Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Latinska bridge, the historic building

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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 structure of the Latinska ćuprija (Latin bridge) in Sarajevo is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument is located in Sarajevo, Municipality Stari grad (Old City), 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 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 only works that may be carried out on the National Monument are conservation and restoration works and regular maintenance works, including those designed to display the Nationbal Monument, with the approval of the Federation ministry responsible for regional planning and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.




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




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




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




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




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




            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. 529.




            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



No. 07.1-02-200/04-3

3 September 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 (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.

            At a session held on 1-2 July 1999 the Commission issued a Decision to add the Latin bridge in Sarajevo to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, numbered as 529.

            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  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.

Ÿ  Documentation on the location and current owner and user of the property

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 site are as follows:


1. Details of the property



            The bridge spans the river Miljacka, and is located in the immediate vicinity of the At Mejdan Park and Museum of the Sarajevo Assassination, in the old part of the city of Sarajevo, Municipality Stari Grad, right by the Sarajevo čaršija.


Historical information

            There are very historical references to a settlement or settlements in present-day Sarajevo, and those that have survived date only from the late mediaeval period.  For all earlier times, and even for the late mediaeval period itself to some extent, material remains and toponyms are important.

            From what is known to date, the earliest archaeological evidence in the area dates from the Mesolithic and Protoneolithic eras (8,000 to 6,000 BCE), followed by the Neolithic (New Stone Age, 5,100-4,500 BCE). These were found in Butmir, in Sarajevo plain, in the same meadow, side by side (Kujundžić-Vejzagić. 2002, 2004; Benac, 1979, 363-471).

            The Butmir settlement [word missing here: trans] in the New Stone Age, from the 5th to the end of the 3rd millenium BCE.  In the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BCE, as a result of mass migrations, the discovery of metals, and consequent new methods of warfare, the last few inhabitants of Butmir were forced to abandon their settlement and retreat into the hillfort settlements that sprang up along the entire lower course of the Miljacka in the valley where Sarajevo would later arise, and around the entire Sarajevo plain.  The focus of settlement shifted at this time from Sarajevo plain towards the centre of the present-day city of Sarajevo in the Miljacka valley.  Hillforts were constructed on the surrounding hillsides, on Debelo Brdo, Soukbunar and Zlatište, and on Obhodža, Gracad above Bistrik, and elsewhere.  In the late 2nd millennium the area was settled by a new population of Illyrians.  They too built their own fortifications and settlements.  The Illyrian tribe of the Desitiati settled central Bosnia at this time, including the Sarajevo area and environs.  They settled the same habitats as the previous population, and built new hillfort-type settlements (castella).  A number of oppida (oppidum: the main town of a given administrative area) also arose in the vicinity of Ilidža, such as Gradac (Ilinjači) in Gornji Kotorac, Gradina in Zenik, Debelo brdo on the slopes of Trebević, Naklo in Vojkovići, and Gradac near Hadžići.

            Right from the start of the period that followed the final conquest of the region by the Romans, in the first decade of the 1st century CE, the building of a roads system began.  One of the major roads, running along the Neretva valley, via Konjic and Ivan-sedlo towards the Sarajevo plain, led through Ilidža and ran close to the main central roads of present-day Sarajevo eastwards towards the Drina.   The best known Roman settlement was Ilidža (colonia Aquae S…); in late antique times a fortress was built above this settlement, in Gradac in Gornji Kotorac.  The settlement in Ilidža was located by the thermal springs and became the centre of the wider region.  Remains have been found in the Miljacka valley in the centre of present-day Sarajevo, mainly in the area between the Public Health Institute and the military camp, as well as on the site of the present-day Parliament building on the right bank, and around the Vrbanje bridge and in Šatorija on the left bank.  There was also a customs post and a small crafts and trade centre in the approximate region of the Public Health Institute (Imamović, 1997, 11-18).

            There are no finds in the Sarajevo region dating from the time of the Slav immigration in the 7th century through to the 9th century CE. The large necropolis in Mihaljevići, with more than 150 graves dating from the 9th to the 16th century, and the church in Vrutci near Vrelo Bosne (the source of the river Bosna) above Blažuje and in Gradac near Hadžići, around which necropolises of stećak tombstones later took shape, indicate that in the early mediaeval period the Sarajevo plain was more important than the centre of the present-day city.  It was probably at that time that the large early mediaeval župa (county) of Vrhbosna was formed.  Archaeological finds suggest that by the mid 13th century the area around the source of the river Bosna and its tributaries had become one of the major culture centres of Central or Upper Bosnia (Anđelić, 1972, 187).

            A charter of King Bela’s datingn from 1244 includes a reference not only to the church identified in Vrutci, but also to the cathedral of St Peter in a place called Brdo in Vrhbosna county.  Although there is some historical data, little is in fact known of the appearance or location of the Vrhbosna cathedral.  The earliest reference to the cathedral in historical documents dates from the time when Bishop Ponsa was appointed on 26 April 1238, when it is referred to merely as the “future” cathedral.  A deed of gift of King Bela IV mentions that it had been “founded,” which does not mean that construction had been completed.  There are no documents on the state of the building works, other than on the altar mensa, which indicates that there were a number of covered areas in which mass was heard (Kujundžić, 1978, p. 297).

            Identifying the precise location of the cathedral of St Peter is a problem.  Two recent archaeological finds from the Sarajevo area suggest that there was a church, or perhaps two, in this area in the mediaeval period, of which one was in the Romanesque style.  The name of the patron saint, St Peter, was even inscribed on one of these finds.  One of the finds was a marlstone capital in the form of a cube, and another was a fragment of an antique marlstone pillar that was reused as a pagan sacrificial altar and then, in the mediaeval period, as an altar in the church.  It may be assumed from these two finds that at the time the cathedral of St Peter was built in Vrhbosna in the second quarter of the 13th century, there was already an ecclesiastical tradition dating from earlier times in the Sarajevo region.  The old cathedral of Vrhbosna may also be located in the area around Podtekija (Kujundžić, 1978, pp. 298-299).

            In the later mediaeval period, the territory of the large early mediaeval county of Vrhbosna was divided into a number of small counties (kotar – district – also known as knežina).  The location of mediaeval forts around Sarajevo is evidence of the rapid development of socio-political relations that led to the formation of these smaller county territories.  The late mediaeval county of Vrhbosna covered the area from the river Bistrica and the confluence of the Paočica and Morkanjska Miljacka in the east to Binježevo in the west, to the river Vogošća in the north, and via Zoranovići and Kijevo and the Kasindo brook on the slopes of Jahorina to the south.  This territory falls into two natural entities: the Sarajevo plain, and the Miljacka valley, where the centre of the city of Sarajevo with its surrounding slopes to the north and south is located.  Here three late mediaeval forts were built: Teferić above Krupac on the south-eastern edge of the Sarajevo plain, Hodidjed in Bulozi, and the fort on the site of the present-day Bijela tabija (White Bastion) in Vratnik.  The centre shifted from the Sarajevo plain to the centre of the present-day city of Sarajevo (Fekeža, 1997, 19-34).

            The mediaeval county of Vrhbosna had a settlement, small town or market town known as Vrhbosna or Vrhbosanje.

            There was probably a fortification on the site of the present-day Bijela tabija in Vratnik, below which a settlement sprang up outside the fortifications, in which Ottoman sources dating from the second half of the 15th century record 8 Dubrovnik households (Bejtić, 1979, 107-148).  Mediaeval sources refer to Utornik (Tuesday) market on the site of the present-day city centre, and the toponym Stara varoš (Old Town) is encountered in early Ottoman sources.

            It is this settlement that is referred to in Isa-beg's vakufnama under the name Atik-Varoš (Old Varoš), when it was evidently in a state of decline.  The oldest census of the Bosnian sandžak includes Stara Varoš as an old market place.   There are differing views on the location of these two terms, Utornik and Stara Varoš (Šabanović, 1951, 20; idem 1960, 93; Kreševljaković, 1956, 13; Kovačević-Kojić, 1978, 77; Ančić, 2000, 46-80)

            In 1462, the village of Brodac was located on the slope running down from Bendbaša towards the present-day čaršija.  It was in this village that Isa-beg built his tekke, with a musafirhana (hostel) and imaret (soup kitchen), and some mills a little downstream.  All the rest of the area on the slopes to the right of the Miljacka and in the Miljacka valley itself consisted of the arable land worked by the local inhabitants.

             For his saray, first mosque and first hamam or public baths, around which the centre of the newly-established sandžak would take shape, Isa-beg chose a site between Brodac and the Vrhbosna settlement, on the opposite bank of the river.  After building his residence, he erected a bridge opposite it, the first that is known to have spanned the Miljacka, and laid the foundations of a commercial centre on the far bank by erecting the Kolobara caravanserai and a number of shops; this generated a new market place (Čelić, Mujezinović, 1969, p. 81).

            A town rapidly grew up in the Miljacka valley, developing during the first half of the 16th century into a major šeher (city).  The governors Mehmed-beg Minetović, Ajaz-beg and Firuz-beg, and above all Gazi Husref-beg, along with other sandžak-begs, statesmen and wealthy citizens, contributed to the growth of the city by erecting public buildings: mosques, mektebs and medresas (Islamic primary and high schools), tekkes, hanikahs (sufi lodges), libraries, hamams, hans (hostels) and caravanserais, bezistans (covered markets), storage magazines, and shops.  New bridges were erected one after the other.  Following the Careva ćuprija (Emperor's bridge) and Skenderija, the third known bridge in Sarajevo to be built was erected on the site of the present-day Latin bridge.  In 1557 a fourth bridge was built in Sarajevo, the Čobanija, and in 1567 a fifth, the Ćumurija. In 1585 the bridge below Alifakovac – the present-day Šeher-ćehaja ćuprija – was built.  Prior to this, two other bridges were also built over the Miljacka outside Sarajevo: upstream from the city the Kozija ćuprija (Goat bridge), and downstream, the Alipaša bridge.

Each of these bridges was erected in response to the development of roads and specific public buildings on both river banks, giving rise to the need to span the river between them.  «The Miljacka was thus the spinal cord of the šeher, and the bridges the links spanning the river joining the [two halves of the] city.» (Čelić, Mujezinović, 1969, p. 83).

            A number of bridges were built of either stone or timber.  Three of the twelve stone bridges have survived to this day, but none of the old timber bridges has survived. There were five stone bridges and several wooden ones in the immediate vicinity of Sarajevo, of which only the Kozija ćuprija has survived.

            Of the twelve stone bridges in Sarajevo, three had several arches, all of them on the Miljacka, and nine had only one – four in Bistrik and one each in Košev, Gornji Kasapi over the Mošćanica, Nova Mahala, Karpuz street and Megara.  There were four sizeable wooden bridges over the Miljacka and as many as fifty or so smaller ones spanning the Mošćanica, Bistrik and other streams and brooks.

            One travel chronicler wrote of Sarajevo's bridges in 1626 that there were very fine bridges of cut stone over the river flowing through the town.  Another wrote in 1658 that there were both stone and wooden bridges, quite handsome and well-made. At that time there were seven bridges spanning the Miljacka (Kreševljaković, 1991, p. 229).

            Sarajevo's rapid growth both upstream and downstream from the Emperor's bridge in the second half of the 15th and first half of the 16th century quickly led to the need for other crossing points over the river in addition to Isa-beg's bridge.  Intensive building in the Latinluk quarter (the present-day Branilaca grada street) and at the foot of Bistrik was the reason for the construction of a new bridge linking these two parts of town as early as the beginning of the 16th century.

The earliest reference to the bridge on this site is to be found in a census of the Bosnian sandžak dating from 1541, which states that a certain Husein, a saddler by trade, son of Širmerd, built a bridge and a mekteb in the Mehmed-beg Minetović mahala in Sarajevo.

            Given that the Mehmed-beg Minetović mosque stood on the site of the present-day Vakuf Directorate, it may be assumed that saddler Husein's bridge was probably on the site of the present-day Latin bridge.  The census does not indicate whether it was a wooden or a stone bridge, but a later reference suggests that it was timber-built and that it was soon demolished, since a sijill (court record) dating from 973 AH (1565) reveals that there was a stone bridge on this site, built by the Sarajevo ajan (prominent citizen) Ali Ajni-beg.  This document refers to one hajji Alija Turalić, who gave the sum of 410 akčas for the building of the bridge.

            The fate of this bridge was similar to that of the Emperor's bridge – it was damaged by the flash floods that swept through Sarajevo.  In 1730, as with the Emperor's bridge, the arch abutting onto one of the banks was swept away, and a petition was submitted by the Sarajevo kadi (judge) requesting that it be rebuilt; a ruling from the Bosnian valija (governor) approved the funds for its reconstruction.

            One arch of the bridge again collapsed fifty years later (on 15 January 1789), when a horse that was on the bridge at the time was killed.  The arch was rebuilt shortly afterwards.

The great flood that overtook Sarajevo on 15 November 1791 also affected the Latin bridge.  It cannot be said with certainty whether the bridge was completely destroyed except for its foundations by that flood, but there is no doubt that it was badly damaged to the point of being impassable, since it was a full six years before it was rebuilt.  This was also a time of socio-economic crisis and wars, which was probably one of the reasons for the lack of funds as well as of skilled personnel able to rebuilt it.  The reconstruction was finally carried out using funds from the estate of the deceased Sarajevo merchant hajji Abdulah Briga.  In the 16th century, representatives of the state were the main investors in bridge-building, but by the late 18th century, when the state was in crisis, this role was adopted by wealthy individuals.

            Hajji Abdulah-aga Briga's last will and testament bequeathed a third of his entire estate, amounting to 29,768 groschen, to be used for charitable purposes, and on 23 Jumada-l-Akhira 1212 AH (13 December 1797), several prominent citizens of Sarajevo requested that the kadi approve the use of part of these funds to rebuild the Latin bridge.  In this regard, they requested that a builder named Risto and twenty of his skilled stonemasons be brought from Ljubinje.  However, these craftsmen from Ljubinje did not come to build the bridge; later, in the accounts of expenditure for the bridge, there is reference to a master-craftsman by the name of Jovan.

The reconstruction of the bridge was completed in 1798, and two houses with shops were built beside it, the revenue from which was to be used for future repairs to the bridge (Čelić, Mujezinović, 1969, p. 97).

            Two chronograms concerning the rebuilding of the bridge have also survived, written in Turkish verse.  One of them was composed by the Sarajevo kadi Mehmed Emin Isević and was incised on a stone plaque which stood on the bridge until 1886, when it was removed for safekeeping to the National Museum in Sarajevo (Čelić, Mujezinović, 1969, p. 98).

The second inscription never stood on the bridge, and survives only in Kadić's collection (M. Kadić, Zbornik 11, p. 146). It was composed by the Sarajevan Abdulah Burek, whose nom de plume was Nazari.

            As in the case of the Emperor's bridge, several poets competed to describe in verse the completion of a structure that served the common good.  In addition to these two inscriptions, Muhamed Enver Kadić noted that one of the learned people of that time calculated that the hijra year of the repairs to the Latin bridge could be derived, using the abjad system (assigning numerical values to each letter), from the surname of the benefactor, «Briga».

            Mula Mustafa Bašeskija also refers to the rebuilding of the bridge in his Chronicle, recounting that the repairs to the bridge began on 27 Safar 1212 AH (19 August 1797) and that the bridge was completed at the end of the month of Rabi' al-Akhira 1213 AH (Octobder 1798).  The chronicler recorded that the repairs to the bridge took a total of three months, which is inaccurate, since his own notes reveal that the repairs lasted for a year and three months.  It is possible that this was a simple error, or that the repairs were carried out in stages and that the reference to three months relates only to the final stage of rebuilding (Čelić, Mujezinović, 1969, p. 99).

            «The Latin bridge that we see today was built in 1798, but there was a stone bridge on the same site prior to 1565, built by one Ali Ajni-beg, who was still alive in that year, and who in 1556 managed Rustem-paša's property in Sarajevo.  It acquired its name after Latinluk, the mahala on the right bank of the Miljacka where Sarajevo's Catholics lived, which lay alongside the Miljacka down to the Ćumurija bridge.  Turkish sources called Latinluk Frenkluk (French) mahala, and the bridge's official name was thus Frenkluk ćuprija (Frenklik-küpru)». (Kreševljaković, 1991, p 232).

            After 1878, the area around the bridge underwent major changes, but there was only one alteration to the bridge itself.  In 1886 work began on the regulation of the Miljacka from the Latin bridge to the Ćumurija bridge.  It was then that the parapet of the bridge was removed and the bridge was widened by building a footpath.  The plaque with the inscription was removed to the National Museum (Kreševljaković, 1991, p 234).

            It was right beside this bridge, on the right bank, that Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, in 1914.  Following this, a monument to Ferdinand and Maria was erected on the approach to the bridge, at the upstream corner on the right bank, with a concrete bench on the downstream corner.  The monument was removed in 1918, when the bridge was renamed after the assassin Gavrilo Princip (Čelić, Mujezinović, 1969, p 101).


2. Description of the property

            In architecture, the selection and use of materials, and the way it fits into the environs and the landscape, the Latin bridge is similar to the Emperor's bridge in its final stage and, to a somewhat lesser extent, to the surviving Šeherija (Šeher-ćehaja bridge).  The bridge stands at the Bistrik junction, in the lower part of which, by the Miljacka, the military and administrative centre of Turkish Sarajevo was located, with At-mejdan and Latinluk and the powerful economic base formed by colonies of Dubrovnik merchants on the right bank.  The vertical accents of two mosques, Mehmed-beg Minetović's on the right bank and Čokadži hajji-Sulejman's on the left, dominated the setting of the Latin bridge.  Here, as in the case of the Šeherija, the regulation of the Miljacka at the end of the 19th century altered the appearance of the bridge for the worse, as a result of the alterations carried out to adapt it to modern traffic requirements.  The assumption is that the original symmetrical design, with five arches increasing rhythmically in size from shore to centre, was disrupted by filling in one of the arches on the right bank.  In addition, to carry extra traffic, the bridge was widened by cantilevered footpaths with iron railings.  These works were the reason for the removal of the old stone-slab parapet and the tarih (chronogram), which was removed to the National Museum in 1880.   Another inscription recording the alterations, which were completed in 1894, was mounted on the bridge, but has since disappeared.

            The Latin bridge now has four arched openings, the barrels of which rest on three substantial piers standing in the riverbed and two abutments on the banks.  Later works on the abutments destroyed the features that would permit of a more accurate hypothesis on the original appearance of these parts of the structure, particularly on the right bank, where the abutment is almost vertical and where the remains of the monument to Archduke Franz Ferdinand can be seen to this day, on the corners of the bridge and parapet of the embankment (Čelić, Mujezinović, 1969, p. 101).

            The piers in the riverbed are of the usual shape, with sharply angled breakwaters on the upstream side and rounded buttresses on the downstream side.  Beneath the ground plan projection of the roadway and parapet of the bridge, which had an average width of 4.3 m prior to the addition of the cantilevered footpaths, the upstream remains are of about 2.25 m and the downstream about 1.35 m.  The overall length of the structure of the piers is thus 7.90 m, or 8.10 m in the case of the final pier on the left.  The footprint of the piers is also unequal in width; the central pier and the one nearest the right bank are 2.40 m (three ells) wide, whereas the one nearest the left bank is more than 3 m wide.

            The piers begin with somewhat wider footings, unequal in height: the footing of the right-hand-most pier is the lowest, and if one takes the upper surface as the starting point for measuring the height (± 0,00), the central pier begins at a height of +0.27 and the left-hand-most pier at a height of +0.49.  The vertical sections of the piers, from left to right, reach heights of +2.43, +2.61 and +2.76 m.  On the downstream side, the vertical sections of the piers terminate significantly lower.

            The pyramidal terminals of the breakwaters of the piers on the upstream side are of regular-cut stone blocks, while those on the downstream side are of smaller, polygonally-cut blocks.  The tip of the downstream terminals is blunted horizontally. The transitions from the vertical sections of the piers to the angled terminals are emphasized on both upstream and downstream sides by a simply moulded stone string course.

            The barrels of the bridge have semicircular arches and are unequal in span. The rhythm of the spans and piers is as follows, measured from the left to the right bank: first opening – 6.20 m; first pier – 3.00 m; second opening – 6.8 m; second pier – 2.40 m; third opening 8.40 m; third pier – 2.40 m; fourth opening – 7.00 m; surviving approaches on the banks – 3.00; a total of c. 39.20 m.

            The overall length of the bridge is now somewhat in excess of 39 metres.  If one assumes that there were four piers, five openings and the approaches from the banks, which must have been significantly longer in the past before the present-day almost vertical abutments were added, the length must have exceeded 50 metres.

            The supports of the barrels are set at approximately half the height of the vertical sections of the piers by interpolating projections in the form of a string course, similar to that of some other bridges dating from the Ottoman period.  This differs only on the left-hand-most pier, where the start of the barrel is emphasized by a certain thickening of the pier in the lower section.

            The lower parts of the piers and barrels are of white Sarajevo limestone, whereas the parts that are for the most part above the waterline, i.e. the terminals of the piers, the greater part of the barrels and the spandrel walls, are of tufa.  The exception are the keystones of the arches, which are of limestone; the terminal string courses and parapet were also probably of limestone, but no traces of these features has survived.

            The spandrel walls are of regular-cut tufa set in horizontal courses.  Above the central and right-hand pier there are two circular relieving openings, similar to those on Kozija ćuprija, but almost half the size in diameter.  The diameter is 1.60 m, and the surrounds are of radially cut tufa blocks over the entire depth.  These openings appear to have no effect on the structure and stability of the bridge, and may be regarded as decorative features, although the builder himself did not perhaps think so.  In any event, they bestow a particular character on the bridge, which was doubtless still more marked previously, before the cantilevered footpaths were added (Čelić, Mujezinović, 1969, p. 102).

            In 2004 the Cantonal Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Sarajevo drew up the project documentation for and carried out works of conservation, restoration and part reconstruction of the Latin bridge in Sarajevo.  As part of these works, initial research was conducted not only on the bridge itself but also of available archive and documentary material.  This research led to certain findings concerning the original architecture of the bridge, and its transformation over the centuries, corroborated by the study of the bridge itself.  For more on these and other details concerning the question of research and conservation and restoration works on the Latin bridge in Sarajevo, see the paper by Nermina Mujezinović entitled Konzervatorsko-restauratorski radovi na Šeher-ćehajinoj i Latinskoj ćupriji, in the 2004 Annual of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.   The following passages include quotations from this paper by way of more detailed clarification of the subject.

            «Since there was no solid evidence in situ of the original appearance of the bridge, but that the only conclusions to be drawn were those based on historical sources, particular attention was made to this type of research work.  A hypothetical reconstruction was made in the form of a blueprint on which yet another opening on the right bank of the river was «simulated».  It was possible to conclude with almost complete certainty from this blueprint that there were originally five openings, since the heights on the «simulation» matched this assumption, while the architectural and artistic features of the symmetry of a multi-arched stone bridge were plain to see.

            This hypothesis was corroborated by findings in situ, when after carefully removing the layers of asphalt, base layer and fill, almost undamaged pieces of the string course and traces of the infill of the bridge were discovered.

            Small test soundings were taken in two or three places, enabling us to confirm the hypothesis that the bridge had indeed lost one structural and compositional element when the river was regulated: the last arch, by the right bank, was filled in.  Cutting the bridge short in this way also affected the surviving structure, with the roadway acquiring a different profile and the entire composition bridge being altered.

            When the later additions of the cantilevered footpaths were removed, we found beneath the stone edging and fill pieces of a typical bridge string course from the Ottoman period, set on the spandrel walls, and concluded that the original level of the paved roadway was considerably lower than the one we found in situ.  Further investigations, with the careful removal of the base layers beneath the existing roadway (consisting of the Austrian granite pavé), enabled us to confirm this, since there were pieces of a hreša string course along the full length of the bridge, beneath the fill (the height of which, measured at the highest lateral section, was of an average of 50-60 cm), along with about ten paving slabs.

            Even during initial reconnaissance on both structures we ascertained that a great many of the original features were missing; some had been replaced by other, wholly inappropriate ones during previous, long-term interventions, and others, we assumed, had simply been destroyed, taken away or added to the infill.

            Measuring and drawing the structure of the spandrel arches of the left bank and central barrels of the bridge both upstream and downstream clearly indicated that they were essentially semicircular, with minor deviations that could be the result of wear, minor damage or building works.  However, this was not the case with the arches of the barrel by the right bank.  The fact is that on old bridges one sometimes encounters a composition in which the bankside barrels are of segmental or elliptical-oval form, and those over the water are arched.  Here, too, it is clear that the barrel by the right bank, even in its original form, was different in proportions from those over the river.  However, the deviations measured were too great to be tolerated as an architectural or structural principle.  When attempting to determine graphically the centres, tangents and manner of construction of the arch, the segmental form of the extrados and intrados in situ, it was impossible to make them «fit» the standard, known structure of a segmental arch, as a result of which we assumed that there had been distortion.  The on site observations during which we noticed characteristic cracks on the front of the arch and the soffits of the barrel suggested that there might have been more serious damage to the barrel which could have caused the distortion.  Test soundings of the structure of the roadway, carried out at the end with the aim of finally identifying the cause of the different geometry of the barrel as well as its general structural stability, followed by the complete removal of the roadway structure and base layers right down to the crown, revealed the presence of very serious longitudinal cracks which, we finally concluded, were indeed the cause of the «depressed» form, of the «settling» of the crown and upper section of the arch.  These anomalies, then, were the result of major damage to the structure and its almost complete disintegration.

            Certain features we observed on the abutments of the Latin bridge in Sarajevo indicated the considerable likelihood of major damage to the foundations of the first pier by the left bank.  In this case, it was not because of the slightly «depressed» form of the arch and its segmental geometry, which was within the limits of tolerance, and probably derived from the architectural and structural design, but because we noted that the horizontal joints of the limestone blocks, in lateral profile, were markedly out of true.

            Taking into consideration, primarily, the structural condition of the bridge, the pieces of the original structure that were discovered, and new findings that shed greater light on the original appearance of the bridge, experts from the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of the City of Sarajevo decided to draw up a project for the conservation, restoration and part reconstruction of the Latin bridge in Sarajevo. The project included, in addition to conservation, repair and restoration, the part reconstruction of the original features of the bridge and its structure (barrels, spandrel walls, arches and abutments).  It was also proposed that the iron traverses that had been built into the structure of the bridge during the Austro-Hungarian period as supports for the footpath extensions be removed, since they were not original and were even of the nature of vandalism.

            In particular, bearing in mind the divergence the bridge's features in the present day by comparison with the original immediately after it was built, a plan was suggested for its «symbolic reconstruction» by the Protection Institute.  This plan includes a symbolic indication or «drawing» of the missing arch and piers in the asphalt.» (Mujezinović, 2004 Annual of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments).


3. Legal status to date

            The Regional Plan for the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2002 listed the Latin bridge in Sarajevo as a Category I monument (a bridge of national importance).

            The Latin bridge is listed in the Provisional List of National Monuments of the Commission under serial no. 529.

            The Latin bridge (Princip bridge) over the Miljacka in Sarajevo was protected as a cultural monument by Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of NR BiH no. 684/50 dated 10 June 1950.

            The Latin bridge (Princip bridge) in Sarajevo was listed as a cultural monument in the Register of Immovable Cultural Monuments under no. 176 by Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of NR BiH no. 02-623-3/62 dated 18 April 1962.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

            No details are known of research and of conservation and restoration works prior to the most recent works, conducted in 2004.   


 5.  Current condition of the property

            An on-site inspection ascertained that works on the conservation, restoration and part reconstruction of the Latin bridge, being conducted by the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Sarajevo Canton, are nearing completion and that the bridge is open for foot traffic.



            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.iii. proportions

C.iv. composition

D. Clarity

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

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

G. Authenticity

G.iii. use and function

G.v. location and setting


            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 Latin bridge in Sarajevo as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


1929    Škarić, Vladislav, «Postanak Sarajeva i njegov teritorijalni razvitak u 15. i 16. vijeku» (Origins of Sarajevo and its territorial development in the 15th and 16th centuries), Jnl of the National Museum XLI, Vol. 2, Sarajevo, 1929


1956    Kreševljaković, Hamdija, «Saraji ili dvori bosanski namjesnika» (Sarais or courts of the Bosnian governors), Naše starine III, Sarajevo, 1956


1960     Šabanović, Hazim, Postanak i razvoj Sarajeva (Origins and development of Sarajevo), papers of the Scientific Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina, bk. 5, Sarajevo, 1960


1964  Šabanović, Hazim, Krajište Isa-bega Ishakovića (Krajište of Isa-beg Ishaković), Collective cadastral surveys of 1455, Sarajevo, 1964


1969.    Čelić, Džemal, Mujezinović, Mehmed, Stari mostovi u Bosni i Hercegovini (Old bridges in BiH) Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1969.


1972   Anđelić, Pavao, Bobovac i Kraljeva Sutjeska stoljna mjesta bosanskih vladara u XIV i XV stoljeću (Bobovac and Kraljeva Sutjeska courts of the Bosnian rulers in the 14th and 15th centuries) Sarajevo, 1972


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


1978  Kujundžić, Juraj, «Katedrala sv. Petra u Vrhbosnia», Nova et vetera, Review for philosophical, theological and allied disciplines, Vols. 1-2, Association of Catholic Religious Officials in SR BiH, Sarajevo, 1978


1979   Bejtić, Alija, «Srednjovjekovni grad  Hodidjed bio je na Vratniku u Sarajevu», Papers of the Academy of Science and the Arts of BiH, Bk. LXIV, Social Sciences Sector, bk. 20, Sarajevo, 1979, 107-148


1979  Benac, Alojz, «Prelazna zona» (Transitional zone), in: Praistorija jugoslavenskih zemalja: Neolit (Prehistory of southern Slav lands: the Neolithic), Sarajevo, 1979, 363-471


1980.    Institute for Architecture, Town Planning and Regional Planning of the Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo, Faza «B» - valorizacija prirodne i kulturno-historijske vrijednosti (Stage B: valorization of natural, cultural and historical assets), Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 1980.


1991.    Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Izabrana djela III – banje, vododvodi, hanovi i karavansaraji (Selected works III – baths, water mains, hans and caravanserais) Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1991.


1997     Fekeža, Lidija, «Rezultati novijih arheoloških istraživanja kasnoantičkih i srednjovjekovnih lokaliteta na području Sarajeva» (Findings of recent archaeological excavations of late antique and mediaeval sites in the Sarajevo area), papers for the symposium “Half a millennium of Sarajevo” held from 19 to 21 March 1993 in Sarajevo, Sarajevo, 1997


1997     Enver Imamović, “Korijeni Sarajeva – Prethistorija i antika. Prilozi historji Sarajeva” Origins of Sarajevo – Prehistory and antiquity. Contributions to the history of Sarajevo), papers for the symposium “Half a millennium of Sarajevo” held from 19 to 21 March 1993 in Sarajevo, Sarajevo, 1997


2000     Ančić, Mladen, «Razvoj srednjovjekovnog naseobinskog kompleksa na mjestu današnjeg Sarajeva. Vrhbosna/Sarajevo kroz stojeća», offprint from Hrvatska misao II-12, 13-99, 14-2000, Sarajevo, 20000, 46-80


2002     Kujundžić-Vejzagić, Zilka, Izvještaj o realizaciji programa zaštitnih arheoloških istraživanja na lokalitetu Butmir-Ilidža previđen za izgradnju Kompleksa Terma-Čatež (Report on implementation of programme of protective archaeological excavations on the site in Butmir-Ilidža designated for the construction of the Terma-Čatež complex)


2004     Kujundžić-Vejzagić, Zilka, Prijedlog programa zaštitnih arheoloških istraživanja na području novoprojektovanog Parka sportova u Butmiru (Draft programme for protective archaeological excavations on the site of the newly-designed Sports Park in Butmir), Sarajevo, 2004


2004.    Mujezinović, Nermina, Konzervatorsko-restauratorski radovi na Šeher-ćehajinoj i Latinskoj ćupriji (Conservation and restoration works on the Šeher-ćehaja and Latin bridges) Annual of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, 2004.

Latinska bridge in SarajevoLatinska bridge, photo before works Latinska bridge, part of the bridgeLatinska bridge, downstream facade
Latinska bridge, upstream facade   

BiH jezici 
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