Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Gradašćevića tower with the court-yard and the yard walls in Bijela, the architectural ensemble

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Status of monument -> National monument

            Pursuant to Article V para. 4 of the Annex 8 to 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, the Commission, at its session held from 6. to 10. July 2004 adopted the following






            The architectural ensemble Gradašćevića kula with the court-yard and the yard walls in Bijela is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The national monument is situated on cadastral plot No. 289, cadastral municipality Bijela, Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: Brčko District), Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

            The provisions relating to the 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 («Official Gazette of Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina» No. 2/02) shall apply to the National Monument.




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

            The Government of Brčko District shall ensure funds for development and implementation of 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 provide funds for preparing and setting up signboard with the basic data on the monument and the Decision proclaiming the property a National Monument.




            In the aim of continuous protection of the property, the following measures are stipulated relating to the cadastral plot No. 289, cadastral municipality Bijela, i.e. the site of the National monument.

            1st degree protection, comprising the space as defined in Clause I paragraph 2 of this Decision, includes;

-         All works on the monument are prohibited other than repair, restoration, revitalization and works designed to display the monument,

-         Static (structural) analysis of the tower walls with vertical fissures on the north-east and south-east walls on external sides,

-         Static (structural) analysis of the remaining wooden ceiling construction and the arched ceiling in the building,

-         Static (structural) analysis of the surviving court-yard walls, including those partly collapsed and the court-yard walls that totally collapsed,

-         Archeological exploration of the surviving walls on the southern and northern border of the site.


            The Government of Brčko District, legal owner of the property, shall sort out legal and ownership relations and ensure the access road from the existing asphalt road to the facility, as well as undertake preservation and restoration of the enclosing walls bordering with neighboring lots in private ownership. 

-         Conduct preservation and restoration on- site exploration of the facility,

-         Based on obtained results of the analyses and explorations, develop a plan of reconstruction, rehabilitation, presentation and revitalization, i.e. bring it into housing or cultural utilization condition with the aim of restoring, to the extent possible, its original condition.


            2nd degree protection comprises the space of cadastral plots 287, 288, 290, 291, 292/1, 292/2, 293/2. 293/3:

-         No new constructions shall be allowed apart from preserving the existing housing facility on cadastral plots 287 and 291, including the removal of economy buildings on cadastral lot 288,

-         The housing building in construction on cadastral lot 293/3, to be removed, pulled down, with adequate compensation to the owner,

-         The construction of new buildings to the west should be stopped at the plot 290 (put up for sale).

-         Prohibit any construction works on other plots, including permanent or provisional buildings, putting up of kiosks, advertising stands, etc.




            All executive and area development planning acts contrary to the provisions of this Decision shall be hereby revoked.




            Anyone, and in particular the competent authorities of Brčko District, shall refrain from any action that may be damaging to the National Monument or threaten its preservation.




            The Government of Brčko District, the authorities responsible for urban planning of Brčko District and competent authorities for heritage protection of Brčko District, shall be notified of this Decision in order to enforce the measures foreseen b y Clauses II-V of this Decision, and the competent court shall be notified for the purposes of registration into the Land register.




            The explanation with relevant documentation form an integral part of this Decision and may be accessed to by all the interested partied both on the premises of the Commission or on the website of the Commission (http://www.aneks8komisija.com.ba).




            Pursuant to Article V, paragraph 4 of the Annex 8 to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the 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 B-H».



            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

Dubravko Lovrenović


No: 02-02-90/04-3                                                                                                         

7 July 2004                                                                     



E x p l a n a t i o n



            Pursuant tot he Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments established  by Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Article 2 paragraph 1 «a «National Monument» is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and  VI of Annex 8 and the properties entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, until the Commission reaches a final decision on their status. 

            The Commission received a petition on April 24, 2004 by Aleksandar Ninković, an architect from Sarajevo, to designate Gradašćevića Kula in Bijela, Brčko, as a national Monument.

            Pursuant to the provisions of the Law and on the basis of Article V paragraph 4 of the Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments proceeded to carry out the procedure to reach a final decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.



            In the procedure preliminary to the final decision on proclaiming the property a National Monument, the following documentation was inspected:

Ÿ         Documentation on the location and on ownership over the property (copies of the entry into the Land register and Cadastral Plan),

Ÿ         Current condition of the property,

Ÿ         Data on the current condition and use of the property, including both the description and photographs, data on the war damage, data on restoration or other interventions on the property, etc.,

Ÿ         Historical, architectural and other documents on the property.


            The findings based on the review of the above documentation and the conditions of the property are as follows:


1. Details about the property


            Gradašćevića kula with the court-yard and court-yard walls is situated in the hamlet Bijela, south of Brčko District, at the lowest slopes of Majevica mountain. The ensemble is accessed from the village road on the east leading to the gate at the south side of the court-yard. It occupies cadastral plot 289, cadastral municipality Bijela with the surface of approximately 2500 m² and about 25 km far from Brčko.     

Historical background

            Based on the name itself, Gradašćevića Kula is believed to have been built by a member of the bey family Gradaščević, one of the richest families in Bosanska Posavina. The origins of the family have not been fully confirmed, but there are grounds to believe that they came from Hungary and did not belong to the medieval Bosnian feudal lords, because they are not mentioned in any of the Bosnian sources from that period.

            Ever since 1730, when Gradačac captaincy was established, with Bijela being a part thereof, all the recognized captains came from Gradašćević family.

            Despite the fact that the available sources do not offer information on who built the tower in Bijela, there are grounds to believe it was built by Osman pasha Gradaščević by the end of 18th or the beginning of 19th century. Namely he stayed in the tower in 1831, when Osman pasha met with his brother Husein captain, known as «Zmaj od Bosne» (Dragon of Bosnia), who organized the Movement for the autonomy of Bosnia. 

            Osman pasha Gradaščević's sons, Hasan bey and  Mahmud bey, had only female heirs and the tower came into the hands of a well known bey family Fadilpašić from Sarajevo, through the marriage of Nuri hanuma, Mahmud bey's only daughter, to Mustaj bey Fadilpašić, about 1875. The first mayor of Sarajevo, when the administration by Austria-Hungary had been established in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was from Fadilpašić family.

            When Haki bey Džinić, from one of the richest bey families in north-western Bosnia, married  Mevhiba Fadilpašić, Nuri hanuma’s daughter, the tower came into the possession of the bey family Đinić. Mevhiba Džinić, together with her family, lived in the tower in Bijela until 10 June 1948, when the nationalization took place.

            The new farming economy used both the land, i.e. the property, and the tower and the”ocak” (chimney) house next to the tower.

            Due to the negligence of the new occupants, the fire on 03.03. 1949 totally destroyed the ”ocak”.

            The Tower was abandoned before the '92-'95 war. During the war itself it was not used and suffered no damage.


2. Description of the property

            The architectural ensemble of Gradašćevića kula is composed of the main fortification structure, summer kitchen, 2 wells and the court-yard walls.

            The gate had plain lintel. In the court-yard there was one-storey tower (ocak) that was accessed by a cobbled footway that led through the green. The entrance to the ocak leads through a stone portal with semicircular arch and the threshold made in stone.  Above the entrance there was a prominent bretesse made of wood. In the basement there were ancillary rooms, and upstairs, the residential quarters (living room and reception parlor). The ocak was under a hip roof in plain tiles and a number of roof gables. All the façade surfaces were rendered in plaster and whitewashed. Next to the ocak there is a ground floor building, summer kitchen composed of the cooking space, pantry and ancillary room- dining area when the weather conditions would not allow for sitting outside under the pergola.

            In the court-yard there were two wells. One is for technical water with a parapet wall with a wooden lid. The other well is for drinking water, with a parapet supporting on a wooden construction, protection walls and a roof construction covered by plain tiles.

Longitudinally, in the middle of the court-yard there is a tower, the residential and fortification building, with the size of approximately 9, 00x9, 00 m.

            It belongs to a specific type of buildings that appeared during the Ottoman rule in this region. On the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina there were about 300 towers. The uncomfortable living conditions in the towers led to the construction of ocacs, or konaks, next to the tower and that were used as residential quarters.

            The entrance to the tower is from the west of the court-yard through the door with e semicircular vault made in a big stone block with stone lintels and threshold. The door is extraordinary small, 92/151 cm, a single wing door in blacksmith manufactured tin. Inside there is a movable bolts for closing the door.

            The basement, like other floors, is in two faceted stone walls. The walls from the outside are made of cut stone of approximately same height of rows with minimal pointing. Inside, the walls are built of roughly cut stone that is whitewashed. There were no apertures apart from the door. The ceiling construction is made of 20/15 cm and 20/28 beams. The floor is in Turkish tiles.

Wooden single flight stairs lead to the 1st floor of the tower. The floor was only of defensive character. And for the same purpose there are 10 loop holes in the walls, two double and six single ones. The crew had to use the loop holes in standing position, for which the 100-120 cm, parapet, 15-40 cm. wide was built. The ceiling above the 1st floor is constructed in wooden beams with the size of approximately 14/15 cm. The floor is made of oak planks.

            The wooden single flight stairs lead to the second floor as well, which also has defensive character with four double loop holes and a parapet of approximately 10 cm.

            The ceiling beams above the 2nd floor have the size of approximately 16/16 cm. The floor is made of oak planks.

            The third floor is accessed by a staircase and it has also a defensive character with four circular loop holes of Ø22 cm in the walls that have no parapet and could be used from a lying position only. A specific characteristic of this floor is that in the north corner, in a niche, there is toilet booth with sewage in the core of the wall. The ceiling above the 3rd floor is constructed of 16/16 cm wooden beams leaning against a diagonal 20/22 cm beam, supported at the midst of the span by a 16/20 wooden pillar. The floor is made of oak planks. 

            Single flight wooden stairs lead to the 4th floor, the first residential space in the Tower. This is why there is a wall with single wing door separating the stairs from this section. The room is situated in the attic with the stone vault. To make it more comfortable there is also a large fire place in the north-east wall, while there are 4 large windows with external metal grids on other walls. The walls and the ceiling is rendered in plaster and whitewashed. The windows are two winged and glazed.  The floor is made of oak planks. There is also a small and a large niche in the walls.   

            Above the attic floor there is the 5th floor with a residential space as well. It can be accessed by stone stairs built into the wall. The spacious room has windows on all the walls, with a window half way up the stairs, directly above the entrance door, allowing for anyone at the entrance to the tower to be seen. The aperture in the ceiling had a metal lid. To make the room more comfortable, the walls, much thinner, 70 cm, had eight windows and three were small baths with bottoms made of stone and water outlets approximately 70 cm projected. The walls were rendered in plaster and whitewashed, and the floor was made of oak planks. The final ceiling is made of beams, 20/20 cm, and the hip roof. By the end of 19th or the beginning of 20th century however, the 6th floor was built by intervening through the roof construction. Its size was approximately 5, 60/5, 60 m, and could be reached by one flight wooden stairs. The construction of the walls is post and pan. .All four walls have two larger wing windows, four in the intermediate space and four in the room. The original roof was kept as the lower one, whereas the new roof, the upper one, was built and is a hip roof type. The roofing is in plain tiles. In the middle of the roof there is a mast. 

            The height of the tower to the lower roof eave is 17,50 m, and to the top of the roof, approximately 23,00 m. Both eaves have ornamental edge boards and lining at the lower part. The chimney from the fireplace leads through the lower roof.

            The spacious court yard is walled up. There is a main gate at the south, being the only opening in the wall.  The wall from the inside is approximately 2,50m, and on the outside the height varies. It is made of roughly cut stone and topped by plain roof tiles. The fence wall is built with two faces in lime mortar, 130 cm thick and roughly cut on both sides.


3. Legal status to date

            Based on the legislation and the Decision by the Institute for the protection of cultural monuments of SR B-H, Sarajevo No: 02-714-3 of 18. 04. 1962, Gradašćevića kula in Bijela is protected as a cultural monument.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

            In 1957, the rickety parts of the roof construction were replaced and covered with plain roof tiles. New windows were made and placed on the 6 the floor.

            The Institute for the protection of cultural monuments of B-H, Sarajevo developed in September 1975 the rehabilitation program that was never implemented because of the lack of funds.

            The works on the tower started in 1980 and continued, with few interruptions, until 1986. The works on the tower included the reconstruction of the 2nd floor walls in post and pan construction, the reconstruction of the higher roof with the ceiling construction, the reconstruction of the lower roof with the ceiling construction, cladding with plain roof tiles and eaves lining. On the 4th, 5th and 6th floor the new glazed windows were built in. Finally, new lighting installations were placed, which protected the facility from further deterioration.

            Relatively small funds were invested into the interventions on the court-yard walls. In one part, the whole court-yard wall was reconstructed together with the top covered by plain tiles. The insufficient funds prevent further works on the other parts of the court-yard walls. 

            All the works were executed in compliance with the designs and under the supervision by the Institute for the protection of cultural monuments in B-H. The funds were provided from Socialist Republic B-H budget and Brčko municipality.


5. Current condition of the property

            The condition of the court-yard walls could be defined as follows:

-         south wall with the gate collapsed in the length of approximately 15 m,

-         one part of the wall on east side collapsed in its external part in the length of approximately 35, 00 m,

-         the wall with the tile top preserved in the length of approximately 20, 00 m,

-         the northern wall partly collapsing in the length of approximately 100, 00 m,

-         a part of the west wall preserved without the tile top in the length of approximately 50, 00 m.

            Other buildings that once stood in the court-yard disappeared with no traces left. The tower walls have visible joints -pointing externally completely washed out.  On the facades to the north-east and south-east there is a crack half way up from the foundation to the roof, with some stone blocks with fissures as well. Cracks up to 3,00m wide.

            At individual floors the following can be observed:

-         in the basement, a floor in cement laid, the staircase basement to the 1st floor damaged, the entrance door partly damaged, ceiling beams preserved, no floor,

-         1st floor – loop-holes and ceiling beams preserved, no floor,

-         2nd floor - loop-holes and ceiling beams preserved, no floor,

-         3rd floor in the northern corner the niche with the WC with outlet blocked, the booth walls collapsed, loop-holes and ceiling beams preserved, no floor,

-         4th floor the ceiling entirely preserved, the fireplace and the small tubs with water fountains preserved,50% preserved,  the old floor from oak planks worm eaten and damaged by fungi due to the weather exposure,

-         5th floor – the construction preserved and the part at the lower part of the roof to the south damaged due to the weather of approximately 1,00/1,00 m, the upper part of the wall with ab ring beam, 3 small tubs preserved with fountains,

-         6th floor all of the joinery stolen, 50% of the roof surface damaged due to the weather exposure and the plain tile roof on the eaves damaged on all the edges,.

            The building is jeopardized due to the new constructions next to the northern wall which obstruct the view, and in the south, at the access road, immediately next to the main gate, there is a new building in construction, damaging the entire ensemble.



            Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument («Official Gazette of B-H» Nos. 32/02 and 15/03), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above. The Decision was based on the following criteria:

A. Time frame

(Properties dating from Pre historic times until 1960)

B. Historical value

(The connection between the building, ensemble or region with a historical personality or an outstanding historical event)

C. Artistic and aesthetic value

i. Quality of works,

iii. Proportions

D. Clarity (documentary, scientific, educational values)

ii.  Evidence on changes throughout the history,

iv.  Evidence on a particular type, style or regional manner,

v.  Evidence on a typical life style in a certain period.

E. Symbolic value

iii. Traditional value,

F. Townscape/Landscape value

i. Relationship between the form with other parts of the ensemble,

G. Authenticity

i. Form and design,

ii. Material and function,

iii. Use and function,

iv. Tradition and techniques,

v. Location and setting,

H. rarity and representativity

i. Unique or rare example of a certain type or style

I. Completeness (ensemble, regions, collections,)

i. Physical unity (compactness),


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

 1. Graphic attachments

1.1Protection zones

1.2. Copy of cadastral plan

1.3. Decision by the Institute

2. Photographs

2.1. Photographs dating from about 1940

2.2. Photographs from 2004.



            The following literature was used in the procedure of proclaiming the architectural ensemble Gradašćevića kula with the court-yard and the yard walls in Bijela a National Monument in B-H:


1954 Hamdija Kreševljaković:"Kule i odžaci u Bosni i Hercegovini" (Towers and ojacs) Naše starine, Godišnjak Zavoda za zaštitu spomenika kulture Bosne i Hercegovine, broj II, Sarajevo 1954. godine


1954 Džemal Čelić:"Arhitektura Gradačca i restauratorski zahvat na kuli Husein-kapetana Gradaščevića", Naše starine (”Gradačac architecture and restoration intervention on Husein captain Gradašćević’s tower”)


        Godišnjak Zavoda za zaštitu spomenika kulture Bosne i Hercegovine, broj II Sarajevo 1954. godine.


1991 Hamdija Kreševljaković:"Kapetanije u Bosni i Hercegovini" (Captaincy in Bosnia and Herzegovina»)zabrana djela I-IV, Sarajevo 1991. godine.


2003 Husnija Kamberović:"Begovski zemljjišni posjedi u Bosni i Hercegovini od 1878. do 1918. godine"Bey land- property in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1878 to 1918»), Hrvatski institut za povijest


-         Zagreb, Institut za istoriju - Sarajevo, Zagreb 2003. godine

-         Photo documentation from 1949, Mrs. Vahide Biščević's nee Fadilpašić from Sarajevo collection.

-         Consultations with Mr. Muhamed Beg Gradaščević from Gradačac. 


Gradašćevića tower in Bijela, photo from 1943Gradašćevića tower in Bijela, photo from 2004Gradašćevića tower, photo from 1982Tower and west courtyard wall
South facadeInterior of the Gradašćevića tower, gun holes at the first floorInterior of the fourth floor:<br>Voult - ćemer<br>FireplaceInterior of the fifth floor:<br>Nišas, bathroom and windows
Roof constructionFirst floor plan  

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