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While writing about our walking tour of the Belgrade Fortress, I had mentioned the Roman Well, the Victor, the Military Bunker, the Lapidarium, and even the winery. But I had inadvertently left out an important one, the Mehmed Paša Sokolović’s Fountain.

It’s a mystery to me how that happened since this particular Paša is someone I am familiar with from the historical novel The Bridge on the Drina by Bridge by Ivo Andrić that I read a couple of months back. In fact I was quite excited when I realized this Paša was the same as the one from the book.

Mehmed Paša was an Ottoman statesman and was the Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire for almost fifteen years under three different Sultans. What is interesting is that he was born in Herzegovina (which was under the Ottomans at the time) into an Orthodox Christian Serbian family but ended up becoming a Grand Vizier in a Moslem empire.

Apparently those days, the Ottomans abducted and forcibly recruited Christian boys from the territories they controlled to serve in an elite unit of the army. Mehmed Paša was one such boy who was forced to leave his home and family to faraway lands, never to return. What’s amazing is that he rose through the ranks to become the Grand Vizier.

Though Mehmed Pasa had left his home as a young boy, he never forgot his homeland. He left numerous architecturally well known buildings throughout Ottoman territories, the beautiful eleven arched bridge on the river Drina in present day Bosnia called the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge of Višegrad being one of them.

The Paša’s only surviving endowment in Belgrade though is the Mehmed Paša Sokolović’s Fountain. This drinking fountain is located at the remains of the inner rampart of the Belgrade fortress, opposite to the Clock Gate and was part of our walking tour of the fortress area.

© Shail Mohan 2022