Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Careva mosque or Sultan Sulejman mosque in Blagaj, the architectural ensemble

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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 on 20 to 26 January 2004 the Commission adopted a






The architectural ensemble of the Careva [Emperor's] (Sultan Suleyman) mosque in Blagaj near Mostar is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of the mosque, harem by the mosque and mekteb.

The National Monument is located on cadastral plots no. 1358 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. nos. 6/17 and 6/19 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 198, cadastral municipality Blagaj, City of Mostar,  Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 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 the Federation of  BiH nos. 2/02, 27/02 and 6/04) 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 is hereby stipulated:

Protection Zone I consists of the area defined in Clause 1 para. 3 of this Decision. In this zone:

  • The only works permitted are those of research, current maintenance, conservation and restoration, 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).


The protection of the wider urban area (čaršija) will be defined as part of the treatment of the urban centre of the town of Blagaj.




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 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 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.


No: 06-6-586/04-4             

21 January 2004                                                                        



Chair of the Commission

Ljiljana Ševo


E l u c i d a t i o n




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

The Commission received a petition from the Centre for Islamic Architecture of Bosnia and Herzegovina dated 17 March 2003.

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




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

  • Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data of war damage,
  • Documentation on the location of the property (Municipality Mostar Southeast has not provided a copy of the cadastral plan and land registry entry for the architectural ensemble, so the position of the ensemble is based on a Ruling obtained from the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of the Federation Ministry of Culture and Sport which cites the c.p. of the old survey and of geodetic maps and on site inspection)
  • Documentation on the current owner and user of the property (Municipal Court Mostar has not provided a copy of the land registry for the architectural ensemble, so these details have been taken from the Ruling obtained from the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of the Federation Ministry of Culture and Sport which cites the number of the land registry entry)
  • Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision.


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


1. Details of the property


The architectural ensemble of  the Careva mosque is on the right bank of the river Buna in the centre of the town of Blagaj, on c.p. 1358 (new survey) and 6/19 and 6/17 (old survey), c.m. Blagaj, land registry entry no. 198, owner Islamic Community, c.m. Blagaj, Municipality Mostar Southeast.

Historical information

There are the remains of settlements dating from the prehistoric and Roman periods on the slopes of Blagaj hill. On the north-east summit, there are the remains of a Roman or late antique fort or watchtower known as Mala gradina (small hillfort), the contours of a prehistoric hillfort can be made out on the south-east summit, and the remains of the mediaeval fort of Stjepan-grad lie on the south-west summit.

In the 10th century, Blagaj played a major part in the development of Hum or Zahumlje. The proximity of major routes linking the Adriatic coast with the Bosnian hinterland via the Neretva valley greatly influenced its development and importance. Prince Miroslav of Hum resided in Blagaj. By the reign of King Tvrtko the Bosnian rulers in Blagaj were issuing charters, and in May 1404 Blagaj became one of the residences of Duke Sandalj Hranić, and then of Herceg Stjepan Vukčić Kosača, after whom the fort became known among the local people as Stjepan-grad. 

The development of Blagaj near Mostar remained unbroken in the Ottoman period, when the town again acquired administrative and political importance. After occupying Blagaj in 1466, the Ottoman authorities established a permanent garrison in the fortress under the command of a dizdar. With the institution of a shari'a court in Podgrađe, the Blagaj kadiluk began to take shape, remaining in existence until 1851 when it was abolished by Omer pasha Latas. In its first few centuries the Blagaj kadiluk covered an extensive area extending from west to east, between the Neretva on the one hand and the Drina and Tara on the other. In about 1470 Blagaj became the seat of the Blagaj vilayet, with the same borders as the kadiluk.

Over the four centuries of its existence it was important as the centre of a nahija, kadiluk and vilayet.  The folk saying «šeher Blagaj, a kasaba Mostar» (Blagaj is a large town and Mostar a small one) has survived as testimony of the former pre-eminance of the town on the source of the Buna (Mujezinović, 62). The decline in its importance is related both to the development of Mostar and to the formation of the Počitelj kadiluk in 1728, when several villages were taken from the Blagaj, Mostar and Stolac kadiluks and merged into a new administrative unit.

Among the first buildings to be erected in the Ottoman period were mosques, which were named after the sultan on whose behalf the place was conquered  

During the Ottoman period, building activities began to flourish in the area around the mediaeval fortress. Houses and public edifices were built, with at the centre, as was the rule for settlements and towns in the Ottoman period, the čaršija or trade and crafts centre of the settlement, the complex of a mosque with harem and mekteb. (Mujezinović, N., 2000, pp. 55-66).

Among the first buildings to be erected in Blagaj was the Careva mosque, used for the performance of the daily prayers and for gatherings of the faithful. It became the centre of the urban čaršija. It was built in 1519/20 in the name of Sultan Suleyman II the Lawgiver (the Magnificent), as can be seen from the inscription in verse carved on the stone plaque over the door of the Careva mosque(Mujezinović, M, 1998, p. 315). Residential area or mahalas also took shape, including the Džamija (Varoš or Carska) mahala, with the erection of the mosque. This mahala was in the centre of Blagaj.

During the Ottoman period, vakufs – which were very numerous at that time – also played an important part in the building of settlements. Buildings were maintained by vakufs, and it was not uncommon, when a vakuf ceased to exist, for the building to be abandoned too.

The Careva mosque and its officials were maintained from revenue of the vakuf of the mosque, subsidized by the state.

The Sultan Suleyman (Careva) mosque is now the only mosque in Blagaj, although there were formerly seven (Mujezinović, M., 1998, p. 316).


2. Description of the property

The Careva or Sultan Suleyman's mosque is one of the oldest domed mosques in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the 19th century, when the dome collapsed, it was reconstructed with a wooden dome. The reconstruction was carried out to a design drawn up by the Austrian architect Max David(1) in Mostar in November 1891. The building retained the characteristics of a single-space domed mosque.

The mosque has a prayer space with a wooden dome under a pyramidal roof, covered exterior sofas and a stone minaret. The mosque is entered through semi-open stone sofas, enclosed at the sides by stone walls 54cm thick and with a pent roof clad with galvanized iron. The front of roof of the portico rests on four wooden pillars, two on either side of the entrance, with a cross-section of 50 x 50, on stone bases.

The exterior dimensions of the mosque are 16.90 x 12.75, including the sofas. The central interior space of the mosque is a square measuring 10.80 x 10.80 m. The walls are of stone, about 100 cm thick, and plastered inside and out.

The interior is roofed by a wooden dome resting on an octagonal drum, with the load transferred, not in the usual way via pendentives(2), but via steel girders. The drum has eight 60 cm wide windows terminating in pointed arches.

The height of the building from the floor of the mosque to the top of the crown of the dome is 11.42 m.

The roof structure is pyramidal, with collar beams, struts and ties. The inside of the dome is fitted into the structure of the polygonal roof. The construction of the inside of the wooden dome uses wooden centring to which wooden boarding is nailed, with reeds over and the whole thing plastered inside. The polygonal, eight-pitch roof is clad with sheet metal.

            The windows are in two rows, on the south-west side facade, the entrance facade and the mihrab facade – the north-west side wall has no windows. There are two lower double-sash windows on each wall, and one upper window set midway between the two lower windows. The lower windows are larger (approx. 1 m wide and 3 m high). The upper windows are the same size as the windows of the drum, which has one window on each side. The windows are of wood, painted with green oil paint, and those at ground floor level have iron blinds.

            The stone minaret stands to the right of the entrance to the mosque, by the south-west wall, and is built of cut stone, left unplastered. The entrance to the minaret is from the portico from the sofa area. The base of the dome is octagonal, and the barrel is sixteen-sided. The minaret is approx. 20 m high, with the šefere at a height of approx. 15.50 m. The parapet of the octagonal šerefe is also of stone, and the stone roof is conical in shape.

The portal of the mosque is simple, 1.20 m wide, with a solid wood double door painted with green oil paint and terminating in a round arch. Over the door is a five-line inscription incised on a stone plaque measuring 60 x 70 cm, in Turkish verse, recording the repairs to the mosque, in nasta'liq script. In translation, the inscription reads:

Shah-in-shah, founder of the world,

Suleyman khan the Lawgiver (Kanuni),

In the year nine hundred and twenty six

Erected this place of worship, 926 (1519/20)

As time passed it began to decay,

And was repaired by charity.

The Blagajans helped by the government (hukumet)

Restored this place of worship.

In one thousand three hundred and ten, 1310 (1892)

The renovation was complete.

This chronogram was made (cikardi) by Jusuf Hasbi, imam of this mosque.

(Mujezinović, M., 1998, pp. 315-316)


The mihrab niche is in the south-east wall of the mosque facing the Qibla. The mihrab niche is stone, semicircular in form, and about 1 m wide x 2 m high with a depth of 50 cm. It is not finished with mukarnas (stalactites) but terminates in a stylized arch. The mihrab is surrounded on three sides by a stone frame 50 cm from the right and left sides and 100 cm from the upper side. It was painted in acrylics using stencils. There is a calligraphic inscription above the mihrab (the start of a Qur'anic ayat) referring to Hazrati Mariam or the Virgin Mary.

Mihrab wall:

§         The mihrab bears the following inscription:

كلما دخل عليها زكريا المحراب

Whenever Zachariah went in to the Sanctuary (Q.3, 27)

§         Above the mihrab are two inscriptions in the form of a tughra:

لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله

There is no god but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God

§         Above the lefthand window is an inscription in thuluth script:

لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله

There is no god but God and Muhammad is the Messenger of God

On the right hand wall are three inscriptions in thuluth and one in taliq script:

ساعة عدل خير من عبادة سبعين سنة

An hour of justice is better than seventy years of ibadet (service of God)

بوده كجر يا هو

What will be will be

و هو على كل شيئ قدير

And he is capable of all things

حفظك الله فى الدارين

God saved you in both worlds

On the left hand wall:

من صبر ظفر

Saved in sabr (patient endurance)

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate (in kufic script)

من امن بالقدر امن من الكدر

He who believes in that which is decreed shall be saved from sorrow

Entrance wall:

§         The inscriptions are above the entrance door

ان المساجد لله فلا تدعوا مع الله اله أخر

Mosques belong to Allah, so call none god save Allah

عجلوا بالصلاة قبل الفوت عجلوا بالتوبة قبل الموت

Hasten to prayer before the due time is over, hasten to seek forgiveness before you die.

(Numanagić, 2004)       

The mimber is on the south-east wall of the mosque to the right of the mihrab, about 1.95 m from the mihrab and 2.00 m from the side wall.  It measures 3.95 m in length, 1.00 in width and 5.75  in height.  The mimber is the pulpit used for the official sermon (khutba) on festivals and Fridays during the congregational prayer (juma).  The sermon is delivered by the imam, and were sometimes formerly delivered by the rulers. The mimber is of stone and richly decorated. It consists of an entrance area made of a single stone step and a massive stone surround measuring 1.00 m wide and 2.00 m high, stone steps and a stone baldaquin. There are ten to twelve steps with a pedestal at the top known as the kjurs (Arabic kursi) meaning seat or throne, symbolizing the place where the Prophet stood; no one else stands on it.  The four steps below the kursi are also unused, for they represent the places of the four rightly-guided caliphs, the Prophet's helpers and successors, Abu Bakr, Omar, Osman and Ali. The kursi is usually covered; here, it has a high hipped roof on four solid pillars, topped with an alem. On both sides of the mimber steps is a high stone balustrade decorated with geometric apertures to the sides and a solid handrail.  Below, the steps are enclosed at the sides, but below the kursi is an opening to allow for passage, about 2.00 m high. Previously it was not so high, less than the average height of a man. The imam came to prayer from the right side of the mosque and passed through this opening beneath the mimber, so that he had to bend to do so and thus came before the worshippers in a bowed stance, symbolizing his humility before God (Numanagić, 2004).

The mimber is painted with green oil paint in combination with yellow and orange. 

The mahfil is to the left of the entrance door, its wooden structure resting on two solid wooden pillars. The mahfil is about 4.30 m long and about 3.00 m wide.  It is clad with wooden boards on  the upper and lower side and has a wooden railing. The wooden staircase that leads to the mahfil is to the right of the entrance door, on the north-west wall of the mosque, turning via several semicircular steps to the south-west wall. The mahfil railing is painted with yellow oil paint.

            The interior of the mosque is paved with regular cut stone slabs over which carpets with various designs are laid. 

The interior walls are plastered and painted in polychrome colours. The decoration on the inside walls, dome and outside entrance wall is recent. According to the imam, the mosque was repaired and painted in 1997.  For the most part the previous decorations and inscriptions on the walls were retained, with only the colours changed. Now the Careva mosque is painted in light yellow with decorations and ornamental motifs in green and brown. The mimber and entrance door are painted with oil paint.

            In places, fragments of older decoration, light blue in colour, can be seen beneath the new plaster.

            To the right of the entrance to the mosque is a smaller addition, the abdesthana, consisting of a single-storey building measuring approx 2 x 3 m entered from the courtyard.  The date when it was built is not known.

            The mosque courtyard is surrounded by a stone wall on two sides and has two entrances, one to the north-west, and one to the south-west.

Harem by the Careva mosque.

           The harem is to the south of the main entrance to the mosque.  According to Mujezinović, the harem previously contained twelve graves with nišan tombstones. All the tombstones are of recent date, with epitaphs revealing that most of those buried there were members of the Kolaković family (Mujezinović, 1998. p. 316)

            An on-site inspection conducted on 17 January 2004 revealed that the harem has fifteen nišan tombstones, fourteen of which are of miljevina limestone. The choice of this stone gave the calligrapher a certain freedom in the inscription and design of the epitaph that would be impossible on other types of stone. The very fine calligraphic epitaphs, designed in unusual and diverse forms from the musenna and tughra, various stylized forms to texts incised in circular form, indicate that they were executed by a highly skilled calligrapher and stonemason. 

1. An octagonal nišan 170 cm high on a stone sarcophagus, with octagonal sides 11 and 9 cm at the base and 13 and 10 at the top, made of miljevina stone with an inscription in naskh script divided into eleven fields, in Arabic:

هو الحى الباقى يا ايها الناس كان لى امل قصر بى عن بلوغه اجل فليتق الله ربه رجل ما امكنه فى حياته العمل ... المرحوم بلديه رئيس زاعم بك ابن ادهم افندى قولاقويك الفاتحة سنة 1314

He is the eternal Creator.  O people, I had many desires, but fate prevented me from fulfilling them, so fear Allah and do good while you life. . . The pardoned mayor Zaim beg son of Edhem effendi Kolaković. Fatiha. 1314 (1896/1897).

2.  A simple nišan with a fez, 90 cm in height, 12 cm deep and 20 cm wide at the base, 25 cm at the top, made of miljevina stone with an epitaph in thuluth script divided into seven rectangular fields in Turkish and Arabic:

سنة 1311 فى ربيع الاخر 8 بر قوش ايدم اوجردم با غونه جنت المرحوم يوسف بك ابن زاعم بك قولاغى زاده روحيجون الفاتحة

8 rabi' al akhira 1311 (1893/1985). If I were but a bird and could fly to the garden of jannah. The pardoned Jusuf beg son of Zaim beg Kolagi zade Kolaković. Fatiha for his soul.

3.  A cement nišan with epitaph in Bosnian:

Kolaković Z. Husni beg born 1877, died 1943. This stone was erected by his son Ragib.

4. A nišan with a faz, 145 cm in height, 14 cm in depth and 30 cm wide at the base, 34 cm at the top, with an epitaph in Turkish and Arabic in naskh script in eight rectangular fields above which part of the epitaph (Allah is the finest Creator) in tughra.

سنة 1314 ان الله احسن الخالقين نه رتبه بر قولك اولسه كناهى ترحمدن ستراى شان شاهى المرحوم محمد بك بن درويش بك قولاغى زاده روحيجون فاتحة

1314. Truly Allah is the finest Creator. There is no equal to these words: Forgive my sins and hide my shame, Almighty King. The pardoned Mehmed beg son of Derviš beg Kolaković. Fatiha for his soul.

5. A nišan on a sarcophagus, 100 cm in height, 16 cm in depth and 30 cm in width. The epitaph is in Bosnian.

Kolaković H. Ing Ragib 1906-1969

6. A woman’s nišan topped by a cap, 165 cm in height and rectangular in section, 17 x 16 cm.  The epitaph is in Arabic, divided into seven fields, in thuluth and naskh scripts:

من زار قبرى فليكن موقيا ان الذى ... فيرحم الله امرا زارى و قال لى يرحمك الله المرحومه زيبا بنت الحاج ذو الفقاربك   رضوانبكويك لله الفاتحه سنة 1327

May whoever visits my grave be saved. . . May Allah’s mercy be on my visitor who says: “Allah’s mercy on you.” The pardoned Zib a daughter of Hajji Zulfikar beg Rizvanbegović. For Allah’s satisfaction, recite the Fatiha. 1326 (1909/1910).

7.  A woman’s nišan topped bz a cap, 125 cm in height and square in section, 16 x 16 cm. The entire left hand side is covered by the epitaph, in naskh script in four rectangular fields in Arabic:

كل من عليها فان المرحومة مليه بنت درويش قولاغى زاده

روحيجون الفاتحة سنة 1311

Everything on this earth passes. The pardoned Mulija daughter of Derviš Kolaković. Fatiha for her soul. 1311 (1893/1894).

8. A nišan with a fez, 150 cm in height, 15 cm deep and 32 to 36 cm wide with an epitaph in Arabic and Turkish beginning with a tughra beneath which is an epitaph in four rectangular fields in minute script, which is damaged and barely legible:

ان الله احسن الخالقين ... المرحوم محمد سعيد بن درويش قولاغى زاده روحيجون الفاتحة سنة1310

Truly Allah is the finest Creator. The pardoned Mehmed Seid son of Derviš Kolaković. Fatiha for his soul. 1310 (1892/1893).

9.  An octagonal nišan 185 cm high, with the sides 8 and 10 cm wide at the base and 18 and 112 cm wide at the top. The epitaph is in Arabic in fine thuluth and naskh script. The initial sentences are in musenna form (Arabic: double – the same text is repeated twice with the two parts mirroring each other)

يا الله

يا غفار الذنوب

ا لا يا زائرا بقبرى متفكرا بامرى بالامس كنت مثلك غدا تصير مثلى المرحوم درويش خليل بك بن سعيد محمد افندى قولاغى زاده روحيجون الفاتحة سنة 1302


O Thou who forgivest sins!

Visitors to my grave, reflect on my condition, yesterday I was as you are and tomorrow you will be as I am. The pardoned Derviš Halil beg son of Seid Mehmed effendi Kolaković. Fatiha for his soul. 1302 (1884/1885).

10. A woman’s nišan 15 x 15 in section.  Damaged and broken into three sections. The epitaph, in Arabic, is inscribed in four equal-sized circles

هو الباقى

المرحومه و المغفوره لها كلثوم بنت محارم بك لوبى زاده روحيجون الفاتحة

He is Eternal.

The pardoned and forgiven Kulsuma daughter of Muharem beg Ljubović. Fatiha for her soul.

11.   An octagonal nišan, 175 cm in height, with the sides 8 and 10 cm at the base and 10 and 12 cm at the top. The epitaph is in Turkish and Arabic. The opening sentences are in musenna form, beneath which there follows an epitaph in six equal-sized circles, in naskh script, very small given the medium on which they are incised. The end of the text is stylized in the form of a leaf.

يا الله

يا غفار الذنوب

ارحم نا حق جنابى كبريا عف ايدوب كناهى ... برايا اوميدم و شفاعت ايده سيد الكونين ختم المرسلين المرحوم و مغفور ابراهيم ادهم افندى ابن سعيد محمد افندى قولاغى زاده ...

بو تاريخ نه


O Thou Who forgivest sins.

Pardon us, Almighty Creator, and forgive my sins. I hope for intercession from the foremost of both worlds and the seal of the Prophet. The pardoned and forgiven Ibrahim Edhem effendi son of Seid Mehmed effendi Kolaković.

This date is the ninth.

 (This part of the epitaph is in the form of a stylized leaf. It can be read thus, which would mean that the date of death was 1309 – 1891/1892).

12.  A nišan with a fez, 60 cm in height, 10 cm in depth and 18 cm in width.

سنة 1314 ... المرحوم درويش بن محمد بك قولاغى زاده الفاتحة

1314. The pardoned Derviš son of Mehmed beg Kolaković. Fatiha

13. An octagonal nišan broken into two parts. The lower is 105 cm in height and the upper 85 cm.  The opening sentences of the epitaph are in musenna form with the text beneath them divided into four circles, damaged and illegible.

يا الله

يا غفار الذنوب

... محمدبن سعيد قولاغى زاده ...


Forgiver of sins!

... Mehmed son of Seid Kolaković

14. An octagonal nišan  200 cm in height, the sides of the octagon 10 cm at the base and 12 cm at the top. The opening sentence is in musenna form with beneath it the name of the deceased stylized in the form of a leaf. The text of the epitaph follows, incised in fourteen circular fields, very small, damaged and illegible. The text ends in the stylized form of a leaf.

يا الله

يا غفار الذنوب

... محمدبن سعيد قولاغى زاده ...


The pardoned Mehmed Abduseid


15.  A small child's grave with no epitaph.

(Numanagić, 2004)


Mektebs were the first primary schools for the education of Muslims. At first, all that was taught there was reading and writing, but later the curriculum expanded to cover basic education on the Qur'an, hadith and shari'a law.

In accordance with the requirements of Ottoman Islamic architecture and the specific features of a settlement consisting of a central trade and crafts centre, the čaršija, with a central mosque, craftsmen's workshops and shops, the primary school or mekteb, too, was part of the mosque or in premises by the mosque. They were not built in the actual mosque courtyard, but in the corner, with a separate entrance, to ensure that the mosque enjoyed peace and quiet and the mekteb faced the mahala (Kasumović, Ismet, 1999. p.131).

The mekteb by the Careva mosque was built before 1664, and the earliest reference to it is in Evliya Çelebi’s travel chronicles. 

The mekteb of the Careva mosque is to the north-west of the mosque, right by the road, so that the north-west façade of the mekteb faces the road and the south-east the mosque courtyard. To the right and left of the mekteb, in the courtyard wall, are the entrances to the mosque courtyard.

The mekteb is a single-storey building with two rooms, rectangular in ground plan, measuring 9 x 5.5 m.  It has stone walls that have been plastered, but the plaster is in very poor condition and the façade, indeed the entire building, looks very bad. The mekteb has a hipped roof clad with stone slabs, which are also in very poor condition. On the north-west façade, which faces the street, there are two windows, and on the courtyard façade a single window. The door is to the north-east. The windows and door are of wood which is badly rotted. 

The building was thoroughly adapted  in 1264 AH (1847/48), as recorded on an inscription incised on a plaque on the south-east façade wall of the mekteb. This inscription is in Turkish verse incised on a stone plaque masuring 33 x 42 cm set into the mekteb building in the courtyard of the Careva mosque. The plaque is on the façade of the mekteb in the mosque courtyard, not above the entrance to the building. It is in fine naskh script.

Thanks and praise be to the True, and salvation and blessings on his prophet, and praise be to the family and companions of the beloved (the Prophet).

. . .

O Lord, bless this building

Of the sincere

And may it be of benefit to believing men and believing women.

The benefactor of the renovation of this great mekteb is

Miri-miran Hafiz-pasha of Herzegovina

Who renovated the building sincerely and in full.

May Almighty Allah, in His goodness, hear his prayer

One thousand two hundred and sixty four. . .

May Almighty Allah forgive our sins.



Whoever sincerely and from the heart

May he preserve his iman (faith) at the moment of death.


3. Legal status to date

In the procedure prior to the adoption of a final decision on designation, documents relating to the protection of the property were inspected and the following was ascertained:

Pursuant to the law, and by Ruling of the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Sites of NR BiH no. 761/57 of 308.04.1957 in Sarajevo, the Careva mosque in Blagaj was placed under state protection.

By Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of NR BiH no. 02-828-3 of 18.04.1962 the cultural monument of the Careva mosque in Blagaj was entered in the Register of real property.

            The Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2002 lists the Careva mosque in Blagaj as a category I monument.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

The Careva mosque has been repaired on several occasions. According to Mujezinović, the first of these was in 1763 when the dome was damaged by high winds.

In the 19th century the dome collapsed. Reconstruction was carried out to design documentation drawn up by the Austrian architect Max David in Mostar in November 1891, when the wooden dome and polygonal roof were built.

During the war, in 1993, the building suffered minor damage to the roof and the crown of the west facade from a tank missile; the damage was repaired when the war ended.


5. Current condition of the building

During an on-site inspection conducted on 17 January 2004, the following was ascertained:

§         The Careva mosque is in good structural condition.

§         The mekteb building is in a state of ruin and is no longer in use. There is extensive damage, particularly to the roof. 

§         The plaster on the walls of the façade is cracked and crumbled and must be removed to ascertain the condition of the walls of the mekteb. 

§         The door and windows are also in very poor condition and should be replaced. 

§         It was found during the on-site inspection that works had begun on the restoration of the mekteb, and that the roof had been dismantled.

§         The nišan tombstones are in poor condition, with some broken and some damaged.        



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.ii. religious value

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

F. Townscape/ Landscape value

F.ii. meaning in the townscape

F.iii.  the building or group of buildings is part of a group or site

G. Authenticity

G.v. location and setting


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-          Photodocumentation;

-          Drawings



During the procedure to designate the architectural ensemble of the Sultan Suleyman or Careva mosque in Blagaj near Mostar as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


Ayverdi, Dr. Ekrem Hakki, Avrupada Osmanli Mimari Eserleri, Yugoslavya, II,  3. kitap, Istanbul 2000


Bejtić, Alija, Contributions to oriental philology and the history of the Yugoslav peoples under Turkish rule, III-IV, 1951, Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1952-54,


Çelebi, Evliya, Putopis (Travelogue), Sarajevo Publishing, 1996


Čelić, Džemal, Naše starine I, Sarajevo, 1953


Hasandedić, Hivzija, Herald of the Supreme Islamic Council in SFRY, Sarajevo, p. 18, 1976


Hasandedić, Hivzija, Prilozi za istoriju Blagaja na Buni u doba turske vladavine (Contributions to the history of  Blagaj on the Buna during the period of Turkish rule) GDI BiH, vol. XIV 1970-1971, Sarajevo, 1973


Dr. Kasumović, Ismet, Školstvo i obrazovanje u bosanskom ejaletu za vrijeme osmanske uprave (Education in the Bosnian eyalet during the Ottoman period), Islamic Cultural Centre Mostar, 1999


Kreševljaković, Hamdija, «Esnafi i obrti u Bosni i Hercegovini 1463-1871» (Guilds and trades in BiH 1463-1871), Selected Works II, Sarajevo, pp. 280-281, 1971.


Kreševljaković, Hamdija and Hamdija Kapidžić, «Stari Hercegovački gradovi» (Old Herzegovinian towns), Naše starine no. 2, pp 9-10, 1954.


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


Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne I Hercegovine (Islamic Epigraphics of BiH) vol 2, Eastern and central Bosnia, Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1997


Mujezinović, Nermina, «Blagaj kod Mostara», Hercegovina no. 11-12, Mostar, 2000


(1) Max (Maxmilian) David, civil engineer (Alttitschein, Moravia, 7. XII 1859). Graduated from Higher Technical College in Brno, which he attended on two occasions, 1877-79 and 1880-83.  Initially worked as assistant lecturer at the same college, and then with various firms in Czechoslovakia.  In Bosnia from 21 May 1890 in Mostar District.  Moved to  Tuzla in 1907.  Ref: Wiener Bauindustrie-Zeitung, Wien, XX, 41, 10.VII 1908, 390-391. Source: Archives of BiH – personal records (Krzović: 1987, p.248).  As designer, his name is associated with the District Court building in Mostar, 1891-92 (Krzović: 1987, p. 21), the extension of the girls' school of the Sisters of Mercy, 1903 (Krzović: 1987, p. 23). 

(2) The structural treatment is not the usual system of transition from the square base of the mosque to the octagonal drum by the stereotomic structure of pendentives. The weight of the drum is transferred to the structure of the walls of the mosque via steel girders (three steel girders beneath each wall of the drum that does not rest on the walls of the mosque).



BiH jezici 
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