Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

Provisional List

About the Provisional List

List of Petitions for Designation of Properties as National Monuments

Heritage at Risk

60th session - Decisions

Aladža (Hasan Nazir) mosque, the site and remains of the architectural ensemble

gallery back

Status of monument -> National monument

Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 6 to 10 July 2004 the Commission adopted a






The site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Aladža (Hasan Nazir) mosque in Foča is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of the Aladža mosque and associated buildings: the turbe of Ibrahim, son of the founder of the mosque, the sepulchral sarcophagus of the founder Hasan Nazir, the šadrvan fountain, old sarcophagi, the harem with nišan tombstones, the stone surrounding wall, two entrance gates and a drinking fountain in the courtyard wall.

The National Monument is located on cadastral plot 1915, title no. 1426, cadastral municipality Foča, Municipality Foča, Republika Srpska, 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 Republika Srpska no. 9/02) shall apply to the National Monument.




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

The Government of Republika Srpska shall be responsible for providing the resources needed to draw up and implement the necessary technical documentation for the rehabilitation of the National Monument.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments (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.




The following urgent measures for the protection of the National Monument are hereby stipulated:

  • the temporary fencing of the plot of the National Monument by a solid metal or wood panel protective barrier with a height of approx. 2 metres ;
  • the excavation of the fragments of the National Monument on the sites to which they were removed after the destruction of the mosque, and their recording, sorting and reconnaissance;
  • ensuring an adequate manner of protecting the fragments until such time as they are rebuilt into the reconstructed building.

To ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument, the following measures are hereby stipulated:

Protection zone I applies to the area defined in Clause 1 para. 3 of this Decision.  In this zone the following protection measures shall apply:

  • the National Monument shall be rehabilitated on its original site, in its original form, to its original size and with the identical decorative features, using original or the same type of materials and original building methods, on the basis of documentation on its previous appearance,
  • the original parts of the foundations and walls shall be made good and consolidated,
  • 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,
  • fragments that are too badly damaged to be reintegrated shall be conserved and displayed appropriately within the building,
  • all original building material shall be built into the National Monument during reconstruction,
  • all missing elements shall be reconstructed on the basis of documentation on their original condition, using materials identical or similar to the original.

         Protection zone II applies to the part of the harem of the Aladža mosque that is now a town park, designated as c.p. no. 1916, c.m. Foča.  In this zone the following protection measures are hereby stipulated:

  • on the plot of the harem of the Aladža mosque that has been turned into a town park north of the National Monument, all buildingis  prohibited,as is all tree felling;
  • the routine maintenance of the park furniture and paths and the landscaping of the park plantings and decorative bushes are also permitted, together with the conservation of the nišan tombstones in the park, are permitted.

Protection zone III applies to the plot between A. Fetahagića streeet and the river Ćehotina, to 75 metres north-west of the site of the National Monument and 50 metres south-south west of the site of the National Monument.  In this zone the following protection measures are hereby stipulated:

  • the construction of new buildings is prohibited, as is the change of use of existing buildings if such change would be detrimental to the religious and cultural significance of the National Monument.  Existing buildings must retain their existing vertical and horizontal dimensions and architectural forms; routine maintenance works may be carried out on them.

Protection  Zone IV applies to the area to the south and east of the site of the National Monument.  In this zone the following protection measures are hereby stipulated:

  • the rehabilitation of war-damaged buildings and the interpolation of new ones consisting of a ground floor and one upper floor shall be permitted, with hipped roofs and the use of traditional materials: baked brick, tiles, unfired bricks, timber, plastered facades, and with the approval of the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska and the municipal authority responsible for town planning and cadastral records;
  • the rubbish dump  in O. Đikića street shall be cleared and the dumping of rubbish, bulky waste and the creation of a rubbish dump in the contact zone of the National Monument is prohibited.

A site map with the boundaries of the above protection zones forms an integral part of this Decision.




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




The elucidation and accompanying documentation form an integral part of this Decision, which may be viewed by interested parties on the premises or by accessing the website of the Commission (http://www.aneks8komisija.com.ba) 




On the date of adoption of this Decision, the National Monument shall be deleted from the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH no. 33/02, Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 79/02, Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH no. 59/02, and Official Gazette of Brčko District BiH no. 4/03), where it featured under serial no. 211.




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: 06.1-02-1062/03-6               

6 July 2004       



Chair of the Commission

Dubravko Lovrenović


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.

            The Commission to Preserve National Monuments issued a Decision to add the site of the architectural ensemble of the Aladža mosque in Foča to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, under the name “site of the Aladža mosque with bural ground“, numbered as 211.

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, data on restoration or other works on the property, etc.
  • Copy of cadastral plan
  • 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 Aladža mosque was erected on cadastral plot 1915, title no. 1426, cadastral municipality Foča, Municipality Foča, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina(1).

            The architectural ensemble of the Aladža mosque is on the right bank of the river Ćehotina, about 1.5 km from its confluence with the Drina, upstream from the Upper Bridge, close to the old Foča čaršija and the town centre, in a natural triangular area formed by the rivers Drina and Ćehotina.

            The architectural ensemble of the Aladža mosque is bounded to the south west by A.Fetahagića street and the river Ćehotina; to the north-west by a large park which formed part of the harem of the Aladža mosque until the early 1960s, and to the south-east by the Aladža mahala.

            The complex included the mosque, turbe, šadrvan fountain, sarcophagi and nišan tombstones.  The Aladža mosque complex stood on a plot with an area of 1649 sq.m, was surrounded by a stone wall, and had two entrance gates and a drinking fountain facing A. Fetahagića street.

Historical information

The origins and development of the mediaeval settlement of Bosnia and Herzegovina named Hoča (Hotča) (2) was based primarily on its geographical position on two rivers, the Drina and the Ćehotina, on the road(3) linking Dubrovnik with the Morava-Vardar mountain-ringed valley and the central region of the Balkan peninsula.

The route taken by the Dubrovnik road remained recognizable in the street layout of Foča(4) in the Prijeka čaršija, which was tangential to the Pazarišta (Trgovišta(5)) site on which Hoča (Hotča) originated in the mediaeval period(6).

Mediaeval Hoča (Hotča) saw various stages of development, from an open caravan post (platea) and market-place to an urban settlement.  Given its natural location between the rivers Drina and Ćehotina, the town was not fortified, and immediately prior to its conquest by the Ottomans it was ruled by the last mediaeval Herzegovina ruler Stjepan Kosača(7), of the Kosača(8) family.  As the end of the road via Čemerno and Sutjeska, Foča was well located to become a major market and caravan station.  People from Foča began to trade, initially with people from Dubrovnik(9). Local traders were most active in Foča, where they were most numerous (82) (10),  while in terms of indebtedness(11) they were third only to the merchants of Prača and Drijevo. Referring business one to another, the merchants of Foča joined forces and entered into joint debts(12) to Dubrovnik merchants(13); established merchants would often act as guarantors for new ones.  They supplied animal products and wax to Dubrovnik, and imported cloth to eastern Bosnia(14).The large quantities of cloth that were imported testify to the advanced level of economic development of mediaeval Foča as well as to the requirements and purchasing power of its inhabitants.  The presence of merchants from Dubrovnik in Foča increased the importance of the town itself(15), which by the 15th century had become the largest trading centre in eastern Bosnia, with Dubrovnik goldsmiths also working in Foča(16). Some merchants had working capital in excess of 1,000 ducats(17). Merchants travelled frequently, staying in different places, doing business simultaneously in two places(18), formed joint trading links with merchants from other places(19), and in so doing enhanced trading exchanges between various places, taking them out of their traditional isolation.  In Foča, grain surpluses produced in the region were accumulated, wax, leather and other animal products were traded, and the tailor’s craft was referred to as “widespread among the local people(20).” The town flourished under Ottoman rule(21), particularly from the mid 15th to the end of the 16th century, when it was transformed(22) from a kasaba or small town to a šeher or sizeable town and major administrative centre in Herzegovina(23).

The town did not expand by means of concentric building around mediaeval Hoča, but was built to a plan, adapting itself to the topographic and morphological conditions and the potential for building on both sides of the rivers and brooks.  The urban area of Foča was defined by the construction of the first six(24) mahalas(25), which provided the guidelines for extending the town on both banks of the river Ćehotina and along the right bank of the river Drina.

The fact that Foča was the capital of the Herzegovina sandžak had as a consequence the development of the town in the urban, economic and cultural sense, along with the introduction of the infrastructure required to develop a system of civil authority, religious, cultural, educational and commercial institutions and, there can be no doubt, explains the building of a representative religious edifice such as the Aladža(26) mosque.  The erection of the Hasan Nazir (Aladža) mosque in the early years of the second half of the 16th century marked the beginning of the most productive period of building development in Foča. 

According to the tarih (chronogram) incised on a stone plaque measuring 50 x 90 cm, which was set above the entrance, the Aladža mosque was bult in 957 AH (1550/1551).  The inscription on the tarih was incised in three elliptical fields in three lines. The script used was fine naskh(27), and the letters of the inscription were intertwined here and there with decorative leaves and buds(28), giving it an ornamental character.  The first two lines of the text are in prose, and the last in verse: «This honourable mosque and sublime masjid was built in the name of God Almighty by the benefactor Hasan, son of Jusuf, for the love of God, in the desire of obtaining God's pleasure.  A mysterious voice pronounced its chronogram: «O Eternal (God), accept (this) fine (work) (29)» 

The vakufnama of the founder of the mosque, the Herzegovinian Hasan Balije(30)   Nazira, son of Jusuf, has not survived, as a result of which our knowledge of the founder derives from 1) the tarih referred to above; 2) an inscription in the turbe, incised on the nišan of Ibrahim-beg, Hasan's son: “ Ibrahim-beg, son of  Hasan Čelebi Nazir died pardoned, calm, a happy martyr. May God forgive his sins and those of his parents.  At the beginning of Jumada-al Akhira [damaged section of text] and nine hundred reckoning by the years of the Prophet [damaged]» i.e.. between 17 and 26 June 1550(31) ;  3) from the inscription on the founder's grave, which was close to the south-east mihrab wall of the mosque: ”By decree of the just ruler, judge, an honourable death came to him and he left this house of sorrow for the mansion of honour and pleasure, needing God's mercy and forgiveness, the late Hasan Nazir, son of Sinan.  End of Dhu-l-Hijjah nine hundred and sixty» (i.e. between 27 November and 5 December 1553(32)) ; 4) on the basis of a note of a gift by the founder written in early Muharram 942 in Arabic, noted on the first and last pages of a religious manuscript: “…to his good children, that they may read from it, and to anyone who may be capable from the educated people living in Foča itself.... I am the poorest of God's servants, Hasan son of Jusuf, of Foča – may God forgive him!…. below these lines is the writer's seal with these lines «In God – the good deed of his devoted and poor servant Hasan son of Sinan(33)»   ; 5) from a document in the  Dubrovnik archives(34) dating from October 1542: a letter written «in the old Cyrillic script and in the language of the people(35)» sent to the ruling class and count of Dubrovnik by «their true friend Hasan Balija Nazir(36)» with the imprint of Hasan Nazir's other seal on the margin of the letter «Servant of the great benefactor, God, the humble and loyal Hasan»; 6) from an official note by the Dubrovnik scribes written between 1543 and 1547(37) ; 7) from a document issued to the ćumurdžijass of Srebrenica.

From the travelogue of Evliya Çelebi and his detailed description of the Aladža mosque, dating from 1664, we know that the chief architect was Ramadan-aga, and that various artists took part in building the mosque, surely including local Dubrovnik master-craftsmen.  Many documents shedding light on the role of Dubrovnik builders in BiH who worked in the mediaeval period and right through the Turkish period, particularly in the 16th and first half of the 17th centuries, the most active period of building, support this thesis(38). Known skilled craftsmen were called upon to build major edifices and, in particular, the more challenging elements of vaults, arches, domes, and the finer features of decorative nature, such as bases, capitals, stalactites etc.

The masonry work of the Aladža mosque consisted of precisely dressed stone blocks laid in regular courses, similar to the masonry work of other Islamic buildings in Herzegovina made by Dubrovnik craftsmen.  This is further supported by an analysis of the dimensions of the mosque, where the measure used was the Dubrovnik cubit (=55 cm) not the Turkish aršin (=75,8 cm).

Finally, there is a document in the  Dubrovnik archives dated 21 April 1543, in which the Senate of Dubrovnik gives its assent to sending master masons to Foča to build a hospitium or imaret at the request of the sandžakbeg of Herzegovina.  Evliya's travelogue reveals that Hasan Nazir's imaret stood next to the Aladža mosque(39).

The majority of the vakuf property of the Aladža mosque was in the area east of the village of Zavajt towards the village of Čelebići(40). Based on this, his act of bestowal, the Dubrovnik documents, and the location of his endowment, it may be assumed that Hasan Nazir spent most of his life in Foča(41) .

The reference to the word Nazir in association with the name of the founder of the Aladža mosque in documents and inscriptions on stone clarifies the function and position held by the founder of the mosque in the hierarchy of the Turkish administration of state.  From 1526 on, the title Nazir denoted the function of controller and financial supervisor of state property and the revenue collected from customs, trade, ferries, mines and salt mines, and other imperial properties rented out within the area of jurisdiction of a particular sandžak.  The nazir supervised the affairs of lower-ranking financial officials of the Empire – emin, amaldar and muteveli – and was independent of other representatives of the Turkish authorities(42).It is clear from correspondence with Dubrovnik that Hasan Nazir's authority covered trade customs duties, and possibly all the imperial properties, in Herzegovina.  The post held by the founder of the Aladža mosque, Hasan, the Arabic manuscript which he dedicated to his children «that they might read from it», the title of kadi by which the people of Dubrovnik addressed him in a letter of 4 March 1546: all these combined indicated that Hasan Nazir was a highly educated man.

The history of the complex of the Aladža mosque from its beginnings is to be found in the travelogue of Paulo Contarini, who recounts that in 1574 he crossed the bridge and came upon the mosque, which had a fine portico and a well, and which had been built by Nisir Aschocha (Hasan Nazir) (43). This, the earliest documentary evidence of the Aladža mosque, written only about 20 years after it was built, particularly highlights the mosque portico and šadvran fountain, probably because of the painted embellishments of the portico and the carving on its wooden elements, and corroborates the assumption that the šadrvan and probably the portico as well were built at the same time as the mosque(44).

The fact that the mosque is already referred to in 1588 as the Aladža, when one Ali Čelebija is referred to as the hatib of the Aladža džamije u Foča(45), suggests that the mosque bore this name from its very origins in 1550/51, given that a time interval of 37 years is too short for one name of the mosque to be forgotten and another adopted(46).

Evliya Çelebi writes of the Aladža mosque in his travelogue of 1664 in these terms: «When one crosses the wooden bridge to the other side, at the summit of the bridge is the Hasan pasha mosque, known the world over by the name Aladža mosque.  It is a magnificent place of worship. This mosque has no equal in the Bosnian eyalet, nor in the Zvornik sandžak, nor in the town of Taslidža (Pljevlja), nor anywhere else. It was built by Ramadanaga, chief representative (baš halife) of the old architect (Kodža Mimar) Sinan, son of Abdulmennanagina, chief architect (mimar-baši) of Sultan Suleyman.   He invested all his ability in creating this beautiful and wonderful Aladža mosque, which can have no equal.  From the point of view of its architecture, this mosque reveals such abilities, such taste and such sophistication, and achieves such beauty, such impressiveness, as has been achieved by no previous builder on this earth.  Being the most beautiful and brilliant of all the mosques in this town, it is the town's adornment.  On walls of rectangular form the builder created, like a blue vessel, a rounded dome that is an example deserving to be seen.  The mimber, mihrab, windows and gallery for the muezzin are perforated (mušebbak) works of white marble like the perforations (carvings) of Fahrija; each detail reveals some particular ability and skill resembling magic.  On the exterior of the sofas are three high domes, on four marble pillars as white as crystal.  So that no snow or rain may fall on the large congregation, twenty pine pillars are arrayed symmetrically and a kind of projecting timber (sundurma) has been constructed, such that anyone seeing it is amazed, for the entire projecting roof is carved with a network of carvings similar to those of the Fahrija. The entire south-eastern wall of the sofa is adorned with various colours equal to those of Behzat, Mani and Šahkul's brushwork.The interior is lit by finely worked chandeliers, and the šadrvan is covered by a high faience dome held up by six pillars(47).The founder of this endowment, Hasan paša, died in Budim as the deftedar of Budim.  As his will and testament (vasijat) stipulates, his clean body is buried here, in the town of Foča, in the courtyard of this mosque beneath the enamelled dome.  This is now also a brilliant mausoleum.  May God have mercy on him. He was truly a man of taste, generous and noble, hard-working and hospitable, full of wonderful characteristics as were Hatem Tai and Džafer Bermeki. Since he did not stint his wealth, the builder Ramadan could draw on his experience and skill (sana’t) in the twenty-one mosques he built and use them all in building this mosque.  Since the founder was a generous man, he gave to all the various artists from the region who had bestowed an artwork each an appropriate reward.  Investing all his abilities, he made a place of worship that has no equal in Rumelia (dijar-i Rum) (48)".

In the 17th century, the Aladža mosque was the subject of admiration for many visitors, some of whom wrote brief accounts of their reflections on the mosque, on the walls of the building itself and particularly in the portico to the right and left of the entrance door, as well as on the marble pillars.  Some of these were dated and signed, and others were only semi-legible.  Mehmed Mujezinović managed to decipher about ten lyrical inscriptions in Turkish and Persian.

The most interesting of these was the one by the Turkish travel writer Evliya Çelebi.  In 1891, a young employee of the just-founded National Museum in Sarajevo, M. Zarzycki(49), cited the inscription of “some Persian(50)” reading : “Sefer kerdem behar šehri residem, velakin enčunan daji nedidem”.  Sixty-four years later, during investigations by the Commission of the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of the Peoples' Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it was discovered by the orientalist Mehmed Mujezinović: “Sefer kerdem beher šehri residem veliken inçunan cayi nedidem”, which means “I have travelled much and walked around many towns, but I have never seen such a place before”, and the signature of Evliya Çelebi beneath the inscription: “Alahu avni ve la siv…(text damaged here) Ketebehu…(de/duhu) Evlija Sene 1074”, meaning: “Allah is my helper and there is no other. This was written by [God's] servant Evliya in 1074” (=1664).

Mujezinović found the following inscriptions on the walls of the portico of the mosque(51)  : 1) A couplet in Persian, lyrical in tone, incised in fine large naskh script.  Beneath it was written in smaller script: “Katebehu Husein Ulogi, esohta, sene 1026” meaning “This was written by a medresa student, Husejin, of Ulogi, in 1026» (1617); 2) a couplet in Turkish of which the first line read: “ Seherde bulbul sordum niçin afigan…” (I asked the nightingale at dawn why it was lamenting...)  The second line was damaged and only a few words could be discerned. Beneath this verse the year 1084 (1673) was written in words; 3) One Muhamed, a medresa student, wrote in 1015 (1606/1607) the following couplet in Turkish: “Nari firkatle seraser jandi cismi canimiz Kildi carile diriga hašredek hicranimiz”,  which means: “The fire of parting has burned our body and soul, and because ofo that we shall lament our parting from the beloved until the end of our days”. This is the oldest dated inscription; 4) beneath an illegible and damaged inscription is the signature of Zulfikar of Foča, of Herzegovinian origin; 5) in 1035 (1625/26) (the month and day are not noted) one Derviš Abdulah Baki wrote on a Friday at lunchtime: “Men ki reftem der gurbeti kes nedani hali men... “(No one knows of my condition in an alien land...). The rest of the text is damaged; 6) in 1032 (1642/43) a medresa student from Mostar wrote: »Iza kadalahu liabdin en jemute bierdin ceale lehu ilejha haçeten” (When God ordains that someone should die in a certain land (place), he ordains some task for him in that country); 7) one visitor wrote in fine naskh script the following, in two lines: “Ilahi bu mekamin sahibi daim seid olsun. Girup cenet sarayine cehenemden beid olsun” (O Allah! May the benefactor of this place (building) enjoy eternal bliss.  May he enter the palace of heaven and may he be far from hell).  There is no signature or date below this inscription, which undoubtedly refers to the Aladža; 8) in 1103 (1691/92) an unknown calligrapher wrote sura 112 from the Qur'an, in the form of a circle, with the uprights of the letters forming Solomon's seal in the centre of the circle.  The calligrapher did not append his signature, but as seen from the attached copy, this is an unusually fine calligraphic ornament and the work of a skilled hand; 9) Husein, a medresa student from Taslidža (Plevlja) wrote a couplet in Turkish in 1092 (1681).  The text is damaged, but the undamaged sections reveal that educated people should not complain of being attacked by the ignorant, for no one attacks a tree that gives no fruit.  The text is inscribed in fine naskh script; 10) another inscription in naskh script reads: “Kušad bad bedevlet hemiše in dergah, behakki ešhedu en la ilahe ilalah”. (“May this place of worship be open in the name of God”). This inscription, too, does not include a signature or date.  The inscriptions 6) to 10) are on the pillars of the portico,, and among them are some that are of historical or artistic value.

The translation of the tarih(52) above the drinking fountain in the surrounding wall reveals that it was installed in 1872/73:

”All praise to the Truth, and blessings on his Messenger,

With the finest words we recall the ashab (comrades of the Prophet).

This building was not formerly on this site

And by God's decree this good work was erected,

And installed at the same time as the appealing šadrvan was renovated

May it be a lasting memento of the benefactor Hajji Selim.

Sabrija, make a fine chronogram:

After reckoning the date, be eternally grateful to the Truth for this attractive building.

Year 1289.” (1872/73)

            Following the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Austro-Hungarian authorities attempted, by means of the National Government, to persuade the administration of the Aladža mosque's vakuf to undertake «restoration works».  In 1908 Karlo Rihter, who had taken on the job, engaged two house painters, Josip Baldasar and Anton Ferig, who spent 45 days on the work(53). It was then that the wooden eaves of the porch were removed.

            In 1917, as part of a campaign by the Austro-Hungarian authorities to collect lead needed for the war, the original lead cladding of the dome of the mosque was stripped off(54).

            During World War II, the Italian military used the mosque as a warehouse(55), and the mosque was badly damaged: the ćurs was destroyed, the stone carving of the mimber was damaged, the founder's tomb was damaged, the candlesticks (čiraci), were stolen, and the big Persian carpet that had been given to the mosque by the Austrian heir to the throne, Rudolf, was completely destroyed(56).

In 1959 the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Nature of NR BiH of Sarajevo undertook conservation and restoration works on the painted decoration in the portico of the mosque. Following the 1962 earthquake the dome and south-east wall of the mosque cracked, and in 1963 lightning struck the top of the minaret, causing further damaged, so that conservation and repair works were undertaken on the building itself.  From 1965-1969 the painter and conservator of the Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, Nihad Bahtijarević, reconstructed the painted decoration of the interior of the mosque.

In late 1988, under the auspices of the Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Sarajevo, a detailed photogrammetric, geodetic and manual survey of the mosque was carried out and an exact and detailed blueprint of the building was drawn up.

In 1992 the complex was dynamited and totally destroyed.  The Aladža mosque in Foča with its associated buildings of the turbe of Ibrahim, son of the founder of the mosque, the surrounding burial ground and the tombstone of the founder Hasan Nazir, the šadrvan and česma in the courtyard wall, the stone wall to the south-east, the south and west entrance gates, were destroyed and all the remains were removed by lorry and dumped in the bed of the river Drina.


2. Description of the property


The Aladža mosque belongs to the typological group of single-space domed mosques of classical stylistic expression, with an open exterior portico with domed roof and a minaret abutting onto the right hand side.

The walls of the ground floor, 1.18 m (= 2 Dubrovnik cubits), were made of regularly cut tufa blocks.  Compared with other Bosnian mosques, the Aladža mosque had the finest and most regular masonry.  The skill of the stonemasons was observable in the way the tufa was cut for the masonry of the walls and the limestone for the minaret walls, the pillars, portal mihrab, mimber and mahfil, and in particular in the carving of the capitals of the pillars, the stalactite decoration of the trompes and mihrab and the carving of the mimber and mahfil.

It was of medium size for the region, with a length of 18.07 m and a width of 13.70 m.

The basic area of the mosque was almost cubic, with ground plan dimensions of 13.70 x 13.82 and a height of 11.90 m (from floor level of the mosque 0.00 to the cornice of the «cube».  This central area had internal dimensions of 11.26 m, 11.31 m, 11,25m and 11.22 m, with a height of 11.51 m to the first string course, which made it, geometrically, almost a regular cube, roofed via a drum with a dome in the form of a calotte with an inner diameter of 11.29 m.  The transition of the square base of the mosque to the drum, which was octagonal on the outside and circular on the inside, was by means of four corner trompes(57) and eight wide spherical triangles.

First, stalactites extend step by step from the angles, turning into semi-funnel shaped trompes with pointed frontal arches, and at the same height, on the massive walls between the trompes, provide the support for pointed arches.  In the area between the points at which the arches are supported above the trompes and abutting arches and the area of the peak of these arches are spherical triangles(58), with which the transition is made to the circular drum.  This treatment of the entire transitional area is known as the system of Persian trompes(59).  

By comparison with other mosques in this region, the dome of the Aladža mosque was somewhat exaggerated in height in relation to its basal plan.  On the exterior, the highest point in the crown of the dome below the base of the alem is at a level of + 19.50m, together with the portico along the sides of the mosque it amounts to 18.07 m, which means that the ground plan of the portico extends the mosque by 4.45 m.  The height of the portico at the cornice is + 7.80 m, and the crown of the domes below the alem + 10.20 m.

The mahfil, set to the right of the entrance door, was reached by the minaret steps.

To the south, close to the portico, the minaret stands out from the wall in the form of a twelve-sided prism from which, in the lower section, to a level of + 11.9 m, forms a nine-sided mantle by means of which the minaret abutted onto the body of the mosque.  At a height of 16 m, the minaret terminated in a conical transition, and at a height of 33 m was the šerefe - a balcony with marble slab sides.  Above the šerefe the minaret had a still smaller radius, terminating in a conical spire topped with an alem.  The total height of the minaret is 27.8 m, making it the tallest in the region by comparison with the building as a whole.  These proportions have led many people to regard it as the tallest minaret in the region.

The height ratios of individual elements of the building are of proportions that give the entire building a monumental appearance.  A more exact analysis of the height ratios of the Aladža mosque – portico:main body: dome: minaret – form a ration of 3 : 4 : 7 : 13, close to the ratio of the other Lamé series of the golden mean or golden section(60).The ratio of the dome of the turbe and the former šadrvan also contribute to this.  The dome of the mosque rests on an octagonal drum with a height of 3.7 m from the roof cornice to the top of the drum which, like the basic body of the mosque, terminates on the upper side with a finely moulded cornice.

The portico rests on four marble pillars with moulded bases emphasized by a torus and capilel decorated with stalactites, and the wall forming the frontispiece of the portico is made of limestone and terminates with the same moulded cornice.  Like the arches above the windows, those of the portico are also in the form of a pointed arch, set above the pillars and between the pillars and the frontal wall of the mosque, forming three travees.  The pillars of the portico rest on two sofas at the two ends, while the central area between the columns serves as the entrance to the mosque.  The pillars terminate in capitals with a wealth of stone carving. The walls of the sofas are of limestone, and the flooring of the sofas and the central passageway to the portal are of tuffaceous limestone.  The three small domes of the portico are made of small-sized Turkish bricks and a structure of pendentives effects the transition between the square base and the dome.

            The cladding of the dome, like that of the level areas of the roof between the walls of the drum on the cubic ground plan of the building, was originally of lead, which survived until 1918, after which sheet copper was used as cladding.

            There is an aperture on each side of the drum, with a frontal pointed arch, and five windows on each of three sides of the body of the mosque.   The finest workmanship is that of the ground floor level windows, with marble moulded window jambs, while the upper windows were enclosed on the inside by plastered transennas with stained glass infill.

Above the entrance door was a shallow segmental arch, with pointing in the form of curved moulding, forming an almost complete arched beam.  The portal of the Aladža mosque stood out from the wall surface by about 48 cm.

Wooden portico (61)

Photographs dating from just before World War II show the appearance of the renovated portico: an ungainly wooden structure on wooden pillars, with no decorative wood carving as referred to in Çelebi’s day, with a pent roof clad with sheet metal.

There was a similar portico outside the Sinan-beg mosque in Čajniče, built immediately after the Aladža mosque in Foča and strongly influenced by it in architecture and decoration.  It was the custom to build a wooden portico outside other mosques in the Turkish Empire: the Koski Mehmed-paša mosque in Mostar, the Šišman Ibrahim paša mosque in Počitelj, the Ruslum-paša mosque in Istanbul, etc..

The function of the portico in the case of the Aladža mosque was two-fold: to allow for the largest possible number of worshippers, and to protect the painted decoration of the portico.

Finds in situ allow for a rough estimate of the appearance of the portico and the arrangement of the structure.  On the frontispiece of the stone wall of the portico, below the cornice, were smaller pieces of stone of rectangular cross section at regular intervals, which must have been the points at which the wooden rafters of the portico were fixed.  On the edging stones paving the area outside the portico, moulded grooves were found, where the pillars of the portico were fixed.  Among the stone built into the surrounding stone wall of the mosque, dressed stone in the form of the base of the pillars, of rectangular or hexagonal form, with rectangular grooves to take the pillars.

On some photographs of the base of the minaret, too, slanting incised lines are clearly visible where, given the position of the rafters, the flat roof of the wooden portico could have fitted.

Decorative carvings

            The finest and most interesting decorative stone fittings inside the mosques of Bosnia and Herzegovina were those of the Aladža mosque in Foča.

            The decorative sculpture of the mosque dates from the same time as the entire building.  Its lively and precise lines, and the evident skill with which the entire decoration was carried out on the stone surfaces of the mihrab, mimber, mahfil, minaret, portal and capitals of the portico, are evidence of the outstanding mastery of the stonemasons.  They had worked on similar subjects before, and were well acquainted with the decorative elements of Ottoman art.  The elaborate Turkish ornamentation of the first half of the 16th century comprised many, often highly diverse motifs originating from various sources.  Around 1540, the favoured and most commonly used design was floral and foliar ornamentation, in addition to designs taken from the folk art of the old Turkish homeland.  This was permeated with many ancient floral designs of Arabic origin, as well as some from Persia or even China.  From then until about 1570, floral designs dominated Turkish applied art, consisting mainly of representations of the local flora, known as the «four flowers design».  This was composed of realistic representations of tulips, hyacinths, carnations and wild roses, and was used in endless variations to decorate items of Turkish arts and crafts.  Working on these heterogeneous floral designs, Ottoman artisans strove to convey as faithfully as possible the features of the indigenous and imported flowers or to use them as the basis for styling new, more reductive variants.  Thus as time passed a particular manner took shape on the basis of which it is now possible to discern purely Turkish stylistic features in the treatment of individual works of art (Andrejević, 1972, 44).

Geometrical designs, which were to be seen on the stone surfaces of the Aladža mosque, were characterized by designs that in Turkish decoration had largely been taken up from older, early Islamic art.  There is no doubt that the majority of these mainly abstract motifs were drawn from old Arabic art.  Thus the design of intertwined polygons, which covered the door jambs of the mihrab in the Aladža, and the dual raised lines that crisscrossed one another creating alternate hexagonal fields and six-pointed stars on the railing of the mahfil are to be seen as long ago as the art of the Umayyad dynasty.

The decoration of the Aladža mosque was permeated in part by designs that had passed into Turkish ornamentation from the art of other peoples.  The pomegranate flowers on the mihrab and mimber were probably taken from Persian art, as was the entire idea of rich adornment of the mihrab. The spirit introduced to Turkish art by Persian poets, miniaturists and artisans who were masters of various arts and crafts, corresponds in full to the dense floral ornamentation covering the most important parts of the mimber. It was through the neighbouring Persian art, too, that the Chinese design of stylized clouds known as čakri passed into Turkish decorative raised designs.

Other carved designs decorating the Aladža mosque, such as stalactites, flower buds on the minaret, hour-glass designs on the portal, curved pointed [OGEE? TRANS.] arches «on the frame,» stylized flower buds at the top of the portal, mihrab and mimber, are purely Turkish mid 16th century decorative features to be seen in almost every one of Sinan's buildings.

Moulded features consist simply of decorations in stucco, stone or marble, designed to adorn certain parts of the structure or to embellish the stone fittings in the interior.  These decorative mouldings adorn the surface of the minaret, šadrvan, the capitals and bases of the pillars in the portico, the secondary mihrabs, the cordon and roof cornices, portal and windows, and in the interior covered the surface of the mihrab, mimber and mahfil.  Among the most highly decorated features of the Aladža mosque are:

The portal of the Aladža mosque, belonging to the type of portal with a lunette with inscription fitting a pointed arch. The entrance to the mosque, with its double doors, was framed by solid stone door jambs with a segmented arch in the upper part and set with a fine moulded string course.  The door jambs are joined to the robust elements of the portal with a narrow cut edge and an abutting pillar on each side, with the base and capital bearing hour-glass designs.  These parts of the portal are topped by a robust pointed arch fitting the central field on which there was a rectangular stone plaque with an inscription.  The outer edges of the portal were framed by a finely moulded stone cornice, the upper edge of which terminated in a row of stone buds.

Each side of the minaret of the mosque was decorated at the height of the drum with carved floral ornamentation.

An abundance of decorative carving completed the interior of the mosque's stone surfaces of the mihrab, mimber and mahfil.

The mihrab was in the centre of the south-east wall of the mosque, and measured 2.64 x 6.7 m.  The upper part consisted of a stone slab the top and corners of which were decorated, like the portal, with a design of large stylized flower buds.  These and the entire surface of this part were filled in with dense bas relief decoration of floral origin.  The central area was occupied by a large stylized pomegranate flower, between which protruded the petals of another, smaller flower.  Clusters of smaller roses, small flowers and twining dentate leaves extended around this design.  Between the flowers and leaves were intertwined stems here and there creating geometric forms.  The beginning of the 38th ayat of the third sura of the Qur'an was incised beneath the central motif, in a long horizontal frame filled with similar decoration.

            The centre of the lower part of the mihrab contained a seven-sided niche, the sides of which were decorated towards the top with five bas relief rosettes, and the angles with a band of the same length from which triangular forms emerged through typical knots, so-called almond stalactites.  Unlike the stalactites in the angles of the mosque, which widened, those of the mihrab narrowed, gradually filling the hollow of the niche.  The second row of stalactites near the base terminated in seven slice-like hanging trusses.  The niche and the area with the stalactites were surrounded by a broad band adorned with a mass of bas relief polygons(62) which, seen from a distance, resembled circles. The polygons overlapped one another.  There was a six-pointed star in the centre of each.  A band surrounded the stone string course which was moulded in the same way as the outer side of the portal.

The appearance of the mimber did not differ from the usual type of mimber in larger mosques, but the sculptural decoration that covered its surface was of outstanding beauty.  The mimber was 4.20 m long, 1.10 m wide and 7.90 m high, and consisted of three basic components:

  1. the entrance portal with steps and stone balustrade
  2. the upper pyramidal section held up by four octagonal pillars
  3. the triangular side areas extending beneath the upper pyramidal section and the balustrade of the steps.

The lintel of the portal was decorated with a stone plaque which formerly, like the mihrab, terminated in the form of buds.  The centre of the front was taken up by a rectangular field with the inscription «God is one, and Muhammad is His prophet», around which there extended dense floral decoration with stems, leaves, and rose flowers and hips.  The same decoration covered the surface of the stone plaque below the inscription, in which there was a curved arch.  In the lower section, the arch merged into the door jambs, decorated with vines with flowers in volutes.  Similar, though rather larger, decorations adorned the side panels of the door jamb.

The outer side of the mimber balustrade was decorated with geometric designs of bas relief bands folded at the corners, intertwined and alternately fitting hexagonal and six-pointed stars(63). The lower edge of the balustrade formed the hypotenuse of a triangular surface filled with densely intertwined stems, twining dentate leaves and various flowers(64), among which pomegranate and wild and cultivated roses were prominent.  This densely mingled decoration spread outwards from the centre of the triangle marked by a moulded granite hemisphere.  The upper part of this triangular field and the jambs of the passage below the mimber were covered with pure rumi (Byzantine) designs, with here and there twining bands of stylized clouds.  This design alone decorated the stone plaques with a curved arch.  The plaques were at the top of the pillar bearing the drum and pyramidal roof of the mimb er.

The stone mahfil extended in the right-hand corner of the mosque, right by the portal.  It rests on four pillars, the bases of which were square.  The capitals were executed with stalactite decoration(65). Stone slabs extended between the capitals, with incised decorative curved arches.  The upper part of the mahfil, in addition to its finely moulded architrave and upper cornice, consisted of a perforated stone balustrade with geometric ornamentation forming a crown of six-pointed stars and somewhat smaller hexagons alternating in horizontal rows.

Wall paintings

The Aladža mosque was famous for more than its architecture and decorative sculptural features – it was renowned above all for its wall paintings.  Apart from part of the moulded decorations, the painting covered the spherical surface of the dome, all four trompes, part of the interior walls and the exterior walls beneath the portico.  The entire wall painting was carried out on soft, porous plaster with quite a high proportion of lime, using the secco technique and very dilute tempera pigments.

The wall paintings of the Aladža mosque were probably carried out immediately after the building was completed, and certain prior to 1553 when its founder died.  Although there is no documentary evidence to this effect, the assumption is supported by the stylistic similarity and, in places, the reliance of the painted decoration on the moulded decorative features(66). The earliest documentary evidence of the decorative features of the mosque is to be found in the work of the Venetian travel writer Paulo Contarini, who passed through Foča in 1580 and wrote that Hasan Nazir's endowment «had a fine portico», probably in reference to the decoration rather than the architecture.  The earliest documentary reference to the Aladža (multicoloured) (67)  mosque  dates from 1588(68),  which states that it was so called because of the painting that had been carried out at some earlier date.  Evliya Çelebi, during his travels through Bosnia, compared the decoration of the portico of the Aladža mosque with the work of Behzada, Mani(69) and Šah-Kula(70) .

Hasan Nazir or his master masons could have engaged some notable Persian painter in Istanbul to work on the painted decoration of the Aladža mosque.  The highly regarded work of the group of «nakaš-Adžem» must have been known to Ramadan-aga.  Since the artist who painted these surfaces of the mosque is unknown, it may be assumed that the work was directed by some painter trained in this way.  The expertise of the painters working to this model may be found in the Balkans, and it is quite possible that Hasan Nazir entrusted the decoration of his endowment to some local craftsman.  It may certainly be assumed that among those who carried out the works, the group of painters guided by an experienced artisan could have included a young painter from Dubrovnik.  Dubrovnik's painters were well acquainted not only with Turkish-Persian forms, but also with Islamic ornamental work in general, since Dubrovnik traders had been bringing oriental decorated items from Asia Minor to their own city ever since the 15th century.  Procuring oriental works became quite the custom among the people of Dubrovnik in the 16th century.  To judge from the few surviving items of information, there were few links between Dubrovnik's master painters and Turks commissioning works from the 15th to the 18th century, but such links did exist. 

Among the Islamic population in the hinterland of the Republic of Dubrovnik, it was well known that skilled painters could always be found in Dubrovnik. During the first decade of the 16th century, one of the most outstanding painters of the Dubrovnik school, Nikola Božidarević, covered all the painted draperies of his works with Renaissance floral ornamentation, which in general nature and certain details were similar to those of the portico of the Aladža mosque (Andrejević, 1972, 61-63). 

The decoration of the Aladža mosque was carried out by the craftsman laying a layer of plaster of specific composition on the tufa stone base.  Instead of sand, this layer contained finely ground brick, which once mixed with water gave the plaster a reddish colour. The plaster was soft, easily damaged and hydroscopic.  A second thin layer (8mm) was laid over it, made of lime and flax (?) fibres.  This inadvertently provided a highly hydroscopic surface, absorbing all the water and draining towards the foundations of the edifice, thus creating the conditions for the formation of bubbles below.  The surface of this layer was rendered very smooth (Kajmaković, 1960, 116) Once the base layer was dry, a sharp instrument was used to mark out the outline of the fields, borders and perpendicular symmetries of the final composition.    The painters then transferred the contours of the basic features of their ornamental compositions using cardboard patterns.  The next step was to draw freehand thin lines in black to reinforce it and add smaller but important details, and finally to ad the colours to the ornamental features and background.  Stronger colours were used only for the background, with the rest coloured with discreet pastel shades.  The final result of this technique was exquisite ornamental compositions reminiscent of larger-sized versions of the arabesques framing Islamic miniatures of the 15th and early 16th century (Andrejević, 1972, 50)

A careful study of some of the painted areas of the Aladža mosque reveals borrowings from somewhat older or contemporary works.  For example, there is a considerable similarity between the decoration above the entrance door to the mosque and Persian prayer mats.  The designs on the lunettes above the windows of the Aladža mosque are almost identical to those above the windows in the mosque of Selim I in Istanbul (dating from 1522) and the Yeşil mosque in Brusa.  The decoration of flowering shrubs in faience technique in the Aladža mosque was identical to that of the harem areas of the Topkapi serai and of the interior of the Rustem pasha mosque in Istanbul.

On the main facade of the mosque, beneath the portico to left and right of the windows, are two outstanding ornamental areas in the form of oriental prayer mats.  In fact, they represent painted mihrabs for worshippers to face when the mosque was closed or already packed with people.  The decoration and colours were best preserved in the upper sections(71). The decoration took the form of ample rectangular fields terminating at the top with semicircles.  The central area of the right-hand «mihrab» consisted of a smaller rectangular field with a light blue background to one of the central motifs in the form of a large pomegranate flower with stems and leaves with smaller flowers of wild roses and carnations branching out. The upper corners were filled with a design of stylized clouds, and the entire field was framed by two floral borders.  The inner, narrower border, with a red background, consisted of two wavy, crisscrossing vines bearing flowers identical to those on the sides of the mimber.  The outer, wider border, with a violet-black background, was densely painted with floral rumi designs(72) with much smaller flowers of carnation, tulip, pomegranate and rose. The wide semicircular area terminating the upper part of the decoration largely repeated the design of the carved decoration above the mihrab in the mosque.  The stems of the entire «mihrab» in the portico were painted with fine lines of black and ochre, and the flowers were white and blue, and the leaves were light green.

The left-hand side of the portico had a painted design similar to the «mihrab» on the right hand side.   The difference was in the central field, which was surrounded by a narrow and then a wider decorative border with sparser ornamentation.  The composition was edged with yet another narrow border (Andrejević, 1972, 47)

There were similar painted adornments above both windows in the portico, and all the rectangular windows in the interior of the mosque.  Here the central field with a dark red background was covered with bold floral designs, the components of which – grey-green stems, flowers, buds and leaves – spread out symmetrically from a larger flower in the centre.  The frontispiece of the pointed arch which matched this field was decorated with a design of triple vines with long, curved leaves.  The stems of the vine intertwined on a blue ground, and in the portico the arch terminated in stylized tulip buds.  Above this, in the upper corners of the rectangle framing the entire lunette, were similar designs on a greyish background. Their contours, like those of the other components of the design, were emphasized with dark, red and ocasionally white.

Inside the mosque the painted decoration formerly covered the calotte of the dome, the surfaces of the trompes and the spherical triangles above them(73). 

The finest part of the original wall decoration within the mosque was the lower part, painted with flamboyant rosettes and flowering shrubs.  On the wall surfaces between the windows, seven rosettes had survived, with diameters ranging from 0.36 to 0.85 m.  The rosettes were decorated with dense hataji(74) and rumi designs.  Unlike the rosettes, three flowering shrubs were painted on almond-shaped medallions with a dark grey background.  Here branches grew from a single root, with small leaves and numerous flowerets, between which were visible branches with long sword-shaped leaves and finely worked tulip flowers.

The turbe in which Ibrahimbeg, son of the founder of the mosque, was of the type of open, domed edifice of square ground plan, measuring 3.68 x 3.65 m, with a height to the cornice of 5.6 m and to the top of the dome of 7.15 m.  Four marble columns with moulded bases and capitals were set on a stone plinth about 30 cm in height, and joined by pointed arches of regularly shaped stone blocks, as was the stone wall above them, which terminated in a cornice.  The hexagonal drum on the cornice was topped by a shallow dome covered with ordinary sheet metal.  The pillars were linked by finely worked metal with doorframes on one side.  Inside was a stone sarcophagus with moulded terminal and two damaged nišan tombstones.  The turban was missing from the headstone, but the epitaph had survived. The tomb was made of regularly shaped limestone blocks, but the mortar in the joints had largely been washed out, and some of the stone had fallen away.

The šadrvan was located opposite the portal.  There was a finely decorated coupe in the centre of the simple circular basin made of stone slabs.  The upper edge was decorated with a border of incised rumi ornament like that on the lower part of the mimber.  Below the border was a row of moulded petals, gradually narrowing towards the base to form twisted fluting and terminating, as they merged into the pillar of the šadrvan, in a finely shaped ring.  According to earlier descriptions in historical works, the šadrvan was the third domed structure in the complex of the Aladža mosque, but all that remained of it in 1992 was the circular stone trough, with a diameter at the upper edge of about 2.96 m, and in the centre, on a cylindrical base of pinkish marble, there remained the fine circular coupe with a diameter of 74 m.  The height of the trough was 1.14m, and the upper edge of the couple was 48 cm above it.  The trough consisted of 22 segments of the basal circle, and the front and upper and lower sides of these segments terminated in a finely worked moulded cornice.  Twenty of the segments were of good quality fine-grained marble, and the two narrowest were made of concrete.   There was a steel ring around the trough to hold the structure together. It is not known when this was installed.  Two stone segments had split along their width from the structure and only the ring was holding them in place.  The joints between the segments were all detached.  The most serious problem was that pieces of stone had fallen away in the region of the upper and lower cornice. There was hardly a single piece of the upper cornice that had survived intact.  The cylindrical base on which the coupe stood was barely attached to the conical stone base, and most of the stone was falling away from it.   The stone base of the trough was flaking away and breaking up.  The coupe of the šadrvan had survived better, and because of its refined bas relief decoration of twisted tendrils forming petals at the top, and terminating with a band of rumi bas relief in stone, had probably been made of the best quality marble.  Four stone pipes were missing from it.

Around the trough of the šadrvan there were visible traces of the stone paving that merged around the trough into the surrounding gutter.  The most interesting feature was the remains of four stone feet in the form of prisms with holes on the upper side, made as if to hold the pillars.

Tomb of the founder of the Aladža mosque, Hasan Nazir

            Besides the tomb of the founder's son in the turbe of the mosque, the tomb of the founder himself, Hasan Nazir, was the oldest sarcophagus in the harem of the mosque. As noted on the nišan, Hasan Nazir died immediately after the construction of the mosque in 1533.  It was probably then that this tomb was erected for him, or perhaps the founder had made provision for it while the mosque was being built, which was also the custom at the time.  The dimensions of the sarcophagus were 2.47 x 1.04 m, and the height 1.09 m.  It was made of good quality marble. The upper and lower edges were moulded in a way that stylistically accorded with that of the trough of the šadrvan.  The headstone nišan survived intact until the 1950s, as evidenced by a photograph taken at that time by A. Bejtić, after which the turban fell off.  The body of the headstone nišan was squarish in section, 10 cm x 16 cm, and together with the moulded cone that formed the transition to the turban, was 112 cm in height.  The opening for the lower nišan was rectangular, and when it originated is not known.  The slab forming the lid had an aperture 90 cm x 56 cm, and the inside was filled with earth.  The sarcophagus was patched up here and there with concreete, and one end of the moulded slab had fallen away, while the longer front side had split.  The entire surface of the sarcophagus was «oxidized», and the head nišan was shaky and barely stood upright.

Older sarcophagi

            Another type of older tomb was of rectangular form, measuring some 220-230 cm x 85-95 cm, with a height of about 65-75 cm.  These tombs were made of regular blocks of tufa.  Two of them were topped with the same blocks, and the other two had better preserved parts of dressed topping slabs with profiled cornices.  The nišans had not survived, so it was not possible to date them precisely.  However, from the style of masonry, the use of tufa, and the mouldings on the terminal cornice, they were assumed to be the tombs of prominent people from the time after the construction of the Aladža mosque.   Tomb no. 8 was of particular interest, being, like the sarcophagus of Hasan Nazir, made of a single stone slab for each side.  Although in a ruinous state, some pieces that survive indicated the fine workmanship of the stone, also with mouldings at the corners and upper cornice.  The fourth leaning slab had a somewhat concave form and was probably part of some early structure re-used here.  The next type of older tomb was a rectangular stone tomb, which was practically simply edged with stone blocks (tombs 5 and 6 on the plan), where the upper nišans had turbans and the lower were flat, with a rounded stone slab on the top.  Some of them have remained without their nišans, as in the case of tomb 1, or have only one, as in tombs 5 and 6.

            Since the central area was packed with earth and overgrown with grass, and the height of the stone border was no more than about 30 cm, these tombs are barely discernible from the greenery that surrounds them.  Parts of the stone had fallen, some were out of true and their jointing had fallen away.

Nišan tombstones

The nišan tombstones belonging to the harem of the Aladža mosque can be divided into two groups, based on their location. The first group consists of about fifteen nišans that had been relocated from their original positions when the harem of the mosque was divided into a smaller area, the harem, and a larger, forming a town park(75), and lined up by the surrounding wall of the mosque harem on the side by the park.  The other group consisted of  nišans that were probably left "in situ”.

Drinking fountain

            This is in fact a projecting part of the wall facing A. Fetahagića street and surrounding the harem of the mosque. It is made of regularly shaped tufa blocks, slanting at the top towards the harem, without any coping.  On the inside, facing the harem, is an aperture into which the water flowed under the old mains water system of the Turkish period in Foča, of which there were several, collecting there and flowing through a lead pipe to the outside.  A similar system survived until quite recently at the Musluk fountain in Foča, but this too has now been altered.  At the top of the front wall of the fountain in the Aladža mosque a stone plaque was fitted with a tarih, which, as noted in the section on historical information, according to the translation by M. Mujezinović, gives details of the year and the benefactor.  The lower third of the fountain had been patched up with other pieces of laminate river stone, probably repaired.  The small trough in front of the fountain was not appropriate in either shape or size.  It was said of this that it was brought from elsewhere and installed there.  The tufa of which the fountain is made has largely been eroded, the eroded joints have fallen away, and the lower part of the fountain is dry-walled.

Harem, wall and entrance gate

The harem of the mosque is surrounded by a low stone wall facing A. Fetahagića street, but the stone wall facing O. Đikića street is in ruins.  There is an entrance gate in each wakk through which  the mosque complex may be entered from each of these streets.   As already noted, there is a drinking fountain built into the wall facing A.  Fetahagića street.  To the north-east, the harem is partly surrounded by an unbaked brick wall belonging to the courtyard and outhouses of the neighbouring house, and the continuation of the wall is stone built, separating the garden of this house from the harem of the mosque. To the north-west, facing the big park, was an improvised fence made of barbed wire, beside which the nišan tombstones had been simply «jammed» into the ground.

Entrance gates

            Both entrance gates were built of regularly cut tufa.  Gate no 1 was about 2.80 m high to the eaves, and gate no 2 was 3.16 m high.  Both gates had a polygonal coping, consisting of tiles on wooden rafters.  In the centre was an aperture which had shallow arches of the same cut stone on both the front and rear sides.  Inside was a passage with a ceiling of wooden beams.  The edging stones on the walls on the wider side formed a rectangular opening, and the upper sides of the walls terminated in a simply moulded cornice.  In form and structure, these entrance gates were typical of the spirit of the time when the mosque was built.  Both gates were in good condition, although both had small cracks on the inside of the tops of the arches, which extended through the arch and the wall.

            Gate 1 had a door made of wrought iron, and certainly dated from before 1920, as the oldest inhabitants in the mahala recalled(76).  Gate 2 was an ordinary wooden gate, level at the top, so that a lintel consisting of a substantial timber beam was added to fill the gap between this and the arch.  The door was painted with oil paint and was of the type associated with houses of the early 20th century.

Walls and surrounds

            Although two sides of the surrounding walls of the harem were improvised and of recent date, the other, older two were of interest for research purposes.  Within these it was possible to discern various different parts.  The parts of the wall right by the drinking fountain were made of pieces of tufa-like limestone, with prominent pointing of lime mortar, giving the appearance of a compact monolithic entity. The other parts, for example those by the entrance gate and facing O. Đikića street, were of rather more regular pieces of stone with very little mortar, almost dry-walling.  Here, even at first glance, a great deal of spoil was visible.  During research works on these parts some of this spoil was removed from the walls and foundations and removed.  Numerous pieces of nišans were found, but also other pieces reminiscent of the stone bases of pillars and other architectural fragments.  The whole length of the wall was covered with a coping of pieces of tufa slanting from the top like a gable roof in miniature.

            The style of masonry and the existence of spoil in these parts suggest that they were of more recent date than the short sections by the fountain.  There is no doubt, however, that this wall already existed when the first professional survey of the complex was conducted by experts from the National Museum in Sarajevo in 1891, when there was already an improvised wooden fence on the side by the park.  It may be assumed that when the first major utilities works were carried out, during the Austro-Hungarian period, many of the nišans around the Aladža mosque, particularly in the park area, were damaged and then built into the repaired wall.  The few that have survived «in situ» to this day also suggest such a view.


3. Legal status to date

By Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of NR Bosne i Hercegovine, no 1305/50, of 09.10.1950, the property was placed under state protection. 

Twelve years later, by Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of the People's Republic of BiH no. 02-727-3, of 18.04.1962, the Aladža mosque in Foča with its associated buildings of the turbe of Ibrahim son of the founder of the mosque, the surrounding burial ground and the tombstone of the founder Hasana Nazira, the šadrvan and fountain in the wall of the mosque courtyard, were placed under state protection.

The Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina of 1980 listed the property as a Category I cultural and historical property.

The property is on the Provisional List  of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina under serial no. 211 and the heading Site of the Aladža mosque with burial ground.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

The earliest known documentary evidence of repairs to the complex of the Aladža mosque is the tarih(77) above the drinking fountain, which in translation reads:

”All praise to the Truth, and blessings on his Messenger,

With the finest words we recall the ashab (comrades of the Prophet).

This building was not formerly on this site

And by God's decree this good work was erected,

And installed at the same time as the appealing šadrvan was renovated

May it be a lasting memento of the benefactor Hajji Selim.

Sabrija, make a fine chronogram:

After reckoning the date, be eternally grateful to the Truth for this attractive building.

Year 1289.” (1872/73)

            This tells us that in 1872/73 the drinking fountain was installed in the surrounding wall, and it may be assumed that the roof of the šadrvan, visible on photographs taken in the early 20th century, was also the result of interventions in 1872/73(78).

            The architect Professor Redžić Husref published an article entitled Studies of the Islamic Architectural Heritage in which he gives an overview of the conservation works carried out to the end of 1965 by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of the National Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina: «Like all our domed mosques, the Aladža too had a timber ring of beams below the dome in the drum, structurally designed to bear the forces created in the dome.  This timber ring in the drum of the Aladža rotted as time passed, and the forces thus liberated split the dome from its summit to the top of the windows on th4e south-east side of the drum.  The effect of these forces was also to split the entire south-east wall of the body of the mosque.  The vertical crack ran from the top of the dome on the south-east side, split the cornice of the drum, and the window of the drum and top window of the body of the mosque and all the way down to below the second row of windows of the mosque.

            There is no doubt that the split in the dome also enabled water to penetrate the copper cladding in the joints of the dome.

            There was a danger that the continued effect of the angled forces and water would have caused the dome to collapse.  Rescue work was urgent.

            The conservation project provided for:

a.      the structural repair of the dome, drum and south-east wall of the mosque

b.      the cladding of the main dome and the three domes on the portico

c.       installing drainage around the mosque

d.      stripping the plaster from all the walls

            In the conservation project, taking the angular forces arising in the dome and liable to split the walls of the drum and the mosque itself was provided for by building in a reinforced concrete ring beam, at the base of the dome, at the top of the drum.  This ring beam was concreted and concealed externally by tufa slabs, the size of which perfectly matched the blocks removed to make room for the ring beam.  After the concreting of the ring beam, the dome was injected with cement mortar, some of the blocks were replaced along with part of the moulded cornice of the drum, and the crack in the south-east wall of the mosque was injected and remade.

            This structural intervention meant that the monument was made good for the long term, and there was no likelihood of future cracks appearing on the drum and mosque walls, particularly since it was clear to see that the settlement of the foundations had been perfectly level, without any distortions.

            The copper cladding of the main dome was damaged, and had been inexpertly laid in places, so the project provided for all these areas of the cladding to be replaced.

            The cladding of the small domes of the portico had deteriorated and had to be completely replaced.

            There was no visible paving around the mosque to protect it from rainfall.  There was thus a risk that the soil around the foundations becoming damp and causing them to settle, with all the adverse effects that implies.  The project provided for paving to be laid around the entire building and for drainage to be built in.

            During the works, the original cobbled guttering was discovered under a thin layer of soil, together with the channel that led water away from the mosque.  With minor repairs to this original drainage system, the new drainage project  became redundant.

            The stripping of mortar from various parts of the facade of the mosque revealed that the entire building was made of regular cut blocks of tufa.

            The plastered facades had greatly diminished the value of the architectural expression of the monument.  There was no doubt that the original mosque had not been plastered, for it if had, the tufa used for the masonry would not have been cut into such regular blocks.  The stripping of the plaster from all the exterior surfaces, other than the south-east wall of the portico where the richly coloured decorative features contemporary with the actual building of the Aladža mosque had survived, along with numerous signatures of visitors to the Aladža, including that of Evliya Çelebi, restored its original value to the exterior appearance of the mosque.

            Architect Rosić Nedeljko, who was directly in charge of the conservation works, rebuilding of walls and paving, procured tufa from the quarry near the village of Vikoč, some 30 km upstream on the Čehotina, and limestone from Miljevina, with which the mosque was built, for the flooring slabs.

            During the works, lightning struck and cracked apart the minaret above the šerefe and knocked down the minaret roof.  An entirely new roof was applied, using only the old cladding, the masonry section was partly rebuilt and injected.  This also enabled the installation of a complete lightning conductor system.

            As well as the mosque, the drinking fountain in the stone wall of the mosque was also conserved.

            All these works meant that the monument itself was architecturally conserved.  However, they did not include making good the entire ensemble constituting the monument and its surroundings.  When the works are continued, it is vital that the old tombs, of which there are about 20, be conserved, and that new ones completely out of character with the site be removed.  The tomb of Hasan Nazir, the founder of the mosque, should be restored to its original condition, as should the turbe of his son Ibrahim-beg, whom his father buried in the turbe built for himself.»


            Between 1980 and 1990, with the coordination and co-funding of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH, the Committee of the Islamic Community of Foča and the Assembly of Foča Municipality carried out the following works within the complex of the Aladža mosque(79) :

  • the entire infrastructural fittings of the complex were installed: electricity, mains water and drainage, the addition of new electric power sockets  needed for lighting and heating;
  • the installation of a lightning conductor as required by the regulations;
  • the making good of the paved paths and roads in the harem; during research work the Turkish cobbling was discovered some 0.50 m. below the soil level within the complex, which was raised to ground level and completed where parts were missing using the identical type of stone; 2 cobbled areas on both sides of the entrance paving were cleard, repaired and made good by replacing missing pieces; the access to the building and the two sofas of the portico were conserved, and broken or missing stone blocks were replaced and made good with the same type of tufa limestone;
  • the wall around the harem was carefully taken down, all the spoil from earlier sources was separated, sorted and studied, and the walls were repaired;
  • the stone sections of the entrance gates were made good, the coping repaired, the old tiles replaced by tiles reclaimed from an old building that had been demolished, and on gate 2 the metal gate was reinforced and on gate 1 a new wooden gate was installed;
  • the old drinking fountain was taken down and studied, the position of the original trough was ascertained, the trough was reconstructed, the chronogram built into its original position, water and drainage pipes were installed and the stone pipe was set in place;
  • the turbe was carefully made good, shifted sections reinforced, the cornice was restored, the base of the pillars was reinforced and the balustrade was repaired;
  • the tomb of Hasan Nazir was made good, the old tomb cleared of soil, cleaned and repaired;
  • the nišan tombstones that had been lined up on the northern boundary of the plot by the park were relocated to the north-west corner of the plot;
  • the green areas were landscaped, grass was sown, and steps were taken to ensure that the grass was regularly cleared and mown;
  • the covering of the šadrvan was reconstructed to the Institute's design;
  • the copper sheeting was replaced on all the surfaces other than the main dome, where the sheet metal joints were repaired, the alem on the main dome was reconstructed, guttering and down pipes were installed, electricity was installed with underground cabling, and a replica of the original candelabra was made;
  • the timber components of the windows and doors were chemically treated, and minor restoration-conservation works were carried out on the stone mouldings of the mahfil;
  • preparatory works for a new stage of restoration works on the paintings were carried out;
  • exterior lighting was installed according to the design project for lighting up the building

5. Current condition of the property

In 1992 the complex of the Aladža mosque in Foča was dynamited and totally destroyed, along with its associated buildings of the turbe of Ibrahim, son of the founder of the mosque, the burial grounds to the east, south and west of the mosque, and the tombstone of the founder, Hasan Nazir, the šadrvan and fountain in the wall of the courtyard, the stone wall on the south-east, most of the stone wall on the south-west, the south and west entrance gates, and all the remains were taken by lorry and dumped in the bed of the river Drina.

Part of the nišan tombstone to the north-west, on the very edge of the plot c.p. no. 1915, c.m. Foča, survived, as did the foundations of the mosque and the šadrvan.  The site of the mosque complex has not been surrounded by a proper fence, nor have the remains of the mosque been protected from further deterioration, while in Osmana Đikića street, right beside the mosque by the south-east boundary of the plot on which the mosque complex stood, there is a rubbish dump.

In July 2004, at the request of the Federal Missing Persons Commission, an on site inspection was conducted of possible sites of mass graves close to the iron bridge over the Drina in Foča, where fragments of a religious building were found during the search for the bodies of those killed, and the following was ascertained:

  • stone and wooden fragments were found on a site assumed to be a mass grave of Bosniacs who had been held in Foča prison before being killed;
  • fragments were found on two sites in all;
  • the first site (L1) is 200 metres to the south of the iron bridge over the river Drina;
  • the entire site is covered with a thick layerof soil, rubble and waste, and occupies an area of approx. 800 m2,
  • the fragments found are parts of the portico – moulded string courses and parts of pillars – and belong to the Aladža mosque, which was the only mosque in Foča with stone pillars,
  • other fragments can be made out just below surface level, on the slope down to the river Drina,
  • according to Commission representatives, many of the fragments are buried under soil south-southeast of the site where the fragments already discovered were found,
  • the second site (L2) is 300 metres north of the iron bridge over the Drina, about 500 metres from location (L1),
  • during the search for bodies, a number of trenches were dug, in each of which large quantities of stone and timber (tie beam) elements were found,
  • the fragments are at a depth of approx. 7 metres and are buried under large quantities of soil, medical waste (from the nearby hospital), plastic bags and other types of waste,
  • on the basis of the fragments found (parts of a mihrab and entrance portal), and judging from the type of decoration, quality of workmanship, and type and quality of painted layers, they may with certainty be identified as remains of the Aladža mosque,
  • since the mosque was destroyed by explosives and was not set on fire, there are no traces of fire on the wooden fragments to be seen on site,
  • a large number of fragments of the minaret were also observed – the šerefe, rings and balustrade,
  • other fragments are buried over an area of approx. 1000 m2; as a result of the high water level of the Drina, it was not possible to inspect the part of location L2 closest to the river, where there are also some fragments.

According to a representative of the Federal Missing Persons Commission, Mr Sejo Koso, a number of fragments identified as belonging to the Aladža mosque were found during excavations of the first site in 2001.  Some of these fragments with decorations were then taken to Visoko and housed in the ground of the Visoko Town Cemetery, and then, at the request of the state authorities, transferred to the Bosniac Institute in Sarajevo for further safekeeping(80). The Federal Missing Persons Commission also found a electricity meter among the fragments of the mosque; the number of this meter was identified as that of the one in the Aladža mosque.



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. i. quality of workmanship

C.ii. quality of materials

C.iii. proportions

C.iv. composition

C. v. value of details

C.vi. value of construction

D. Clarity

D.iii. work of a major artist or builder

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

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

H. Rarity and representativity

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

H.iii. work of a prominent artist, architect or craftsman



            During the procedure to designate the site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Aladža (Hasan Nazir) mosque in Foča as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:                             


1925     Jeremić, Risto: Has Hoča, Jnl of the Geographical Society, Vol 11, Belgrade, 1925


1956-57  Bejtić, Alija: Bosanski namjesnik Mehmed paša Kukavica i njegove zadužbine u Bosni (1752-1756 i 1757-1760),(The Bosnian governor Mehmed pasha Kukavica and his endowments in Bosnia 1752-1756 and 1757-1760) Contributions to oriental philology, Sarajevo, 1956-1957,  no VI-VII


1957     Bejtić, Alija: Povijest i umjetnost Foče na Drini, (History and art of Foča on the Drina) Naše starine, Annual of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of N.R. Bosne i Hercegovine, IV, Sarajevo, 1957


1957     Mujezinović, Mehmed, Autogram Evlije Čelebije u trijemu džamije Aladže u Foči,(Autogram of Evliya Çelebi on the portico of the Aladža mosque in Foča) Naše starine, Annual of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of N.R. Bosne i Hercegovine, IV, Sarajevo, 1957


1960     Kajmaković, Zdravko: Konzervatorsko-restauratorski radovi na ornamentima Aladža džamije u Foči, (Conservation and restoration works on the ornaments of the Aladža mosque in Foča) Naše starine, Annual of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of N.R. Bosne i Hercegovine, VII, Sarajevo, 1960


1963     Anđelić, Pavao: Trgovište, varoš i grad u srednjevekovnoj Bosni, (Market, town and fort in mediaeval Bosnia) Jnl of the National Museum, archaeology, Sarajevo, 1963,


1972     Andrejević, Andrej: Aladža džamija u Foči, Belgrade, 1972


1974     Architectural blueprints of the mosque (ground plan and section), Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of BiH, Sarajevo, Architectural studio, June 1974


1978     Kovačević – Kojić, Desanka: Gradska naselja srednjovjekovne bosanske države, (Urban settlements of the mediaeval Bosnian state) Sarajevo, 1978


1982     Vego, Marko: Postanak srednjovjekovne bosanske države, (Origins of the mediaeval Bosnian state) Sarajevo, 1982


1983     Redžić, Husref: Studije o islamskoj arhitektonskoj baštini (Studies on the Islamic architectural heritage), Cultural Heritage Series,  Sarajevo,  1983


1983     Academician Prof. Husref Redžić, Docent Mr Nedžad Kurto, Ferid Isanović: Program revitalizacije i regeneracije istorijskog područja grada Foče. Urbanističko-arhitektonsko rješenje zone Prijeke čaršije,  (Programme for the revitalization and regeneration of the historic area of the town of Foča), Assembly of Foča Municipality, Foča, 1983


1997     Muftić, Faruk: Foča: 1470-1996, Sarajevo, 1997


1998     Mujezinović, Mehmed: Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, Knjiga 2, Istočna i centralna Bosna, (Islamic epigraphics of BiH, Bk 2, Eastern and central  Bosnia) 3rd ed., Sarajevo, 1998


1998     Tucaković, Šemso: Aladža džamija-ubijeni monument (Aladža mosque, a murdered monument), Sarajevo, 1998


2001     Domović, Želimir: Rječnik stranih riječi (Dictionary of Foreign Words), Belgrade, 2001


2003     Simić, Alma, Aladža džamija u Foči, Zaštita i obnova u kontekstu urbane jezgre, (Aladža mosque in Foča, protection and renovation in the context of the urban centre) master’s dissertation, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Architecture, postgraduate study of the Architectural Heritage, Zagreb, 2003


2003     Zlatar, Behija, Utjecaj primorskih majstora na izgradnju nekih objekata u BiH u osmansko doba, (Influence of  coastal master craftsmen on the construction of certain buildings in BiH in the Ottoman  period) Znakovi vremena - no 20, summer 2003..


(1) Taken from available documentation:

Copy of cadastral plan, R=1:1000, cadastral municipality Foča, plan no. 16, issued on 31.03.2004 by the Authority for Geodetics and Property Rights Issues of Republika Srpska, Foča/Srbinje branch, and

Extract from title register, title no.  1426, issued on 31.03.2004 by the Authority for Geodetics and Property Rights Issues of Republika Srpska, Foča/Srbinje branch.

(2) The earliest reference to Hoča as a market place (mercatum) dates from 1366. Dubrovnik sources refer to a merchant, Nikola Prodešić from Drina, while the Turks, following their conquest of eastern Bosnia, called the Foča kadiluk the Drina kadiluk. (Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: Gradska naselja srednjovjekovne bosanske države, Sarajevo, 1978, p.42).  Given that this document refers to Foča as a major mercantile site, it may be assumed that it was much older, dating to the distant past.

                “On p. 40 of his Handelsstrassen, Jireček notes that a report of the travels of the Dubrovnik envoy Herceg refers to Hoča on 19 December 1451.   The name Drina and neighbouring Pivljani, Drobljani and the region from Gacka to Dubrovnik was called the lower Drina valley.  It appears that the region bore this name in the mediaeval period too: a Dubrovnik record dated 3 June 1367 refers to Brajanus Osrich de Drina, Mon. reg. IV, 94-Zlaća u Drinče, Mikl. Mon. Serb. 544” (Jeremić, Risto: Has Hoča, Jnl of the Geographical Society, Vol 11, Belgrade, 1925, p. 94)

(3) This mediaeval road was also known by various other names: Via Ragusa, Via Ragusina, Via Drina or Via Bosna

(4)  A defter dating from 1519 includes the earliest reference to the mediaeval name Hoče by the name Foča (Redžić, Husref: Studije o islamskoj arhitektonskoj baštini, Sarajevo,  1983, p.324)

(5) The market place was part of the mediaeval settlement in which merchants and artisans had their shops and workshops, along with a large open space for the weekly fair. (Anđelić, Pavao: Trgovište, varoš i grad u srednjevkekovnoj Bosni, Jnl of the National Museum, archaeology, Sarajevo, 1963, p. 181)

(6) Redžić, Husref: 1983, pp. 317-343

(7) Stjepan herceg - Stjepan Vukčić Kosača, duke of Hum land, is referred to in a charter of the German Emperor Friedrich III as Herzog (German for duke). This title gave rise to the name Herzegovina.

(8) A tribal family from the village of Kosače near Foča; “…The members, houses, clans of the Kosača tribe never gave up their holdings in the Drina district, particularly in the župa (county) of Osanici where the village of  Kosače, the birth place of all the Kosača, was located…”(Vego, Marko: Postanak srednjovjekovne bosanske države, Sarajevo, 1982, p.54)

(9) Members of the Nartičić were particularly successful as merchants. Documents dating from 1366 in the Historical Archives of Dubrovnik refer to the brothers Nartičić, Mirko Nartičić, and the brothers Sorčić.  Other traders referred to (with details concerning their name, indebtedness and term of debt) are: Radič Miomanović with debts from 1440-1448 of 801 ducats 57 perpera; Radoje Dubijević, 1420-1435, 686 ducats and 1.225 perpera; Milj Božićković, 1433-1440, 620 ducats and 408 perpera; Radivoj Crijepović, 1430-1422, 499 ducats and 217 perpera; Tvrdiša Mirušković, 1426-1438, 482 ducats and 216 perpera; Milut Tvrdisavić, 1441-1448, 342 ducats; Radoslav Pribičević, 1431-1440, 273 ducats; Vukoslav Novaković, known as Pupelja, 1426-1435, 229 ducats and 160 perpera; Radoje Dubijević, 1420-1435, 686 ducats and 1.225 perpera; Radeta Crijepović, 1420-1445, 226 ducats and 514 perpera; Brajan Brateljević, 1432-1435, 195 ducats; Cvjetko Stanisalić, 1445, 181 ducats; Radonja Ljubinović, 1426-1435, 176 ducats 240 perpera; Vuketa Bogdanović, 1442-1449, 165 ducats; Božidar Radmilović, 1441-1446, 148 ducats and 26 perpera; Miroslav Prodašić, 1401-1402, 131 ducats and 54 perpera; Stojislav Prodašić, 1401-1402, 131 ducats and 54 perpera; Radonja Grasac, 1430-1442, 122 ducats and 72 perpera; Tvrdiša Stojanović, 1427-1430, 121 ducats and 2 perpera; Radivoj Brajaković, 1432-1441, 112 ducats and 2 perpera (Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: Gradska naselja srednjovjekovne bosanske države, Cultural Heritage Series, Sarajevo, 1978, pp. 43-44, 174-175) .

(10) by way of comparison, in the same period there were 44 merchants in Goražde, 35 in Cernica, 11 in Višegrad, 13 in Tjentišto, 7 in Borač and 3 in Ustokolina (Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: 1978, p.108)

(11) Details of total indebtedness of merchants from eastern Bosnia to Dubrovnik merchants from 1400 to 1463:   Goražde 4.735 ducats and 2.052 perpera, Cernica 903 ducats and 4.183 perpera, Višegrad 1.019 ducats and 45 perpera, Tjentište 918 ducats and 489 perpera, Borač 86 ducats and 307 perpera and Ustikolina 97 ducats and 176 perpera (Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: 1978, pp.108, 168-173).

(12) In 1366, Obrad Nartičić and his sons Radoslav and Obrad entered into debt to Dubrovnik merchants (Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: 1978, p.177).

(13) In the mediaeval period, trade in the Balkans was based on credit, and Dubrovnik was a major centre of credit-based trade in the Balkans (Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: 1978, p.167).

(14) Large quantities of cloth were imported in particular to Visoko, Foča and Goražde. Merchants from Foča purchased fabric from Mantua (Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: 1978, pp.193-194).

(15) Between 1422 and 1448, 95 merchants from Dubrovnik spent time in Foča, 22 of them more than once.  It should also be noted that there was a colony of Dubrovnik merchants only in Foča, but that individuals could be found in Borač, and rarely in Goražde and Višegrad.

(16) Goldsmiths from Dubrovnik worked in all the better-known towns of mediaeval Bosnia (Prača, Foča, Kreševo and Goražde) (Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: 1978, p.202).

(17) Obrad Nartičić’s capital between 1396 and 1404 reached a level of 1.117 ducats and 88 groschen (Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: 1978, p.177)

(18) in 1394 Radoslav Sorčić was said to be from Ustikolina, and in 1396 he was recorded as a merchant from Foča (Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: 1978, p.188).

(19) Vukosav Novaković of Goražde had a guarantor from Foča, and Radoslav Veseoković of Foča had one from Cernica. Vučeta Bogavčić of Foča joined forces with a merchant from Tjentište, and Vuk Baličević of Foča did business jointly with Radič Milobratović of Cernica (Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: 1978, p.189).

(20) Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: 1978, p.216

       Andrejević, Andrej: Aladža džamija u Foči, Belgrade, 1972, pp.19-21

(21) The Turks took Foča in 1465.. (Redžić, Husref: 1983, p.325)

(22) Data on the changing population structure of Hoča and the urban transformation of the settlement are provided by the Ottoman defters or population censuses:

  • Defter of the Bosnian sandžak 1468/69
  • Defter of the Herzegovina sandžak 1477
  • Defter of the Herzegovina sandžak 1519
  • Defter of the Herzegovina sandžak 1585
  • Defter of the Vakuf of Ismail-Čelebija in Foča 1664
  • Census of Has Foča 1468/69 (published by Ćiro Truhelka and Risto Jeremić) Redžić, Husref: Studije o islamskoj arhitektonskoj baštini, Sarajevo, 1983, p. 322

(23) The Herzegovina sandžak, with  Foča as its seat until 1575, was separated from the Bosnian  sandžak in 1470. In 1575 the seat of the Herzegovina sandžak was transferred to Pljevlja/Taslidža, with intervals from 1522 to 1530 and 1533, when the seat of the Herzegovina sandžak was in Mostar (Redžić, Husref: 1983, p.322)

(24) The first mahala was that of Hamza-beg (Ortakolo), built as the oldest mahala in the second half of the 15th century in the mediaeval centre of Hoča on a site north of Pazarište; the second was the Fatima-sultan mahala, founded in the late 15th century west of Ortakolo hard by the right bank of the Drina; the third was the Mustafa-paša mahala which took shape at the end of the 15the century on the right bank of the Ćehotina; the fourth was the Careva or imperial mahala, which originates from 1501, on a side south of Pazarište; the fifth was the Džafer-beg mahala founded in the fifth decade of the 16th century by the confluence of the Ćehotina and the  Drina, and the sixth was the Hasan Nazir (Aladža) mahala, built in the mid 16th century south-east of the Mustafa-paša mahale, on the right bank of the Ćehotina (Redžić, Husref: Studije o islamskoj arhitektonskoj baštini, Cultural Heritage Series,  Sarajevo,  1983, p.326).

(25) during the period of Turkish rule in this part of the world, this was the smallest spatial and organizational unit: a residential quarter which must have a mosque, a bakery, a drinking fountain and at least 30-40 households (houses)

(26)  aladža tur.multicoloured, (Klaić, Bratoljub: Rječnik stranih riječi, Zagreb, 1962, p.47)

The earliest surviving reference to this mosque as the “aladža” or multicoloured mosque is in a document dating from 1588, when one Ali Čelebija is referred to as hatib of the Aladža mosque in u Foča (Bejtić, Alija: Aladža džamija u Foči, El-Hidaje, VII, 1943, p.71)              

(27) Mujezinović: 1998, pp. 37-38

(28) Andrejević, Andrej: Aladža džamija u Foči, Belgrade, 1972, p.30

(29) The year 957 AH, when the mosque was completed, is not inscribed in numerals but in the numeric values of the letters of the sentence: “Ja kajumu tekebel bikabulin hasenin”, which collectively amount to exactly 957 (1550/1551). Source: Mujezinović: 1998, p. 38

(30) The name Balija, which Hasan Nazir added, along with his name and function, in a letter sent to the people of Dubrovnik, designates, according to some scholars (J.Dedijer, Hercegovina, Serbian Ethnographic Papers XII, Belgrade, 1909, pp. 49, 115, 174; A. Škaljić, Turcizmi u srpskohvatskom jeziku, Sarajevo, 1966, [.118) the Muslim ethnic group which settled in the area around Podveležje and Gabela, linking Hasan Nazir’s lineage with that part of Herzegovina (Andrejević, Andrej: Aladža džamija u Foči, Belgrade, 1972, p.26)

(31) Mujezinović: 1998, p. 41

(32) As we see, this inscription names Sinan as Hasan Nazir’s father, while in the chronogram of his mosque he is described as the son of Jusuf.   This should not lead to confusion, however, since we know that the Turks frequently gave people the name Jusuf and the second name of Sinanudin, or Sinan for short.  As a result, Hasan Nazir, Sinan’s son, is identical with Hasan, Jusuf’s son (Mujezinović: 1998, p. 43)

(33) In 1939 M. Handžić found a transcript of a manuscript of the second part of Ebul-Lejs Samarkandi’s Commentary on the Qur’an in the Gazi Husrevbeg library in Sarajevo.  This records the endowment of the founder of the Aladža mosque between 1 and 10 July 1535 in Foča  The transcript of the m/s was the work of Husejin b. Kasim b. Hasan in Karaman in 1432. (H.M.Handžić, Osnivač najljepše džamije u Bosni i Hercegovini, “Jugoslovenski list”, no.96, 23.04.1939, p.10; K.Dobrača, Katalog arapskih, turskih i persijskih rukopisa Gazi Husrevbegove biblioteke u Sarajevu, vol. I, Sarajevo, 1963, 129-130)

(34) Truhelka,Ćiro, Tursko-slovjenski spomenici Dubrovačke arhive, Sarajevo, 1911, p.161

(35) Andrejević, Andrej: Aladža džamija u Foči, Belgrade, 1972, p.23

(36) Andrejević, Andrej: Aladža džamija u Foči, Belgrade, 1972, p.23

(37) ….from a decision of the Senate of 14.04.1544 we learn that permission was granted to “the čauš of the Porte, Nazor Hasan Balija and emin Ledenice to take their goods from the city without paying customs duty”.

                October 1544. Hasan Nezir stayed in Dubrovnik at government expense;

                April 1545, the Senate approved “with the charge of Hasan Balija that he be given what he requested”;

                Based on minutes of the Senate, it may be assumed that in March 1546 the founder of the Aladža mosque resolved a dispute in Gabela, for it issued a decision enabling “two kadis, one of which is the sklav of the Porte Hasan Balija, to conduct an investigation into goods with the people of Gabela”;

                In late 1546, the Senate gave permission for free trade in Dubrovnik to Hasan Nazir, his emin and company (all the details in this footnote derive from documentation and official acts of the Senate and date from the fifth decade of the 16th century. Historical archives in Dubrovnik: (HAD, Cons. Rog. XLVI, 337; HAD, Detta 1 (1543-1549) 63’ (13.10.1544); Cons. Rog. XLVII, 52 (16.12.1544.); ibid, 92 (04.04.1545.); ibid, 184 (04.03.1546.); ibid, 268’ (23.12.1546.) )         

(38) The finest and most important edifices of Islamic architecture in Bosnia date from the 16th century , at a time when famous builders such as Mimar Sinan,, Adžem Esir Alija, Hajrudin and others worked here or buildings were erected from their plans. Skilled Dubrovnik master craftsmen also worked on their buildings: stone masons, stone cutters, masons, carpenters, master-craftsmen in the art of vaulting, smiths, glass-blowers (A.Bejtić, Spomenici osmanlijske arhitekture u Bosni I Hercegovini, Contributions to Oriental Philology, (POF), III-IV, Sarajevo 1952, p. 240)

                Under the guidance of experienced Ottoman builders, they gradually gained experience and began to work independently on even the more complex structures. Evidence of their having mastered the building techniques of Ottoman buildings can be seen in the Mehmed-paša Sokolović bridge near Trebinje (better known as the Arslanagić bridge), on which twelve Dubrovnik masons worked in June 1568, but which shows no particular signs of western Dubrovnik constrution.  Some art historians are inclined to the view that there are few bridges in Bosnia and Herzegovina that can compare with it in its imaginative form. In Dubrovnik sources, the bridge is referred to as “an endowed monument erected to his own fame by the enlightened gentlemen Mehmed-paša» (R.Samardžić, Mehmed Sokolović, Belgrade 1975, p. 368)

                There is considerable detail in the Dubrovnik books indicating that master craftsmen from the coastal region worked on buildings in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  This information also indicates that Italian craftsmen worked here, mainly on bridge-bulding.   The Dubrovnik council decided on 28 September 1482 that Jahja-beg «qui est sanzachus in Vechbossania» be given the glass which the municipality had in store (Ć.Truhelka, Tursko-slovjenski spomenici dubrovačke arhive, Sarajevo 1911, p. 203)

                At the request of the Bosnian sandžak-beg Firuz-beg on 11 May 1509, the people of Dubrovnik decided to send him two masons and four other master craftsmen (magistri conore) to build his hamam which he had begun to build in Baščaršija (V.Skarić, Sarajevo i njegova okolina od najstarijih vremena do austro-ugarske okupacije, Sarajevo 1937. p. 46)

                The craftsmen of Dubrovnik also demonstrated their skill in building monumental edifices in the famous Begova mosque, endowed by Sarajevo’s greatest vakif, Gazi Husrev-beg.  As soon as he was appointed to the post of governor of Bosnia, on 27 September 1521 the people of Dubrovnik appointed an envoy to make the usual gifts to the new sandžak-beg, whom they already knew.   His mother was the Sultana, daughter of Bayezit II, and his father Ferhad-beg, their neighbour, born in Herzegovina, with whom the people of Dubrovnik already had good relations and with whom they corresponded. In July 1529 the Dubrovnik government sent “five stone masons and one blacksmith” to Bosnia to work on Gazi Husrev-beg’s endowments, on 21 March 1530 “the carpenter he had asked for”, and in May 1531 the government sent master-craftsman Laurence, a glass-maker, at his request (T. Popović, Dubrovnik i Turska u XVI veku, Belgrade 1973, p. 161)

                Certain features of the finest Sarajevo mosque erected by the Grand Vizier, beglerbeg of Budim and Bosnian sandžak-beg Bošnjak Gazi Ali-paša in about 1557, as well as the technique of using small blocks for the central part of the masonry, the thickness of the walls, and the height of the stone sofas 55 cm above ground level, indicate the involvement of coastal master-craftsmen in its erection (A.Andrejević, Islamska monumentalna umetnost XVI veka u Jugoslaviji, Belgrade 1984., p. 50)              

(39) It was the custom to build alongside a mosque that was to be erected an imaret building used by the workers and master-craftsmen while the mosque itself was being built (Andrejević, Andrej: Aladža džamija u Foči, Belgrade, 1972, p.60)

(40) research by Mr. Faruk Muftić; according to land registry documents of the vakuf directorate in Sarajevo, registry entries 122, 123, 424, 425, 426, 427, 428 and 128, cadastral municipality. Završ, of 27.08.1911, 731 dunums and 270 sq.m. of land were endowed for the benefit of the Hasan Nazir mosque vakuf in Foča.

(41) Andrejević, Andrej: Aladža džamija u Foči, Belgrade, 1972, p.26

(42) (T. Popović, Upravna organizacija Hercegovačkog sandžak u XVI veku, Contributions to Oriental Philology XII-XIII, Sarajevo, 1965, pp.97-98).

(43) Matković, P., Putovanja po Balkanskom poluotoku u XVI vieku, JAZU paper, CXXIV, Zagreb, 1895, p.64

(44) Simić, Alma, Aladža džamija u Foči, Zaštita i obnova u kontekstu urbane jezgre, master’s dissertation, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Architecture, postgraduate study of the Architectural Heritage, Zagreb, 2003, p.27

(45) Bejtić, Alija, Aladža džamija u Foči, El-Hidaje, VII, 1943, p.71

(46) (Kajmaković, Zdravko: Konzervatorsko-restauratorski radovi na ornamentima Aladža džamije u Foči, Naše starine, Annual of the National Institute for the Protection of  Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of  N.R. Bosne i Hercegovine, VII, Sarajevo, 1960, p.114)

(47) Andrejević, Andrej: Aladža džamija u Foči, Belgrade, 1972, p.65

(48) Redžić, Husref: Studije o islamskoj arhitektonskoj baštini, Cultural Heritage Series, Sarajevo, 1983, pp.209-210; Andrejević, Andrej: Aladža džamija u Foči, Belgrade, 1972, p.53

(49) M.Zarzycki, E.Arndt, Đ Stratimirović, Aladža džamija u Foči, Jnl of the National Museum II, Sarajevo, 1891, 103-115

(50)  Zarzycki deciphered the date of the inscription, but not its author. Evliya Çelebi was still at that time an “undiscovered” travel writer.  It was only in 1896, in Uskudar, that the first complete manuscript of Evliya’s work was discovered. Nor did Alija Bejtić refer to Çelebi in his 1956 work Povijest i umjetnost Foče na Drini, because in 1956 the inscription was still covered by layers of plaster (Mujezinović, Mehmed, Autogram Evlije Čelebije u trijemu džamije Aladže u Foči, Naše starine, Annual of the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and National Rarities of the Peoples’ Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, IV, Sarajevo, 1957,  p.291)

(51) (Mujezinović, Mehmed, Autogram Evlije Čelebije u trijemu džamije Aladže u Foči, Naše starine, Annual of the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and National Rarities of the Peoples’ Republic of Bosnia and Herzeg, IV, Sarajevo, 1957,  pp.293-292)

(52) The tarih was incised on a stone plaque measuring 52 x 55 cm, built in above the drinking fountain in the courtyard wall of the Aladža mosque. The inscription itself was in Turkish, using ordinary tali script, and the text was damaged in places (Mujezinović: 1998, pp. 44-45).

(53) Kajmaković, Zdravko: Konzervatorsko-restauratorski radovi na ornamentima Aladža džamije u Foči, Naše starine, Annual of the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of N.R. Bosnia and Herzegovina, VII, Sarajevo, 1960, p.117; Andrejević, Andrej: Aladža džamija u Foči, Belgrade, 1972, p.48

(54) Andrejević, Andrej: Aladža džamija u Foči, Belgrade, 1972, p.65

(55) Simić: 2003, p.29

(56) Andrejević:1972, p.65

(57) trompes are funnel-shaped arched niches above the corners of a square base (Werner Mueller, Gunther Vogel: Atlas arhitekture, bk 1, Zagreb, 2000, pp. 48-49)

(58) these spherical triangles are reminiscent in form of Byzantine pendentives (Andrejević:1972, p.34)

(59) Andrejević:1972, p.35

(60) E. Neufert, Pravila građevinarstva, Belgrade, 1952, p.35

(61) the description of the wooden portico, turbe, šadrvan, tomb of the founder Hasan Nazir, older sarcophagi, nišan tombstones, drinking fountain, harem, walls, entrance gate, walls and fencing, are mainly taken from the description by Simić Alma in the master’s dissertation referred to

(62) The geometric ornamentation represented on the stone surfaces of the Aladža mosque were characterized by motifs that derived for the most part, in Turkish decoration, from older early Islamic art.  The design of intertwined polygons which covered the jambs of the mihrab in the Aladža mosque appear as early as the Umayyad dynasty. The design of the perforated marble window plaques of the Great Mosque in Damascus of 715, which later served as models for many Islaic buildings, was taken up by Seljuk Persian art and appeared on decorative friezes around the door jambs of large Seljuk turbes and hans, as well as on the railings of mimbers of Anatolian mosques of the 13th century, whence the overlapping polygons were taken up by Ottoman builders.  The motif appears on the monumental endowments designed in the fifth and sixth decades of the 16tyh century by Mimar Sinan, almost always filling the stone parapet of the mimber, the railing of the mahfil and other smaller surfaces (Andrejević, 1972, 46).

(63) Following almost the same line as the design of overlapping polygons, there was a geometric design formed by twin moulded bands crisscrossing and creating alternate hexagonal fields and six-pointed stars.  This design derives from the decorative repertoire of the Umayyad mosque in Medina (709 CE), whence it gradually spread to the buildings of other Arabic areas in north Africa and the Middle East.  Eve before the 10th century, the design was used in Egypt in the perforated ornaments used in the Aladža mosque for the balustrade of the mahfil. (Andrejević, 197., 46)

(64) The portals and mihrabs of Persian mosques in which these elements symbolized an unusually significant, almost pantheistically interpreted  passage to a new world of bliss, were almost always adorned with bunches of blooming roses and jasmine.

(65) The motifs of carved decoration such as stalactites, buds, and hour-glass designs on the portal of the Aladža mosque, the curved arches and stylized buds are purely Turkish decorative elements that featured in the mid 16th century on almost all of Sinan's work (Andrejević, 1972, 46)

(66) On the painted surfaces as well as the moulded decoration, there was dense floral decoration consisting of stylized flowers and leaves, joined by slender stems intertwining and dividing, forming long friezes or larger integral compositions. (Andrejević, 1972, 50)

(67) One Ali Čelebija is referred to as the hatib of the Aladža mosque in Foča (Kajmaković, 1960, 114)

(68) The fact that the mosque was already being referred to as the Aladža by 1588 suggests that it had borne this name from its very origins, given that 37 years is too short a period for the name of a place of worship to be altered and a new one adopted.  Its name of Arabic origin could have originated only in the earliest years of Turkish rule, when the Islamic Ottoman culture was still dominated by the Arabi language.  Suleyman's mosque in Travnik is of much later date and is known, not as the Aladža but as the Šarena (multicoloured) mosque (Kajmaković, 1960, 114)

(69) A skilled and highly esteemed illuminator and master of ornamental painting of the 16th century.  It was said of him that “when he represents an acrobat, the earth shakes, when he paints the sun it is hot, and when he shows flowers, it gives off the scent of roses” (Andrejević, 1972, 51)

(70) A Tabri master craftsmen, one of the first of Bezhad's followers.  In about 1512 and 1521 he worked for the Turkish prince Ahmed in the provincial court in Amasia.  Court registers refer to him in 1525/26 as a draftsman, painter and illuminator.  Soon after this, Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent appointed him as his nakaş baş or leading painter, appointing him to head his court painters. (Andrejević, 1972, 51)

(71) In 1908 these areas were restored by the National Government in Sarajevo, when the wooden portico that protected the designs from the rain was remove. (Kajmaković, 1960, 116).  Further conservation and restoration works were carried out on the paintings in the portico of the mosque in 1959 by the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Nature of NR BiH in Sarajevo. The painting work was carried out by Nihad Barjaktarević. (Kajmaković, 1960, 113)

(72) Rumi ornamentation consisted of a system of stylized and densely intertwined floral elements with no central feature, which extended in all directions, similar to a floral network consisting of equally valuable features. According to DŽ. E. Arseven, the Ottoman Turks took over rumi ornament from the Byzantine Seljuks in Asia Minor, embellishing it with further details – the typical flowers of tulip and carnation (Andrejević, 1972, 51)

(73) The painted areas were destroyed prior to 1890, when E. Arnt, writing about them, said he had found only a few remains.  According to his two sketches, and on the basis of surviving traces and other eoducmentation, these parts were restored in 1968.  The restoration was carried out under the supervision of the painter-conservator N. Bahtijarevića. (Andrejević, 1972, 48, 61)

(74) In hataji compositions, the central area is emphasized.  This system consists of one main motif, usually a large flower, from which all the other, lesser components fan out.  This decoration contains realistic representations of flowers, shown in their natural colours.  The Seljuks took over this essentially Chinese stylization under the name hataji ornamentation, and passed it on to Persia and Asia Minor from eastern Turkestan.  In Persian art, hataji ornaments are often combined with rumi designs.  This combination was also typical of the Aladža mosque, where the centre of the field was usually dominated by a large hataji ornament surrounded by dense borders of rumi ornament (Andrejević, 1972, 51)

(75) “Alongside the Aladža is a burial ground of about 14,000 sq.m., know as the Large Graveyard.  In the post-war period, in 1956, at one of their sessions the ruling structures proclaimed this burial ground as a town park.  Of course, they did not seek the consent of the owner, the Committee of the Islamic Community, nor the Muslims of Foča. The graves were levelled to the ground.  There remained a few large, old nišan tombstones, but paths and benches were made and thus the Large Graveyard, one of the features of the identity of the Bosniacs, was thus lost” (Muftić, Faruk: Foča: 1470-1996, Sarajevo, 1997, p.132).

                “…In the immediate vicinity of these monuments, but a little lower down by the road by the Ćehotina, there stood until 1953 another necropolis, known as the Šehitluk, with seven surviving tombstones,…(Bejtić, Alija: Povijest i umjetnost Foče na Drini, Naše starine, Annual of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of N.R. Bosne i Hercegovine, IV, Sarajevo, 1957, p.44)

                “Proceeding from the bridge over the Ćehotina towards the Aladža there remained, right up to 1953, another two necropolises with old nišan tombstones “Od Fetha” one of which was called the “Šehitluk”. Here were the oldest nišans in Foča, made in the form of an obelisk or with turbans of very simple execution, on which there were carved arches, arrows, hemispheres, swords, crescent moons, and on some there were even enamluci. The majority of these nišans were destroyed when this area was turned into a park.  Seven such pairs of nišans are still in situ” (Mujezinović, Mehmed: Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, bk 2, Istočna i centralna Bosna, 3rd ed, Sarajevo, 1998, p.41).

(76) this survey was conducted in about 1980.

(77) The chronogram was incised on a stone plaque measuring 52 x 55 cm, built in above the fountain in the courtyard wall of the Aladža mosque. The inscription itself was in Turkish, in ordinary tali script, but the text was damaged in places (Mujezinović: 1998, pp. 44-45).

(78) Simić, Alma, Aladža džamija u Foči, Zaštita i obnova u kontekstu urbane jezgre, Master’s dissertation, University of Zagreb, Faculty of Architecture, Post-graduate study on the Architectural Heritage, Zagreb, 2003, p.28 (a copy of this master’s dissertation is available in the library of the Bosniac Institute in Sarajevo).

(79) Simić, Alma, Aladža džamija u Foči, Zaštita i obnova u kontekstu urbane jezgre, Master’s dissertation, , University of Zagreb, Faculty of Architecture, Postgraduate study of the Architectural Heritage, Zagreb, 2003, pp.79-83

(80) This information has been taken from a document of the Visoko Town Cemetery no. 01-4257/04 dated 8 September 2004 and sent to the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.


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