Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Omerbeg house, the architectural ensemble

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Status of monument -> National monument

             Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 1 to 7 July the Commission adopted a






            The architectural ensemble of the Omerbeg house in Jajce is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument is located on cadastral plot 980/I, cadastral municipality Jajce I, Municipality Jajce, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The provisions relating to protection and rehabilitation measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of the Federation of  BiH nos. 2/02 and 27/02) shall apply to the National Monument.




            The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Government of the Federation) shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, conserve, display and rehabilitate the National Monument.

            The Commission to Preserve National Monuments (hereinafter: the Commission) shall determine the technical requirements and secure the funds for preparing and setting up signboards with the basic data on the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




            To ensure the lasting preservation of the National Monument the following measures shall be implemented:

• All demolition, repair, extension or other building works are prohibited other than rehabilitation works and works designed to display the monument, with the approval of the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina;

• An analysis of the damage to the structure shall be conducted and a project drawn up for its consolidation;

• Conservation and restoration studies shall be carried out on the building (recording alterations to the arrangement of the building, the structure, the interior, the treatment of the facade, etc.);

• Basedon the findings of these studies, a project for the rehabilitation of the building shall be drawn up designed to restore it to its original condition as far as possible;

• All later additions to the building which are detrimental in appearance, choice of materials or other elements to the appearance of the building shall be removed;

• Original materials or materials of the same type shall be used, as shall the original methods of treatment of the materials and building methods;

• All methods and degrees of intervention must be plain to see;

• The erection of advertising bill boards or signs detrimental to the appearance of the building and its environs is prohibited.




            All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are hereby revoked.




            Everyone, and in particular the competent authorities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Canton, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation thereof.




            The the Government of the Federation, the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning, the Federation heritage protection authority, and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II to V of this Decision, and the Authorized Municipal Court shall be notified for the purposes of registration in the Land Register.




            The elucidation and accompanying documentation form an integral part of this Decision, which may be viewed by interested parties on the premises or by accessing the website of the Commission (http://www.aneks8komisija.com.ba) 




            Pursuant to Art. V para 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, decisions of the Commission are final.




            This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption and shall be published in the Official Gazette of BiH and the Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH.


            This Decision has been adopted by the following members of the Commission: Zeynep Ahunbay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović,  Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.



Chairman of the Commission

Amra Hadžimuhamedović

No: 08.2-6-511/03-1

2 July 2003




E l u c i d a t i o n



            Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of  BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a petition for the property in question has been submitted or not.

            Pursuant to a petition received on 21 February 2002 from Jajce Municipality, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching a final decision to designate the Property as a National Monument, pursuant to Article V of Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.



            In the procedure preceding the adoption of a final decision to proclaim the property a national monument, the following documentation was inspected:

• Documentation on the location and current owner and user of the property

• Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data of war damage, data on restoration or other works on the property, etc.

• Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision.


            The findings based on the review of the above documentation and the condition of the site are as follows:


1. Details of the site


            The National Monument forms part of the mediaeval complex of the town of Jajce, by the Travnik Gate, on c.p. 980/I, c.m. Jajce I, Jajce Municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

            There are many historical strata in the area constituting present-day Jajce Municipality.  The fortress alongside which the Omerbeg house was built is often known as the kastel (castle) or citadel, and existed even before the earliest reference to the name Jajce in written sources (M. Ančić, 1999, 98), dating from 1396, when Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić is titled  conte di Jajcze”.   In his day, as a great military leader and duke of Spljet, he resided in the town from time to time and issued a charter there. In the late fourteenth and early fifteenth century the town underwent rapid political and cultural development, and later, towards the end of the Bosnian state, became the permanent seat of the last Bosnian kings.  In Hrvoje's day the bailey to the east of the fortress was built, and gradually, during the fifteenth and early decades of the sixteenth centuries, the entire system of defences was constructed.  This, notwithstanding various repairs and rebuilding, has survived virtually unchanged to this day.  The last Bosnian king, Stjepan Tomašević, lived in Jajce, and was killed in 1463 by the Jajce fort in the presence of Sultan Mehmed II el Fatih, the Conqueror.  Ottoman troops then occupied the town, but held it for only six months.  In 1463 the Hungarians occupied Jajce, and founded the Jajce banovina (banate).  The fort remained a prominent strategic stronghold until late 1527 when, following the battle of Mohács, it finally fell to Ottoman rule and lost its strategic importance as a forward stronghold.  The battle zone moved further to the north, and from then on a military garrison headed by a dizdar was based in Jajce.  In the second half of the seventeenth century there is reference to the kapetan of the Jajce kapetanija.  E. Çelebı notes that there were a dizdar, a janissary commander and 300 soldiers in the town.  A fire in 1658 badly damaged both the fortress and the town.  That year the citizens complained to the valija (district administrator) that the city was in such a ruinous state that it was dangerous to go through the town gates and alongside the ramparts.   In the eighteenth century a spy wrote that the town had not been repaired since its occupation in 1526 and that it had a small garrison with little artillery.  The last kapetan of Jajce was  Sulejman-Beg Kulenović until 1832, a follower of Husein-kapetan Gradaščević. The Bosnian vizier Mahmut Hamdi-Paša brought in new “nizams” and “Arnauts” who lived here from 1832 to 1833, when, due to their negligence, the Sulejmanija mosque (the church of St. Mary with St Luke’s tower) was damaged. There were twelve cannon and four mortars in the fort at that time.  There was fighting around the town between Krajina (frontier) rebels and Omer-Paša Latas in 1851, as well as when Bosnia was annexed by Austria-Hungary in 1878.

            The Omerbeg house is assumed to have been built in the second half of the seventeenth century.  The building stands right by the Travnik Gate and is a typical example of Bosnian residential architecture from the Ottoman period.  It is one of the larger buildings of that time, with a stone-built ground floor and post-and-pan upper floor, with several small windows, decorative entrance door and pitched roof clad with shingles.  In 1952 the building was bought from Dana Salom (who has owned it since 1924) by the Omerbegović family.  In 1965 Jajce Municipality built another house for the Omerbegović family, exchanging it for the Omerbeg house which thus came into the possession of the Municipality.  In 1967 it allocated the use of the building to a company from Belgrade by the name of Putnik, and in the late 1960s the building was reconstructed and adapted to be used for catering purposes. The restaurant remained in operation until 1992.

            Alongside the building stands the Hafizadića česma (fountain), built in 1262 AH  (1845/46) by Hadži Šerifa Merjem hanuma, wife of Seid Ahmed-beg Hafizadić and daughter of the Bosnian teftedar Ahmetbeg Vilić of Travnik, as recorded on the inscription on the lower plaque above the fountain.  The fountain was previously located on the other side of the street about 30 metres from its present position, to which it was moved in 1948 in unaltered form.


Legal status to date

            By Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina no. 29/1951 the building was placed under state protection.

By Decision of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, no. 08.1-6-496/03-4 of 02.06.2003, the Hafizadića česma in Jajce is protected as a National Monument.

            The Regional Plan for the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2002 listed the building as part of the urban complex of Jajce which was listed as category zero of international value.

            The draft regional plan for Jajce Municipality drawn up in 1988 by the Town Planning Institute of  Bosnia and Herzegovina) included the building on a list of 74 individual monuments and minor ensembles already subject to protection.


 2. Description of the monument

            The Omerbeg house is a typical example of traditional Bosnian architecture, with the ground floor built of large cut stone blocks and an upper floor built to the post-and-pan system with brick infill (probabaly originally with tuff infill), and a steep hipped roof.  This, like the roofs of other houses in Jajce, was clad with shingles.

            The ground floor ground plan is an irregular rectangle measuring 11.60 x 7.60 m, while the upper floor has a doksat (oriel) supported by struts.  The upper floor thus formed a regular rectangle measuring 12.22 x 8.93 m.  The roof eaves average 75 cm and run the full length of the building.

            The entrance to the building is by a stone stairway to the east, leading to an arched doorway with simple decoration. The door is solid wood with finely worked details.

            The ground floor is paved with level stone slabs, with cobbles in one small area.  Two smaller rooms on the ground floor are vaulted and are probably the oldest part of the house, from the time when it was used to house arms and the garrison that guarded the gatehouse to the fort.

            A narrow single-flight wooden staircase led to the upper floor, where there is a long corridor and five rooms. The floor is of wooden boards, the rafters are wooden, and the ceiling is a wooden šiše with central carved rosette.  The interior decoration is modelled on the musandera (built in wall-length fitted cupboard). The windows are of the traditional proportions, but have been adapted to modern needs and turned into sliding windows.  The doors to the main rooms are carved, and those of the kitchen, ćenifa (toilet) and courtyard are simply treated.  Access to the cobbled courtyard is from the upper floor.  Access to the Travnik gatehouse, also used as a restaurant, was arranged across the courtyard.

            The ground floor facade is not plastered, so that the finely pointed structure of the stone wall is visible, whereas the entire upper floor is plastered with lime plaster.  The roof eaves are enclosed with a board.  On the shingle-covered roofs, dormer windows are visible.  At the centre of the roof ridge is a small square turret with a polygonal shingle-clad roof.


3. Research and conservation and restoration works

            in the late 1960s, conservation and restoration works were carried out when the Omerbeg house was adapted to catering use.  On this occasion the entire roof raftering was replaced, as was all the door and window woodwork.  The assumption is that the entire upper floor was rebuilt without any alterations to its horizontal or vertical dimensions.  The works were carried out under the supervision of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural and Historical Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


4. Current condition of the building

            The Omerbeg house is in relatively good condition, and was not damaged during the 1992-1995 war, but considerable deterioration has resulted from lack of maintenance, particularly noticeable on the split shingle roof cladding, the facade and parts of the woodwork.

            The major problem is that caused by the effects of the elements, which have penetrated through the damaged roof to the interior of the building.  The roof rafters themselves show no visible signs of major damage.  The same is true of the interfloor joists.

            The woodwork is in good condition on the whole.

            The floors are in relatively good condition though needing some repair.  The upper floor ceiling was made of wood in the 1970s and is in quite good condition.

            The oak staircase is damaged and needs to be replaced, and the railing needs repair.

            The ground floor facade is not plastered, and the stone needs to be cleaned and the pointing made good in parts.  The facade of the upper floor needs repair where damaged and the lime mortar needs to be made good and the whole facade painted.  The interior walls are lime plastered, and need to be made good and re-whitewashed.

            The two ground floor rooms that are in contact with banked-up earth in the courtyard show signs of damp, which makes it necessary to instal drainage in the courtyard..



            Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument, adopted at the fourth session of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments (3 to 9 September 2002), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above.

            The Decision was based on the following criteria:

                        A.  Time frame

                        B.  Historical value

                        C.  Artistic and aesthetic value

                                    C.iii. proportions

                                    C.iv. composition

                        D. Clarity

                                    D. v. evidence of a typical way of life at a specific period

                        F. Townscape/ Landscape value

                                    F.i.  Relation to other elements of the site

                                    F.ii. meaning in the townscape

                                    F.iii.  the building or group of buildings is part of group or site


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-         Copy of cadastral plan

-         Copy of land register entry and proof of title;

-         Photodocumentation;

-         Drawings



            During the procedure to designate the architectural ensemble of the Omer bey house in Jajce as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


Documentation from the Archives of BiH, Jajce Municipality and the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH, Jajce in the Austro-Hungarian period.




Travnik gatehouse, Omerbeg house and Hafizadića drinking fountainOmerbeg house in JajceEntrance door Courtyard, photo from 2003
Interior of the ground floor, detail – windows Interior of the Omerbeg house - MusanderaDetail of the roof construction Interior, detail-ceiling(šiša)
Interior door Detail of the wood carvingPlan of the Omerbeg houseCross sections

BiH jezici 
Commision to preserve national monuments © 2003. Design & Dev.: