Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Church of the Most Holy Mother of God together with movable heritage, the site and remains of 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 20 to 26 January 2004 the Commission adopted a






            The site and remains of the historic building of the church of the Most Holy Mother of God in Jajce together with movable heritage items consisting of five icons from the iconostasis is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument stands on a site consisting of cadastral plot no. 581/1  cadastral municipality Jajce I, municipality Jajce, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The provisions relating to conservation and restoration 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 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, relating to the site specified in Clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision:

Ÿ          all works on the monuments comprising the architectural ensemble are prohibited other than conservation and restoration works, 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          the dumping of all kinds of waste is prohibited;


            The Government of the Federation shall be responsible in particular for ensuring that the following measures are implemented:

Ÿ          surveying the condition of the site, identifying fragments of the church and classifying them;

Ÿ          extensive research works to include testing the stability and structure of the existing walls and foundations of the building, the belltower and floors, testing the load-bearing capacity of the soil and other building materials (mortar), gathering data and information required to draw up a rehabilitation project;

Ÿ          carry out conservation and restoration of the surviving five icons from the iconostasis


Preparatory works must be carried out to the following conditions:

Ÿ          all preparatory works for the rehabilitation shall be conducted by the heritage protection authority;

Ÿ          all works must be conducted under the constant supervision of the heritage protection authority;

Ÿ          the existing foundations, remains of the walls, floor and parts thereof shall be preserved and protected from damage, surveyed, examined and conserved so that the rehabilitation project may provide for their reintegration into the building;

Ÿ          the remains of the church may not be damaged nor removed from the site of the church.


            The rehabilitation project must include the following conditions:

Ÿ          the church and its surroundings shall be reconstructed in its original form, with the identical horizontal and vertical dimensions;

Ÿ          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 collected up, registered, recorded and reintegrated into the reconstructed building by the method of anastylosis, with the use of traditional building materials and binders (mortar) and building techniques.  Until such time as they are so reintegrated they shall be properly preserved,

Ÿ          fragments that are too badly damaged to be reintegrated shall, following laboratory analysis, be conserved and displayed appropriately within the building,

Ÿ          all usable material shall be rebuilt into the church;

Ÿ          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

Ÿ          the entire complex of the church, including the entrance area and surrounding wall, shall be reconstructed on the basis of data on its previous appearance

Ÿ          following the rehabilitation of the building and the installation of a new iconostasis the surviving icons from the old iconostasis shall be returned thereto.




            The removal of the movable heritage items referred to in Clause 1 para. 1 of this Decision (hereinafter: the movable items) from Bosnia and Herzegovina 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 the temporary removal of the movable items 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 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 and rehabilitation thereof.




            The Government of the Federation, the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning, the Federation Ministry responsible for culture, 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


Decision no. 07.2-2-517/03-1

21 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.

            On 21 February 2003 Jajce municipality submitted a petition/proposal to designate the site and remains of the Church of the Most Holy Mother of God in Jajce as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina..

            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,

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 Orthodox church of the Most Holy Mother of God is in the new part of Jajce outside the ramparts, to the north-west of the Banja Luka gatehouse, on  c.p.no. 581/1 c.m. Jajce I, Municipality Jajce, Federation of BiH, Bosnia and Herzegovina.   

Historical information

            The central assembly of the Orthodox parish of Jajce was held on 24 11 1929.   A new Ecclesiastical Board was appointed, with Archpriest Milan Ilić appointed as chairman and several prominent citizens and villagers as members, and the assembly resolved to build a new Orthodox church in the town.    The old church, which was in Katina, was too small for the growing congregation in Jajce and was also dilapidated and too far from the town.   It was resolved that the church be built on the finest site on the Banja Luka road, which was municipal land, bought out for 18000 dinars.  The design was by architect Miloš Miloradović of Sarajevo, though Father Milan Ilić made some changes to the actual design, and a few details were altered during the construction of the church.  The design was for a church 20 m long and 12 m wide in the style of mediaeval Nemanjan endowments in Serbia.  The estimated costs of such a building were about a million dinars.

            At the time the resolution was adopted to build a new church, the Ecclesiastical board had only 10% of this at its disposal.  To raise the rest of the funds, the one-storey building used as the parochial edifice in the former King Tomislav Square was sold at auction and was bought by the Commercial  Bank of Jajce to use as its business premises.  Parishioners also contributed to the costs of construction(1). Three skilled masons came from Dalmatia to build the church.  The technical works were managed by one Martin Balasa from Istria(2).  

            The construction of the church began in 1930.  By the end of 1931 the walls had been completed up to roof level. Work was suspended in 1932 when the funds ran out, but began again in 1933.  Various institutions also contributed to the building fund. The general manager of Elektrobosna, a joint stock company, Mr Phillipp, came visited the factory in 1934 and gave the Ecclestiastical board 26,000 dinars to complete the works. He also gave the same sum to the Franciscan monastery in Jajce to buy a bell. 

            The church was completed in 1935 at a cost of 500,000 dinars.  In 1939 four new bells were procured in Zemun, weighing 1600 kg.  One of them was a gift from the Catholics of Jajce. On 16 July 1939 the bells were consecrated by the Metropolitan of Zagreb, Mr Dositej. (Eminefendić, 1989). 

            During World War II, several hundred Serbs were killed by the Ustasha in the church in 1941 (Schematism, p. 249)

            The church was completely destroyed by dynamite during the 1992-1995 war. All that remains is part of the belltower and the floor structure.


2. Description of the property


            The church of the Most Holy Mother of God in Jajce is a typical example architecturally of religious buildings in the historicist spirit.  The layout and decorative features indicate that the builder had opted for the so-called Serbo-Byzantine style, much favoured by a number of Serb architects in the third and fourth decades of the 20th century.  The ground plan of the building suggests the reductive type of Rascian building, while the facades were treated in line with the Moravian school of architecture.  The architectural plastic features are of various types – Rascian, Moravian, and decorations deriving from eclectic academism.  A great many buildings were erected in this so-called national style, differing in structure, form and purpose from religious buildings to housing and public buildings.  The surviving elements indicate the diversity of approach of the builder, ranging from arbitrary imitiation, part or full adherence to old monument, and academic compilation to the creative, imaginative treatment of the superstructure (Kadijević, pp. 3,4).

            The church of the Most Holy Mother of God in Jajce was a single-nave church with altar parvis and a five-sided altar apse at the east end.  The apse was semicircular within.  The church had no dome.  It measures 20.50 x 12.00 m, and was built of a combination of limestone, tufa and brick(3). In places – the altar wall and the wall of the parvis onto which the belltower abutted – the walls were 70 cm thick.

            The alternating horizontal courses of tufa and plastered surfaces also recall mediaeval Serbian church architecture. 

            The square belltower, measuring 2.80 x 2.80 m,  is to the east of the building and abuts in part against the wall of the church, with the rest based on two substantial square pylons with semicircular corner pilasters with decorated capitals abutting onto round arches with floral decorations and a moulded semicircular string course above.  This type of floral decoration is not uncommon in Jajce, can be seen on some other buildings, such as the door lintel of the Džabić house and some newer residential buildings in the area below the citadel.  This kind of floral decoration is also to be seen on the double semicircular frieze on the side walls of the church.   Beneath this frieze were trifora with the central window somewhat elongated. Two-thirds of the way up, the square section of the belltower turns into an octagonal one.  The top of the belltower terminates in eight identical tall arched windows separated by semicircular pilasters above which is a dome, an instance of the use of traditional Byzantine features on this building.  To the east front of the belltower above the entrance to the church is a bifora, with over it a round medallion with a cross and four ocelli. 

            The church was decorated on the exterior with a number of different decorations, such as highly complex, prominent string courses, archivolts, columns, pilasters and other lesser features.  All the horizontal string courses were very prominent, particularly the roof cornice which projected forward from the wall surface by 20 cm.

            The church had a gabled roof clad with copper sheeting.

            Inside, the church had a barrel vault.  The treatment of the walls was markedly more simple here than on the highly decorated exterior.  Only the floor was rather more sumptuous, being made of reddish marble.

            The greatest treasure of the church was the hand-made iconostatis, the work of master craftsman Hajrudin Kršlak, a cabinet-maker from Jajce. The iconostatis consists entirely of carved wood richly adorned with motifs of the folk art of Janje. Some of the folk motifs from the Jajce area were chosen by Father Ilić himself.  The paintings on the iconostasis are the work of the Macedonian painter Lazar Ličinski of Skopje and date from 1935.


3. Legal status to date

Ÿ          The building was not listed on the register of protected monuments

Ÿ          The Regional Plan of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2002 listed the property as part of the urban entity of Jajce, which was valorized as a  Category 0 ensemble of international significance.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

            No major works were conducted on the church other than regular maintenance.


5. Current state of the property

Ÿ          The church was destroyed at the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with only the belltower and part of the floor surviving;

Ÿ          Part of the iconostasis has also survived and is in a building belonging to the Serbian Orthodox Church

Ÿ         Some of the building material from which the church was built is still in the churchyard.



            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

                        E. Symbolic value

                                    E.i. ontological value

                                    E.ii. religious value

                                    E.iii. traditional value

                                    E.iv. relation to rituals or ceremonies

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

                        F. Townscape/ Landscape value

                                    F.ii. meaning in the townscape


            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

-         Site plan



            During the procedure to designate the Church of the Most Holy Mother of God in Jajce as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


1918. Truhelka, Ćiro, Pabirci iz jednog Jajačkog sidžila. (Gleanings from a Jajce sicil) Jnl of the National Museum in Sarajevo XXX, Sarajevo, 1918, 157-175.


1951. Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Prilozi povijesti bosanskih gradova pod turskom upravom.(Contributions to the history of Bosnian towns under Turkish rule) Supplements for oriental philology and the history of the Yugoslav peoples under Turkish rule II/1951, Sarajevo, 1952, 119-184.


1952. Mazalić, Đoko, Stari grad Jajce.(Old town of Jajce) Jnl of the National Museum in Sarajevo, n.s. vol VII, Sarajevo, 1952, 59-100.


1970. Jadrić, Radivoj , Revitalizacija istorijskog jezgra Jajca (Revitalization of the historic centre of Jajce), Sarajevo, 1970.


1984. Šuput M., Srpska arhitektura u doba turske vlasti (Serbian architecture during the Ottoman period), Belgrade, 1984.


1989. Eminefendić, Hazim, Jajce 1878 – 1941. Sarajevo, 1989.


1997. Kadijević, Aleksandar, Jedan vek traženja nacionalnog stila u srpskoj arhitekturi (sredina XIX – sredina XX veka) (A century of the quest for a national style in Serbian architecture [mid 19th to mid 20th century]), Architecture Books Belgrade, 1997.


2000.  Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Banja Luka 1900 – 2000 – Schematism


2002. Ševo Lj., Pravoslavne crkve i manastiri u Bosni i Hercegovini do 1878. godine (Orthodox churches and monasteries in BiH to 1878), Biblioteka Baština, City of Banjaluka, Glas Srpski, Banjaluka, 2002.


         Documentation from the Archives of BiH, Jajce Municipality and the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH


(1) Every household that owned four oxen and two horses was required to make a contribution of 1000 dinars; the rate for two oxen and one horse was 500 dinars, and other members of the parish contributed as much as they could.

(2)Though Father Ilić kept a firm hand on everything

(3) Some of the reports drawn up for the town of Jajce refer only to tufa as the building material for this church.

Serb orthodox church in JajceChurch in 1952Belltower in 1996The site and remains of the church
Remains of the churchBelltower  

BiH jezici 
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