Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Šeranić house in Banja Luka, the historic monument

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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 historic building of the Šeranić house in Ilidža mahala, Gornji Šeher, Banja Luka is hereby designated as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument is located on a site designed as cadastral plot no. 630 (new survey), cadastral municipality Banja Luka III-8, Banja Luka Municipality, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The National Monument consists of a residential building, courtyard and outhouses.

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 specified in the preceding paragraph.




            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 providing the resources for drawing up and implementing the necessary technical documentation for the conservation and restoration 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 National Monument shall be conserved and restored, and missing parts reconstructed in their original form, of the same size, using the same or same type of material and building techniques wherever possible, on the basis of documentation on its original appearance dating fromn 1989, with approval from the ministry responsible for regional planning in Republika Srpska and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska.

            Two stages for the execution of the works are hereby stipulated:

            Stage 1 comprises urgent protection measures:

Ÿ          survey and conduct structural analysis of the structural parts of the building;

Ÿ          carry out structural consolidation of the building and repairs to the structural elements using traditional materials and the same building techniques wherever possible;

Ÿ         protect the building from adverse external effects.


            Stage 2 comprises conservation and restoration works:

Ÿ          remove the later addition of an entrance to the men's quarters and internal walls that have been added subsequently, together with the double staircase, in order to restore the authentic layout of the house;

Ÿ          repair and renovate all the interior features (sećijas or built-in wall seating, musanderas or built-in cupboards, and other fittings) using historical documentation;

Ÿ          provide access to the garden via a wooden stairway;

Ÿ          provide more space around the house by removing the concrete ramp resulting from the raising of the street leaving the building below street level.  Surround the building with a wooden fence with an entrance gate.  Landscape the women's courtyard and rose garden;


            The house may be used for residential purposes, or for other purposes that will not result in any damage to the structure.




            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 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 and 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 Bosnia and Herzegovina.


            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: 02-6-913/03

6 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 (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 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.

            The Commission received a petition from the Islamic community of BiH, Banja Luka Majlis (Council), on 27 August 2002. 

            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 of the property and the current owner and user of the property (Municipality Banja Luka: copy of cadastral plan and Land Registry entry)

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

Ÿ          the Commission engaged Dr Sabira Husedžinović, a long-term associate of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural and Historical Heritage of Banja Luka, who is writing a book on the mosques of Banja Luka.  Dr Husedžinović has drawn up a study based on material in her possession and her own research, which was used in drafting this Decision.


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


1.  Details of the property


            The Šeranić house is in Braće Alagića street (1989), Ilidža mahala in Gornji Šeher, on the right bank of the Vrbas close to the railway bridge.  It stands on a plot designated as c.p. 630 (new survey), owned by the Šeranić family, title sheet no. 802/1, c.m. Banja Luka III-8, Municipality Banja Luka.

            The building stands right by the steep bank of the Vrbas.  The building of a motel has altered the natural environs of the house and the buildings that were part of the men’s courtyard (granaries, stables, wall, main gate) have been destroyed.  The laying of Braće Alagić street (1989) and the raising of the level of the road, gave rise to the construction of a concrete access ramp, which destroyed the hot water stream that flowed in the garden.  The well was destroyed, as were the wall between the men’s and women’s courtyards and the rose garden; the entire environs and ambience of the building have been altered.         

Historical information

            Ilidža mahala acquired its name from the hot healing springs between which there ran a hot water stream down into the Vrbas. In the Ottoman period covered pools (hauz – Arabic for pool) were built along with two small mills that could work even in the depths of winter.

            There is no reliable historical evidence for the existence of these baths in the Roman era, although the Salonika-Servitium road ran close by.  North of the site, six hundred Roman coins were found on the site of the Sofi-Mehmed-paša hamam.  In the Ottoman era, a large musalla with stone mihrab and mimber was built there as early as the beginning of the sixteenth century (destroyed 1959), followed by the Mahmud Čelebi (Ilidžanska) mosque as the centre of the entire mahala.

            Residential objects were soon built, many of which included healing baths.

            The Šeranić house was built at the end of the eighteenth century, as can be deduced from the type of material and style of masonry, and the surviving asymmetrical arrangement of the building.

            The Šeranić family were wealthy landowners and the largest family of Gornji Šeher. The house is known to have been the first to be roofed with plain tiles at the start of the Austro-Hungarian occupation following the removal of the shingles, which were in a state of dilapidation. According to members of the family, the tiles were procured from Trieste. At the beginning of the twentieth century the house was divided between two families, a new entrance to the men's quarters was built, the divanhana (wide upper corridor or antechamber) was divided, and a second interior staircase was added. 


2. Description of the property

            The Šeranić house has a ground floor and projecting upper floor. The ground floor measures 8.95 x 11.59 m, and the upper floor 9.25 x 12.65 m.  It formerly stood in a garden courtyard, separated from the street by a high wall and gate, which was on the north, where the motel now stands. There was a mounting block outside the massive gate. The gate led into the men's courtyard, which anyone could enter and where there were stables for horses and sheds for cows, granaries and other outhouses. A small gate led from the men's courtyard into the women's garden courtyard, which was embellished with an orchard and flower garden and an ilidža or hot spring fed bath. The entrance for male visitors was reached direct from the first courtyard; these premises were completely cut off from the rest of the ground floor rooms. There were two rooms in the men's quarters – one for servants and the other, the «men's room» (halvat) with mihrab-like windows. This room had a musandra-sergen or hatch in the larder wall through which food could be passed from the women's quarters.  The room also had a kahveodžak for brewing coffee of which the structure of the original chimney still exists.  The men's quarters, with its minders (padded cushions) and sećijas (wall seats), musandra (built in cupboard occupying one wall) and kahveodžak (place for brewing coffee), is typical of this kind of house. In this part of the ground floor there is another staircase which was added in the early 20th century when the property was divided between two co-owners. The main entrance door is from the women's courtyard, facing the street, and simply made of wood. There is an entrance from the stone slab floored hajat into the storeroom, which was used to store tools, agricultural produce and fuel. There are two small apertures like loopholes in one wall of the storeroom, and the assumption is that they were used for defensive purposes in the event of an attack.  Next to the storeroom is a hudžera or larder, with the hatch in one wall.  Shoes were left in the hajat and slippers donned (papuče, hence the name papučluk); from here a single-flight wooden staircase led to the divanhana. This is now divided into two by a wooden partition wall. The rooms were entered from the divanhana.

            The room with its open hearth known as the «kuća» (lit. house) or kitchen had a dormer window in the roof through which the smoke was led out. The hearth has been destroyed but the place where it stood remains. The floor is paved with brick. 

            The vodnica or water closet, where the privy was and vessels full of water were kept, no longer exists.  In all houses of similar type the vodnica was linked by a single-flight staircase with the garden, as was the case here. It was made of wood on projecting consoles, not beams. The «kuća» had an opening with ćefenak (flap) and door to facilitate the rapid ventilation of the kitchen.

            In this part of the house, divided by a small corridor from the divanhana, which the occupants of the household called the ćulhan, people hid when the army came and war broke out. There were another two rooms here and a small odžaklija (room with a fireplace and chimney). The rooms had a hamamdžik (bathroom) the remains of which survive, and musandras with dušekluk (where bedding was kept when not in use), sećijas (seats) and shelves. The odžaklija was a small kamerija (verandah) with a kahveodžak.  A specific feature of this building is that this kamerija was in this part of the house rather than forming an extension of the divanhana, as was the rule. It was built here in the odžaklija because of the view.

The other part of the upper floor, now divided off, was previously accessible from the divanhana. There are two rooms here: a small sobadžik and a large room for visitors. The large room still survives, although reduced in size, with its sećijas, musandra, hamamdžik, wooden skirting boards, «herring bone» system and muhljijas.  The musandra doors and all the walls in the large room are decorated. The small sobadžik and the large room shared a bathroom.


3. Legal status to date

            The Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH placed the building under protection and entered it in the central Register under no. R/534


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

            No research or restoration and conservation works have been undertaken.


5. Current state of the property

            The Šeranić house is in very poor structural condition and at risk of falling into ruin.

            The building is not being used for residential purposes.



            Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument (Official Gazette of BiH nos. 33/02 and 15/03), 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. v. value of details

D. Clarity

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

F. Townscape/landscape value

Fii – meaning in the townscape


            The following photographic and graphic documentation forms an integral part of this Decision.


Copy of cadastral plan,




4.1. site plan

4.2. cross section

4.3. ground plan

4.4. façade

4.5. details



            During the procedure to designate the the historic building of the Šeranić house in Banja Luka as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


Sabira Husedžinović, study of the Šeranić house in Banja Luka drawn up for the  Commission to Preserve National Monuments on the basis of material in the unpublished m/s “Dokumenti opstanka, džamije u Banjoj Luci” (documents of the survival of mosques in Banja Luka)


Ilidža Mahal, Šeranić houseŠeranić houseŠeranić house, archival photoSouthern facade
Western facadeEntranceŠeranić house, interior - archival photosInterior, photo from 2004
Decoration in woodInterior, detailEastern facade 

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