Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

Provisional List

About the Provisional List

List of Petitions for Designation of Properties as National Monuments

Heritage at Risk

60th session - Decisions

Church of the Transfiguration of Christ in Klepci, school building and burial ground, the site and remains of the architectural ensemble

gallery back

Status of monument -> National monument

             Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 7 to 13 October the Commission adopted a




The site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Church of the Transfiguration of  Christ in Klepci, school building and burial ground are hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument is located on cadastral plot 601, Land Registry no. 349/01, cadastral municipality Klepci, Čapljina Municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovine.

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 providing the resources 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.


            To ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument,  Protection Zone I is hereby defined consisting of c.p. 601, Land Registry no. 349/01, c.m. Klepci.  Within this Zone the following measures shall apply:

·         The architectural ensemble of the Church of the Transfiguration of Christ in Klepci with its school shall be rehabilitated on its original site, in its original form, using the same or same type of material and the same building techniques wherever possible, with the approval of the federal ministry responsible for regional planning and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection service of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the heritage protection service).

·         the construction of residential, business and agricultural and other buildings and facilities, major infrastructure facilities or power plants, stone quarries or other polluters the construction or operation of which could lead to damage to the National Monument, is prohibited;

·         the dumping of all kinds of waste is prohibited.


In order to protect the site and ensure that it can be rehabilitated the Government of the Federation shall be responsible in particular for ensuring that the following measures are implemented:

·         drafting and implementing a programme of clearance and preparatory works for the rehabilitation of the buildings of the church and school, to include the following steps and measures:

o        surveying the site and identifying fragments of the church and school, sorting them, and protecting them until they are rebuilt into the buildings

o        surveying and conducting a structural analysis of the stability and structure of the existing foundations, walls and floors of the building, examining the bearing capacity of the soil, the petrographic and chemical composition of the stone and other building materials (mortar) (gathering data and information to draw up a rehabilitation design project)

o        repair and structurally consolidate the existing intact foundations, walls, floors and parts thereof, and protect them from further deterioration and the effects of the elements

o        the remains of the church and school shall not be damaged or removed from the fenced-off area of the National Monument as a whole;

o        if it is determined that conservation or restoration works need to be carried out on some particularly valuable fragments outside the area of the church, the said fragments shall be photographed, documented and numbered, and the owner of the property shall be notified of their temporary removal

o        the entire site shall be cleared of self-sown vegetation

o        all works must be carried out under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority.


During the rehabilitation of the National Monument, the following steps shall be taken:

·         the church and school shall be reconstructed in their original form, to the identical horizontal and vertical dimensions, using traditional building techniques and the same type of building materials, based on documentation on their original form

·         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 reintegrated into the reconstructed building by the method of anastylosis, with the use of traditional building materials and binders (mortar) and building techniques,

·         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 church or school, as the case may be,

·         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 originals using the method of repristination

·         the burial ground shall be set in order and damaged tombstones shall be repaired.


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


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


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


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

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


No: 07-6-982/03-2                                                       Chair of the Commission

9 October 2003

Sarajevo                                                                       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  (hereinafter: 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.

At a session held on 14 June 2000, the Commission issued a Decision to add the Church of the Transfiguration of Christ in Klepci near Čapljina to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina under serial no. 182.

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:

·         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 if any, etc.

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

·         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 property


            The architectural ensemble of the Church of the Transfiguration of Christ in Klepci, the school building and burial ground, is situated on the eastern outskirts of the village of Klepci, c.p. 601, Land Registry no. 349/01, owner Serbian Orthodox Church community, c.m. Klepci, Čapljina Municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Historical information

The Orthodox church in Klepci probably dates from the sixteenth century (Ševo: 2002, p. 234; Mihić: 1976, p. 216).  Local tradition has it that the church of St Luke in Klepci was built by Mihailo Milisava Miloradović. In 1811, when General Miloradović[1] came to Montenegro from Russia, he sent funds for repairs to the Miloradović endowment in Herzegovina.  The members of the mediaeval family of Hrabren-Miloradović were the founders of this church, and had endowed churches in Ošanići, Trijebnje, Klepci and Žitomislići (Mihić: 1976, p. 216).

According to unverified information, Sultan Mehmed II conferred on Milisava Miloradović-Hrabren the title of spahi, six houses of kmets (serfs), and permission for the Miloradović's to establish endowments.  In return, they were required to render military service.  It was thus that the churches and monasteries in Žitomislić, Trijebnje, Ošanići and Klepci were built at this time (Bogićević: 1997, p. 52). 

The church was dedicated to the transfiguration of Christ.  A plaque with an inscription above the entrance door records that the church was renovated in 1857.  During World War II, in 1942, the iconostasis, frescoes, icons, church plate, church registers and archiveds were burned, and the church was vandalized.  In 1947, after the war, the church was renovated. In 1992 both the church and the school were completely destroyed.

In 1857, the first Serb school in the region opened its doors in a church building to the north of the church itself. In 1919 another floor was built on to the school and in 1930 a national primary school was established in the building, with a priest and the teacher living in the building (Mihić: 1976, p. 216).

Over the past few decades prior to the demolition of the building in 1992 it was no longer used as a school but as a chapel.

            Legal status to date

By Ruling of the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of NR BiH no. 1004/54 of 1954, the building was placed under the protection of the state.  The Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina of 1980 did not list or categorise the property as a cultural or historical property.

2.         Description of the monument

            The church of the Transfiguration of Christ in Klepci was a single-nave building made of well cut stone, of elongated rectangular ground plan and inner dimensions of about 3.80 x 8.26 m, with a semicylindrical stone vault (the height from ground floor level to the top of the vault was 4.97 m).  At the east end was an apse of semicircular form inside and out (the apsidal niche had interior dimensions of about 260 cm and a height of 3.55 m from the floor of the apse to the ridge of the calotte of the apse).  The floor of the altar area was raised by one step 12 cm high above the floor of the nave.  The exterior dimensions of the church were 5.30 x (9.75+1.83) m.  The rectangular niches that marked the positions of the diaconicon and proscomidia were bult into the side walls of the altar area.  Above the entrance area of the church, at gallery level, was a rectangular choir measuring approx. 300 x 376 cm, beneath a hemispherical vault.  The choir was reached via a two-flight staircase (with the flights set at an angle of 90 degrees) to the left of the entrance door to the church. The staircase and choir were made of reinforced concrete and were thus probably later twentieth century additions.  The floors of the prayer and altar spaces on the ground floor were stone paved.

            In the axis of the north-west wall of theentrance facade was a door, and at the bottom of the lower third of the entrance facade was a window in the form of a circular stone rosette. The other facades had rectangular wooden windows terminating in round arches (there were two such in each of the north-east and south-west facades, and one in the apsidal niche).

The church was built of well cut stone laid in horizontal courses.  The walls of the church were about 75 cm thick, and those of the apse were about 55 cm thick.  From an on-site inspection of the remains of the walls it is clear that the outer and inner faces of the walls were built of larger pieces of stone laid in regular courses with the middle filled with rubble and gravel stabilized with lime mortar.   The roof was gabled, and the blueprint of the current state of the church made between 1950 and 1960 shows that above the original cladding of stone slabs a new roof cladding of fluted tiles was laid on a wooden substructure of oak beams.  Moulded concrete cornices with dripping edges were set at a height of about 4.25 m from ground level (the concrete cornices were probably made when the church was renovated in 1947).  The entrance (north-west) wall was topped by a stone «preslica» belltower with a single bell.  The bases of the pillars and capitals of the belltower, the vault and  the cross were moulded and the stone was decorated with floral elements.

The school building stood about 20 m north of the church.  It was a two-storey building with exterior dimensions of 7.20 x 17.30 m.  The ground floor of the building held a larder, woodshed and storeroom, and the upper floor a schoolroom with an area of about 84 sq.m.  The walls, which were about 60 cm thick, were of stone and the two floors were divided by wooden beams.  According to information gleaned from the older inhabitants of the village, the wooden structure was replaced, during repairs to the school building, by a reinforced concrete structure.  Fragments of a reinforced concrete structure were observed on the site along with the remains of stone walls.  The light space of the upper floor of the school was 340 cm and of the ground floor 210 cm.  There were five windows on each floor in the south-west facade, each measuring 100 x 200 cm, set one above the other.

Access to the upper floor was by a single-flight staircase, 120 cm wide and 310 cm long, and a covered entrance porch 210 cm deep and 600 cm wide, set on the south-east side of the school building.

The school building had a gabled roof with a pitch of about 30 degrees.  The roof structure was of wood, using double pitch posts.

In about 1922a toilet block with toilets and a septic tank was built to the north west of the school building, alongside the north stone surrounding wall.

There is a burial ground in the churchyard, with a number of stećak tombstones, mainly of slab form, some of which are decorated with shields and rosettes.

3.  Conservation and restoration works

There is no information on any conservation or restoration works on the buildings.

4. Current condition of the site

The church of the Transfiguration of Christ in Klepci was totally destroyed in 1992. The school building, which formed part of the complex, was also totally destroyed.  The buildings were demolished by dynamite, and there are large quantities of fragments on the site.

Some fragmentary parts of the belltower of the church have survived.  The plaque with its inscription that was over the entrance door has also survived in fragments.  The stone that was used to build the church and school lies scattered around the buildings.

The Serbian Orthodox Church has invested in the drafting of a chief reconstruction project for the church in Klepci, which was drawn up in 2003 by the Transportation Institute  CIP d.o.o. of Belgrade.  A copy of this project was submitted to the Commission for inspection, on the basis of which it was ascertained that it does not comply with the principles of rehabilitation set forth in Article 2 of the Law on the Implementation of Decisions of the Commission.  Failure to comply relates to alterations to the dimensions of the building; changes to the materials used (use of different materials from those used for the original building); the use of modern structures and building techniques.

At the time an on-site inspection was carried out on 15 August 2003, no rehabilitation works had begun on the site of the National Monument.


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

D. Clarity

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.ii. religious value

E.iii. traditional value

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


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-          Copy of cadastral plan

-          Photodocumentation;


During the procedure to designate the Church of the Transfiguration of Christ in Klepci as a national monument BiH the following works were consulted:


Blueprints of the Serb school building in Klepci (site plan, cross section, ground plan) of 1906, 1907 and 1922. godine; Compartment K/30 of the school in the city and municipality of Čapljina, no.10, Archives of Herzegovina in Mostar

Blueprints of the current condition of the Church of the Transfiguration of Christ in Klepci, National Institute for the Protection of  Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of NR BiH, Sprem. sign.1562, c. 1950

Mihić, Dr Ljubo J., Čapljina centri za rekreaciju i kultornoistorijski spomenici (Čapljina centres for recreation and cultural and historical monuments), Čapljina Tourist Association, p.216, 1976.

Petković, Dr Vladimir R., Pregled crkvenih spomenika kroz povesnicu srpskog naroda (Survey of Ecclesiastical monuments through the history of the Serb people), Serbian Academy of Science; special edition, Vol CLVII, Social Sciences division,  new series, Vol 4, p. 146, 412, Belgrade 1950.

Bogićević, Vojislav, Mihailo and Jeronim Miloradović-Hrabreni, Slovo Gorčina '97, p. 50-52,  Presidency of Stolac Municipality, 1997,

Ševo, Ljiljana, Pravoslavne crkve i manastiri u Bosni i Hercegovini do 1978. godine (Orthodox churches and monasteries in BiH to 1878), Heritage Series, Banja Luka, 2002.


[1] Mihailo Miloradović-Andrejević Hrabren, son of Ilija, was a native of Stolac Dubrave.   In the Lexicon of the Yugoslav Lexicographical Institute (Zagreb 1974, p. 627)  the following information about Mihailo Miloradović Hrabren is to be found: “Miloradović Mihailo Andrejević (1771-1825), Russian general of Serb origin, distinguished himself in Turkey, Poland, Italy and Switzerland.  He pursued Napoleon’s army at Austerlitz, was in command at Leipzig.”   As is well known, Russia and Turkey roundedly defeated Napoelon Bonaparte at Leipzig in 1813 at the famous “battle of the nations”.  The Russian Tsar Peter the Great sent Mihailo Miloradović to the Montenegrin bishop Danilo with a letter calling on Montenegro to rise up against the Turks.  The insurrection ended with victory for the Montenegrins at Carevo Lazo.  During the reign of the Russian Tsar Paul (1796-1801), Mihailo Miloradović Hrabren took part in the Franco-Russian war in Italy, when he received the highest Russian honours and became a general.  He demonstrated his supreme military skills in the Russian war of defence against Napoleon Bonaparte in 1812.  The Great Soviet Encyclopaedia (Moscow 1938, Vol. 39) says of Mihailo Miloradović Hrabren that he showed himself to be an “energetic advance  and rearguard squadron commander.”  Following the end of the war with Napoleon he was appointed as commander of the guards corps, and soon after that as governor-general of Petrograd.  In December 1825, when the Decembrists rose up in rebellion, he led the negotiations with them.  On 14 December 1825 he was killed by the Decembrist Kahovski in Senate Square in Petrograd.

Remains of the Church of the Transfiguration of Christ in KlepciRemains of the school building Church of the Transfiguration of Christ in Klepci, remains of the slab with inscription from 1857Church of the Transfiguration of Christ in Klepci, detail from the bell tower

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