Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Clock Tower (site and remains of historic building)

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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 6 to 12 May 2003 the Commission adopted a






            The site and remains of the historic building of the Clock Tower in Banja Luka is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument was erected on cadastral plot no. 48/36, cadastral municipality Banja Luka, Land Registry entry no. 21, Banja Luka Municipality, Republika Srpska, 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 Republika Srpska no. 9/02) shall apply to the National Monument.




            The Government of Republika Srpska 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 Republika Srpska shall be responsible for drawing up and implementing the necessary technical documentation for the rehabilitation of the National Monument.

            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.




            The Government of Republika Srpska shall be responsible in particular for ensuring that the following measures are implemented:

-          the Clock Tower shall be reconstructed on its original site, in its original form, with identical horizontal and vertical dimensions, with the use of the original or the same type of material and the original building methods, on the basis of data on its former appearance (photogrammetry and other architectural and technical surveys conducted in 1985/86).

-          prior to the start of works on the rehabilitation of the Clock Tower, the surface layers of soil shall be removed in order to uncover the original foundation walls;

-          the original parts of the foundations and walls shall be made good and consolidated,

-          all original fragments of the demolished building found on the site or on other sites to which they were removed after the demolition of the building must be collected up, registered, recorded and reintegrated into the reconstructed building by the method of anastylosis, with the use of traditional building materials and binders (mortar) and building techniques.  Until such time as they are so reintegrated they shall be properly protected,

-          fragments that are too badly damaged to be reintegrated shall, following laboratory analysis, be conserved and preserved appropriately within the building,

-          all usable material shall be rebuilt into the Clock Tower,

-          all missing elements for which there is documentation on their original condition shall be made on the basis of existing documentation from materials that are the same as or similar to the original using the method of repristination,

-          on the plots adjacent to those on which the National Monument is located the only construction permitted is of single-storey buildings with a maximum height of 3.50 m to the base of the roof frame and a maximum size of 4 x 10 m.




            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 Republika Srpska, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation thereof.




            The Government of Republika Srpska, the Ministry responsible for regional planning in Republika Srpska, the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska, 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.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 Republika Srpska.


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


Chair of the Commission

Amra Hadžimuhamedović

No: 08.2-6-791/03

7 May 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.

In August 2002 the Majlis (Council) of the Islamic Community of Banja Luka in August 2002 submitted a petition to the Commission to Preserve National Monuments requesting that the property be designated as a national monument.

            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         Documentation on the location and current owner and user of the property (copy of cadastral plan and copy of Land Registry entry no 21, Banja Luka Municipality)

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         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 Clock Tower stood in the Banja Luka čaršija (old commercial centre), close to the Ferhadija mosque, cadastral plot no. 48/36, cadastral municipality Banja Luka, Banja Luka Municipality, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

            Mechanical clocks first appeared in Europe in the Middle Ages, above on all clock towers.  Until the nineteenth century pocket watches were rare and expensive, affordable only by the rich, while other people used public clock towers.

            The construction of buildings of this type in the Ottoman Empire began in the mid sixteenth century.  Both urban development and the need to perform the five daily prayers prescribed for Muslims at specific times of day led to the widespread presence of clock towers. According to a sixteenth century French traveller, the first clock tower was built in Skopje between 1566 and 1572, and the clock was brought from occupied Sige (Kreševljaković, 1991,497)

Clock towers were usually erected in the centres of town čaršijas (craft and trade areas) by mosques, as the endowments of individual vakifs or legators, although there are some in other locations, such as the Maglaj clock tower erected in the bailey of the Maglaj fort, or those in Tešanj, Gradačac or Počitelj.

            Clock towers are tall buildings, square in cross section, usually stone built and with a pyramidal roof.  Below the roof of a clock tower there was usually a cornice, and below this four apertures, one on each facade, where the clock and striking mechanism were located.  The clocks were connected to a bell.  In addition to these four openings, there were also loopholes on the clock towers, arrayed from the base to the top.  These apertures served to let in a modicum of light to illuminate the steep wooden staircase that led to the clock mechanism.  The stairs were set into the walls and had landings at the angles.  The legators provided for the maintenance of their clock towers.  Each clock tower had an official responsible for winding up the clock, while a sahačija or clock-maker was responsible for repairs.

            During the Ottoman period, with the urban development of various towns, 21 clock towers were erected in Bosnia and Herzegovina, (Kreševljaković, 1991, 496.) In his work Sahat kule u BiH (Clock Towers in BiH) H. Kreševljeković describes 19 such buildings: two in Travnik, and one each in Banja Luca, Donji Vakuf, Foča, Gornji Vakuf, Gračanica, Gradačac, Livno, Jajce, Maglaj, Mostar, Nevesinje, Počitelj, Prozor, Prusac, Sarajevo, Tešanj and Trebinje.   In addition to these, until 1878 there were another two, one in Stolac and one in Sarajevo alongside the White Mosque in Vratnik, built of wood in 1874.  The clock from the Gazi Husrevbeg clock tower was built into this tower, and since it rocked in high winds, the local inhabitants of the surrounding mahalas pulled it down, fearful that it would fall of its own accord and injure someone (Kreševljaković, 1991, 496).

            The Banja Luka clock tower was one of the major buildings of its period, and a specific public facility that was indispensable to the architectural and urban development of the town.  It still remains a crucial element in the identification of the Banja Luka čaršija, of which it is an integral part, always forming one of the key features of all views of the area (Husedžinović, 1989,143.)

            Its origins and the chronological context in which this clock tower arose have yet to be determined with certainty, but it probably dated from the sixteenth century, when the  Bosnian pashaluk was established in Banja Luka at the time of Ferhat paša Sokolović (1574 – 1588).  From Ferhatbeg's vakufnama or deed of endowment that has been discovered it may be deduced that it was built in about 1587.  It is true that it is not specifically referred to in the deed of endowment, but there is reference to setting aside funds to pay an official who was to be responsible for maintaining the public clock, and it is obvious that such a clock could only have been located on the clock tower.  This is the earliest reference to a clock in the region, so that it is likely that the Banja Luka clock tower was the oldest in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  At first it struck the hours a la turca.

            Until the outbreak of World War II there was a bell on the clock tower that struck the hours.  The bell bore a Latin inscription, «Salio me Bartol Padovan anno domini MDI», with the letters cast very crudely.  The bell dated from 1501 (Kreševljaković, 1991,495.)


Legal status to date

            By Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina the building was placed under state protection and entered in the register of cultural monuments.          

            The Regional Plan for  Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2002 registgered the clock tower in Banja Luka as a Category II building under serial no. 9.

            The Town Plan for Banja Luka for 1975 provided for the tower to be reconstructed and restored to its original purpose.


2. Description of the Monument

            The clock tower was closely linked in composition and concept with the Ferhad  paša mosque and other buildings in the old Banja Luka čaršija.  The clock tower had a single interior space with an almost square ground plan measuring 3.20 x 3.30 metres.  Its walls were unusually massive (Bejtić, A. 1950).  It took the shape of a tower gradually narrowing towards a point some 14.40 metres high, from which point the vertical section newly built after the 1969 earthquake began.  The clock tower had a total height of 18.89 metres, and was topped by a pyramidal roof.  The entrance was to the south-east, and was altered, repaired and added to on several occasions. Above the round-arched opening, the traces of a pointed arch of so-called tubla masonry brick, and the place where a stone plaque with an epigram had formerly been, could be seen.  As a result of building activities around the tower, the ground level rose so that the original cobbles were buried and the height of the entrance reduced.

            The clock tower was built of rough-cut limestone blocks in quicklime.  The quality and type of stone varied, but was mainly cut tufa on the exterior walls and lauš (a marly limestone of poor quality from the Banja Luka area) on the interior, so constructed that the blocks on the interior interlocked with those of the exterior walls.  The new, upper sections of the building were made of Jajce tufa in cement mortar.  The foundations of the building were of larger, regular limestone blocks, also bonded with quicklime.  The building stood on a 4 metre high embankment which meant that as such it stood on a wooden grid foundation of sound oak beams.

            The remains of wooden tie-beams and parts of the original wooden rafters of the roof structure were visible on the building.  There were masks in the form of decorative applications for the ties on the lower part of the stone facade of unequal structure; these masks date from the Austro-Hungarian period.  The entire stone structure of the building was dappled here and there with ashlar stone spolia, pieces of terracotta pipe, and the remains of tubla bricks, which was particularly noticeable around the walled-up openings of the former clock (Husedžinović, S. 1989, pp. 144, 145).

            Through the course of its existence the clock tower underwent a number of changes both to its appearance and in its dimensions, particularly its height, most of which dated to the nineteenth century, when the upper parts of the building were built of brick.  Its appearance at that time can be seen on photographs dating from the Austro-Hungarian period, but it has not been reliably ascertained whether this was the result of authentic restoration or because of the need to increase the height of the building.  At that time the height was increased to 22 metres, and the building acquired a semicircular opening at the top; then, too, in addition to the decorative cornice, decorative elements worked in plaster like an ornamental frieze were added beneath the eaves.


3. Research and restoration and conservation works

1587 – construction of the building

Nineteenth century

-upper section built on with brick

-height of the building increased to 22 metres

-semicircular opening, cornice and decorative elements added

Late nineteeth to early twentieth century – addition of ties with masks


-restoration of the upper part of the clock tower following the earthquake

-two sections added with a clock on each of the four faces in the lower and two arched apertures on  the upper built of Jajce tufa

1984 – technical documentation drawn up for the renovation of the building

1985/86 – restoration works:

-photogrammetric survey of the building

-geomechanical study of the terrain

-sample archaeological excavations

-architectural survey of the building

-iron section rings mounted at the most critically damaged areas to ensure safety while working on the site

-study of the seismic sensitivity of the building by the method of ambient vibration

-renovation and reinforcement of the foundations by injection and the addition of reinforced concrete walls on both sides

-drilling on the interior surface of the stone walls with the later addition of reinforced concrete ringbeams at intervals of 240-300 cm where there had previously been wooden tiebeams

-installing FI 20mm steel bars at the four corners of the building and linking them to the horizontal ringbeams by anchoring corner L brackets 120 x 13 mm and welded anchoring bars (I 120); after pre-tensioning the vertical bars in the upper section all the cracks and the entire mass of the walls to a height of 14.40 metres were injected with cement emulsion.


4. Current condition of the site

            The building was demolished in 1993, and the material removed from the site.



            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

E. Symbolic value

E.iii traditional value

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

F. 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 a 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 clock tower in Banja Luka as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


Bejtić, Alija, «Banja Luka pod turskom vladavinom» (Banja Luka under Turkish rule), Naše Starine I, pp.91.-121, Sarajevo 1953


Husedžinović, Sabira, «Konstruktivno restauratorski zahvati na sahat-kuli u Banja Luci» (Structural restoration works on the clock tower in Banja Luka), Naše Starine, XVIII-XIX, pp.143-150, Sarajevo 1989


Kreševljaković, Hamdija, «Sahat kula u BiH» (Clock Towers in BiH), Naše Starine, IV, p.20, Sarajevo 1957


Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Izabrana djela II, Sahat kule u BiH (Selected Works II, Clock Towers in BiH), pp.493 - 506, Veselin Masleša Sarajevo 1991

Clock Tower and ruins of the complex of the Ferhadija mosque Clock Tower and turbe of Ferhad paša's bajraktars Clock TowerPhotogram metric survey
Site and remains of the Clock TowerRemains of the Clock Tower  

BiH jezici 
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