Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Old Fort in Kreševo, the historic site

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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 30 August to 2 September 2004 the Commission adopted a






The historic site of the Old Fort in Kreševo is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument consists of the ramparts and buildings of the old fort, composed of the Upper Fort on the summit of the hill and the Lower Fort on the southern slopes of the hill, together with free-standing towers. moats, and the remaining stećak tombstones.  The monument has not been the subject of archaeological investigations, and is therefore a potential site (archaeological reserve) for movable archaeological material.

The National Monument is located on a site known as Bedem, designated as cadastral plot no. 2262 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. no. 1049/1 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 917, cadastral municipality Kreševo (4), Municipality Kreševo, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The provisions relating to protection measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of the Federation of  BiH nos. 2/02, 27/02 and 6/04) shall apply to the National Monument.




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

The Government of the Federation shall be responsible for drawing up and implementing the technical documentation required for the protection 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.




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

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

  • the only works permitted are professional archaeological excavations accompanied by mandatory conservation and restoration works, including those designed to display the monument, with the approval of the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning (hereinafter: the relevant ministry) and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority),
  • the construction of any new buildings and facilities and the insertion of new symbols are prohibited,
  • the site of the monument shall be open and accessible to the public and may be used for educational and cultural purposes,
  • the dumping of waste is prohibited.

Protection Zone II consists of a protective zone:

  • on the south slope of the hill, from the boundary of Zone I to the road to Vranci and the wall/fence surrounding the Roman Catholic cemetery;
  • to the west of Zone I, i.e. from the first free-standing tower and stećak tombstones to the north and south of the said tower, Zone II consists of a 50 m wide strip;
  • on the south and east slopes of the hill, Zone II consists of a strip 50 m wide from the boundary of Zone I.

In this zone the following protection measures shall apply:

  • all construction and works that could have the effect of altering the site or the environs are prohibited;
  • all infrastructure works are prohibited except with the approval of the relevant ministry and the expert opinion of the heritage protection authority;
  • the dumping of waste is prohibited.



The removal of the archaeological material referred to in Clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision (hereinafter: the movable heritage) from Bosnia and Herzegovina is prohibited.

By way of exception to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Clause, the temporary removal from Bosnia and Herzegovina of the movable heritage for the purposes of display or conservation shall be permitted if it is established that conservation works cannot be carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Permission for the temporary removal of the movable heritage from Bosnia and Herzegovina under the conditions stipulated in the preceding paragraph shall be issued by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, if it is determined beyond doubt that it will not jeopardize the items in any way. 

In granting permission for the temporary removal of the movable heritabe from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Commission shall stipulate all the conditions under which the removal may take place, the date by which the items shall be returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the responsibility of individual authorities and institutions for ensuring that these conditions are met, and shall notify the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the relevant security service, the customs authority of  Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the general public accordingly.




            All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are hereby revoked.




Everyone, and in particular the competent authorities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Canton, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the protection thereof.




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




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




Pursuant to Art. V para 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, decisions of the Commission are final.




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


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

No: 05.2.02-748/03-2

30 August 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.

On 9 April 2003 Buzuk Anto, of Sarajevo, submitted a proposal/petition to designate the mediaeval fort of Kreševo as a national monument.

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:

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


Kreševo is in the central Bosnian region, in the western part of the Sarajevo-Zenica basin, on the eastern ranges of the Vranica mountain massif.  It is 12 km west of Kiseljak and 44 km from Sarajevo.

The town nestles in a narrow, elongated valley by the minor river Kreševka, and the area alongside the Kiseljka road, in Polje, is also now increasingly becoming urbanized.  Until the Austro-Hungarian period it was a very isolated area, as a result of the contours of the land.  Prior to the construction of the road through the Dera gorge towards Kiseljak, Kreševo had three main access routes from the river Lepenica valley (via Homolje, Kuliješe, Tulica and Kobilje glava in the Sarajevo plain – or from Homolje to Tarčin; from Fojnica via Deževice and Vranaca, or via Višnjica and Kiseljak to Visoko. It was always off the main roads.

Bosansko rudogorje, the mining district of Bosnia, where Fojnica and Kreševo werw located, extended from Tarčin to Busovača and Šerbešići, and to the west included the mountains dividing the river Bosna basin from that of the Vrbas. The entire area is rich in various ores and minerals, and in the mediaeval period the most famous silver mines, and to a lesser extent copper mines, were in the Kreševo area (Deževice) and the Fojnica region (Ostružnica), with iron in Busovača (Skarić, 1934, 73).

The mediaeval fortress on the site known as Bedem (ramparts) is on the summit of a steep hill about 140 m in height, at the confluence of the Jasenovac brook and Kojsinska river.  The hill is at the western end of the narrow river Kreševka valley, where the civilian settlement of Kreševo grew up, the late mediaeval settlement of Potkreševo, squeezed in between the narrow valleys of these watercourses.  It was thus possible to control both the Kreševka valley and the crossing by the Jasenovac brook through the village of Vranaca for Deževice from the fortress.

Historical information

            Kreševo’s natural isolated location, as well as its wealth of ores and minerals, dictated its development over the years, both throughout its existence and in the late mediaeval period.  At that time it played not only an economic role but also a strategic one in the economic and political triangle of Visoko-Fojnica-Kreševo.  When the great early mediaeval župas (counties) of central Bosnia were formed, Fojnica and Kreševo fell within the Lepenica župa, which covered the entire basin of the present-day Fojnička river. A charter issued in 1244, the authenticity of which is disputed, reveals that at that time the Lepenica župa was a direct holding of the bans of Bosnia (N. Klaić, 1994, 112-115).

Later, along with the whole of central Bosnia, it was a direct holding of the Kotromanić dynasty.  At the end of the 14th century the old župas broke up into smaller districts with their centres in fortified towns.  The small župa of Kreševo originated in this way.  At the beginning of the Ottoman period it was called the Kreševo nahija, and belonged to the Crown Lands (Anđelić, 1963a, 187). 

            It is not known when the fortress originated, and the same is true of the settlement outside its bounds, Potkreševo.  The earliest documentary references concern the exploitation of ores during the banate period and, from 1377 on, during the reign of King Tvrtko I, in the second half of the 14th century, Fojnica in 1365 and somewhat later, in 1381, Kreševo too.  These were probably newly-opened mines.  One document relates that in 1403 there was a Curia regis Bossine in Deževice, and in later years a customs house was established there; a headman is also known as the elder of the varoš (town) (Kovačević-Kojić, 1978, 33, 34, 39). The earliest reference to the nearby silver mind in Dusina dates from 1413.

            Kreševo is referred to as a place in a document from the Dubrovnik chancellery dated 28 May 1415.  Dobrašin Veseoković and another two natives of Dubrovnik were to transport 30 loads of fabric and various articles from Dubrovnik to Kreševo or Podvisoki (Anđelić, 1984, 145). Vego cites the fact that in 1420 a document refers to sotto Crisgnevo (Vego, 1957, 64, from Nikola Jorga, Notes II, 269, 329). This means that there was already a fortress or royal town there above the civilian settlement.

            Until the 1430s, Dubrovnik merchants mainly lived in Visoko, visiting the mines in Fojnica and Kreševo only for business purposes.  It was probably as a result of the constant threat of Ottoman incursions that trade in Visoko declined. The merchants of Dubrovnik moved in greater numbers to Fojnica, and to a lesser extent to Kreševo.  During the reigns of King Tvrtko II and Stjepan Tomaš, from the 1430s to 1460s, the region played an important part in supplying the merchants of Dubrovnik in particular, but also the kings of Bosnia, with silver. The region was the main centre of ore production in the crown lands, particularly Fojnica.  The third largest colony of merchants from Dubrovnik was in Kreševo, after those of Visoko and Fojnica (Živković, 1981, 132).  During the upheavals in Bosnia in 1433 and 1434, the fort was temporarily occupied by Sandalj Hranić. There are two documents dating from this period. The first consists of letters dated 12 and 16 December 1433, in which the natives of Dubrovnik appeal to Sandalj Hranić to protect the merchants of Dubrovnik in Kreševo.  The following year, on 12 August 1434, Juraj Vojsalić, who fought on King Tvrtko II’s side, issued a charter sotto Cressevo, which means that the fort and civilian settlement were again in the king’s hands.  In that same year, on 12 April 1434, Pope Eugene issued a Papal Bull appointing the Franciscan Stjepan as bishop of the Visoko bishopric, directing that the appointment be notified to the Archbishop of Dubrovnik, Stjepan king of Bosnia, and the clergy and inhabitants of Deževice, Kreševo, Fojnica, Jajce and Srebrenica (Anđelić, 1984,164). 

From 1434 onwards, larger numbers of Dubrovnik merchants began to assemble in Kreševo. Right up until 1450 a total of 61 merchants from Dubrovnik were recorded (Kovačević-Kojić, 1978, 73; Živković, 1981, 168, 173).

In 1441 King Tvrtko II introduced various economic measures designed to prevent too much silver being exported from Bosnia.  Since the silver became too expensive for the people of Dubrovnik, they tried various counter-measures to prevent the king from enforcing these measures.  They banned their subjects from exporting metal from every region of the Bosnian kingdom, and in particular from the four royal mines of Deževice, Fojnica, Kreševo and Dusina (Živković, 1981, 193).

On 3 September 1444, King Stjepan Tomaš issued a charter to the people of Dubrovnik in the famous fort of Kreševo, confirming various concessions granted to them (Vego, 1957, 64).

            During the 1450s, large quantities of azure from Bosnia were sold in Dubrovnik. Attempting to determine the origins of this azure, Hrabak hypothesizes that it came from central Bosnian mines, particularly from Kreševo (Hrabak, 1954, 40-41).  

            In the 15th century there was a customs house in Kreševo run by merchants from Dubrovnik exporting iron, silver, mercury and possibly lapis-lazuli from Kreševo.  Documents also refer to two headmen in the varoš of Kreševo.  The name is known of one, a native of Dubrovnik, Radoja Kristić Kocoja, referred to in 1445, with another, unidentified headman referred to in 1451 (Kovačević-Kojić, 333-345).

The last document referring to mediaeval Kreševo is dated 29 May 1463, when the Grand Council of the Republic of Dubrovnik gave its consent to the uncle of the Bosnian king, Radić (Radovoje) Kristić, who was then in Kreševo, to purchase 200 lbs of gunpowder for cannon (Truhelka, 1910, 3, 14).

During the Ottoman period the fortress lost its strategic importance and was abandoned, but life continued in the town.  The Ottomans retained the customs house in Kreševo, letting it out to the merchants of Dubrovnik, and the extraction of precious metals continued.


2. Description of the property

The Kreševo fort, isolated as it was, and in a mountainous region in any event, was a relatively well-fortified stronghold in an excellent natural location.  The placename Bedem was adopted for the people of the region for the mediaeval fortress itself.  It is very difficult to reconstruct the layout of the fort without archaeological excavations. As far as can now be ascertained, the fort consisted of the actual fortress or “Gornji grad” (Upper Fort) on the top of the hill and the bailey or “Donji grad (Lower Fort) on the southern slope of the hill.  The fortress (acropolis) was on the top of the hill surrounded by ramparts enclosing an irregular oval area about 105 m long and 45 m wide, covering an area of about 4500 sq.m.  The approach to the fort was from the west, where one had to pass alongside two free-standing towers (marked on the plan as no.1,4) and cross two moats about 6 m wide (now discernible over a length of about 20 m. 5,6).  The entrance to the fortress was in the western rampart between two sturdy towers (7,8).   The third main tower (11) was in the eastern, narrower end of the fortress, opposite the entrance, dominating the valley where the settlement outside the ramparts, Potkreševo, lay.  The towers are massive, with thick walls, and square or rectangular in cross-section. There was a cistern within the ramparts.  There was probably also a palace on the western part of the plateau, but this cannot be ascertained without archaeological excavations. To the south of the fort, on a steep slope of about 400, lay the bailey, about 85 to 100 m long and about 125 m wide.  The fortress was linked with the bailey by a passageway in the south wall.  Five massive towers were built onto the south wall of the bailey (13-17).  These towers guarded the access to the fort from the south, from the valley of the Jasenovac brook along which ran the road for Vrančići.  Below the towers, near the base of the slopes, is the locality known as Ograđenik, where there is a Catholic cemetery still in active use.

To the west of the fortress is the “King’s Road” that leads via the Grad plateau to above the village of Vranci, ending at the locality of Kraljevo gumno.  During a reconnaissance of the terrain in the mid 20th century numerous broken animal bones and shards of local mediaeval pottery were noted on the slopes around the fort (Basler, 1954, 303).


3. Legal status to date

During the procedure prior to the adoption of a final decision designating the property as a national monument, documents relating to legal protection of the property were inspected, and the following was ascertained:

  • The old fort in Kreševo, Municipality Kreševo, was not placed under the protection of the Republic Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Heritage of SR BiH;
  • The Regional Plan for BiH to 2000 listed the old fort in Kreševo as a Category II monument.

4. Research and conservation and restoration works 



5. Current condition of the property

Since local schist was used to build the old fort in Kreševo, most of the fort is now completely in ruins.  The ramparts of the fortress are recognizable for the most part in ground plan, beneath the topsoil. On the surface, raised areas resulting from banking up the ramparts are discernible in places.  The walls of the two square fortress towers survive to a height of two metres.  The remains of massive tower 2 are somewhat higher (3-4 m) but they too are crumbling and most of the exterior revetment is missing. All three towers in the upper fort are packed with soil inside.

The remains of the bailey ramparts are also covered with topsoil other than one short section about 2 m long which rises above ground level to a height of 1 m.

Towers 1-5 in the south wall of the bailey are also in fairly ruinous condition.  Only the tower at the south-eastern angle of the bailey is still standing to a height of 8 m. to the west of this are the remains of the base of a tower to a height of 3-4 m.




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

The Decision was based on the following criteria:

A.  Time frame

B.  Historical value

D.  Clarity

D.i. material evidence of a lesser known historical era

D. ii. evidence of historical change

E.  Symbolic value

            E. iii. traditional value

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

F. Townscape/landscape value

F.ii. meaning in the townscape

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

G.  Authenticity

G. v. location and setting


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

o        Copy of cadastral plan

o        Photodocumentation;

o        Drawings



            During the procedure to designate the monument as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


1910. Truhelka, Ćiro, «Dubrovačke vijesti o godini 1463.” (Dubrovnik news of the year 1463) Jnl of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina XXII, 1910, 1-24


1934.  Skarić, Vladimir, «Tragovi starog rudarstva u okolini Kreševa» (Traces of the old mining industry in the Kreševo area), Jnl of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina XLVI, vol. Natural Sciences, Sarajevo, 1934, 73-80


1935.  Skarić, Vladimir, “Tragovi starog rudarstva u okolini Kreševa i Fojnice” (Traces of old mining industry in the Kreševo and Fojnica area), Jnl of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina XLVII, Sarajevo, 1935, 23-35


1954.  Basler, Đuro,» Kreševo-Kiseljak-Fojnica». Jnl of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, vol. Archaeology, new series IX, Sarajevo, 1954, 299-306


1954.  Hrabak, Bogumil, «Dubrovački ili bosanski azur» (Dubrovnik or Bosnian azure), Jnl of the National Museum, vol. History and Ethnography, new series IX, Sarajevo 1954, 33-42


1957.  Vego, Marko, Naselja srednjovjekovne bosanske države (Settlements of the mediaeval Bosnian state) Sarajevo, 1957


1963.   Anđelić, Pavao, «Trgovište, varoš i grad u srednjovjekovnoj Bosni - Prilog tipologiji naselja» (Market town, town and city in mediaeval  Bosnia – contribution to the typology of settlements), Jnl of the National Museum, vol. Archaeology, new series XVIII, Sarajevo 1963, 179-194.


1963.a  Anđelić, Pavao, “Arheološka ispitivanja” (Archaeological investigations) in: Lepenica priroda, stanovništvo, privreda i zdravlje (Lepenica: nature, population, economy and health) Scientific Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina, special edition, bk III, Saravevo, 1963, 151-191.


1964.  Ćirković, Sima, Istorija srednjovjekovne bosanske države (History of the mediaeval Bosnian state) Belgrade, 1964.


1971.  Kovačević-Kojić, Desanska, “O knezovima u gradskim naseljima srednjovjekovne Bosne” (Headmen in urban settlements of mediaeval Bosnia), Proceedings of the Faculty of Philosophy VI, Sarajevo, 1971, 333-345.


1975.  Dumbović, Vladimir, “Toponomastika Kreševa i okoline“ (Toponomastics of Kreševo and environs) Dobri pastir, Review of the association of Catholic priests of BiH, year XXV, vol. I-IV, Sarajevo, 1975, 81-119.


1978.  Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka, Gradska naselja u srednjovjekovnoj Bosni. (Urban settlements in mediaeval Bosnia) Cultural Heritage series, Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1978.


1981.  Živković, Pavao, Tvrtko II Tvrtković, Bosna u prvoj polovini XV stoljeća. (Tvrtko II Tvrtković, Bosnia in the first half of the 15th century), Institute of History in  Sarajevo, Sarajevo, 1981.


1984.  Anđelić, Pavao, “Srednji vijek-doba stare bosanske države” (The Middle Ages: the era of the old Bosnian state) In: Visoko i okolina kroz historiju 1 (Visoko and environs through history 1), SO Visoko, Visoko, 1984, 102-297.


1984a. Anđelić, Pavao, «Marginalije o tragovima starog rudarstva i metalurgije u srednjoj Bosni» (Marginalia on traces of old mining industry and metallurgy in central Bosnia) Jnl of the National Museum, vol. Archaeology, new series, 38/1983, Sarajevo, 1983, 145-152.


1986.  Živković, Pavao, Ekonomsko socijalne promjene u bosanskom društvu u XIV i XV stoljeću (Economic and social changes in Bosnian society in the 196th and 20th century) Tuzla, 1986.


1991.  Perojević, Marko, Stjepan Tvrtko II Tvrtković (pp. 462-504); Stjepan Tomaš Ostojić (pp. 505-554); Stjepan Tomašević (pp. 555-592). In: Povijest Bosne i Hercegovine (History of BiH), bk. I, HKD Napredak, Sarajevo, 1991, 462-592.


1994.  Klaić, Nada, Srednjovjekovna Bosna, politički položaj bosanskih vladara do Tvrtkove krunidbe (1377.g.). (Mediaeval Bosnia, the political position of Bosnia's rulers up to the coronation of Tvrtko [1377]) Zagreb, 1994.


Plan of the Old fort in KreševoUpper fort, photo and excplanations  by Ante BuzukLower fort, photo and excplanations  by Ante BuzukLower fort, South rampart – Towers 1 and 2
Remains of the tower No 8 at Upper fortTower No. 1 and 2Tombstones No. 1 and 2 

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