Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Kočića house in Brčko, the historic building

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Status of monument -> National monument

             Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 7 to 11 October 2003 the Commission adopted a






            The historic building of the Kočić House in Brčko is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument is located on cadastral plots nos. 106/1 (new survey) corresponding to c.p. nos. 7/32 and c.p. no. 106/2 corresponding to c.p. 7/30 (old survey); Land Registry entries no. 4812; cadastral municipality Brčko 1; Brčko Municipality, Brčko District of 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 Brčko District BiH, no. 2/02).




            The Government of Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Government of Brčko District) shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, conserve, and display the National Monument.

            The Government of Brčko District 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.




            To ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument, the following measures are hereby stipulated:

            Protectio Zone I  consists of the site defined in Clause 1 of this Decision.   In this zone the following measures shall be implemented:

Ÿ          The only works permitted on the National Monument are conservation, structural repair, restoration, reconstruction and adaptation works, with the approval of the Ministry responsible for regional planning in Brčko District and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of Brčko District (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority),

Ÿ          The building shall retain its original use as a residential property,

Ÿ          Residential use may be altered with regard to the first floor for catering, commercial, scientific, educational and cultural purposes

Ÿ          The erection of temporary or permanent structures not intended solely for the protection and presentation of the National Monument is prohibited.

            To protect the national monument and ensure the conditions for its rehabilitation, two stages of works are hereby defined:

Stage I  – Urgent measures to protect it from further deterioration:

1.         Conservation of the walls and the decoration on the facades of the building;

2.         Survey and structural analysis of the load-bearing structure and walls;

3.         Repair and structural consolidation of the walls;

4.         Protection from the elements;

5.         clearing the building of rubbish.


Stage II – Rehabilitation of the building:

Ÿ          based on the findings of the survey and structural analysis, a project of reconstruction and restoration, including the reintegration of the decorations on the facade, shall be drawn up, in accordance with documentation on the original appearance of the building

Ÿ          all elements for which there is no reliable documentation shall be dealt with as part of the project in such a way as to ensure that their interpolation is clearly recognizable

Ÿ          the adaptation of the interior of the building to bring it up to modern housing standards or new use, in the shape of alterations to the interior arrangement and fittings, shall be permitted.

            The protection of the wider urban area is defined by the Regional plan of Brčko District, 1996-2006 - Amendments.




            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 Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina 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 Brčko District, the Ministry responsible for regional planning in Brčko District and the heritage protection authority of Brčko District, 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.


            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: 06-6-980/03-1

7 October 2003                                                                 



E l u c i d a t i o n



            Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina  and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of Brčko District BiH no. 2/02) 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 30 September 2003 the Commission received a petition from Mr. Kočić Mirsad to designate the Kočić House in Brčko as a national monument.

            Pursuant to the provisions of the law, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching a final decision to designate the Property as a National Monument, pursuant to Article V of Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.



          In the procedure preceding the adoption of a final decision to proclaim the property a national monument, the following documentation was inspected:

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

Ÿ          Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision.


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


1. Information on the property


            The Kočić house is in the residential quarter of Kolobara, close to the White Mosque, on a site consisting of cadastral plots nos. 106/1 (new survey) corresponding to c.p. nos. 7/32 and c.p. no. 106/2 corresponding to c.p. 7/30 (old survey); Land Registry entries no. 4812; cadastral municipality Brčko 1; Brčko Municipality, Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: Brčko District).  Its address is Musala 1, Brčko.

Historical information

            The earliest reference to Brčko, or more exactly to Brčki, in documents dating from the Ottoman period is in 1620 in a description of the Bosnian pashaluk (Kreševljaković, 1953). Brčko formed part of the Tuzla kadılık (county) and the Zvornik sancak (district).  It was a settlement mainly of ferrymen, log-floaters, bargemen and frontier guards at the confluence of the Brka and Sava rivers, in the middle of the Bosnian Posavina (Sava river basin).  Brčko stood on an important site, geographically and strategically, in the frontier region between the Ottoman Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  The site was well adapted for the carriage of goods and passengers from Bosnia to Slavonia and vice versa.  Brčko evolved as both a trading and crafts centre, and as a military stronghold of the Ottoman Empire.  The frequent wars between the two great empires, the Ottoman and the Austrian (1683-1699, 1716-1718) left the frontier regions a regular wasteland, particularly in Brčko and its surrounding villages.

            In the second half of the seventeenth century buildings were erected such as the mosque in Atikmahala, another mosque in New (Dževdid) mahala, two hammams on the left bank of the Brka, and a tower; the streets were also cobbled.

            Between 1740 and 1840 Brčko became the economic and political centre of the Bosnian Posavina.  Military and administrative buildings, merchants' and artisans' shops and workshops, hostels and houses were built.  An important event for the development of trade was the formation in Brčko in 1830 of the Danube Steamship Company, whose ships exported from 25 to 30,000 tonnes of prunes a year to Austria, as well as other goods, bringing back salt, paraffin and other goods to Bosnia from Austria and Rumania.  The economic development of Brčko led to the Austrian consulate being relocated from Tuzla to Brčko in 1862.  In 1869 a telephone line with Tuzla and Sarajevo was laid in Brčko and the telegraph was introduced, and in 1870 the first post office was opened.   In 1870, Brčko had 3000 inhabitants.

            At the Berlin Congress in July 1878, Austria-Hungary was granted approval by the other great powers of Europe to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina on condition that it reestablished law and order, resolved the agrarian issue, and thus eliminated the reasons for the constant unrest there.  Austro-Hungarian troops entered Brčko on 17 September 1878 after a two-day battle.  From 18 September to 31 December 1879 martial rule was in force in Brčko.  Civilian administration was established on 1 January 1880, but a strong military garrison remained in the town.

            With the establishment of Austro-Hungarian rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1878, a new period in the life of Brčko began.  A new, capitalist style of doing business was introduced, as was a new style of building, with the introduction of taller buildings with commercial premises on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors.  More durable materials (baked brick) were used, to comply with new building regulations.  In 1899 Brčko acquired electric lighting, a major advance in the modernization of the town, but throughout the Austro-Hungarian period the town remained without mains water and drainage.

            Brčko turned into a more modern town in terms of town planning and architecture.  Eighteen schools of various kinds were built: three maktabs, one madrassa, a Serb primary school, a state school and a school of commerce.  In 1880 the Jews erected a synagogue, and the White Mosque, known as the Džedit (Ar. jadid, new) mosque.  In 1892 the Brčko Town Hall was built in the pseudo-Moorish expression to a design concept by the architect Aleksandar Vitek and a working project by the architect Ćiril Iveković, who also drew up the design and working project for the Sarajevo Town Hall.  The Town Hall building housed the municipal offices, post and telegraph office and the Sava captaincy.  The town hospital was built in 1886. 

13 September 1894 was an important date for Brčko: the bridge over the Sava, 775 m long, was completed.  The Hotel Posavina was built in 1891 by the prominent businessman Alija Kučukalić, who came from Čačak. The house of the Kočić family was built in the same eclectic pseudo-Moorish style (according to Dr. Bećirević Nedžad, the house was built by this same businessman Alija Kučukalić in 1890-1907).

            Bosnia and Herzegovina's cultural development did not lag behind that of other regions of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.  The eclectic method by which architectural expression was formed in Bosnia led to the interpretation of a wholly new style, the so-called oriental style, Moorish architecture or pseudooriental style: which meant that in essence the eclectic method focused on the oriental architectural heritage.    World-famous examples of monuments of the period in Spain are the Alhambra or Red Fort in Granada and the Grand Mosque (el Mesquita) in Cordoba.    In Bosnia and Herzegovina the eclectic architecture of this period gave rise to numerous buildings of quality in the interpretation of European styles.  The Moorish period in Spain (7th to 10th century) became the source of ideas and inspiration for Austro-Hungarian architects working in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  This expression is characterized by the use of a wealth of ornamentation and decorative graphic elements on the facades of the buildings.  In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the most important buildings in the pseudo-Moorish expression are the Town Hall in Sarajevo, built in 1896, designed by Aleksandar Vitek and Ćiril Iveković, the railway station building in (Bosanski) Brod, designed by Hans Niemeczek, the Brčko Town Hall (Vitek and Iveković, 1902), the railway station in Bistrik, the Gymnasium in Mostar.

            The development of the modern town was accompanied by a development of modern town planning, with housing of prime importance.  One type of house was the villa, a free-standing building in a garden with tall trees and flowers.  Austro-Hungarian period villas are distinguished by their rich appearance, reflecting the wealth of their owners.  In most houses with several rooms, one room would be furnished as a drawing room, with expensive carpets, polished mirrors, satin upholstery and gilded furniture. (Spasojević, 1999, p. 25).


2. Description of the property

            Typologically, the Kočić house is an Austro-Hungarian villa, built in the same eclectic pseudo-Moorish expression as the Town Hall in Brčko to a design by Aleksandar Vitek.  (According to Dr. Bećirević Nedžad, Aleksandar Vitek also drew up the working plans.)  This expression is characterized by the use of a wealth of ornamentation and decorative graphic elements on the facades, the inspiration for which was usually sought in North Africa and Spain of the Moorish period.  The building was completed in 1907, as inscribed above the front door of the building.

            It is a free-standing building, with the south-east facade giving onto a courtyard.  The Kočić house has a rectangular ground plan, measuring 12.00 x 14.30 m, and two storeys.  The basic structural elements are the walls, and the building material used is baked brick.  The floors are divided by a wooden structure.  The roof is hipped, with classic wood frame and tile cladding, and a roof pitch of more than 35 deg..  The brick walls are 50 cm thick and have a plaster finish.  The staircase is stone, with an iron stairrail.

            Strikingly massive surfaces are visible on the facade, with alternate bands of light and dark, typical of almost every building in the eclectic expression.  The facade is divided into the ground and upper floor by a string course.  The single-casement wooden-frame windows of the ground floor are rectangular in shape, with flat lintels.  On the upper floor the windows terminate in horseshoe arches, another common feature of the pseudo-Moorish expression.  The front door is in the centre of the south-east facade (the entrance facade, facing Musala street), with symmetrically placed ground floor windows on either side.  The front door itself is rectangular, with a double-flap solid wood door and fanlight, terminating in a flat lintel.  The doorway measures 1.30 m wide by 3.30 m high.  Another typical feature of the eclectic expression is the use of mouldings around the windows and front door.  The arches over the upper floor windows are flush with the wall, with the moulding around the windows projecting from the wall surface.  To the sides of the windows are small pilasters terminating in an arch.  The windows, pilasters and mouldings form a coherent whole.  The facade is dominated by symmetry.  Above the front door is a balcony supported by a moulded iron structure, with a decorative wrought iron railing.

            The arrangement of the apartments is typical of houses of the period – two identical four-room flats.  The rooms and other facilities are entered from a corridor with no natural lighting. The rooms face the street.  The kitchen was the most important room, used not only for cooking but also as a sitting room where family life as a whole took place, particularly in winter when, to save money and effort, only one or perhaps two rooms would be heated.  The bathroom was beside the stairway, which was the general rule so that the water and drainage pipes could be set alongside the staircase wall.  The ground floor rooms are 3.30 m high and those of the upper floor 3.70 m.  The rooms had wooden floors of fir boards.  The ceilings and walls were plastered and distempered.  The walls of the kitchen and bathroom were painted with oil paint.  The salon had decorative stucco features on the walls and ceiling.  The building is currently in poor condition, so that it is not possible to determine in greater detail what the interior was like.


3. Legal status to date

            So far as is known the building has not been under protection or categorized.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

            No conservation or restoration works have been carried out, other than minor repairs to the roof and interior by the occupants.


5. Current condition of the property

            The building is in poor condition.  Until January 2001, when it was restored to its owner, displaced persons were housed there.  The roof and guttering are damaged, which has led to deterioration of the walls and structure from the effects of the elements.  The plaster and decorative elements of the walls are also damaged.  The remains of decorative elements are visible only in places on the facades.  The load bearing structure is badly damaged, and the roof rafters and floor joists have partly given way.



            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

            C. Artistic and aesthetic value

                        C.iii. proportions

                        C.iv. composition

                        C. v. value of details

            D. Clarity

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

            G. Authenticity

                        G.i. form and design

                        G.ii. material and content

                        G.v. location and setting


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-         Copy of cadastral plan

-         Copy of land register entry and proof of title;

-         Photodocumentation;

-         Drawings



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


-         Đaković, Dr. Luka, Brčko u novijoj istoriji (1878-1918), Brčko i okolina u radničkom pokretu i NOB, (Brčko in the modern era, 1878-1918, Brčko and environs in the workers' movement and War of National Liberation) Tuzla, 1985

-         Kreševljaković, Hamdija, «Iz prošlosti Brčkog», (From Brčko’s past) Front slobode Tuzla, no. 341, 27 March 1953

-         Krzović, Ibrahim, Arhitektura Bosne i Hercegovine 1878. - 1918., (Architecture of BiH 1878-1918), Art Gallery of BiH, Sarajevo, 1987

-         Kurto, Nedžad, Arhitektura Bosne i Hercegovine Razvoj Bosanskog stila (Architecture of BiH: development of the Bosnian Style), Sarajevo Publishing International Centre for Peace, Sarajevo, 1998

-         Spasojević, Borislav, Arhitektura stambenih palata austrougarskog perioda u Sarajevu (Architecture of residential mansions of the Austro-Hungarian Period in Sarajevo), Rabic, Sarajevo, 1999

-         Živković, Dr. Pavao, Pregled historije Brčkog i okoline od najstarijih vremena do austrougarske okupacije 1878., Brčko i okolina u radničkom pokretu i NOB, (Overview of the history of Brčko and environs from ancient times to the Austro-Hungarian occupation in 1878, Brčko and environs in the workers' movement and War of National Liberation) Tuzla, 1985

Kočića house in BrčkoFacade, view from the Musala StreetDetail of the facade, balcony and entrance doorKočića house, interior
Staircases in Kočića house   

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