Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

Provisional List

About the Provisional List

List of Petitions for Designation of Properties as National Monuments

Heritage at Risk

60th session - Decisions

Moša Danon's Tomb with its surroundings and havra in Krajsina, the architectural ensemble

gallery back

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 7 to 12 May 2003 the Commission adopted a






            The architectural ensemble of Moša Danon's Tomb with its surroundings and havra in Krajsina, Stolac municipality, is hereby proclaimed as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The architectural ensemble stands on cadastral plots 789/I and 789/II, cadastral municipality Ošanići, the property of the Jewish community of Sarajevo (789/I) and Danilo Salom (789/II), Stolac Municipality, 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 specified in the preceding paragraph.




            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 Government of the Federation shall be responsible for providing the resources for drawing up and implementing the necessary regional planning documentation at the executive level for the architectural ensemble of the Moša Danon tomb, surrounding area and havra in Krajšina.  The ensemble comprises the area designated in Article 1 para. 2.

            The Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (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.




            For the purpose of preservation of the complex, Protection Zones I and II are hereby established.

            Protection zone I comprises cadastral plots 789/I and 789/II and a strip 5 metres wide from their outer limits. Zone II comprises the plots adjacent to these cadastral plots.

            In protection zone I no works are permitted other than the maintenance and reconstruction of the monument to the terms and conditions stipulated by and under the expert supervision of the Federation heritage protection authority and with the approval of the relevant Federal ministry.  No waste dumping is permitted in this zone.

            In protection zone II the construction of commercial and agricultural buildings is prohibited.  Residential buildings must be limited to a maximum height of 6.50 metres to the base of the roof structure, i.e. with a maximum of two storeys (ground and one upper floor) and maximum horizontal dimensions of 12 x 10 metres.

            A project to display the monument shall be drawn up.  The project shall include the reconstruction of the havra or place of mourning.  The existing stone walls shall be preserved, with repairs undertaken where the masonry wall crown has been damaged by the penetration of atmospheric moisture.  A new roof structure shall be made for the building and the interior shall be plastered and painted.




            All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are to be 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 specified in Clause I of this Decision or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation thereof.




            The Government of the Federation, the Federal Ministry responsible for town 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, III and IV 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.anek8komisija.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 FBiH/RS


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


No: 08.2-6-19/03-1        


21 January 2003.


Chairman of the Commission:

Dubravko Lovrenović






            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 (hereinafter referred to as the Commission) 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 (hereinafter referred to as Annex 8) and as 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.

            At a session held on 30 June 1998 the Commission issued a Decision to add the Tomb of Moša Danon to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, numbered as 577.

            Pursuant to the provisions of the law, 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:

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

Ÿ          Current condition of the property

Ÿ          Documentation on the location and current owner and user of the property (copy of cadastral plan and copy of land registry entry)

Ÿ          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. Data on the site


            The monument is located in Krajšina, on the Stolac-Mostar road, two kilometers from the centre of Stolac, cadastral plots 789/I and 789/II, cadastral municipality Ošanići, and is the property of the Jewish Community of Sarajevo (789/I) and Danilo Salom (789/II), Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Historical data

            The tombstone marks the grave of Moša Danon, Rabbi of Sarajevo and a highly regarded member of the Jewish community in the early nineteenth century, who was appointed as hamambaši in 1815.   Fifteen years later, at a time when the Jewish community in Bosnia and Herzegovina was in very difficult circumstances, he set off on foot for Palestine, desiring to die and be buried in the Holy Land.  He died on the way, close to Stolac, on the spot where he is buried.  His fellow countrymen erected the monument in his memory ten years after his death.

            The events that preceded his journey to the Holy Land are legendary, and commemorated in a Sephardi ballad.  They occurred in 1819, when a Travnik Jew named Moshe Haviljo embraced Islam and changed his name to Derviš Ahmed.  He quickly became a “holy man” enjoying considerable influence.  After a while he began to incite the Muslims against his former fellow Jews.  It was not long before he was found dead, and the authorities attempted to exploit the event to settle scores with the Jews in general.  The small group of Sephardi Jews in Travnik were left untouched, but the Sephardim of Sarajevo became the target of attacks.  Orders were soon issued to arrest all the prominent members of the Jewish community in Sarajevo, including Rabbi Danon, the community’s supreme spiritual leader, and a large sum of money was demanded to secure their release.  However, the following day almost 3,000 armed Muslim inhabitants of Sarajevo surrounded the Vizier’s palace and freed the captive Sephardis (Schwartz, 1998).

            Ten years after the death of Moša Danon the site became a place of pilgrimage for the Sephardi Jews, not only of Bosnia and Herzegovina but of other regions were there were Sephardim.  Once a year, on Moša Danon's birthday, 14 June, and on the date of his death, they would begin to assemble there.  Old photographs from before World War II show large crowds gathered around the monument with its inscription.

            Although it belongs to the Jewish culture, the monument was also highly revered by the Muslims, particularly dervishes.  The Muslim pilgrimage to the tekke on the Buna in Blagaj is similar to this one (Schwartz, 1998).


2. Description of the monument

            The monument is made of local stone and is of the form typical of older Jewish tombstones in these parts, known as the «lion couchant», symbolizing the Ten Commandments, or rather the tablets of stone on which they were written.  Tombstones of this type are to be found in several places in Bosnia and Herzegovina; the largest surviving group is in the old Jewish cemetery in Sarajevo.

            The monument has the form of an irregular pentagonal equal-sided prism, with the upper side levelled giving the impression that it is in fact hexagonal.  The monument is one centimeter wider at the base, and stands on a pedestal measuring 190 x 80 x 90 cm; the monument itself measures 150 x 50 x 80 cm.  On the northern side there is a carved inscription in ancient Hebrew reading:

            May this stone erected here be a sign and memorial to the burial of a holy person, whose deeds were wondrous and of whom it may be said that he was pious and saintly.  He is our master and teacher and great rabbi, Rabbi Moša Danon.  May his good deeds help us.  Amen.

He departed this world on the 20th day of Sivne 5590.

            The monument is in a landscaped area with a parterre in the shape of a menorah, and a stylized menorah is also to be seen on the iron doors to the site.

            Alongside the monument to Moša Danon are two more monuments, one with an inscription in German in Roman lettering: ARNOLD SILBERSTEIN Gestorben im Mai 1889, and the other without any inscription.

            The havra is 35 metres from the monument. A havra is not a place for regular Jewish worship, but a place of mourning, of grieving in community, in which visitors to the grave of Rabbi Moša Danon mourned not only his death but also the expulsion of the Jews.  It is a small building, measuring 8.60 x 7.20 metres, with stone walls; it had a tiled roof.  Three windows face the tombstones, and the door is on the north.  Inside are benches and a niche where Jewish sacred items would be placed.


3. Research and conservation and restoration works

            In the 1970s the site was set in order by building a new fence and landscaping the parterres of the complex. The entrance to Moša Danon's tomb is has the shape of a menorah.


4. Present condition of the monument

            The condition of the monument has not altered since before the war.  The only war damage is some minor surface damage resulting from the impact of shrapnel.  Weathering has caused some minor surface damage to the stone, particularly noticeable on the inscription.  Adverse weather conditions have resulted in the deterioration of the other two monuments.  The havra has lost its roof and the walls are at risk of deterioration.



            In the spiritual and material culture of the Jewish people this monument occupies an extremely significant place in Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond. The monument is visited every year on the day of Moša Danon's death, although it is very unusual for the Sephardim to perform pilgrimages and visit graves. For the Jews this kind of visit is a symbol of miraculous salvation. There are no parallels with other places for the Jews; parallels can be drawn only with the places of pilgrimage of other religious groups.

            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

D. Clarity

D. iv. evidence of a particular type, style or regional manner

E. Symbolic value

E.iii. traditional value

E.iv. relation to rituals or ceremonies

E.v. significance for the identity of a group of people

G. Authenticity

G.iii. use and function

H. Rarity and representativity


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-         Copy of cadastral plan

-         Copy of land register entry and proof of title;

-         Photodocumentation;

-         Site plan

            The documentation annexed to the Decision is public and available for view by interested persons on written request to the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.



            During the procedure to designate the monument as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


Levy, Moritz. Sefardi u Bosni: prilog historiji Jevreja na balkanskom

poluotoku (Sephardim in Bosnia, contribution to the history of the Jews in the Balkan peninsula) Sarajevo: Bosanska Biblioteka, 1996


Rizvanbegović, Izet, Stari jevrejski nadgrobni spomenik na Krajšini kraj Stoca (Old Jewish tombstone in Krajšina near Stolac), Naše starine III, p. 265, 1956


Schwartz, Stephan, The Rabbi of Stolac, 1998

Moša Danon's Tomb with havra in KrajsinaMoša Danon's TombMonuments alongside the monument to Moša Danon 

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