Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Sinan-beg mosque (Sinan-beg Boljanić mosque), the site and remains of the architectural ensemble

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Status of monument -> National monument

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






            The site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Sinan-beg mosque (Sinan-beg Boljanića mosque) in Čajniče is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument consists of the site and remains of the mosque, burial ground, šedrvan and turbe within the harem walls, the harem walls with entrance gate and fountain and turbe with burial ground opposite the harem of the mosque.

            The National Monument is located on cadastral plot nos. 234 and 235 (new survey), Land Registry entry no.  139, Cadastral Municipality Čajniče, Municipality Čajniče,  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 measures are hereby stipulated to apply to the area defined in Clause 1 para. 3 of this Decision:

Ÿ  The Sinan-beg mosque in Čajniče shall be reconstructed on its original site, in its original form, using the original or the same type of materials and original building methods wherever possible, based on documentation on its previous appearance which forms an integral part of this Decision, with the approval of the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning in Republica Srpska and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of Republica Srpska;

Ÿ  all original fragments of the demolished building found on the site shall be registered, recorded and reintegrated into the reconstructed building.  Until such time as they are so reintegrated they shall be properly preserved;

Ÿ  fragments that are too badly damaged to be reintegrated shall be conserved and preserved appropriately within the architectural ensemble;

Ÿ  all tombstones found on the site or in the place they were taken to after the demolition of the building are to be conserved and returned to their original positions, wherever possible, based on available documentation. Those tombstones for which the position cannot be precisely defined are to be conserved and presented in an appropriate manner within the harem of the mosque.


            In order to ensure the conditions necessary for the rehabilitation of the National Monument, the following measures are hereby stipulated:

Ÿ  a fence shall be erected around the harem of the mosque and the turbe area;

Ÿ  litter and rubbish shall be removed and the area of the harem and turbe shall be cleared;

Ÿ  the remains of the harem wall shall be conserved and restored;

Ÿ  the surface layers of soil shall be removed in order to reveal the original foundations of the walls;

Ÿ  original sections of the foundations and walls shall be repaired and consolidated.


            On the plots bordering the protected site of the National Monument, the only construction permitted is of new residential buildings of a maximum of two storeys (ground and one upper storey, with a maximum height of 6.50 m to the base of the roof) and maximum dimensions of 10 x 8 meters;

            Newly erected buildings (built after 1992) the appearance of which is detrimental to the surrounding townscape of the architectural ensemble of the Sinan-beg mosque must be removed or altered in size and number of storeys appropriate to the surroundings (a maximum of two storeys, with maximum dimensions of 10 x 8 meters)




            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 Republica 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) 




            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.




            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. 174.




            This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption and shall be published in the Official Gazette of BiH.



            This Decision has been adopted by the following members of the Commission: Zeynep Ahunbay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović,  Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.



Chair of the Commission

Dubravko Lovrenović

Number: 09-35-80/04-3                                                  

6 July 2004.                                                                    



E l u c i d a t i o n



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

            At a session held on 14 June 2000 the Commission issued a Decision to add the remains of the Sinan-beg mosque with burial ground in Čajniče to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, numbered as 174.

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



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

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

Ÿ  Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data of war damage, data on restoration or other works on the property if any, etc.

Ÿ  Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision.


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


1.  Details of the property


            The architectural ensemble of the Sinan-beg mosque in Čajniče is located in the very centre of the residential area, in the vicinity of the Orthodox Church – the Church of the Madonna. The plot of the harem of the mosque is defined by the following streets: Radmila Stremo Street, the former Velimira Jukića Street (now Serdar Janko Vukotić Street) and the former Proleterska Street (now King Peter I the Liberator Street), while the plot of the turbe opposite the mosque harem is located on the corner of the former Velimira Jakića Street (now Serdar Janko Vukotić Street) and the former Proleterska Street (now King Peter I the Liberator Street).

            The architectural ensemble stands on a site comprising c.p. 234 and 235, land registry entry number 139, in the sole ownership of the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vakuf Commission of Čajniče; cadastral municipality Čajniče, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The entrance to the Sinan-beg mosque is from the west. The entrance to the mosque harem, as for the turbe, is from the former Velimira Jakića Street (now Serdar Janko Vukotić Street).

            The main axis of the mosque lies north-west/south-east. The entrance is on the north-west.  The mihrab wall is to the south-east. The main axis of the turbe within the architectural ensemble also lies north-west/south-east.

Historical information

            The the reigtn of Sultan Selim II and the viziership of his brother-in-law Mehmed-paša Sokolović (second half of the 16th century) coincides with the great period of the Turkish artistic renaissance in Sinan's time (Sinan was the leading architect of the Ottoman Empire from 1548 to 1588). This period saw the greatest building activity in the Balkan area during Ottoman rule, and to judge from old inscriptions and details from the Dubrovnik and Turkish archives, the acme of the architectural inspiration of this era occurred between 1568 and 1571. «For Bosnia and Herzegovina and the surrounding areas, it was a time the features of which were perhaps best described by an old record made a decade before the death of Sokolović (Mehmed paša Sokolović died in 1579 in Constantinople). This record literally notes that during that time ‘the land was ruled by the mighty Mehmed paša Sokolović.’» (A. Andrejević)

            The viziership of Mehmed paša Sokolović was marked by the unsurpassed decades of administration of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Sandžak as well as of the Herzegovinian diocese of the Metropolitan by the members of his extended family(1).  This period of viziership was marked by the construction and renovation of a large number of monuments of the Islamic and Orthodox religious communities.

            Mehmed paša Sokolović took upon himself the responsibility of restoring the Peć patriarhy and made sure that from 1557 to 1587, a full three decades, members of his extended family succeeded one another as Metropolitan of Herzegovina and Serbian Patriarch: Makarije (1557-1571), Antonije (1571-1575), Gerasim (1575-1587) and finally Savatije.  Their activities included major architectural and artistic works on the unusually large number of church buildings that were built or renovated during this period.

            The endowments of the Sokolović relatives, heirs and more distant relations that were erected in their own native area or in the wider region, were most numereous and most densely concentrated in Polimlje and Podrinje, in Herzegovina.

            Sinan beg Boljanić was also one of Mehmed paša Sokolović’s relatives. He was born in the village of Boljanići, as one of six children of Bajram aga. Sinan beg was married to Šemsa-kaduna, the sister of Mehmed paša Sokolović.

            Sinan-beg (later, Sinan-paša) Boljanić is noted in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina as the Sandžakbeg of the Bosnian sandžak (from the autumn of 1562 to the summer of 1564) and of the Herzegovinian sandžak (from February 1552 to February 1557, April 1563 to the autumn of 1563, the summer of 1564 to March 1567, June to December 1569, and April 1574 to February 1580), and also as the greatest benefactor of Čajniče. According to his vakufnama of 1592, (the month of Jumada 990 according to the Islamic calendar), Sinan-beg Boljanić erected a mosque in Čajniče, around which a mahala was later formed bearing his name, the Sinan-paša mahala. He erected a mekteb next to this mosque, and also a tekke with a musafirhana (a hostel for travellers), a caravanserai, 22 shops, two leather-tanners’ workshops and two mills in Janja in Čajniče. He erected a mekteb in the village of Njegošević; bridges in Janja in the village of Međuriječje in the Pribud nahija in the Čajniče kadiluk; a mosque in Sopot in the Nevesinje kadiluk, a mekteb, a hamam and a caravanserai in Cernik in the Velika Kadiluk in Začasna Sandžak; and a caravanserai and bridge in Priboj on Lima (Bosnian Sandžak).

            Sinan-beg Boljanić died in 1582 and was buried in the turbe next to his mosque in Čajniče.

            The following tarih (chronogram) above the entrance of the Sinan-beg mosque in Čajniče has survived: “Sinan-beg revived his birthplace, // He did a good deed by building this mosque // He who visits the mosque will come to know that it was built by the will of God // May Almighty God have Mercy upon us! // With contemplation I have compose this verse: // ‘This became a beautiful and worthy mosque of the All-Merciful (God)’.”  (translated from the translation into Bosnian by M. Mujezinovuć, Islamic Epigraphics of BiH, pg. 67.).

            By calculating the numerical value of the letters of the last half-line of the inscription, the year the mosque was built may be identified. According to Mehmed Mujezinović, the mosque was built in 978 according to the Islamic calendar, or 1570 C.E. 


2. Description of the property


            According to Andrejević, a group of ten mosques stand out among all the single-space domed mosques: the Aladža mosque in Foča, as the most interesting and most typical example, the Karađozbeg mosque in Mostar, the Ali-paša and Ferhadija mosques in Sarajevo, the Počitelj mosque, the Hajdar-kadija mosque in Bitolj, the Pljevljan mosque, the Čajniče mosque, the mosque in Saraj in Treska and the mosque in Maglaj. Apart from the fact that all these buildings are local in character, and that they were built by people who originate from this part of the world, what characterizes these monuments is the complete clarity and strict symmetry of their architecture, as well as the carefully selected proportions of the building, in ground plan as well as elevation. What stands out in the spatial composition is not only the harmonic coordination of all these parts, but also a striking simplicity of treatment: square and hemispherical, with an impressive drum, they cover the whole interior of the prayer space, and the striking contrasts are accentuated still more in the exterior relationship between the tall and slender minaret and the lower, more compact, enclose cubed on one side and light, open porch on the other side. (A. Andrejević, pg. 47).

            In this group of mosques, the Sinan-beg Boljanić mosque has the most similarities with that of his brother, Husein-paša Boljanić, which was built in Pljevlje only a year earlier, in 1569. In spatial and structural treatment, the Husein-paša Boljanić mosque was built in exactly the same manner as the Sinan-beg Boljanić mosque, with even the differences in their basic measurements being insignificant. The main difference between these two mosques, beside the fact that the minaret of the Husein paša mosque has twelve sides, lies in the fact that the mosque in Pljevlje was built to be monumental. The monumentality of the mosque is characterized by its monumental portal, the extremely rich decorative stonework, the painted areas of all the interior elements, and above all by the blind domes or towers, set on an extremely high square pedestal, that formerly stood on all four corners of the building (two of the four corner domes or towers have survived). 

            However, two elements of the architectural treatment – the octagonal drum of the main dome reinforced at the corners with pillars and the characteristically raised central dome of the porch with a raised pedestal – linking these two mosques, along with the decorative domes or towers above the corners of the original cube, which are seen only in the mosque in Pljevlje in the wider Balkan region, are very rarely seen in the mosques in this area of the Balkans(2).  There are not more than ten such mosques. All these features, together with the old motifs of carved decoration, suggest the typical treatment seen in the architecture of the imperial capital in Sinan's time. (A. Andrejević, pg. 47).

             In spatial layout, the Sinan-beg Boljanić mosque in Čajniče belongs to the group of single-spaced, domed mosques with open sofas covered by three small domes, in front of which is an exterior porch(3) with a stone minaret.

             The building is a massive cubic structure. The exterior measurements of the sides of the building are approximately 13.55 m. The height of the building to the apex of the dome is 17.20 m and the minaret with the alem or finial, approximately 40 m.

            The mosque has massive stonewalls that are 1.28 m thick, plastered on the outside, and whitewashed on the interior.

            The four walls supporting the hemispherical dome enclose the volume of the interior. The dome rests on a drum that is cylindrical on the inside, and octagonal on the outside.  The load is transferred from the drum to the walls by tripartite trompes at the angles of the walls.

            The inner porch of the mosque has three domes of regular hemispherical outline, resting on stone pillars linked by broken arches on the frontal side, and four inner transverse arches.  All the arches are interconnected by iron ties.  The transition from the square ground plan of each section to the dome is effected by pendentives.

            The outer porch of the dome is covered by sloping eaves of which the timber roof structure rests on wooden pillars linked by arches.

            The inner diameter of the main dome of the mosque at the base, i.e. the inner diameter of the drum, is 10.70 m.  The dome, which is built of tufa blocks, is 50 cm thick.

            The drum, also built of tufa, is 80 cm thick, and has a window on each side where the thickness of the drum is 72 cm.  The drum is reinforced at the corners by pilasters.

            The inner diameter of the small portico domes is approx. 3.75 m, varying from one to the other.  The radius of the side domes is 1.78 cm in the case of the left-hand dome (as seen from outside facing the entrance façade) and 1.82 m in the case of the right-hand dome.  The central dome stands out and has a radius of 2.05 m.  The domes of the portico are 30 cm thick and are built of brick set in lime mortar.

            The stone columns of the porch on which the domes rest via the arches are circular in section with a diameter of approx. 55 cm.  Strips of bronze are wound around them below the capital and above the base.

            The sofas are built of stone blocks, about 50 cm high, bonded with mortar or iron cramps.

The eleven-sided base of the minaret, 8.30 m in height, has a diameter of 2.90 m.  The next two metres above the base constitute the transition from the polygonal base with a diameter of 2.90 m to one with a diameter of 2.10 m.  The fourteen-sided body of the minaret is slightly conical in shape.  The height of the minaret to the šerefe is about 25 m, to the roof about 33.5 m, and overall, minus the finial, about 37.5 m.

            The roof of the minaret, the dome and the exterior porch are clad with sheet lead.

            The windows on the façades of the building are arranged in four horizontal rows.

            The first row consists on each façade of two rectangular windows (measuring approx. 150 cm wide x 200 cm high), with moulded stone frames on the outside and wrought iron bars.  Broken relieving arches were constructed above this first row on both the exterior and interior.  The surface of the relieving arches is decorated with six-pointed stars and hexagons executed in stone.  In the interior, the relieving arches, which are set back from the wall surface, are set in rectangular panels above the windows.  The parts of these panels to the side of the arches are decorated.

            The windows on the second horizontal row (of which the rectangular section measures approx. 90 x 150 cm, and the height to the top of the arch is approx. 175 cm), are set vertically above the windows on the first row (except that there were no second-row windows on the north-west entrance façade) and terminate in a pronounced broken arch.  On the exterior the arch is accentuated by being set back from the wall surface.  On the interior, the frame of the entire window is decorated.

            The windows of the third row (of which the rectangular section measures approx. 90 x 125 cm and the height to the top of the arch is approx. 160 cm) are set in the upper part of the cube of the mosque, one in the middle of each wall, except on the north-west entrance façade.  As in the case of the second row of windows, the arch is accentuated on the exterior by being set back from the wall surface, and the frame of the entire window on the inside is decorated.

            The fourth row of windows are those of each side of the drum (of which the rectangular section measures approx. 60 x 125 cm and the height to the top of the arch is approx. 160 cm).  Like the second and third row windows, those of the fourth row have stone transennas decorated with nine horizontal rows of circles, four or three to a row.

            The exterior sofas of the mosque, measuring 13.35 x 4.65 m, are covered by three domes, of which the central dome stands out with its raised base of approx. 60 cm.  The pillars of the portico on which the domes rest have decorated capitals and moulded bases.  The exterior stone sofas, measuring 5.75 x 4.65 m, stand to the left and right of the entrance door.

            In general design and typological features, the entrance portal belongs to the second group of portals (as classified by A. Andrejević, in 16th century Islamic Monumental Art in Yugoslavia). The portal, which measures 2.20 x 2.60 m, projects forward from the wall surface by 60 cm.  The lunette with its inscription on the portal is topped by a pronounced broken arch, decorated on the inside with painted stalactites.  The opening of the portal has a carefully executed segmental arch.  The tarih or chronogram of the construction of the mosque is incised on a stone plaque measuring 44 x 94 cm, set in the central area between the arch of the opening and the arch of the portal.  In Mehmed Mujezinović’s view, the tarih is one of the best executed inscriptions as regards both style and artistic treatment.  The inscription, in Turkish verse, is set in six hexagonal fields surrounded by arabesques.  The script is a handsome jali naskh.  On the inside, the portal of the mosque is set within a rectangular field, painted and framed with a decorative band.

            The interior of the mosque is an almost regular cube, with the sides measuring approx. 10.97 m, and the height to the drum 9.60 m.  The transition from the cubic space to the circular drum is accentuated on the interior by a simple painted cornice 25 cm high.  The height of the interior space from floor level to the top of the dome is 16.70 m.

            All the inside walls of the mosque are plastered and whitewashed, and some features and parts have been decoratively painted.  In addition to the window frames and that of the portal, the tripartite trompes and the stalactite decorations at the angles of the walls are also painted.  At the transition from the cube to the dome, between the arches supporting the drum, there are circular painted panels (eight in all) with calligraphic inscriptions and decorations around the circumference.

            Inside the buiilding, to the left-hand side of the north-west wall (as one faces the wall from the inside), stands the mahfil. The entrance to the mahfil, measuring 4.25 x 2.63 m, is through the minaret.  Three octagonal stone pillars, 2.09 m high, with moulded bases and no capitals, resting on 30 cm high square stone feet, bear the load of the mahfil.  The mahfil balustrade is worked in stone and decorated with six-pointed stars and hexagons.  The floor is made of boards.

            The mimber, which measures 3.65 x 0.83, with a height of approx. 7.5 m to the top of the pyramidal canopy, consists of three sections: the portal with staircase and stone banister, the upper pyramidal section resting on four small square pillars, and the triangular side sections below this section and the banisters.  The most striking decorative feature of the mimber is the stone banisters, decorated with six-pointed stars and hexagons.

            The mihrab area, which is 2.61 m wide and 4.5 m high, projects forward from the wall surface by 40 cm.   Between the 20 cm wide stone frame and the mihrab niche, which is covered with close-packed decorations, a calligraphic inscription on a white ground stands out.  The mihrab area terminates in a serrated cornice.  The top of the heptagonal mihrab niche, which is 1.10 m wide and 3.35 m high, consists of painted stalactite decorations.

            The fourteen-sided minaret, which stands on a eleven-sided base, is plastered and decorated with stone carvings.  The base is decorated with a frieze of blind arcades, and the oblique section of the transition from the base to the body is decorated with moulded rhombuses.  The start of the body of the minaret, as well as the part below the šerefe and below the steeple of the minaret, is painted.  The part between the body of the minaret and the šerefe railing is decorated with stalactites.

The turbe of Sinan-beg and his wife

            The turbe of Sinan-beg and his wife, Šemsa-kaduna, stands in the courtyard of the mosque, by the minaret itself. The domed octagonal turbe is of the enclosed type. The sides of the building measure 2.90 m on the exterior and 2.30 m on the interior. The walls are 90 cm thick. The dome, with a diameter of 5.15 m, rests on an octagonal drum. The transition from the walls to the dome is effected by pendentives.

The entrance to the turbe has a three-pitched roof, the timber frame of which rests on four wooden pillars, creating a small porch outside the turbe with wooden benches on either side of the entrance.  The roof is clad with sheet metal.

            The windows, set in two horizontal rows on either side, are a feature of the turbe.  The windows in the lower row are rectangular, and set in a rectangular panel in which a round-arched relieving niche is executed in mortar above the windows.  The windows have moulded stone frames with iron bars on the outside.

            The windows in the upper row terminate in a broken arch, which is painted and set back from the wall surface.

            The portal of the turbe projects only slightly forward from the wall surface, and is surrounded by a handsome rectangular frame.  The tarih is set in a rectangular panel above the segmented arch over the entrance door.  The inscription, in  Turkish verse, is inscribed in ordinary tempera on a whitewashed base, in four elongated rectangular fields, and refers to Sinan-beg and his wife as the persons buried in the turbe, but without giving the date of death either of Sinan-beg or of his wife Šemsa-kaduna.

            There are two tombs in the turbe, of which the tombstones have been destroyed.  Following the demolition of the Sinan-beg medresa during World War II, the tarih from the medresa was moved to the turbe.

The turbe of relatives of Sinan-beg

            The turbe outside the harem of the mosque, on the other side of the street, belongs to relatives of Sinan-beg’s.  It differs from Sinan-beg’s own turbe only in size and certain details.

            Three people are buried inside this turbe, as a result of which it is larger, with the sides measuring 3.11 m on the exterior.

            All the façades except of the right-hand wall next to the portal (as one faces the entrance) have windows, arranged in two horizontal rows.

            The portal is not in line with the entrance wall, but offset to the right.  As a result, there is space for only one wooden bench, on the left-hand side, under the porch at the entrance to the turbe.

            There are no inscriptions or epitaphs either on the turbe or on the nišan tombstones inside.

Šadrvan fountain

            There is an octagonal šadrvan fountain in the middle of the small courtyard outside the mosque, of which Evliya Çelebi wrote that “it is so beautiful one must see it.”  The rather “clumsy” domed canopy made of wood clad with sheet metal, resting on eight wooden pillars linked by arches, suggests that all that has survived of the original šadrvan is the stone basin.  It is not known when the alterations to the šadrvan were carried out.

The harem of the mosque and the turbe opposite the mosque

            There is a burial ground in the courtyard of the Sinan-beg mosque, with, according to M. Mujezinović, some very valuable nišan tombstones by the mosque, in front of the Sinan-beg turbe.

            There are some fifty nišan tombstones in the courtyard of the turbe opposite the Sinan-beg mosque. (M. Mujezinović, Islamic Epigraphics of BiH).

            The courtyard of the Sinan-beg mosque is surrounded by a stone wall about 1.40 m high, incorporating an entrance gate and drinking fountain.


3. Legal status to date

            Pursuant to a Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of NR Bosnia and Herzegovina, the building was placed under state protection, and recorded in the Registrar of the Cultural Monuments.

            The Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2000 listed the burial ground next to the Sinan-beg mosque in Čajniče as a Category I monuments under serial no. 7.

            The Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2000 listed the turbe of Sinan-beg and the members of his family next to the Sinan-beg mosque in Čajniče as Category I monuments under serial nos. 24 and 25

            The remains of the Sinan-beg mosque and burial ground in Čajniče are listed on the Provisional List of National Monuments of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments under serial no. 174.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

            According to Mujezinović, in 1954 and 1972 conservation works were carried out on the Sinan-beg mosque. No information on these works has been found.

            The 1964 report of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of SRBiH states that the very limited resources available for interventions to this building were sufficient only to procure the sheet metal needed to replace the roof cladding and start preparations for the works to begin in 1965.

            The inventory of documentation held by the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina reveals that work was carried out on the šadrvan fountain outside the Sinan-beg mosque November 1978.

            In early May 1985 the building was visited and a detailed inspection carried out to ascertain the extent and nature of the damage to the building, the types of material used, and the condition of the binders.  An inspection of the project documentation on the analysis of the condition of the building and repairs to the dome and drum of the mosque revealed the following:

Ÿ  the detailed inspection of the building revealed a degree of deformation resulting from settlement at the time the building was erected, which it was decided presented no threat to the stability of the building

Ÿ  major cracks were observed on the dome, drum and load-bearing walls

Ÿ  the cracks extending along the entire depth and height of the drum and upwards radially into the dome were identified as a danger to the structure requiring urgent repair.  The cracks also extend downwards through the main load-bearing wall or trompe down to the  base of the wall.  A structural assessment led to the conclusion that the drum was not in a condition to transfer the horizontal forces from the dome and that it needed to be reinforced.  The projected repairs consisted of:

1.       fitting iron cables at the base and top of the drum to reinforce the structure

2.       fitting a reinforced concrete ring at the base of the dome

3.       injecting the joints that have opened up

Ÿ  on the exterior portico, those structural components of the timber structure found to be damaged when the repairs are being carried out were to be replaced.

Ÿ  In July 1986, an estimate of the works to be carried out and a working design for the repairs to the Sinan-beg mosque were drawn up.  The estimate of the works required, in addition to the repairs described above, called for:

Ÿ  replacing the floor and underlay of the mosque with a new floor consisting of a lightweight reinforced concrete base over which heat insulation would be laid beneath the deal planks forming the underlay of the floor, the final layer also to consist of deal boards;

Ÿ  replacement of all timber flashings and galvanized iron roof claddings on the mosque (porch, domes, main dome, minaret) with new sheet lead cladding;

Ÿ  stripping the plaster from all the wall surfaces of the mosque and minaret, including areas where the layers of mortar are becoming detached on the inside walls of the mosque, washing the façade, and replastering;

Ÿ  replacing the old pavement with a new one consisting of flagstones laid in cement mortar;

Ÿ  repairing the cracks on the windowframes with cement mortar;

Ÿ  removing the damaged pillar bases and replacing them with new copies of the original bases;

Ÿ  repairing the stalactites below the šerefe and other mouldings on the minaret with tufa

Ÿ  replacing the railing, wooden arches and pillars of the exterior portico with new ones made of solid oak.


            Whether these repairs were carried out, and if so when and to what extent, is not known.


5. Current condition of the property

            The Sinan-beg mosque, together with all the other buildings that constitute the architectural ensemble, was dynamited and completely destroyed in 1992. All the fragments were removed from the site. All that remains is the the corner of the north harem wall.

            The site of the mosque is now in a state of neglect. Cars are parked on the site of the harem of the mosque and on the site of the turbe opposite the mosque. The harem itself is used as a dumping ground.   A new, very large building has been erected by the plot where the turbe opposite the mosque formerly stood.

            The burial ground and turbe by the mosque no longer exist.



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

            The Decision was based on the following criteria:

A.  Time frame

B.  Historical value

D. Clarity (documentary, scientific, educatory value)

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

E. Symbolic value

E.ii. religious value

E.iii. traditional value

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

H. Rarity and representativity

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


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-         Copy of cadastral plan

-         Copy of land register entry and proof of title;

-         Photodocumentation;

-         Drawings



            During the procedure to designate the site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Sinan-beg mosque in Čajniče a National Monument of BH, the following works were consulted.


1984.    Andrejević, Andrej, Islamska monumantalna umetnost XVI veka u Jugoslaviji – kupolne džamije (16th century Islamic Monumental Art in Yugoslavia – domed mosques), Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, Institute for History and Art, Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Balkanological Institute, Belgrade, 1984.


1996.    Çelebi, Evliya, Travelogue, Sarajevo Publishing, Sarajevo, 1996.


1998.    Mujezinović, Mehmed: Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine (Islamic epigraphics of BiH), Vol 2, Eastern and Central Bosnia, 3rd ed, Sarajevo, 1998

Documentation from the archives of the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina


(1) During the time of the Sokolović viziership, the Islamized members of his family ruled the Bosnian and Herzegovinian Sandžak for decades. As early as 1555, Mustafa Sokolović appears as the Bosnian Sandžakbeg and from 1561 to 1594, the following decendants, relatives and relations held the post in unbroken succession: Hasan-beg Sokolović (1561-1562), Sinan-beg Boljanić (1562-1564), Mustafa-beg Sokolović (1564-1566), Mehmed-beg Sokolović (1566-1574), Ferhad-beg Sokolović (1574-1583), Husein-paša Boljanić (1583-1594). From 1563 to 1580, this continuity can also be seen in the Herzegovinian Sandžak, where members of the same households succeeded one another or were transferred from the position of the Bosnian Sandžak: Sinan-beg Boljanić (1552-1557, 1563-1567 and 1574-1580), Husein.paša Boljanić (1567-1569), Kurd-beg Sokolović (1571-1572). At almost the same time, immediately after the battle of Siget (1566), Mehmed Sokolović, at a more peaceful time for the Empire, decided to appoint two of his relatives in the more sensitive regions on the northern and western European borders: Mustafa paša as beglerbeg of Budim, and Ferhad paša Sokolović in Banja Luka. (A. Andrejević, The Value of Islamic Monumental Art of the 16th Century in Yugoslavia, pg. 20)

(2) Analysis and conclusion according to A. Andrejević, Islamic Monumental Art of the 16th Century in Jugoslavia.

(3) According to documentation on the condition of the building in 1985, the mosque had a double porch. Since Evliya Çelebi, who toured Čajniče in 1664 and described the Sinan-beg mosque, stated that «the sofas on the outside are covered by three round blue domes», the assumption is that the porch with a sloping roof was a later addition. It is not known when this was done.





Sinan-beg mosque in ČajničeSinan-beg mosque, photo from eighties of XX centurySinan-beg mosque with turbethsThe site of Sinan-beg mosque in 2004
The remains of courtyard wallSinan-beg mosque before repairing in 1954 Sinan-beg mosque, photo before 1954Fountain
Turbe of relatives of Sinan-begInscription - TarihInterior of the mosque, mahfilMihrab and mimber
The plan of the mosque and turbe of Sinan-begThe cross section of the mosque and plan of the turbe of relatives of Sinan-beg Facades of the mosque of Sinan-beg   

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