After the creation of Yugoslavia he arrives to Belgrade from Zagreb where he
gets a government position. He soon lands a transfer thus starting his diplomatic career.
It takes him on both shorter and longer visits to major European cities: Rome, Bucharest,
Trieste, Paris, Madrid and Berlin, where he was caught by the World War Two. At the
time between the two world wars he visited many other cities. Sometimes he also used
shorter vacations to see interesting places near the cities he was posted: Subacio, Ostia,
Venice, Grado which he liked very much, Constance, Weimar (to see the birthplace of
Goethe). In 1925 he visited Athens and Constantinople.
From the letters he wrote to his friends while he was staying in the big cities we
can see that he occasionally made excursions to Florence, Pisa, Grenoble, Frankfurt,
Naples, Avignon, Constance, Toledo and Segovia. Andrić spent the years of the World
War Two in the occupied Belgrade. He created his great works – the novels that will
bring him worldwide fame in the years after the war. He watched from his balcony in
1944 the Allie bombardment of Belgrade. After the war he visited many Yugoslavian
cities on different occasions. He also goes to Vrcolav, Leningrad, Stalingrad, Moscow,
Baka. He visits Beijing and other Chinese cities. He was also in Athens, Edinburgh and
Oxford. In 1953 he went to Turkey and visited Ankara, Izmir, Bursa and Istanbul. He also
visited Bern and Zurich and Stockholm again. He left travel notes about Lisbon,
Copenhagen and Geneva. Staying in the great cities Andrić frequented social events, art
exhibitions, museums and archives. He is a widely knowledgeable man who spoke many
languages (German, French, Italian, Polish, Russian and Rumanian) so he could have
indulge himself in an unperturbed investigation of the culture of the ancient times and to
keep track of the modern events too.
Personal impressions
Andrić left his notes about many cities he had visited or stayed in. In the letters h
wrote to his friends we can find brief, often the first impressions. As a student, after
arriving in Krakow, he sent a letter to one of his friends: “A haunted city: nothing but
museums and tombs and altars; dead kings; silent glory. Otherwise, it is bright and
sunny” [1, 102]. “I cannot say that my life is boring here. Almost by accident we found
some great company, where one can found rare things, good men, witty women and
fresh sandwiches…” [1, 103]. In Krakow everybody is happy in their own way [1, 228].
From Dubrovnik he writes in 1919: “Dead tired I have finally reached this beautiful
and strange city” [1, 167]. After arriving from Zagreb to Belgrade to work he noted “The
air in Belgrade is full of ozone and electricity so I feel younger and more alive than in
Zagreb” [1, 178]. The big pandemic of the Spanish Fever is also mentioned in his letters,
in February 1920: “The flue reigns here and all die from it” [1, 181].
Letters from Rome
From the period while he was performing his duties in Rome Andrić sent a big number
of letters to friends with whom he regularly corresponded. In the letters he sent to Zdenka
Marković and Vitomir Alaupoviću he wrote a lot about Rome itself. His notes are sometimes
more insightful and more fully described than it is usual for a letter: “Normally it is nice here.
Rome amazes you gradually, more and more so. And it is well worth seeing this wonder made
by human endeavor to give shape to fantasy and to preserve a daring idea in stone, in stone
which still outlives a man. I was however best thrilled by a park, Pincio…” [1, 184].
Soon after his first infatuation with Rome7 Andrić’s complains follow suit, which
are also to appear in the following letters. He has problems tolerating Rome and its
climate: “I feel very week. Rome is to blame, with its dust and bad food […]. The amount
of beauty I saw in this short while cannot be expressed by words. The antique marble
enrich a person, they open our eyes but they do tie our tongues” [1, 187]. Andrić goes
around Rome as much as can escape from work and from illness: “Lately I have again
taken to galleries and museums and I have seen such beauty. Still, everything is sad
here, dusty and sick from all the centuries” [1, 203].
Along his favorable impressions about Rome Andrić write more and more about
his health problems, which reoccur and gradually increase. He believes that the new city
he is staying in now is the cause: “It is odd how this Eternal city has such a bad effect on
the stomach. I spent four days with fever again, the cause of which is unknown to the
doctor […]. Finally, it is not the worrying that this is a awful city, damp, disgusting,
shallow but the fact that I cannot and have no chance to leave it soon” [1, 205]. He soon
started to consider some other city in which he could continue his diplomatic career:
“I cannot say anything good about my health. I should leave Rome. But how and where,
I do knot know, and that is why I linger here” [1, 208].
While in Rome he also visits other places. After such excursions he feels
revitalized: it is easier to tolerate this bog called the eternal city [1, 208]. He goes to Naples
and Pompeii8 for three days. He also visits Subiaco and Ostia9. However, while noting his
impressions he does not fail to mention Rome. Once his transfer had come through Andrić
7 Andrić’s impressions about Rome are also positive in the letter sent to Alaupović: “I managed to explore the
mysteries and the greatness of Rome in these few months. Not even the best historians and archeologists cannot but only hint
at the greatness of the antique times and the desperate drive of the Renaissance, because their conclusions are based only on
fragments (similar to an attempt to reconstruct a man’s beauty based on his shattered skeleton)” [1, 376].
8 Andrić’s notes about some cities in some of the letters resemble travel books: “I returned from Naples yesterday.
I spent only three days in that wondrous city which has suffered so many banalities written about it and which is in spite of that
truly beautiful, beautiful beyond description or words. The richness of shapes and colors and the strength that grows which
cannot be found in Rome at all. I saw Pompeii and the Vesuvius and the most beautiful bronze statuses in the world in the
Museo Nationale. I returned with a fever and terribly tired, but also happy, and now Rome seems to me like some Linz, even
more hateful and more disgusting” [1, 210].
9 Andrić’s says that he escaped from Rome for a few days “a steep city next to a large monastery” [1, 214]. “I am tired
from the journey and sad from Rome” [1, 214]. He says that in Ostia he saw “the ruins of Roman houses, temples and theaters”
[1, 215].
says: “I leave Rome without any grief”. […] Just before leaving for Bucharest he writes:
“I do not believe that it will agree with me, but it is still go to go” [1, 215].
Other cities
Andrić’s first impression from Bucharest where he arrived in 1921 was that “It is a
noisy and luxurious town”. He says that he feels better in his new place of appointment
than in Rome which was poisoning and breaking him [1, 218]. “Otherwise, it is a healthy
and joyous city, but for the life which is mad and unpleasantly full of debauchery”. These
are all of course only first impressions [1, 219]. In the letters sent from Bucharest he also
mentions Rome on occasion: “Now I realize that, even though I hate it, Rome has
enriched me in many respects”. From Bucharest he also made several excursions to
other places10. Arriving in Graz at the beginning of 1923 Andrić’s impressions are
moderate mixed with a noxious reminder of the days he spent in the Maribor jail: The city
is in itself beautiful but sad. Sometimes it seems to me that I have been imprisoned for
the second time [1, 229]. ″Returning to his home country, to Belgrade, from time to time,
he impartially writes his impressions about the city: “life in Belgrade is an eternal rustle
and bustle; everything that can be done easily and quickly in other places here is still
complicated and difficult”″ [1, 242].
The diplomatic career lead Andrić to Marseilles. He rented an apartment and he
sent his first impressions: “It is nice and clean, which is rare here, but extremely
expensive” [1, 376]. “This town I am destined to live in is big and interesting, but cold,
calculated and profane. It does have the sea, which is important” [1, 286]. The only thing
he was apparently happy with in Marseilles was the sea. As earlier he also takes shorter
brakes and visits other places. He loved the Provance and Avignon: “It was refreshing to
me and gave me pause from that noisy and ugly Marseille. It is difficult to imagine the
beauty of places such as for instance Avignon, and no painting or description can
express it sufficiently. I have never seen an area so beautiful before” [1, 247]. He saw
Grenoble and the surroundings which is more beautiful than a man can express [1, 249].
For Geneva he says that it is a dead and boring town [1, 250]. Andrić also writes from
Germany where he arrived just before the World War Two: “I did manage to visit
Frankfurt and Weimar during the Easter holidays, to see the homeland of Goethe”
[1, 252]. From Berlin he writes in 1939: “I have just arrived in this beautiful town which
reminds me, with its northern freshness, on an Easter long ago when I saw Krakow for
the first time” [1, 253].
In the letter he wrote after the World War Two one can feel a change. The letters
became more conventional. Notes about the places he visited are concise and have a
certain by-the-way character. He did say a bit more about Beijing: “I arrived here
yesterday and I cannot tell you a lot about this great city, but what I saw so far has
effected me greatly. Everything is new and big and yet one feels quite at home here”. He
visits both London and Oxford in 1959 and writes from this interesting university town
[1, 482]. It appears that his impressions from Athens in 1962 were very strong: I have
10 Iz Sinaje, turističkog mesta gde je došao na dva dana piše da je “Bukurešt nepodnosiv” [1, 223].
returned from my last stroll on the Athenian Agora, and I am flying to Kairo in the
afternoon… I saw plenty and thought plenty too” [1, 496]. From his travel writing
In the travel writing of Ivo Andrić we come across both sort and more elaborate
insights about cities which he visited or spent some time in. He notes specific
characteristics regarding the geographical position or the people he meets. In the travel
book Portugal the Green Land he writes about Lisbon and Sintra: “Lisbon. A restless
town on volcanic soil. Nowhere in the world are people calmer and more polite when you
speak to them individually, but all those quiet and polite people make such noise when
together that you cannot sleep from it” [2, 204]. “[…] a small town, practically a village,
Sintra, with its former royal palace and the Penja castle which in its position surpasses
the beauty of anything that can be told or imagined” [2, 205].
In 1946 Andrić visited the Soviet Union and writes travel books about the cities he
visited11. A travel book, unlike the impressions he put in his letters allows the writer more
room to write. Andrić usually tries to relate his impression of a city by choosing very
precise expressions: “Leningrad is one of those few cities on the Earth which are not just
a collection of public buildings and bigger or smaller houses, but rather it signifies,
through its amount of construction and traffic one of the great and important landmarks
on the road of human civilization and development” [2, 221]. Also striking are Andrić’s
impressions about the Nevsky Prospect. He expresses his impressions about what he
sees, about which he read earlier: “Yes that is it. And, strangely, it is bigger and more
beautiful, clearer and warmer than I have ever been able to imagine reading a
description by Gogol, other good Russian writers and foreign visitors” [2, 222]. His
impressions about the city are sometimes mixed with geographical markings, as was the
case in the travel book about Stalingrad: “Tens upon tens of kilometers it stretches along
the Volga, narrow and long. An odd city! It is not easy to forget it and even harder it is to
describe it…” [2, 248]. Trying to note something the important things, Andrić sometimes
admits that such a feat is not easy to perform: “Sarajevo is not simple and it does not
have so many clearly distinctive features and it cannot be described in so many words,
as it is the case with Travnik, Mostar and other bigger Bosnian cities… People in it are
brave and tolerant, both rich and homeless, generous and thrifty, descent and mean;
different people, different places, according to their origins and religion, according to their
neighborhood and according to their families” [3, 223].
11 Andrić published a text Nevsky Prospect in 1946 in which he describes his view of Leningrad: “Leningrad is one of
those few cities on the Earth which are not just a collection of public buildings and bigger or smaller houses, but rather it
signifies, through its amount of construction and traffic one of the great and important landmarks on the road of human
civilization and development” [2, 221]. “That is Stalingrad. A town whose name became a symbol in the previous war with
fascism. Its outskirts stretch as a worm along the Volga itself, for some ten kilometers, and then they widen along the elevated
slopes of the river bank into the well developed centre of the town, only to continue along the river bank further on, for another
ten kilometers, mostly containing of factories and worker’s houses” [2, 248]. Among the notes Andrić left behind about cities a special place is reserved for the
text: Upon Hearing the News that Bursa Had Burnt Down. Andrić, as he himself used to
say, mentioned that city in his works. He visited it. So later, after the fire which engulfed
Bursa in 1958 he wrote the mentioned text in which he says at the beginning: I was
touched and hurt. His description of Bursa provides a historical cross-section referencing
oriental construction and architecture as seen in Bursa and the influence on the
construction of the Balkan cities. He recollects his impressions he took with him from the
city of Bursa: “There are cities, even great and famous cities, which we visit and leave
without any regrets. And they dissolve, after we leave, as a big dust cloud behind us.
Then there are others which stay within us as a deep and intimate experience which is
not easy to keep quiet about or talk about either. Bursa is such a city” [2, 145].
Andrić made many observations about Sarajevo. Some of them have already been
mentioned. However there are both longer and shorter descriptions o the city, its
architecture, people and the opportunities in it. A lengthier account of Sarajevo can be found
in the essay One Look at Sarajevo: “It is a city. In every sense of the word… It is a city. A city
that is wearing down and expiring, but transforming at the same time” [2, 117–125].
The kasaba
The two Andrić’s novels are set in places connected to his personal life. The
Bosnian Chronicle describes events from Bosnian history from the start of the
20th century. Travnik is Andrić’s birthplace, while in Višegrad he finished primary school
and spent a part of his early youth living in one house close to the bridge which later
became the central figure in his book The Bridge on the Drina. Both Višegrad and
Travnik are small cities with minor populations and modest degree of urban development
at the time of the events depicted in Andrić’s works. Some Andrić’s short stories are also
linked to these locations. In The Vizier’s Elephant events from the time of Dželaludin
12 Andrić uses superlatives only a few times in his letters: “In Madrid, which is not rich in beauty, there is one small
square, Plaza de Lealtad, which in its location and appearance ranks as one of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen in the
world. Only in Paris and Krakow have I seen similar squares” [ 4, 560].
Pasha and his government of terror in Travnik are described. In the collection of the
Višegrad stories Anikin’s Times, Ćorkan and Švabica, The Rzava Hills and Love in a
Small Town. In the title of the latter story we can see that Andrić calls the city a kasaba.
That is a title he uses for small cities such as Višegrad and Travnik describing events
that took place there during the Ottoman occupation. Only few stories are linked to other
small cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina such as Doboj, Mostar, Olovo, and Rudo. Also,
while describing events in Višegrad and Travnik he mentions several other cities:
Rogatica, Foča, Fojnica, Priboj, Visoko and Maglaj. Some of the Bosnian–Herzegovinian
larger cities such as Banjaluka, Zenica, Mostar and Bihać are usually mentioned as a
place of origin of some character or his or her job or a place of some supporting event.
A typical characteristic of the kasaba in the works of Andrić is the special quality of
relationships between the people living there – the kasabalije as the writer calls the
inhabitants. Kasabalije count on each other, they help each other or they get into conflict.
If on the other hand they are enduring a misfortune affecting them all, their destinies
become intertwined and in the public’s eye. The possibilities of escaping into a closed
private world are almost excluded. Regardless of the division along the lines of social
hierarchy and religion the life of an individual or a family becomes a matter of public
interest. Everyone, both rich and poor, can be held back, supported, besmirched or
talked into doing something. An in the times of crisis, everyone can become endangered,
either greatly or in a smaller degree, being ordinary people or a Vizier.
Andrić lingers, in his descriptions of the kasaba, on places where people come
together such as markets, stores and houses. Andrić is considered as a writer who never
entered into families, who always stopped at the doorstep. His description of the kasaba
represents everything that he managed to learn, see and reconstruct based on the
existing historical records. Also the geographical position that he could have perceived
received a detailed description. And in the case of Višegrad a larger number of oronyms
can be observed.
When it comes to the period under the Austro-Hungarian rule and the changes
that engulfed the kasaba at that time redefining it into a European city, Andrić is largely
both a participant and an observer of the events taking place in Višegrad. Not only that
the government was changed but also the social system. Andrić notes significant
alterations: the construction of the railway and an introduction of mass transport, building
the city waterworks, raising public buildings and hotels and installing electric streetlights.
The streets receive nameplates, while hoses all get numbers. The land is re-measured
and official land books are introduced, population census is implemented, healthcare is
improved and the postal service is upgraded. Such changes were taken with reserve and
resistance by some people. But people also become accustomed to them very quickly.
Describing them in his book The Bridge on the Drina Andrić linked the fates of the people
of Višegrad and their relationships towards the changes.
Everyone knows everything in Smyrna
How are things uncovered in the kasaba, things that were previously kept secret?
When something happens the news of it spreads from mouth to mouth. The story starts
from on side of the kasaba and reaches the other end. With all the details, sometimes
even with additions. In his unfinished book Omer-Pasha Latas Andrić compared the
additional parts to a spreading story with a sinking river. It was a good comparison.
The river whose source and delta is known has a hidden flow, unseen by the observer.
In the book Haim from Smyrna is asked if he knew Kamill Efendi who was also from
Smyrna. He replies that he indeed knows him, that the whole of Smyrna knows him and
adds: Everyone knows everything in Smyrna. That is the case with Andrić’s storytelling:
an event that stands out from the frame of everyday kasaba life and which attracted
general public attention becomes a topic of conversations – it is talked about and retold
until it is pushed into oblivion by some new event.
The Big City
One part of Andrić’s opus is dedicated to an account of events that took place in
the big city. In his short novel The Devil’s Yard Friar Petar, sick in bed, at the very end of
his life, tells a story of his incarceration in a Turkish prison in Constantinople. That
overpopulated city was not described in greater detail because he, being in prison, could
not have seen more of it. Only an odd image stuck in his memory. As he was taken to be
exiled he was very impressed by the lights of that great city. And even though he was
unjustly arrested and kept a prisoner without a formal verdict or a regular hearing but
only under suspicion, he was still amazed by the sight which always remained as a
powerful impression in his memory. (It was the will of God to give such beauty to a fiend).
In this novel Andrić also describes another city, Smyrna. The book The Damned Yard as
a whole is marked by a superb storytelling technique. The city of Smyrna is mentioned
often. In such a short book there was no room for lengthier and more detailed
descriptions. The writer selects only some characteristic markings which are significant to
the topic of the book. At the very beginning he says: Smyrna, city of beautiful Greek
women. Andrić’s goes on to tell everything important about Smyrna being a city of
Kamil’s birth: What is Smyrna? When you look at it from down below, from that plain
below Kadifa Kala, it seems as thought it has no end. And it is big. A lot of houses and a
lot of people. But if you really look at it, there a hundred or so families, fifty Turkish and
as many Greek; and those few higher authorities around the police commander and the
harbor master, a thousand or two souls altogether.
The heroine of the book The Woman from Sarajevo, Rajka Radaković, spent a
good part of her life in Sarajevo and then she moved to Belgrade. That is the time
previous to the World War One and some years after it. These two cities were also
important in the writer’s real life. Andrić spent his high school days in Sarajevo while
Belgrade is where he chose to live, his home. In The Woman of Sarajevo he describes
the movements of the heroine, events taking place in the street, historical events and the
assassination which started the World War One. Such descriptions paint a vivid picture of
Sarajevo in those days. It is a big city with highly developed trade, banks and capital
market. It is a city of various immigrants with a rich gray/black monetary market in which
the heroine also has a stake. That is the city that is not as the small a kasaba. Only the
really big events impose themselves to the public’s eye. It is a city in which an individual
can lay low. Andrić’s descriptions are given from personal experience because he was
living at the time in Sarajevo. After World War One Andrić found a job in Belgrade; he
was to set of from there into the world and into his diplomatic service, where he will come
back from time to time as his service allowed him. The second part of the book The
Woman from Sarajevo is set in the 1920’s so he also provides a first hand description of
Belgrade. The novel actually starts with a description of the sky over Belgrade. Belgrade
was a large regional centre which attracted many people. New means of entertainment
appeared, new domestic and international trade flows along with hints of major social
changes. Hence we can find university professors and poets among the array of
characters next to the usual traders, craftsmen and entrepreneurs.
In the novel Omer-Pasha Latas Sarajevo is a city from which Omer reigns after his
arrival to Bosnia. He came there and he sets of from it to his enterprises from which he
returns back. The modernization of the city is still only in the planning phase. Basically it
is still a city living in the same way as imposed by the Turkish government. However, the
changes are at the door, even at the Pasha’s door. Apart from Sarajevo fragments
appear featuring events set in other great cities: Rome, Vienna and Bucharest. Some
characters from the book lived in those cities for a while. The painter Karakas studied in
Rome and when he came to Bosnia to make a portrait of Omerpasha he remembered
some faces from Rome by looking in his face: He remembered the Roman girls from the
high society who he observed from far away while they moved as apparitions,
unattainable, through the alleys of Monte Pincio [6, 135]. Omer’s wife, who was a born
Austrian, had spent some time studying in Vienna (Vienna rumbled with parties and
masquerades at the time [6, 187]). Some events set in Bucharest are also described
during one of her visits (The glow and the width of the Bucharest life are sill present
[6, 191]). Andrić was stationed in both of those cities. The notes about them also bear the
author’s personal impressions. And when Bucharest is being described Andrić paint an
image similar to the one he presented about the city to his friends in personal letters.
Several Andrić’s short stories are linked to Belgrade13 (Garmpa’s Diary,
Destruction, The Case of Stevan Karajan, Closed Doors, Zeko, With the People, The
Day). The Allie bombardment of Belgrade in 1944 is described by Andrić in several
stories. He is primarily interested in individual human fates. About the city itself, its
quarters, streets, squares, markets, its rivers and docks the reader is mostly told in the
story Zeko. It is a lengthy story about life in the wartime Belgrade. Andrić’s heroes move
through the streets, they go to the Sava River or they stay in the temporary shelters. The
buildings where people live, the gates, balconies, staircases and basements are also
places mentioned and described in certain fragments.
Tu su opisane i privatne kuće i njihova dvorišta. I ono što je za ovu priču od posebnog
značaja, opisano je bombardovanje grada, njegovo razaranje, kao i ponašanja njegovih
stanovnika su u takvim prilikama, opisano je njihovo intenzivno doživljavanje straha.
There are also private homes and their yards described. And what is especially
significant for this story, the description of the bombardment, the description of the city’s
13 About the classification of Andrić’s stories see [8, 161].
destruction as well as the description of the behavior of its inhabitants at such times, fully
seeing their intensive fear.
The big city in the works of Andrić is described in more detail if it is the case of
events that he also took place in. If it is the case of a city he had only visited or stayed for
only a short while its description is reduced. He describes a hotel and the hotel room in
Paris as in the story Words or houses in Vienna in the story Conversation. In the story One
Day in Rome Andrić’s hero moves around the city, and he mentions street and religious
objects. Andrić, alos brimming with personal observations from Rome, was able to put in
his fresh impressions into this 1924 story: Down in the city the night is coming. The hustle
and bustle and countless people. Every corner holds a promise of something pleasant. The
evening smeels like an adventure. Music from far away (“Like in Odesa”) [7, 35].
The further back he goes into the past Andrić reduces his description of the city
itself and its architecture, giving centre stage to human fates and actions. The reader of
Andrić’s works arrives at several impressions about different periods reading about
Sarajevo as a city. First there is the impression of Sarajevo as a city from the story The
Journey of Alija Djerzelez and Sarajevo from the stories about the events that took place
back in 1878 (One Day in Sarajevo at the End of July 1878, On the Latin Bridge,
Lieutenant Murat, The Pasha’s Concubine). Then there is Sarajevo from 1906 (stories
like Uprising, The First Encounter, Unrest). There is also the notion of that city under
Austro-Hungarian rule and just before World War One (The Woman from Sarajevo).
All of the impressions of Sarajevo arrive at the reader as a series of consecutive images
which are gradually put into focus.
The city and the river
In Andrić’s books the reader will come across names of a large number of rivers.
Scientists looking into the use of hidronyms can add to their collection a lot of examples
featuring rivers: the Drina, the Rzav, the Lašva, the Miljacka, the Žepa, the Sava, the
Danube, the Vrbas, the Orljava, the Zrmanja, the Uvac, the Rhine, the Arna, the Buna,
the Bosna, the Neva, the Volga, the Radeka.
Some cities in Andrić’s books such as Višegrad, Travnik, Sarajevo and Belgrade
also have their own rivers. Višegrad stands on two rivers: the Drina and the Rzava, while
Belgrade has the Sava and the Danube. Those are all linked river. The Rzav flows into
the Drina, the Drina into the Sava and the Sava into the Danube. Travnik has the Lašvu
while Sarajevo the Miljacku. Andrić’s comments, when relating to the terrain and the
position of the city are brief and simple, as if taken from some brochure: In Sarajevo
there was also a big and important difference between the houses on the right and the
ones on the left side of Miljacka, also making a difference between the people living in
them. The Right bank is considered, and rightly so, as healthier and more prestigious, it
gets more sunshine, less exposure to the winter winds and less troublesome in steep.
That is why the houses and the plots on the right side always had a higher price and
were easier sold. The most solid connection between the city and the river was described
in the book Bridge on the Drina. The Drina is a powerful river, while a stone bridge, built
by the Vizier, links its two banks in Višegrad. The river is interesting to children in the
summer, and when it floods it takes a part of the property from the families of Višegrad.
In the middle of the bridge over the very river there is an expended platform – a gateway
where people can meet and talk. Andrić tied the river and the bridge in his book to many
events over a longer historical period. Višegrad is on a river. And when it comes to
Belgrade urbanism plans are still looking for a solution to an old idea to put the city back
on its rivers, from which it is severed off by docks and traffic lines. Andrić’s hero Zeko in
the story of the same name discovers the Sava River, finds his way to it and joins the
world in existence there for the best part of the year.
The city and its surroundings
What is sometimes called the country life is seldom described in the works of Ivo
Andrić. The events he talks about happened in the country. The conversation is going on
around the fireplace in the Story about Salt and in the story In the Winter where a husband
and his wife are talking. Only in the story Volujaci jobs in the village households is
described. The farmer in Andrić’s books is usually described while solving some problem in
the kasaba. Vitomir arrived in the kasaba to by a scythe in the story Scythe. In villagers are
described in various activities: hen they arrive into Travnik to shop in its stores, while they
acquire medicine in its pharmacies and as they come to borrow money from the rich
people of Travnik. The country folk are presented as inferior compared to the city dwellers.
For Vitomir from the village of Dikava people from the city are lying and deceitful.
* * *
In the end we can only mention that Andrić’s works dealing with old cities have
been left out of this paper. His comments regarding city cemeteries14, libraries and
archives have also been left out. However, in those texts we can also see his approach:
the city is a place meant for people to house and live, and that is why his remarks start
and finish at that point. He always tries to discover, even at the first meeting, the city’s
features that make it suitable to live in.
The cities where Ivo Andrić grew up and spent his early youth: Travnik, Višegrad i
Sarajevo – and Belgrade, which he chose in his mature years to live – are all locations of
events he described in his books and stories. And among the cities he had visited there
are also the ones which are mentioned in his works as locations of side events or as
cities that are starting points for major historical events that had sometimes occurred in
the Balkans. Andrić, as a writer of historical books and stories about events that took
place in the past, had always tried to be as well informed about them as possible based
on the records which remained in people’s memories, written or found in other sources.
And on the other hand, he traveled and took notes trying to add personal impressions
about cities which he found important for his works. That is characteristic for Andrić’s
literary procedure and his relationship towards art and creations. His markings of realism
14 Andrić published in 1954 a text On a Jewish Graveyard in Sarajevo where he notes his impressions of Muslim
graveyards: “The white Muslim graveyards on the steep slopes of Sarajevo. – That is one of the several topics which make me
feel excited and uplifted, full of visions and thoughts, but unable to give it an expression which would do it justice. However, the
poetry of these graveyards will find its poets, and they will not be the poets of death but the poets of life” [2, 134].
become pronounced. To be informed. To say only the most important. To linger on
details. To be honest. To be accurate.
Preveo sa srpskog na engleski Nikola Dobrić

1. Andrić I. Pisma (1912–1973) / I. Andrić. – Novi Sad : Matica srpska, 2000. – 511 str.
2. Andrić I. Staze, lica, predeli / I. Andrić. – Beograd : Prosveta, 1978. – 511 str.
3. Andrić I. Sveske / I. Andrić. – Sarajevo : Svjetlost, 1981. – 433 str.
4. Andrić I. Znakovi pored puta / I. Andrić. – Beograd : Prosveta, 1978. – 511 str.
5. Andrić I. Omerpaša Latas / I. Andrić. – Beograd : Prosveta, 1978. – 321. str.
6. Andrić I. Znakovi / I. Andrić. – Beograd : Prosveta, 1978. – 336 str.
7. Andrić I. Dnevnik sa puta po Kini, priredila / I. Andrić // B. Đorđević. Sveske zadužbine Ive
Andrića. – God. 27. – Sveska 24, 2007. – Str. 7–54.
8. Đukić-Perišić Ž. Mag srpske pripovetke, Jedan pogled na Andrićev pripovedački opus / Ž. Đukić-
Perišić // Sveske zadužbine Ive Andrića. – God. 27. – Sveska 24, 2007. – Str. 154–175.

In his letters, essays stories and novels The Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andrić mentioned many
cities. He had visited a large number of them both at home and abroad and left behind his thoughts
regarding them. Amongst the cities we can find: Rome, Naples, Vienna, Graz, Bucharest, Krakow,
Athens, Istanbul, Paris, Lisbon, Berlin, Moscow, Leningrad, Beijing, Geneva, Marseilles, Copenhagen
and London. In his observations Andrić always tries to find the most important characteristics of cities or
he just presents certain interesting impressions lingering on some happenstance detail ha had come
across. Je always tried to provide not only explanations gotten from documents but also from other
sources and personal impressions in order to portrait events which had taken place in the cities linked to
his personal life: Travnik, Višegrad, Sarajevo and Belgrade.
Keywords: Ivo Andrić, city, novel, story, travel book.

У своїх листах, есе, оповіданнях і романах лауреат Нобелівської премії Іво Андрич згадує
багато міст, які відвідав як на Батьківщині, так і за кордоном, і залишив після себе думки про них.
Згадуються такі міста, як: Рим, Неаполь, Відень, Грац, Бухарест, Краків, Афіни, Стамбул, Париж,
Лісабон, Берлін, Москва, Ленінград, Пекін, Женева, Марсель, Копенгаген і Лондон.
У спостереженнях Андрича видно, що він або намагається знайти найважливіші характеристики
міста, або просто представляє деякі цікаві враження про місця, на які випадково натрапив. Іво у
своїх роботах спирається не лише на документальний матеріал, а й на інформацію з інших
джерел, особисті враження, отримані від зображуваних подій, що відбувалися в містах,
пов’язаних з його життям: Травник, Вишеград, Сараєво та Белград.
Ключові слова: Іво Андрич, місто, роман, оповідання, путівник.

В своих письмах, эссе, рассказах и романах лауреат Нобелевской премии Иво Андрич
вспоминает много городов, которые посетил как на Родине, так и за рубежом и оставил после
себя мысли о них. Упоминаются такие города, как: Рим, Неаполь, Вена, Грац, Бухарест, Краков,
Афины, Стамбул, Париж, Лиссабон, Берлин, Москва, Ленинград, Пекин, Женева, Марсель,
Копенгаген и Лондон. В наблюдениях Андрича видно, что он или пытается найти важнейшие
характеристики города, или просто представляет некоторые интересные впечатления о местах,
которые случайно посетил. Иво в своих работах опирается не только на документальный
материал, но и на информацию из других источников, личные впечатления, полученные от
изображаемых событий, происходивших в городах, связанных с его жизнью: Травник, Вышеград,
Сараево и Белград.
Ключевые слова: Иво Андрич, город, роман, рассказ, путеводитель.

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