A prevailing opinion among Serbian graphic artists is that the books printed by Gorazde Printing House are among the best works of the old Serbian printing. The Gorazde printer had brought the paper, the printing press and other tools from Venice.
Plans are being devised for building a museum of Serbian printing and books in the yard of the Church of Saint George in Donja Sopotnica outside Novo Gorazde on the occasion of the five-hundredth anniversary of the Gorazde Printing House.
“Gorazde Printing House is a capital asset which has connected cultures, literature and art of Venice, Gorazde and Targoviste since the 16th century,” says Professor Dragan Barac of the Faculty of Philosophy in Istocno Sarajevo.
Gorazde is an old settlement built where roads intertwine. It is the place where the Bosnian road forked into the Kosovo and Dubrovnik roads. Gorazde’s first links with Dubrovnik were established by Sandalj Hranic in the late 14th century and extended by Duke Stefan Vukcic Kosaca in the 15th century.
An orthodox church dedicated to Saint George was built in 1454 on the Drina’s left bank in Donja Sopotnica north of Gorazde. It was built by Duke Stefan Vukcic Kosaca.
An opinion in literature is that the church used to be a monastic habitat for a while. It is believed the church was briefly used as a monastery and that the founder of the printing shop, Bozidar Ljubavic Gorazdanin himself most likely took care of it for some time.
The books that were printed there left a mark in the history of Serbian literacy and culture. Gorazde Printing House gave three significant books to the future generations: “Služabnik,” “Psaltir,” and “Molitvenik”.
Archpriest Mihajlo Andric, who has been serving at the St George Church for over four years, notes for Srna the temple is not as significant in architecture as it is in the spiritual, cultural, historical or educational activity for the Serb people living there.
“Stefan Vukcic Kosaca built the temple in 1454 and this would not have been such a major thing had the first liturgical books not been published here between 1519 and 1523,” notes Andric.
A prevailing opinion among Serbian graphic artists is that the books printed there are among the best works of the old Serbian printing. The Gorazde printer had brought the paper, a printing press and other tools from Venice. The same goes for printing paint.
In the 16th century, Herzegovina printing houses acquired their printing paint from Venice, which arrived via Dubrovnik and Kotor.
“After the Turks occupied these parts, the printing house had to be relocated to Targoviste in present-day Romania, where it continued to operate20 years later,” explains Andric.
Activities have been planned for the whole year in the scope of marking the 500th anniversary of Gorazde Printing House.
“Two anniversaries are celebrated this year, 500th anniversary of Gorazde Printing House and 800th anniversary of autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which was founded by Saint Sava. We are focusing on the Gorazde Printing House’s five centuries,” says Andric.
Building a museum of Serbian printing and books would be extremely important, he notes.
“To print books in early 16th century was a feat that is difficult to contemplate from this viewpoint until we delve deep into historical facts and the position of our people through history. I believe the Government of Republika Srpska would be willing to take part in building the museum, together with donors who would join us. It is our desire to build the ground section of the museum until September so that we can hold ceremonies there in honour of the anniversary,” emphasised Andric.
Mayor of Novo Gorazde Mila Petkovic underlines that the Gorazde Printing House 500th anniversary is an excellent opportunity for the local community’s promotion and development.
“The municipality invests efforts in starting the construction of a museum of Serbian printing and books. The building is planned to stand next to the Church of St George in Donja Sopotnica,” she confirmed.
It is envisaged that the museum hold a replica of the old printing press which had been used for printing church books. It would be very significant for preserving the Serbian cultural heritage.
“We had a meeting hosted by His Grace, Metropolitan Hrizostom of Daba-Bosnia and one of our conclusions was that we should build a museum of the Gorazde Printing House. It is all expected to happen this year,” Mayor Petkovic added.
The Gorazde Printing House museum might help to promote religious tourism and could be incorporated in the tourism portfolios of Visegrad and Cajnice.
As part of anniversary celebrations, lectures on the printing house will be held in March and April.
Next on schedule is a book promotion by Professor Biljana Samardzic related to a monograph on Gorazde Printing House, and later on a religious commemoration and a holy liturgy. November will see a scientific conference on the Gorazde printing house.