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

Medresa (Derviš Hanume medresa), the historic building

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 6 to 11 December 2003 the Commission adopted a






            The historic building of the Medresa (Derviš Hanume Medresa) in (Bosanska) Gradiška is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument is located on cadastral plot nos. 869/2 and 869/3, in state ownership and used by the Gradiška Medical Centre, cadastral municipality Gradiška grad, (Bosanska) Gradiška Municipality, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The provisions relating to protection measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 9/02) shall apply to the National Monument.




            The Government of Republika Srpska shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, conserve and display the National Monument.

            The Government of Republika Srpska shall be responsible for providing the resources for drawing up and implementing the necessary technical documentation for the 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 protection measures are hereby stipulated, relating to the area defined in Clause 1 para 2 of this Decision.

• the building may be used for cultural or educational purposes

• during the course of future interventions on the building, all works are prohibited other than works of restoration and adaptation of the National Monument for new use, subject to its being reconstructed or its original form retained as far as possible together with all the elements on the basis of which the original use of the building may be recognized

• a design project for the rehabilitation of the building shall be drawn up

• the erection on the monument of temporary or permanent structures not designed solely to protect and present the monument is prohibited;

• the dumping of waste is prohibited.

• no alteration in the height of any buildings around the National Monument shall be permitted.




            The 1972 Regulatory Plan for the area of the centre of (Bosanska) Gradiška is hereby revoked in those areas that not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision.




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




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




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

Ljiljana Ševo

No: 06-6-26/03-1

6 December 2003



E l u c i d a t i o n



            Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina  and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of  BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a petition for the property in question has been submitted or not.

            In August 2002 the Commission received a petition from the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina, office of the Banja Luka Mufti.

            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 (transcript of holdings list no 937, in the ownership of the Medical  Centre, (Bosanska) Gradiška Municipality, of 06. 06. 2003. and copy of cadastral plan issued by (Bosanska) Gradiška Municipality on 06 .06. 2003)

• Data on the current condition

• Data on the current use of the property, including a description and photographs,

• Regulatory Plan for part of the centre of (Bosanska) Gradiška, 1972,

• 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 property are as follows:


1. Information on the property


            The National Monument consists of the Medresa building and courtyard and is located on c.p. 869/2 and 869/3, c.m. Gradiška grad, (Bosanska) Gradiška Municipality, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Land Register entry no. 937.

Historical information

            At the Berlin Congress in July 1878, Austro-Hungary received permission from the other European great powers «temporarily» to occupy Bosnia and Herzegovina on the pretext of establishing law and order, resolving the agrarian question, and thus eliminate the causes of the constant unrest in the country.     After two centuries, the inhabitants of  Bosanska and Stara Gradiška were once again living in a single state.  Until then the river Sava had been the state border between the two empires, but now communications were revived and trade and steamship transport along the river Sava developed.

            In 1882, martial rule in Bosnia and Herzegovina was abolished and civilian rule introduced.  The name of the town was then officially altered from Berbir to Bosanska Gradiška, which administratively became a kotar (county) town in the Banja Luka district.

            Socio-economic development in Bosanska Gradiška was patent in the development of trade and crafts.  Modern buildings began to be erected very soon after the occupation: in 1878 the town hall was built on the bank of the river Sava.  New methods of building were introduced, tall buildings with business premises on the ground floor and flats above, using durable materials (brick) in line with the new regulations.

            Educational and cultural circumstances in Bosanska Gradiška during the early Austro-Hungarian period were almost identical to those of the Ottoman period. The only schools were confessional ones, which continued operating under the new authorities.  The first state school in Bosanska Gradiška is referred to only after the 1886/87 school year.  In the residential areas of Bosanska Gradiška of Rudolfstal and Windthorst, four primary schools were opened in 1888, teaching in German (Hadžialagić, 1995,pp. 87-103).

            Medresas were secondary and higher schools that were built in Bosnia and Herzegovina from the early 15th century on. They were confessional schools for the Muslim population. Like mektebs, they were built at the initiative of individuals, as endowments – vakufs – and the vakufnamas are thus the most important documents providing information about medresas.  They tell us that the founders provided funds to pay teachers, provide scholarships for students, and invariably for the maintenance and repair of the building.

            In the medresas, Arabic, Qur’an interpretation, Islamic traditions (hadith), shari’a law, logic and philosophy were taught, and the full curriculum lasted 12 to 16 years (Bećirbegović, 1997, p. 277).

            Medresas in Bosnia and Herzegovina were modelled on the classic Ottoman medresa building, designed as boarding schools and consisting of a courtyard, students’ rooms and one large room used as a classroom and known as the dershana.  However, only a few 16th and 17th century medresas slavishly followed the architecture of the Ottoman medresa with its domes; all the others were adapted to the local building traditions (Bećirbegović, 1997, p. 323).

            There were several types of medresa in Bosnia and Herzegovina, depending on their ground plan: enclosed, with an inner courtyard (the Gazi Husrefbeg medresa in Sarajevo; U-shaped medresas (the Osman Kapetan medresa in Gračanica); L-shaped medresas (the Šišman Ibrahim pasha medresa in Počitelj and the Karađozbeg medresa in Mostar); elongated medresas (the Mehmed pasha Kukavica medresa in Foča); and dershana medresas, without rooms for boaders (the Dershana in Stolac).

            The Gazi Husrefbeg medresa in Sarajevo, the Karađozbeg medresa in Mostar and the Šišman Ibrahim pasha medresa in Počitelj are modelled on the Ottoman medresa with domes, and were built by master builders from the Ottoman Empire.

            A vakufnama in the Archives of  Bosnia and Herzegovina dated 2 May 1899 in Sarajevo records that H. Hanuma Smailagić endowed a Medresa in Bosanska Gradiška.


2. Description of the property

            The cultural development of  Bosnia and Herzegovina did not lack behind other provinces of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy.  The eclectic method of forming the architectural expression in Bosnia and Herzegovina created the interpretation of an entirely new style, the so-called oriental style, pseudo-Moorish architecture or pseudo-oriental expression.  The pseudo-Moorish manner was a new type of historicism in this part of world, drawing on Islamic architecture. The most important buildings in the pseudo-Moorish style in this part of the world are the Town Hall in Sarajevo, built in 1896 to a design by Aleksandar Vitek and Ćiril Iveković; the railway station building in (Bosanski) Brod, designed by Hans Niemeczek; the Town Hall in Brčko (Vitek and Iveković, 1902); the railway station in Bistrik; the Gymnasium in Mostar.  This expression is characterized by the use of rich ornamentation and decorative sculptural elements on the façades, the models for which were usually sought in North Africa (Cairo) and Moorish Spain (the Alhambra in Granada).

            In Bosanska Gradiška the Town Hall and the Medresa building are both in the pseudo-Moorish expression.

            The exact date when the medresa in Bosanska Gradiška was built is not known. The vakufnama in the Archives of BiH suggests that it was built in or before 1899, when it was endowed.  It was built from the vakuf of H. Hanuma Smailagić.

            The medresa in (Bosanska) Gradiška is a free-standing building of the elongated type. This is the simplest form of ground plan for a medresa, where the dershanas and students’ rooms form an elongated building.  The medresa was a single storey building, with the central part lower than the two ends.  Here, to each side, were the dershanas, while the central part was divided into several small, square rooms for the students.

            The medresa measures 33.00 x 8.50 m.  It is built of brick, with walls 50 cm thick and finished with a coat of plaster.  The ground plan is so arranged that the students’ rooms are in the centre with a dershana measuring 7.50 x 5.00 m. at either side.  The end rooms have higher ceilings than the central area, at approx. 6.00 m, and have separate hipped roofs.  The classrooms are smaller and are entered from the front. The building has no portico, but does have projecting eaves.  It has a hipped roof, classic wooden roof structure, and roof cladding of plain tiles. 

            The facades are plastered with cement mortar. Visually, they consist of markedly large surface areas with alternate light and dark bands, typical of almost every building in this eclectic manner. The south-west (entrance) façade is decorated: all the decorations are carried out in plaster.  On this façade is the main entrance from Kozerskih brigada street, consisting of a wooden portal measuring 2.20 x 3.4 m, with a central wooden fanlight.  Of particular interest is the decoration of the terminal cornice on the upper part of the portal.  The central section of the building has three windows on either side of the door on the central part of the building, while there are two windows on each of the lateral ends of the building.  The windows measure approx. 1 x 1.5 m.  Those on the ground floor consists of rectangular double wood-framed sashes, and are set in a horizontal row and terminating in elongated horseshoe arches flat to the wall, a frequent feature of the pseudo-Moorish expression.  This façade is plastered and painted and the socle is dressed stone.  The other long façade is in poorer condition and is not treated in the same way as the first, but is plastered with cement plaster and painted a single colour without any decoration.


3. Legal status to date

            According to information received from the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Medresa in Bosanska Gradiška was not a protected building.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

            No conservation or restoration works have ever been carried out by the heritage protection authority.

            There is no information on any of the interventions carried out on the building.

            The project documentation for the medresa dating from June 1914 (archives of the Gazihusrefbeg library) provides for the addition of an upper floor to the H. Dervišhanume medresa in Bosanska Gradiška. This was not carried out.


4.  Current condition of the property

            The 1972 Regulatory Plan for Bosanska Gradiška lists the building under serial no. 21 as a cultural monument.  Since 1974 the building has been used for the needs of the local community; prior to that it was a mekteb (information from (Bosanska) Gradiška Municipality).

            The building is now used for other purposes: there are four housing units within it, one of which has been privatized, while the others are occupied by temporary tenants.  The occupant of the building according to the land registry is the Gradiška Medical Centre, and the Islamic Community of Bosanska Gradiška has begun proceedings to regain possession of the property.

            The building is in rather poor condition and requires restoration.



            The building of the medresa in Bosanska Gradiška, along with the town hall, is one of the finest examples of architecture of the pseudo-Moorish expression from the turn of the 19th and 20th century not only in Bosanska Gradiška itself but in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            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

                        D. Clarity

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

                        E.  Symbolic value

                                    E. iii. traditional value

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

                        F. Townscape/ Landscape value

                                    F.ii.  meaning in the townscape

                        H. Rarity and representativity

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


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

- Photodocumentation;

- Drawings

            The documentation annexed to the Decision is public and available for view by interested persons on written request to the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


Bibliography :

Bećirbegović, Madžida, Prosvjetni objekti islamske arhitekture u Bosni i Hercegovini (Educational buildings of Islamic architecture in BiH), 1997


Galib, Šljivo,  Bosna i Hercegovina 1788-1812, Institute of History, Banja Luka, 1992


Galib, Šljivo,  Bosna i Hercegovina 1849-1853, Institute of History,  Banja Luka, 1990


Galib, Šljivo,  Bosna i Hercegovina 1854-1860, CIP Institute of History, Banja Luka, 1998


Hadžialagić, Husref, Gradiška u prošlosti, (Gradiška in the past) Geotisak d.d.  Rijeka-Delnice, 1995


Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Izabrana djela I, (Selected Works I) Cultural Heritage Series, Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1980


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


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









Medresa in Bosanska GradiškaDerviš Hanume medresa, photo from 2003Tarih inscriptionPortico
Courtyard facadeSurrounding of the medresa  

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