Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Historic urban area of Kreševo, 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 2003 the Commission adopted a






            The architectural ensemble of the historic urban area of Kreševo is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument consists of all the buildings along Fra Grge Martića street and the buildings along Obala street and individual buildings in the mahalas, cadastral municipality Kreševo, Municipality Kreševo, Federation of BiH, 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 Government of the Federation shall be responsible for drawing up a programme for the lasting preservation of the historic urban heart of Kreševo.

            The Government of the Federation shall be responsible for providing the resources for drawing up and implementing the necessary urban planning executive documentation for the historic urban heart of Kreševo.  The development plans for the historic heart of Kreševo should provide for the preservation and development of traditional crafts and the production of wrought iron items.

            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 the Federation shall be responsible for drawing up a detailed plan for the preservation of the historic heart of Kreševo.  The plan shall relate both to the ensemble as a whole and to individual buildings within the protected area as specified in Clause 1 of this Decision.

The following measures in particular shall be implemented:

Protection Zone I relates to the area specified in Clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision.

·         conduct an analysis of the current state and consolidation of the buildings;

·         new construction, demolition, repairs, alterations and extensions or other building works are prohibited other than works of rehabilitation, conservation and display of buildings to a design project approved by the Federal ministry responsible for regional planning (hereinafter: the Ministry) and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of BiH (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority);

·         during the rehabilitation and adaptation of buildings their traditional appearance must be retained or restored (horizontal and vertical dimensions, number, size and arrangement of doors and windows, architectural details and paint colours, form and pitch of roof – hipped roofs with wooden rafters and a minimum pitch of 40 degrees), using original materials (stone and whitewashed plastered walls, shingles or dark grey tiles for the roof cladding) and applying original methods of treatment of materials and binders and building techniques when building them in;

·         alter individual elements on buildings that are the result of later interventions and are not consistent with the townscape (replacing gabled roofs with hipped roofs, removing balconies and loggias, replacing ground floor picture windows with smaller ones measuring 40 x 60cm, ensuring they are of the regulation size and arrangement, replacing iron, aluminium and plastic window and door frames with wood, respecting traditional colour scheme of white walls and dark woodwork);

·         interior alterations to existing buildings designed to adapt them to modern living and working conditions and alterations to the interior arrangement and fittings, the introduction of installations, fitting of bathrooms and modern furnishings shall be permitted; where chimneys are a new feature they shall be built as far as possible to harmonize with the surroundings;

·         all methods used and the extent of intervention must be plain to see;

·         all buildings subject to rehabilitation works must respect the regulatory line and structural line of adjacent buildings at ground floor level.  Upper floors may project beyond the structural line to the extent of one third of the width of the street or no more than one metre;

·         restore single-storey buildings in the čaršija area to their original purpose or introduce new uses appropriate to the central urban area – small-scale catering and services, traditional crafts, and cultural and educational uses;

·         changes of use for the ground floor of residential buildings shall be permitted for service, catering, retail or cultural purposes and for traditional non-polluting crafts.  At least 50% of the buildings should be reserved exclusively for residential purposes.


The following measures shall apply to individual buildings of townscape value:

The Augustin Kristić house, the houses of the Šakotić, Martinčević, Čizmić, Tukić, Bilajac, Zovko, Aždajić, Marković, Ahbabović, Jurić families:

-          the original use of the buildings – residential buildings of mahala type and combined residential-business premises of the čaršija type – must be retained;

-          design projects for the rehabilitation of these buildings shall be drawn up, and conservation works carried out on the surviving original parts of the buildings, making good damage and mandatorily preserving the authentic interior and interior fittings wherever possible;

-          for the Šakotić family house, reconstruct missing parts using original materials and building techniques as far as possible.

Mill building:

-          draw up a design project for rehabilitation designed to restore the building to its original use;

-          carry out conservation works on surviving parts of the building, make good damage, and reconstruct missing parts.

                  Infrastructure and street furniture:

-          traffic regulation – ban heavy vehicle and bus traffic in Protection Zone I;

-          close Fra Grge Martića street to all traffic other than priority vehicles and delivery vehicles and turn it into a pedestrian zone, diverting light traffic to Obala street;

-          provide a public parking area outside Protection Zone I;

-          landscape the central pedestrial zone (paving, street lighting, street furniture) in a way that is not detrimental to the townscape value of the ensemble;

-          draw up a project for the rehabilitation of the old roads network and carry out conservation and repairs to side streets;

-          advertising billboards, posters and signs that block views and spoil the townscape are prohibited;

-          the erection of other infrastructure facilities such as high-voltage pylons, transformers/substations etc. is prohibited.

                  Green areas:

·         existing high vegetation must be preserved;

·         the river bed and banks of the Kreševčica shall be regulated and landscaped;

·         a project shall be drawn up to landscape and plant courtyards and public areas using indigenous plant species.


Protection Zone II consists of a strip 100 m from the outer limits of the area defined as Protection Zone I.

·         the maximum permitted height of buildings is ground floor and one upper storey or 6.5 m to the height of the roof structure with maximum horizontal dimensions of 10 x 10 m, with the use of traditional materials (stone and whitewashed plastered walls, shingles or dark grey tiles for roof cladding, pitched roofs, wooden rafters, minimum pitch 40 deg.); the buildings shall not clash in proportions or colour scheme with buildings of townscape value;

·         all buildings subject to rehabilitation works must respect the regulatory line and structural line of adjacent buildings at ground floor level.  Upper floors may project beyond the structural line to the extent of one third of the width of the street or no more than one metre;

·         the construction of industrial buildings and facilities and those the operation of which could endanger the national monument, quarries and the siting of environmental polluters are prohibited;

·         infrastructure works shall be permitted solely with the approval of the Ministry and to the terms and conditions set by and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority;

·         in the contact zone a programme for the biological rehabilitation of the deciduous woodlands to the north and west of the cultivated area shall be drawn up.




            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 or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation thereof.




            The Government of the Federation, the relevant Federal Ministry, the 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.


No: 08.1-6-527/03-6

3 July 2003



Chairman of the Commission

Amra Hadžimuhamedović


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.

            On 28 August 2002 the Commission received a petition from Kreševo Municipality.

            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:

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

·                       Details of legal protection to date

·                       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.   Information on the historic urban area


            The historic urban area of Kreševo lies 48 km west of Sarajevo, in the narrow valley of the river Kreševčica.

            It consists of all the buildings in Fra Grge Martića streets and those standing along Obala street and in the mahalas, c.m. Kreševo, Municipality Kreševo.

Historical information

            There is no reliable information on the period when Kreševo first came into being. «The first reference to Kreševo mine dates from 1381, to the fortified town of Kreševo from 1430, and to Podkreševo (Sotto Crescevo, Sotto Chrisgneue), the present-day town of Kreševo, from 1434». (Raspudić, 1981,10-20).  Some scholars believe that along with Fojnica and Vareš, Kreševo was the best known iron-producing area in these parts in the pre-Roman age.  Signs of iron ore mining and smelting have been found in several hillforts in the Kreševo area.  In the Kreševo plain, traces of Roman architecture are frequently discovered in the course of ploughing the land.  Until the ninth century the remains of a building believed to be Roman were still visible. (Raspudić, 1981, 12)

            The development of mediaeval settlements in Bosnia gained momentum in the mid fourteenth century.  Settlements advanced and increased in number rapidly, particularly in the second half of the century, when distinct regions are discernible within the Bosnian state.  Within these regions, urban settlements came into being and developed alongside mines, market places and existing settlements around fortifications.  The main areas where new markets and mines came into being were the mining basin around Srebrenica, Olovo and the area rich in mines in central Bosnia (Kovačević-Kojić, 1978, p. 52).  Merchants as well as miners would settle around the mine pits, and thus settlements of miners and merchants would gradually come into being.  The expansion of the territory of the state, as the central authorities gained power and conditions became more stable, which began as early as the reign of Stjepan II, continued during Tvrtko I’s reign (mid fourteenth century).  Tvrtko began minting his own coinage, which greatly facilitated trade between Bosnia and Dubrovnik.              This also favoured concentrations of merchants and the consolidation of existing and the emergence of new markets.  Somewhat later, in 1365, the Kreševo mine came into being.  Information about the activities of the miners and their settlements is connected to the activities of Dubrovnik merchants, and can be found in the Dubrovnik archives (Kovačević-Kojić, 1978, p. 33).  After a record of Kreševo in 1381, when mining began there, there is a considerable gap in time before further information on the mine is to be found.  Fojnica developed from Kreševo, but for all this the impression to be gained is that mining settlements in central Bosnia did not make much progress at this time (Kovačević-Kojić, 1978, p. 39).

            To the south of the modern town, on Kosa, the remains have been found of medium-sized mediaeval fortifications.  Historical sources reveal that there was a royal court within the fort.  The intensive mining activities in Podgrađe led to the development of a crafts, trade and mining town with its own separate administration, headed by a knez. The town had a church and a Franciscan monastery.  Kreševo is referred to as a town in the first half of the fifteenth century (Vego, 1957, pp. 64-65).

            In the mid fifteenth century, close to Fojnica, the Kreševo mine suddenly began to advance.  At this time, too, people from Dubrovnik are recorded as gathering in the town, particularly from 1434 on.  By 1450 there were a total of 61 of them in Kreševo (Kovačević-Kojić, 1978, p. 73).  There is more information to be gleaned on the development of smaller market places in central Bosnia from the earliest Turkish sources – the censuses of settlements in newly occupied territory.  The first census of the Bosnian governor Isa-beg Ishaković, dating from 1455, refers to the vilayet of Hodidjed, which covered the whole of the county of Vrhbosna.  According to a summary inventory for 1468/69, the vilayet of Kraljeva zemlja, a territorial unit of the  Bosnian sancak, covered the Bosna river basin and those of its tributaries from Dubrovnik, Visoko and Kreševo to Vranduk.  Kreševo and  Fojnica were well known economic centres at this time (Kovačević-Kojić, 1978, p. 77).

            Like all mediaeval towns, Kreševo had two distinct urban areas, differing architcturally and functionally: the fort and the town below it.  Above the river Kreševčica and present-day Kreševo stands a hill atop which stood the royal fortress of Kreševo.  It is not clear whether the  Bosnian rulers built the fort for their own purposes or whether they found some kind of fortifications there which they then adapted, but the latter seems more likely.  The remains of an old fort used as a temporary residence by the Bosnian kings are still to be seen to this day.  The town below the fort, Podkreševo, hereinafter Kreševo, grew up on the site of the present-day town. In the early fifteenth century it became an important commercial centre, as demonstrated by the presence of Dubrovnik merchants and a specific reference to a market (ad mercatum in Cressevo) in 1451.     As a result of the widespread use of wood for residential and other buildings, there are no material remains that would make it possible to say more concerning the appearance of Kreševo at that time.

            In the fifteenth century the Kreševo monastery was built, only to be demolished in 1521.  There has been a monastery on the site of the present monastery since 1644, when it was built or renovated with the consent of the Ottoman authorities.  There is also reference to a leprosery in Kreševo, which was probably alongside the monastery.   The size of the population can be inferred from various data from the Ottoman period.  In the 1468/69 population census conducted for various places in the Bosnian sandžak, Kreševo was listed as having 299 households and 25 bachelors, making a total of about 1,500 inhabitants.

            When it came under Ottoman imperial rule, Kreševo became a nahija within the Royal Vilayet, while administratively and judicially it belonged to the Bobovac kadiluk.  A few years later, but prior to 1469, Kirali Vilajet, the Royal Vilayet land was partitioned into three smaller regions.  Kreševo was merged with Sarajevo, which was also the seat of the kadi or judge.  In the 1516 census, Kreševo is referred to as a nahija.  It is referred to again in the 1528 census as a pazar (market) and silver mine with a church, but without a fortress.  Until the end of the Ottoman rule, the Kreševo mine remained an imperial possession (has/khas), and was also known for its production of iron ore and iron smelting. Kreševo was no longer mentioned as a market but with time grew into a kasaba or town (Raspudić, 1981, 12).

            «With the coming of the Ottomans to Bosnia, indigenous mining and smelting of metals continued...   In the mining area of Kreševo there were 33 majdans (iron mines) with smelting works with more than 70 smithies.  With the coming of Austro-Hungary to BiH, there were 20 working majdans with smelting works in the Kreševo mining area and about 70 smithies.  The start of Austro-Hungarian rule meant the end of indigenous mining and smelting of metals...  Of all these smithies using traditional forging methods (by hand) only a few remained, one in Polje and two or three in Botunja; all the rest disappeared, replaced by modern forging works with modern machinery, of which there are now about ten.» (Buzuk, 2003, p. 3).

            In the eighteenth century, Kreševo was a small place.  In 1737 the town had 1560 Catholics and about 240 Muslims.  Everything in Kreševo revolved around iron during this century.  Ore was extracted in the neighbourhood by miners who had formed their own guild and used to return to Kreševo only at weekends.  Other craftsmen too had formed their own guilds: the smelters and the quarrymen, whose works were not in the town itself, and various kinds of blacksmiths: panel-beaters, beaters, nail-makers and so on, who had their own workshops in the Čaršija itself (Bogdanović, 1985, p. 3).

            With the arrival of the Austro-Hungarians, Kreševo began to lag, and the population numbers decreased as people moved away. The changes to the social and economic life of Bosnia introduced by the Austro-Hungarian authorities had a major impact on the further development of Kreševo.  The start of industrialization gradually dismantled the old feudal guild system.  The Austro-Hungarian authorities encouraged commercial activities, the first factories and industrial workshops were set up,, and with time the old crafts lost their former importance and Kreševo began to lose its economic position. 

            The town’s lagging behind economically also led to a drop in the number of inhabitants, and by 1948 there were a mere 760 people living there, rising slightly to 853 in 1953 (Bogdanović, 1984, -. 30.  By 1971 the population had grown to 1.208 (Raspudić, 1981, p. 20)


2.   Description of the monument


The basic feature of Kreševo that distinguishes it from other Bosnian settlements is that its mediaeval layout has survived.  Kreševo did not have the division into čaršija and mahala with the čaršija as the commercial area and the mahala as the residential area.  As a result of its isolated position, Kreševo did not undergo any transformation of its layout along the lines of Ottoman «town planning».  Although the central part of the settlement, the present day Fra Grge Martića street, was designated by the typical name of čaršija in the Ottoman period, it remained an area where people both lived and worked.  Kreševo thus retained its mediaeval urban concept with production, trade and living quarters all in one place.  The majority of the old buildings in Fra Grge Martića street have retained their combined residential and business use  (Raspudić, 1981, pp 38-39).

During the Ottoman imperial period, a separate residential quarter or mahala Muslemin, where Muslims lived, took shape.  The mahala stands on the right bank of the Kreševčica, downstream from the Čaršija, and had its own mosque and mekteb.

            In the administrative sense the older, main part of the settlement, mediaeval Podkreševo, was also divided into mahalas for easier administration.  The mahalas consisted of commercial, public and residential buildings and did not constitute separate, readily identifiable ensembles, which meant they lacked the essential features of a mahala as a distinct residential quarter (Raspudić, 1981, p. 14). «In the 17th and 18th centuries Kreševo was a town, a kasaba with a Turkish political administration, and was divided into eight «mahalas» (streets, regions). . . Of these eight mahalas seven were Catholic and one Muslim with a few Catholic houses in Muslemin in Brce (Kristić, 1939, p. 53).

            During the period of Ottoman rule all the streets in the settlement were cobbled, usually with round and rarely with split stone.  The Čaršija was convex in cross-section with a korkaluk or parapet on either side some 15 to 20 cm above street level, forming channels along both sides of the main street.  These channels were formerly used to carry water, known as Placa, used to carry away waste matter from the čaršija.    Probably because of the proximity of the Kreševčica, Kreševo was not characterized by the widespread use of running water led through its gardens and courtyards.  The number of residential buildings dating from the Ottoman period did not exceed 300 (Raspudić, 1981, p. 16).

            During the Austro-Hungarian period, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, with the erection of new public, commercial and residential buildings that did not conform to the traditional architecture, the existing urban and architectural fabric of the settlement was seriously damaged (Raspudić, 1981, p. 18).

The extreme western part of Kreševo is the area in which the largest number of buildings have survived in their original form.  «The proportions, form, colour, structure and spatial relationships between the buildings mean that this part of Kreševo, unlike the rest, still appears to be an integral unit with its townscape values unaffected.» (Raspudić, 1981, p. 22).

            Fra Grge Martića street is the most valuable part of the area under consideration by virtue of its spatio-architectural and visual components: traces of the mediaeval urban model have survived, a number of old buildings with townscape features have survived, and the visual link with the fortress and the monastery has not been affected.  Features underlining the aesthetic quality of the views are the spatial relationships between the buildings, the contrasting colour scheme of white walls and black roofs, the overhanging upper floors and steep hipped roofs.  In the urban plan for  Kreševo, this part of the settlement is designated as an architectural heritage zone.  It covers an area of about 0.5 ha and consists of about ten outstanding buildings with their surrounding plots, but the conditions or guidelines for its preservation remain unspecified.

             In Obala street fewer older buildings with townscape features have survived, but it is an area of secondary interest because of its views of the monastery and its church and the fortress and its immediate proximity to the river Kreševčica.  In this street, very close to the old mill, is an old smithy with its traditional bellows.  The owner, Mrdić, performs blacksmith's services from time to time (Buzuk, 2003, p.2).

Between these two areas, between Fra Grge Martića and Obala streets, a warehouse and other buildings have been erected that in size and appearance have spoiled the townscape.

            «In the upper part of the town, at the top of the Čaršija, is the steel company with a large forge and metal resources currently barely in use. . . In the urban quarter of Brce there are two metal workshops (Mišanovićeva i Medićeva), which are not in full use, relating to the demand for metal products.» (Buzuk, 2003, p. 2)

            West of the town centre are the two dominant buildings forming the vertical accents, visually speaking, for the entire area – the elevation with the fortress, and the monastery with its church.  They are particularly visible from Fra Grge Martića and Obala streets and form a natural termination to the vista looking west.



            «Until after World War II there were two mosques in Kreševo. One of these, known as the Karapašića Ibrahim mosque, has been demolished, so that the only surviving mosque is now the Hajji Hasan mosque.» (Mujezinović, 1998, p. 474)

            The earliest reference to the Hajji Hasan mosque in the kasaba of Kreševo dates from 1709.  There was yet another mosque in Kreševo, the Čaršija mosque, on the site of the present-day school yard.  Nothing is known of when it was built or what it looked like.  Opposite the Čaršija mosque, in the Čaršija, was the Veliki han or great hostel, a rectangular building measuring 6.8 x 12.7 m., of which the upper floor had a 0.7 m overhang towards the Čaršija.  The building was pulled down in 1972 as a result of inadequate construction [sic].  In addition to this one, present day Kreševo had another 5 hans and 3 musafirhans (hostels for travellers), of which one was in the monastery.  There was a konak or residence for the mine manager on the site of the present day hotel, very close to the Čaršija mosque and Veliki han; the building also housed the mehćema (court) of the Kreševo naib (the kadi's representative in the nahija) (Raspudić, 1981, pp. 15-21).

            During the Austro-Hungarian period the «central committee of the kotar (district) subbranch».  A đumrukhana (customs house) was also erected in central Čelo after 1600, but nothing is known of its appearance.  There was a mekteb alongside the Hajji Hasan mosque.

            In the nineteenth century a Catholic primary school was opened at the end of Gornji Čelo, alongside the friars’ route leading to the monastery.

            None of the public buildings erected since the Turkish period took account of the existing urban and architectural heritage.  In dimensions, both vertical and horizontal, and in the architectural forms and details used, these buildings were utterly different from those built earlier.  This group of buildings includes the commercial school building, the municipal offices, the National University, the hotel, the police station, the post office, the health centre, the primary school and so on.  Although not part of this group as regards use, the apartment blocks built in the 1950s and 1960s also have all the undesirable features of these public buildings.  The erection of these buildings, so inappropriate to Kreševo, as a rule entailed the demolition of one or more existing buildings, which inflicted still further irreparable damage on the townscape.

 In the early twentieth century the first industrial facilities were also erected in Kreševo, a forging works in the western part of the settlement (1908) and a carpet factory in the eastern part (1911).  The choice of sites for these buildings, within Kreševo itself, was an error, introducing wholly alien elements into the urban fabric of Kreševo.  This was compounded with the enlargement of the forging works in 1962 and 1974, but this time with far graver consequences, for in size and location these buildings inflicted irreparable damage on the environs (Raspudić, 1981, pp. 15-21).

«Besides the burial ground by the Hajji Hasan mosque, there are another two Muslim burial grounds in the settlement, but they are neglected and their tombstones have almost entirely disappeared.  One of them, opposite the mosque, is said to be more than three hundred years old.» (Mujezinović, 1998, p. 475)

Hajji Hasan mosque

The cadastral plan shows the mosque and mekteb as occupying c.p. nos. 2/9, 2/10, 2/11, 2/12, Land Registry entry 258, c.m.. Kreševo, owned by the Hajji Hasan Vakuf in Kreševo and used by the Islamic religious community of Kreševo.  It stands on the left bank of the river Kreševčica, opposite Muslemin mahala.  The mosque also includes a burial ground with about fifty nišan tombstones and the mekteb building by the entrance to the mosque harem (burial ground/courtyard).

«The first reference to the Hajji Hasan mosque in the kasaba of Kreševo dates from 1709» (Raspudić, 1981, p.15).  «The inscription on the Hajji Hasan mosque is written in ordinary ink over the entrance to the mosque, 1317 AH (1899 CE)» (Mujezinović, 1998, 474).

The date when the original mosque was built on this site is not known, but the Gazi Husrev-beg Library in Sarajevo has in its holdings a vakufnama or deed of endowment dating from 1121 AH (1709 CE) by which one Hajji Hasan endows certain buildings for this mosque.

The Hajji Hasan mosque is an example of the classic single-space mosque with hipped roof and wooden minaret, typical of central and northern Bosnia.  Outside the main portal are wooden upper floor sofas under the same roof as the mosque.  The building is made of cut stone on the outside, plastered both inside and out, while the sofas and roof, like the interior furnishings of the mosque, are of good quality pine or oak wood.  The wooden ceiling has a finely worked sofraluk at the centre made of small fitted boards. (Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage, 2000; Mujezinović, 1998).

There are about fifty nišan tombstones in the burial ground beside the mosque in Kreševo, of which the oldest dated example is from 1171 AH (1757 CE), marking the grave of Salih kaduna (khatun – lady).  All the nišans in this burial ground are very simple in form and small in size, cut from miljevina stone.» (Mujezinović, 1998, p. 474).

During the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina the mosque was damaged.  The Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH has drawn up a design concept for the reconstruction and revitalization of the Hajji Hasan mosque complex.  This is not wholly consistent with the authentic appearance of the building before it was damaged: the new minaret is designed to be of cut stone.  Other changes include the arrangement, size and shape of the windows, the height and appearance of the sofas, the height, appearance and dimensions of the roof and the colour and type of roof cladding.  By comparing photographs/surveys of the building before demolition and the proposed design project, it may be inferred that changes to the interior are also proposed: in the old building the mahvil was reached from the interior of the mosque from the sofa area, while in the new, access to the mahvil is to be from the exterior, via a staircase in the sofa to the left of the main entrance to the mosque; the position of the minber is changed, with the new project locating it by the mosque wall; in the old building niches were to be seen in the central area of the side walls, but there are none in the new design.  The number of upper windows in the side walls has been increased and their form and size altered in the new design.  The reconstruction design provides for the minaret to be entered from ground level to the right of the entrance, which was not previously the case with the old wooden minaret which «emerged from the roof».  The design provides for complete mains water, electricity and central heating installations.  The design also envisages a promenade on the part of the site by the river.

            Alongside the Hajji Hasan mosque was a mekteb (Muslim primary religious school), in a building dating from the second half of the nineteenth century. There was no doubt a school on the site prior to this.  The mekteb was founded at the same time as the mosque or a little later (Mujezinović, 1988).  It was built of unbaked brick, with plastered walls, and had a hipped roof. During the 1992-1995 war in BiH the mekteb was completely destroyed.  The Institute design project provides for an abdesthana and gasulhana (premises for ritual ablutions and for laying out the dead) as part of the mekteb building, which would have space for 20 pupils and office space for a teacher, a small library, a TV room, a tea room and a meeting room. 


            There are two basic types of residential building: the mahala type and the čaršija type.  The mahala type was used solely for residential purposes and was rather larger and finer.  The Čaršija type had commercial as well as residential premises, was smaller than the mahala type, and was usually rectangular in ground plan, with the shorter side facing the street.  This allowed for a better use of space, with more buildings along the street.  The houses in the čaršija were dual-purposes, used for production and trade, and as living quarters, with the ground floor used for commercial purposes and the upper floor for residential.  The materials, structure and details, like the interior fittings, were the same in both types of house.  They were short-lived, and were often rebuilt or adapted.

            Čaršija type:  the ground floor was of unbaked brick, or rarely of stone, with a shop  facing the street, an open ćepenak (a flap that served as a door in older shops) and a sales area with wooden shutters.  The shutters opened horizontally, with the upper shutter raised and the other lowered to a horizontal position providing extra space to display goods.  This meant that the working or retail area was in direct contact with the street.  The rest of the ground floor, towards the rear courtyard, was used as ancillary premises and for storage.  Except for the street opening, all the other apertures on the ground floor were small, with wooden shutters.

            The upper floor is of local post-and-pan construction.  In order to increase the available living space the upper floor usually overhung the ground floor on the street side.  These overhangs were over the ćepenak area.  The upper floor was reached by a wooden staircase abutting onto the side wall of the house, often enclosed by a wooden screen.  The staircase terminated on the upper floor in a divanhan (wide landing) from which the rooms were entered and which was also often used as a sitting room.  The central feature of the upper floor was the hearth, «winter kitchen» or «house», which also served to heat all the surrounding rooms. There was often also a larder on the upper floor. The rooms facing the street were larger and better furnished.  There were more and larger windows on the upper floor than on the ground floor, single openings set one alongside the other to let in more light.» (Raspudić, 1981, p. 42).

            The rooms were entered through a door fitted with a «šćoklac» (a metal hasp near the top of the door), without a normal lock; only the main entrance door to the house had a big, heavy «Kreševo lock».  In many of the artisans' and merchants' houses the door to the main room or «big room» was carved.  Each living room had an earthenware stove with earthenware pots, a wooden šišeta ceiling of oak or beech wood, a dolaf (built in wall cupboard) and shelves for dishes and so on.  In some houses a «srg», a long wooden hanger, and a «ljenka» survived in the divanhan until recently, of somewhat better workmanship, where formal woollen dresses would be hung.  A carpet or «kurdele» (rag rug) would cover the floor, and cushions would be arranged along the wall.  In some houses there was a minderluk (a kind of long settee).  Almost every Kreševo house had a loom for weaving linen, kept in one of the smaller rooms.

            The normal construction of the houses was a masonry ground floor and a «dizma» upper floor (plastered wood), with the roof of «kaplama» (deal planks up to 1 m long and above 25 cm wide).  The windows were small and glazed «when there was glass, or of londra membrane when there was none, which they made from a cow's stomach» (Kristić, 1934, pp. 94-95).

            The walls of the ground and upper floors were plastered and whitewashed.  White walls and dark brown woodwork were the typical colours for the facades.  This contrast was heightened by the black of the deal shingles that clad the high and very steep roofs.   There was no chimney in the roof; the smoke from the hearth passed direct into the loft area and made its way out through, and impregnated, the shingles (Raspudić, 1981, p. 42)

            «Individual residential buildings dating from before the early 1960s retained some of the features typical of old Kreševo.  They did not stand out in size, and were usually built of the customary, native materials with the use of traditional details.  This cannot be said of the individual residential buildings dating from the 1960s and later.  In size, features and the use of inappropriate materials they deny tradition and clash with their surroundings.» (Raspudić, 1981, p. 16).

            The buildings as a whole can be classified into four groups based on their proportions, architectural details, colour and construction: buildings of townscape value, and buildings that are in harmony with the environs (old buildings of non-resistant materials requiring regular maintenance); neutral buildings (those that have undergone certain interventions and modernization altering their appearance and dimensions, which in some cases has undermined the value of the building itself); and buildings that clash with the environs (newly-erected buildings).

            The majority of the old houses have been irreparably damaged or demolished to make way for new buildings.  The surviving old buildings are deteriorating from lack of maintenance or have been altered by inappropriate interventions.

Augustin Kristić's house

            This house is in a small courtyard (avlija), and has a basement storeroom and upper floor living quarters reached by wooden steps to the kamerija (verandah) from which the rooms were entered.  Various tools and items of daily use were kept in the kamerija.  All these items have found a place in the Museum collection of the Franciscan monastery in Kreševo. The house in which Kristić lived is now one of the oldest in Kreševo, and indeed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with minimal changes to its original outward appearance.  «It is estimated to be more than 350 years old, and could have been built in about the mid seventeenth century.  It is now used for residential purposes and is no longer owned by the Kristić family.» (Buzuk, 1999/2000, p. 229)    

House of the Čujić family

             The house is stone built and has a ground and an upper floor.  It measures 9 x 6.40 m.  There are two front doors, one for the basement, and the other with steps to the upper floor.  «The door terminated in a round tuff arch, but now the door frame is wooden» (Kristić, 1939, p. 53).

             The upper floor has five small windows, 60 x 40 cm, on the front, with four round apertures – loopholes – between them. The lower walls of the house are 70 cm thick and the upper 60cm.  The arrangement of the house has been altered somewhat, with several conversions particularly of the basement.  During these works an inscription was found built into the wall.  It is not known whether it was written in Latin or Bosančica script.  «This could mean that the house was older than the fet» (Kristić).

             Nine stone steps each 70cm long led to the upper floor.

            The upper floor had a corridor leading to four small and one larger room with a dolaf (wooden built-in wall cupboard) and wooden shelf beneath the ceiling for dishes.  The windows had iron bars and iron latches, which means that they also had iron shutters.  Four walled-up loopholes can plainly be seen between the five windows.

             The roof was clad with shingles, with one «badža» (dormer window) in the centre.

            The present-day windows in the basement walls are later additions; this floor originally had no windows or doors.

            The arrangement of the upper floor without the central area where food was prepared common to every house in Bosnia, the iron shutters on the windows, the loopholes and the basement with no windows or doors suggest that the building was not originally intended as living quarters. It might have been the «customs house – the house of the mine manager in Kreševo, which would explain why it was fortified at the front.   Its height of some 8 metres protected the occupants from the possibility of attack or the house being easily set on fire..» (Kristić, 1939, pp. 54-55)

            Outwardly the building has retained almost none of its original features since repairs carried out in the 1960s.  The only features to have been retained are the external dimensions of the main residential building, the original ground plan, and the place where the old door was that led to the upper floor and the store room.  According to A. Buzuk, parts of the old walls have survived, so the entire structure should be examined to see if this is so and on the basis of which a programme to rehabilitate the building could be drawn up.

The house of the Šakotić family

            This house is a representative example of the čaršija type of house with a shop on the ground floor, typical of Kreševo.  It is the only house in Kreševo that has retained its ground-floor shop with ćepenak.  Until just before World War II there were about forty surviving houses of this type in Kreševo.

            The building is not in a ruinous state, but needs urgent repairs to the roof structure to protect it from damage to the interior caused by the elements.  The outward appearance (dimensions) of the buildling has been retained, though there are visible signs of interventions to the entrance door, window openings, the shop premises (the ćepenak has been made in stylized form on the principle of analogy not reconstruction), and the interior (changes to the ceiling, with a new šiše type ceiling made), and alterations to the interstorey structure and staircase.

The house of the Martinčević family

            This is a surviving example of the mahala type of house in Kreševo, which has retained its authentic appearance both outwardly and in the interior.  The changes that have been made have not been detrimental to the authenticity of the building.  Some of the interior features have remained unaltered, without major interventions, so that the building is a worthy example of the continuity of residential architecture in the Kreševo region and is still being used for its original purpose.

The mill

            Kreševo had 15 to 20 mills along the watercourses of the rivers Kreševčica and Dragušnica, of which only two survive, the one in the Čaršija in a state of total dilapidation (Buzuk, 2003, p. 3).

            The mill is a small building built of wooden planks, with a gable roof clad with wooden boards.  The building is in a ruinous state as a result of many years' neglect and the effect of the elements.


Legal status to date

            As a cultural monument, the Hajji Hasan mosque was protected by Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of BiH no. 02-UP-I-42/71 dated 23 February 1971, and was listed in the Register of immovable cultural monuments as no. 528.

            The Regional Plan of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2002 listed the urban ensemble of Kreševo as a Category I monument.  The «urban ensemble» meant the old urban structure with the monastery, mosque and several houses.

           The Regional Plan of RbiH to 2002 listed the Franciscan monastery as a Category II monument.  Given the historical and cultural significance of the ensemble of the Francisan monument and the church of St Catherine, they are the subject of a separate decision to designate them as a national monument.


3.   Research and conservation and restoration works

            None of conservation and restoration works on residential buildings have been carried out under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority. The owners of the properties have carried out works on the buildings themselves.

            2003: work is in hand to draw up a programme for the rehabilitation of the buildings in the historic urban area of Kreševo by the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of  BiH using funds approved by the Federation Government.

            The buildings earmarked for renovation by Kreševo municipality are:

-the house of the Bilajac family, c.p. 325;

-the house of the Tukić family, c.p. 278;

-the house of the Šakotić family, c.p. 496/497;

-the house of the Zovko family, c.p. 253;

-the house of the Čizmić family, c.p. 607;

-the house of the Aždajić family, c.p. 605;

-water mill, Ban family and others, c.p. 552.

All these buildings are in Protection Zone I and subject to the measures stipulated in Clause III of this Decision.     

            Hajji Hasan mosque

            2000   the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH drew up a project to reconstruct the architectural ensemble of the mosque.  The design concept did not wholly comply with the authentic appearance of the building before its destruction (See II/2 – Architecture, Hajji Hasan mosque).

            2002-2003 – works carried out to reconstruct the Hajji Hasan mosque to the design project and under the expert supervision of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH.


4.  Current condition of the site

            On site inspection in June 2003 ascertained the following:

   The Kreševo housing stock as a whole can be divided into three groups based on degree of damage:

·         Buildings neglected and unused for many years with structural degradation;

·         Buildings in permanent occupancy but poorly maintained or not at all;

·         Buildings that have been restored, adapted or newly-built.

            In the majority of cases, unbaked brick walls are structurally unstable, as are wooden structural and infill elements (wattle walls, ćepenaks, roof and floor beams, ceilings, floors, divanhana, windows, doors, staircases etc.) which, if they survive at all, have become badly dilapidated from lack of maintenance and the effects of the elements.

   Rebuilt or newly built houses in the central area of the Kreševo čaršija and in the mahalas do not comply with the principles of preservation and have caused lasting damage to the ensemble.

·        New buildings in the čaršija and mahalas are not in harmony in appearance, size or materials with the traditional architecture;

·        Most of the existing buildings have been inexpertly renovated without regard for traditional architecture, their dimensions and appearance altered, with gabled roofs, large ground floor picture windows, balconies added on and new materials introduced;

·        Existing elements in the central area of Kreševo, the čaršija, are inappropriate to this part of the town, the old crafts have been forced out, and nor do they suit the everyday needs of the inhabitants;

·        The site is exposed to specific risks (traffic, pollution, weathering);

·        The buildings and the area as a whole are suffering rapid deterioration as a result of lack of regular maintenance.

            Works are in hand to reconstruct the Hajji Hasan mosque under the supervision of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH.

            On-site inspection revealed that there have been certain departures from the reconstruction project in the course of carrying out the works: there are differences in the height and pitch of the roof, the type and colour of the roof cladding, the way the roof cladding has been laid, the shape of the ground floor windows, the shape of the entrance door to the mosque, the way the exterior sofas have been built, the number and arrangement of the load-bearing pillars, the wooden corbels, the position and appearance of the exterior steps, the paving of the access from the entrance to the complex to the entrance to the mosque is of reddish concrete prismatic blocks, which is not what the project specified, rather the access path and part of the promenade along the river were to have been paved with cut stone laid in cement mortar.  The erection of the minaret has not yet begun because, according to Kreševo Municipality representatives, the necessary funds are not yet available.




            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.ii. proportions

            C.iii. composition

D.      Clarity

            D.ii. evidence of historical change

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

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

E.      Symbolic value

            E.iii. traditional value

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

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

G.     Authenticity

            G.i. form and design

            G.ii. material and content

            G.iii. use and function

            G.iv. traditions and techniques

            G.v. location and setting

            G.vi. spirit and feeling

            G.vii. other internal and external factors

H.      Rarity and representativity

            H.i. unique or rare example of a certain type or style

I.        Completeness

            I.i. physical coherence

            I.ii. homogeneity

            I.iii. completeness


            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





Basler, Đuro, Kreševo – Kiseljak – Fojnica, Journal of the National Museum, n.s. A. IX, Sarajevo, 1954

Bogdanović, Fra Marijan, Ljetopis Kreševskog samostana (1765-1817) – Izvještaj o pohodu bosansko vikarijata 1768 (Chronicle of the Kreševo monastery (1765-1817) – Report on visit of the Bosnian vicariat 1768), SOUR Veselin Masleša, Cultural Heritage Series, Sarajevo, 1984

Buzuk, Anto, «Čelik» Kreševo 1908-1998., «Čelik» d.d. Kreševo, 1998.

Buzuk, Anto, Kulturno-povijesna baština Kreševa bez pomoći osuđena na propadanje, (Cultural and historical heritage of Kreševo condemned to extinction without help) 2003.

Buzuk, Anto, Kreševski metalci – kovači danas, (Kreševo metal workers and smiths today) 2003.

Buzuk, Anto, Životopis i bibliografija radova Ivana Augustina Kristića, (Biography and bibliography of the works of Ivan Augustin Kristić) Bulletin of the Franciscan Theological College, Sarajevo, Vol. XXVII, no 1, Sarajevo, 1999./2000.

Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH, Kreševo, Hadži Hasanova džamija sa grebljem, (Kreševo, Hajji Hasan mosque and burial ground) Design concept for reconstruction, Sarajevo, October 2000.

Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka, Gradska naselja srednjevjekovne bosanske države (Urban settlements of the mediaeval Bosnian state), IP Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1978

Kristić, Augustin, Iz stare Bosne, Najstarija kuća Bosne i Kreševa, (From old Bosnia, the oldest house in Bosnia and Kreševo) Napredak Croatian national calender, 1939.

Kristić, Augustin, Kreševska čaršija i Kreševska sermija, (Kreševo čaršija and Kreševo's artisans) Bulletin for the Institute for the Study of  Folklore, Sarajevo, Sarajevo, 1953.

Fra Kristić, Augustin, Kreševska kuća, (Kreševo  house) Napredak Croatian national calendar, 1934.

Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, (Islamic epigraphics in BiH) Vol II, Sarajevo-Publishing,  Sarajevo, 1998.

Raspudić, Krunoslav, Čaršija u Kreševu – zaštita i obnova, (Čaršija in Kreševo – preservation and renovation) master's dissertation, 1981.

Material supplied by Kreševo Municipality, 2002










Čaršija in Kreševo, around 1960Čaršija in Kreševo, seventies of XX centuryČaršija in Kreševo at the beginning of XX centuryKreševo, aerial view
Kreševo 2003.Čaršija in Kreševo – view at the Franciscan monastery Čaršija in Kreševo – view at the Franciscan monastery at winterČaršija in Kreševo, photo from 2003
Kreševo, new objectsHadži Hasan mosque, photo from 2003View at the Hadži Hasan mosque and haremHarem and the porch of the Hadži Hasan mosque
MillsBilajac house Family Aždajić house Family Tukić house
Family Šakotić house Family Martinčević house Interior of the family Martinčević houseFamily Martinčević house-Sehara (chest)
Kreševo 2003.   

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