Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Late antique basilica in Cim, the archaeological site

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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 20 to 26 January 2004 the Commission adopted a






            The archaeological site of the late antique basilica in Cim is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument is located on cadastral plot 1108, land registry entry bo. 735 (new survey), correspondinging to c.p.. 964/2 (old survey) and 1109 (new survey), corresponding to 964/3 (old survey) Municipality Mostar South West, Federation of BiH, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The National Monument consists of the archaeological site with the remains of a late antique basilica, memorial chapel and a residential building, and part of the movable heritage items found on the archaeological site, now in the Museum of Herzegovina in Mostar and listed in the inventory records of the Museum.

            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 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, the following measures are hereby stipulated:

            Protection Zone I comprises the area defined in Clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision.  In this Zone the following protection measures shall be applied:

Ÿ          only research and conservation and restoration works shall be permitted, including those designed to display the monument, with the approval of the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority).

Ÿ          No construction shall be permitted nor works undertaken that could have the effect of altering the site, nor shall any temporary or permanent structures or facilities be erected that are not intended solely for the protection and presentation of the National Monument.

Ÿ          The site shall be open and accessible to the public and may be used for educational and cultural purposes.

Ÿ          Proper access to the National Monument shall be provided

Ÿ          The protected zone shall be set in order and the site and structure cleared of self-sown vegetation

            Protection Zone II consists of a zone extending 100 m from the boundary of Protection Zone I.

            In this zone the following protection measures shall apply:

Ÿ                no works are permitted, nor the erection of temporary or permanent structures, that are not for the purpose of the protection and display of the national monument or that are detrimental to the natural environment and block the view of the national monument

Ÿ                the dumping of all kinds of waste is prohibited.




            The removal of the movable items specified in Clause 1 of this Decision is prohibited.

By way of exception to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Clause, the temporary removal from Bosnia and Herzegovina of the movable items for the purposes of display or conservation shall be permitted if it is established that conservation works cannot be carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            Permission for their temporary removal from Bosnia and Herzegovina under the conditions stipulated in the preceding paragraph shall be issued by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, if it is determined beyond doubt that it will not jeopardize the movable items in any way.  In granting permission for the temporary removal of the items, the Commission shall stipulate all the conditions under which the removal may take place, the date by which the items shall be returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the responsibility of individual authorities and institutions for ensuring that these conditions are met, and shall notify the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the relevant security service, the customs authority of  Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the general public accordingly.




            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 or jeopardize the preservation 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 to VI 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. 06-6-1034/03-3

20 January 2004




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.

            At a session held on 1 to 2 July 1999 the Commission adopted a decision to add the archaeological site of the late antique twin basilica in Cim to the Provisional List of National Monuments of BiH, under the title Remains of the basilica in Cim, under serial no. 373.

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



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

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

Ÿ          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.

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. Details of the property


            The late antique architectural complex is in Crvina in Cim, on the north west edge of Mostar.  Not far away is St Anthony’s chapel and cemetery.

Historical data

            There are several prehistoric hill forts on the slopes around Cim, mainly belonging to the Iron Age.

            In 1966, archaeological reconnaissance at Cim ascertained that there had been a settlement at Crkvina on gently sloping land in the antique era, and that in the late antique era a basilica had been erected there.  A more detailed survey revealed a large quantity of small archaeological items on the surface: antique tiles, pottery, cut sandstone and glass.  On this occasion several fragments of sculptured stone were also found, showing the figures of a peacock, fish and rod-like decorations, motifs suggesting the early Christian period.

            Several dozen late antique basilicas have been discovered in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the only one to have a tri-apsidal presbytery is the one in Žaložje near Bihać.  Mostar and its environs was on the transitional area between the coastal region of the province of Dalmatia and its hinterland in the interior.  Erected on a site where these two influences intersected, the basilica in Cim, like the one in Žitomislići, bears the features of both old Christian basilicas from both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Dalmatia.


2. Description of the property

            Three late antique contemporary buildings were discovered in Crkvina: the basilica, memorial chapel and a residential building.  In the mediaeval period burials were carried out there.    


            Since the terrain falls away gently from north to south, the basilica had to be built on three levels.  The northern part is partly dug into the ground, while the difference in level between the central and southern parts is not that marked. The basilica had a single nave and three apses built on to the exterior of the east end.  The overall dimensions of the basilica are 24.80 x 15 m.  It was reinforced on the outside by 23 buttresses.  It lies west-east, like the majority of basilicas in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The thickness of the walls varies from 0.60 to 0.80 m, with the walls of the nave and apse the thickest (0.85 to 0.87 m).  The best preserved walls are those in the southern half of the church, up to a height, in places, of 1.14 m.

            The basilica consists of a narthex (D), nave (A), presbytery (B), baptistery to the north (C) and areas to the south (E and F).  There are differing views on the purpose of these areas.  Anđelić is of the view that they were intended as a diaconicon (E) and prothesis (F), while Basler merely notes that to the north and south of the nave are “some other areas” (Anđelić, 1974, 186; Basler, 1986, 68).

            The narthex (interior dimensions 13.80 x 3.43 m) is a rectangular area extending over the full width of the basilica.  Outside the entrance, 1.87 m wide, was a paved portico on columns.  In one of the holes where the columns stood, lead was found.  There are signs of fire on the stone slabs of the rest of the floor in the narthex.  Three tombs were discovered by the south wall and in the southern half of the narthex, two of simple stone slabs, lying east-west, and the third of masonry, lying north-south.  None had any grave goods.

            The nave (interior dimensions 11.32 x 4.76 m) was connected to the narthex by an entrance 2.18 m wide.  The walls of the nave are 0.86 m thick, and solidly and carefully built.  The thickness of the walls suggests that the nave was higher than the lateral parts of the building.   The presbyterium consists of three semicircular apses.  No traces of an altar railing were found, although one would normally have divided the apsidal part from the nave.  The walls have survived here and there to a height of 0.64 m and a thickness of 0.87 m.  Along the inner edge of the semicircular wall of the north apse a semicircular stone step has survived, probably part of the subselium.  An ossarium was discovered in this apse, and in the central apse a sepulchrum with reliquaries was discovered. The tomb in the north apse (the ossarium) had been walled up and covered with thick slabs over which a layer of stone and mortar had been laid. It contained several skeletons, which had been jumbled up so that it was impossible to determine how many there were.  It was presumably an ossarium to which the skeletons had been removed from some other tomb.   The only grave goods found was an iron link. In the central apse, a sepulcrum reliquiarum or tomb for reliquaries was found under the altar mensa, measuring 0.86 x 0.42 x 0.60 at the bottom of which three reliquaries lay on a piece of imbrex. The sepulchrum was cut into the living rock (miljevina limestone), and consisted of miljevina slabs and a wall with lime mortar.  Inside three slabs were discovered, one upon another. At the bottom of the sepulchrum was an oval hollow cut into the bedrock.  Here were imbrices with four reliquaries of which one fell apart on being removed. This is the only case in BiH where reliquaries have been discovered in situ in a late antique basilica.  The mortal remains of the martyr saint to whom the church was dedicated had been placed in one bone and two silver containers.

            The baptistery is to the north of the nave (interior dimensions 10.62 x 3.62), and was entered from the narthex through an opening about 1.12 m wide.  In the eastern half is an elliptical piscina (measuring 1.70 x 0.78 m with a depth of about 0.60 m) which could be used for baptising adults.  It is made of pieces of roof tile and lime mortar, lined on the inside with mortar mixed with pounded brick.  It had three steps on either side.  At the bottom a round hole was left in the tamped mortar for the water to run out.  A tap was fixed over the east side of the piscina, with a hollowed out stone, which was connected to the north area of the basilica.

            The areas designated as E (measuring 3.67 x 6.70 m) and F (measuring 3.67 x 3.25 m) are south of the nave.  Area F is entered from the narthex through an opening 1.21 m wide and was connected with area E by an opening 0.77 m wide.  In area E the remains of symmetrically arranged walls, the purpose of which is unknown, were discovered.  At the east end of area £ was the entrance to the south apse, 0.80 m wide, and in the south wall of the was the entrance linking the basilica with the memorial chapel.

            A room (G on the plan) measuring 3 x 2.45 m, with an entrance 0.54 m wide in the west wall, was built on against the north wall of the basilica.  Another room (H on the plan), measuring 3.05 x 2.53 m, was built onto the outside walls of the north and central apses.  The 0.50 m wide entrance to this room was in the east wall.  The purpose of these two additional rooms remains unknown.

            The basilica was very solidly built of cut stone, laid in courses (opus quadratum) more precisely than the majority of other basilicas in BiH. In addition to soft sandstone, small quantities of tufa and conglomerate were used, and the stone was bonded with lime mortar with a fair proportion of sand and ground brick.  The floor survived in the southern half of the narthex and the southern room adjoining the apse.  A thin coating of lime mortar could be seen beneath rectangular stone blocks.  In the northern part of the interior the floor was torn up by later mediaeval interments.  The large rectangular stone slabs laid around the basilica against the outside of the walls at a slight angle were designed to protect them against water from the roof.

            The basilica was roofed with tiles. During excavations a few intact tegula measuring 39 x 26 x 25 cm and imbrex measuring 47 x 17 x 2.25 were found in the building.

            A total of 36 disturbed and damaged mediaeval graves were found in the ruins of the basilica, all lying more or less west-east.  Thirteen were made from the stone flooring slabs of the basilica, and the rest had no architecture.  The main grave goods were items of jewellery (earrings and rings).

            It is possible that a second church was built later on the foundations of the older, original church, which was demolished for reasons unknown.  This is confirmed by the discovery of fragments of two mensas, one marble and the other of miljevina, as well as numerous pieces of altar partitions belonging to two separate stages (T. Anđelić, 1978, 633).  The older pieces may date as far back as the 4th or first half of the 5th century, and the more recent to the late 5th or early 6th century (Basler, 1986, 76).

            Outside the church, about 3.5 m north-east of the central apse, a late antique tomb was found, the masonry set in lime mortar, and with a vaulted roof, which had been totally destroyed.  Nothing other than animal bones was found in the grave.

             The memorial chapel, measuring 11,80 x 5,35 m, was erected to the south of the basilica, and lies roughly west-east.  It consists of two areas: to the west, in the entrance area to the chapel, was an area with tombs, and to the east an area with a single preapsidal and apsidal space.  The walls of the chapel have survived here and there to a height of 1.30 m, and their thickness ranges from 0.60 to 0.70 m.  By comparison with the basilica, which it adjoins through the buttresses of area E, the masonry of the walls is of somewhat smaller stones, also in lime mortar, and it also had plastered walls.

            The main entrance, 1.15 m wide, of the chapel was at the west end, and led into the area with tombs (interior dimensions 2.85 x 2.05 m).  Instead of a floor, here large quantities of soot were found, in places 0.30 m thick, but with no archaeological material.  Beneath the layer of soot was a layer of soil with a fair proportion of lime mortar.  Alongside the north wall and by the south grave, stone benches 0.40 m wide were discovered.  Both tombs were dug out to a depth of 0.1 to 0.4 m below floor level.  The south grave (1.80 x 0.45 x 0.59) contained one skeleton, and the north grave 92.00 x 0.60 x 0.62) three skeletons.  Neither contained any grave goods.  The walls of the tombs consisted of a monolithic stone slab, except for the south grave with a single skeleton, which was of masonry in lime mortar. The lids had iron rings.

            The room with the tombs communicated with the room with the apses, from which area Ew of the basilica could be entered through an opening 0.95 m wide with a paved floor.   The assumption is that the memorial chape had three apses, which like those of the basilica projected outwards, but of which only the north and half the central apse have survived.  There were rectangular stone slabs on the floor in front of the central apse, probably the remains of the altar railing.  This entire area was floored with tamped mortar containing a high proportion of ground brick.  A decoration reminiscent of a fleur de lis, made of white river pebbles, was found on the remains of the floor of the central apse, which was about 20 cm higher than the floor level in the side apses.  Two circles of pebbles of various colours were to be seen on the floor of the north apse, each with a small stone in the centre.  An opening 0.90 m wide led from the north apse to a room measuring 2.55 x 2.20 m which was built onto the north-east corner of the memorial chapel.

            About 150m west of the basilica, the remains of a contemporary late antique residential building were discovered, measuring 11.90 x 7.40 (interior dimensons), with walls up to 0.60 m thick.  The only archaeological material that was found was a small quantity of pieces of roof tile, pottery shards, pieces of glass and nails.

            The buildings of the late antique basilica and memorial chapel have been dated broadly to the 4th to 6th century.

Archaeological material

            Sculptured stone can be classified into two chronological groups, the older and the newer.  The older sculptured stone in Cim typically features acanthus, vine leaves and grapes, and interlacing.  Interlacing is a classic motif of late antique churches, and also appears in the more recent stage in markedly stylized form.  On one fragment of a pluteum (?) were the figures of lambs and half columns, favourite motifs in the late antique era.  Five fishes figured on one rectangular stone.  Among the more recent and significant finds from Cim was an impost capital with a relief of birds and a rosette on one side, some fragments with the figures of doves, fragments with a fleur de lis ornament, and some fragments with the symbol of the cross.  Numerous stone fragments were found on the site, of which 255 were entered in the inventory.

            Reliquaries.  The sepulchrum with reliquaries consists of three elements.   One bone reliquary is of cylindrical form, unadorned, 4.4 cm in diameter aned 4.7 cm high (4.2 cm minus the lid) and walls 0.4 cm thick.  At the centre of the lid is a circular hollow surrounded by a ring with two incised circular lines.  In the reliquary some soil of ashen colour was found, presumably the cremated ashes of a saint.  The second bone reliquary is square (8 x 4.1 x 4 cm) and also unadorned.  Inside were grooves to enable the lid to slide back and forth.  The third, rectangular reliquary (2.2 x 1.8 x 1.7 cm) was made of sheet silver and and had embossed decoration on all sides.  The upper longer side bears a design of a cross with three equal arms but the lower part of the upright somewhat longer.  The right and left of the cross and at all four corners are decorated with leaf sprays.  The lower longer side is decorated with a twisted band surround in the centre of which is a rectangle filled with leaf sprays, and a circular hole right in the middle.  Each of the two narrower sides of the reliquary has a small cross surrounded by a garland with leaf sprays, and at the end of each arm is a small impressed circle.  There are three small holes at the corners.  The entire ornament is set in a rectangular frame.

            Coins.  Six Roman coins of the 3rd and 4th century were found, as well as one mediaeval Dubrovnik coin.

            Jewellery consisted of earrings of the Dalmatian Croatian cultural group, 9th to 12th century, from the graves, a mediaeval silver ring and a late antique arch fibula.

            Iron items. The most significant finds made of iron were the iron rings on  the lids of the tombs and an iron sickle.

            Pottery.  Shards of various pottery were found in the ruins of the basilica, from prehistoric to mediaeval.  The presence of prehistoric pottery can be explained by the proximity of prehistoric sites on the surrounding hills.  Among the shards of Roman pottery the most interesting was one with radiating incisions.  The general characteristic of Slav pottery on the forty shards discovered is its dark brown or dark grey colour, poorly fired and with many grains of sand in the fracture.  From their shape, decoration and manufacture, they can be dated to the early mediaeval period, 8th to 9th century. The decorative elements are zigzag lines and irregularly incised wavy lines.


3. Legal status to date

            The Institute for the Protection of Monuments of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport and the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Mostar have no information on the legal status to date of the property.

            The archaeological site of the late antique basilica in Cim is on the Provisional List of National Monuments of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments as no. 373

            The Regional Plan for BiH to 2000 lists the property as a category I monument.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works 

            Between August 1966 and 1969 the Museum of Herzegovina conducted archaeological excavations and investigations in Cim under the leadership of Petar Leko, the Museum's director, and Tomo Anđelić, the custodian, with the aim of determining the extent, type and nature of the site. The hypothesis that there was a late antique basilica there was confirmed.  SO Mostar, at the request of the Museum, then bought the land from the owner, Ilija Đidić.

            From 1967 to September 1969, systematic archaeological excavations were conducted. In 1967 the eastern half of the basilica and the eastern part of the memorial chapel south of the basilica were discovered.  In 1968 the western part of the church was excavated and in 1969 the western part of the chapel. In late 1969-1970, experts from the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of BiH, under the supervision of and in association with experts from the Museum of Herzegovina in Mostar, carried out conservation and restoration works on the basilica, funded by SO Mostar and the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of BiH.

            Part of the movable archaeological material (the carved stone) is kept in the Museum of Herzegovina in Mostar (communication no. 06-6-1033/03-4 dated 18 December 2003.  All the small archaeological finds (coins, earrings, pottery and reliquaries) were destroyed during the 1992-1995 war (T Anđelić, Starokršćanska Cimska basilika u Mostaru, 5)


5. Present condition of the site

            An on site inspection in November 2003 ascertained the following:

The property is surrounded by private plots and new, unsuitable buildings in the immediate vicinity.  The environment has been seriously jeopardized, and access to the site is difficult and complicated.  The conserved walls are on the whole in good condition, apart from physical damage to the walls here and there, probably of recent date.  The site is very badly neglected and overgrown with weeds.



            Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument (Official Gazette of BiH nos. 33/02 and 15/03), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above.

            The Decision was based on the following criteria:

A.  Time frame

B.  Historical value

C.  Artistic and aesthetic value

C.iv. composition

C.vi. value of construction

D. Clarity

D.ii. evidence of historical change

G. Authenticity

G.i. form and design

G.ii. material and content

G.v. location and setting

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:

-         Copy of cadastral plan

-         Photodocumentation;

-         Drawings



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

-         Anđelić, Tomo, Kasnoantička bazilika u Cimu kod Mostara.(Late antique basilica in Cim nr Mostar), Journal of the National Museum, Archaeology, new series,  XXIX/1974, Sarajevo, 1976, 179-244..

-         Anđelić, Tomo, Neki objekti kasnoantičke sakralne arhitekture u okolini Mostara. U: Dolina Neretve od prethistorije do ranog srednjeg vijeka. (Some examples of late antique religious architecture in the Mostar region, in: The Neretva valley from prehistory to the early mediaeval period) Academic seminar – Metković, 4-7 October 1977. Publication of the Croatian Archaeological Society, Split 1980, 257-260.


Cim, view at the memorial chapel and basilica from south The archaeological site, late antique basilica in CimLate antique basilica in Cim, view from north-eastTri-apsidal presbytery of the late antique basilika in Cim

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