Bicycle journey (in April 2013) on the path of the former Bosnian Eastern narrow gauge railroad ("Ostbahn"), in its most preserved and most exotic section - through the canyon of river Prača, between villages Hrenovica and Mesići.
This is part 4 of 5 - from the former railway station Sudići to the river dam of the hydroelectric power plant Mesići. This section is also very exotic, with a lot of tunnels and rough terrain scenery.
General info on the railroad:
The Eastern narrow gauge railroad was constructed on a truly enormous expense in 1906 by the Austro-Hungarian empire. The railroad connected Sarajevo to eastern Bosnia, and ultimately to Serbia (near Višegrad and also near Rudo).
It was one of the strategically most important political, military and economical infrastructures in the empire during that time, because it provided strong military deployment possibilities to discourage Russia's appetites to reach the Adriatic sea through Serbia's cooperation.
The railroad was around 166 km long, and passed through FIVE canyons (Miljacka river, two of Prača river, Drina river, Lim river and Rzav river). That's why it has 99 tunnels, dozens and dozens of bridges and countless retaining walls and embankments.
The railway was completely demolished in 1978 on a cold political decision by a communist government of Yugoslavia, mostly because it represented a legacy of a bourgeois monarchism.
The war in Bosnia between 1992-1995 destroyed most of what remained of the railroad's infrastructural objects, and metal vultures took whatever else remained afterwards.
The railroad is now almost completely abandoned and deteriorated (or even flooded by artificial dam lakes in the Drina and Lim canyons).
There are only four exceptions:
1.) Most of the section between Sarajevo and Pale is (rarely) used as a local road for hikers, bikers and forest poachers;
2.) Section between villages of Prača and Hrenovica has been overrun by the M-5 motorway;
3.) Section between Hrenovica and Mesići is used as a local road between those two villages, and is the most "authentic" (not modified);
4.) Section from Višegrad to the Serbian border, which has recently been fully reconstructed to its original form (with trains and everything) and used as a tourist attraction!