Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Old fort of Gradačac with Gradaščevića tower, 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 2 to 8 November 2004 the Commission adopted a






The architectural ensemble of the Old town in Gradačac is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument is located on cadastral plot no. 9/85 (old survey), cadastral municipality Gradačac, Land Register entry no. 728, Gradačac municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina

            The National Monument consists of: the ramparts and the buildings within them: the Upper Fort with the Husein-Captain Gradaščević Tower, and the Lower Fort with the Clock Tower, the town Library, the radio station, and the Museum, the Grammar School building and the items listed in the inventory book of the museum holdings.

The National Monument is a potential site (archaeological reserve) of movable archaeological material.

            The provisions relating to the protection and rehabilitation measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 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 of the National Monument. 

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

            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 in order to ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument:

Protection zone I consists of the site defined in Clause I para 2 of this decision and the architectural ensemble of the Husejnija mosque, which is located on a site designated as c.p. no. 1192 and 1193 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. nos. 9/86, 9/87 and 9/244 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 725, c.m.Gradačac, which was designated as a national monument by decision of the Commission no. 07.2/02/255/04-5 of 2 November 2004.

The following measures are hereby stipulated in this zone:

  • all works on the National Monument site are prohibited other than research and conservation and restoration works, including works designed to display the National Monument, with the approval of the ministry responsible for regional planning in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (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 National Monument site shall be open to the public and may be used for for educational and cultural purposes
  • the dumping of waste is prohibited.

In order to ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument, the following measures shall be carried out:

  • the ramparts of the fort, the walls of the towers, the gatehouses and the area of the fort shall be cleared of self-sown vegetation endangering the structure of the monument;
  • structural repairs shall be carried out to the towers and ramparts where cracks have appeared and there is a risk of their collapsing;
  • all structures not executed in accordance with the principles of reconstruction shall be removed and new conservation and restoration works shall be carried out; this pertains in particular to the replacement of the roof cladding (poor-quality shingles) on the gatetowers and clock tower, the replacement of the roof cladding (Canadian shingles with the original plain tiles) on the town library, radio station and museum, and repairs to the upper part of the clock tower;
  • the gym building shall be removed;
  • archaeological research and conservation works shall be carried out on any remains discovered;
  • a programme for the presentation of the National Monument shall be drawn up and implemented.

Protection zone II consists of a protective strip 20 m wide to the south and the west of the boundaries of the National Monuments, and up to the riverbed of the Gradašnica river to the north and the east, including the Husejnija mosque and the town park.

            The following measures are hereby stipulated in this zone:

  • all construction or works that could have the effect of altering the area and the landscape are prohibited;
  • infrastructure works shall be permitted only by way of exception, subject to the approval of the relevant ministry and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority;
  • the dumping of waste is prohibited.



The removal of the movable heritage 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 temporary removal 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 heritage 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, 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, cantonal, urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardise the protection thereof.




The Government of the Federation, the relevant ministry of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the heritage protection authority, and the municipal authority 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 – VI of this Decision, and the authorised Municipal Court shall be notified for the purpose 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 nos. 264 and 543




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 Ahunay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović, Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.                                                                                       

No: 02-35-83/04

2 November 2004


Chair of the Commission

Amra Hadžimuhamedović 

E l u c i d a t i o n




Pursuant to Article 2, para 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 property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a petition for the property in question has been submitted or not.

            The Commission to Preserve National Monuments issued a Decision to add the Ruins of the Husein-Captain Gradaščević Tower and the Clock Tower to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, numbered as 264 and 534, respectively. Both buildings are located in the architectural ensemble of the Old Town in Gradačac.

            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, para 4 of the 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 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.

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


1.  Details of the property


            Gradačac is situated in the shallow valley around the Gradašnica river, under the far slopes of the Bosnian mountains, on the crossroads to Šamac, Tuzla, Gračanica and Brčko. In specific historical circumstances, this position on the northwest slopes of Mt. Majevica, almost in the plain and not far from the river Sava, was of major strategic importance. The fortress covers the summit and the slopes of a hillock in the hilly area of Zelinje, surrounded by the valley where Gradačac is located. The small river Gradašnica flows below the east wall of the fort. To the the north-west and north, where the Upper Fort was built, the hill is steep and rocky.

Historical information

The complex of the Old Fort in Gradačac is a fortress built during the Ottoman period. The name of Gradina (hillfort), the name of the site where the complex stands, suggests much older origins. As there have been no archaeological investigations, the earlierhistory of the fort is not known. During field reconnaissance, some shards of late medaieval pottery were found next to the south wall of the Lower Fort. It may thus be assumed that the remains of a mediaeval town might be found somewhere around the south town wall. The place known as Varoš is lies below the fort. In the mediaeval period it belonged to the župa (county) of Nenavište, which took shape in the area between the rivers Tinja, Sava and Bosna. In the late mediaeval period the district was divided into two smaller districts: Dobor district (west territories on the left bank of the river Bosna) and Gračac district with its centre in Gradačac (territories to the east of the river Bosna) (Belić, 1988, 77, Anđelić, 1982, 147). It seems that towards the end of the Bosnian independence, the region in the west parts of Usora, i.e. the area around the river Bosna where Gradačac was located (medieval town of Gra(da)čac) was under the rule of Radivoj Kotromanić, a long-standing aspirant to the king's throne. Bosnia’s King Stjepan Tomašević bestowed Gračac on him as a gift in 1461, but this appears to have been merely confirmation of an earlier gift by King Tomas. It is not known whether the area was ruled even before this by some branches or members of royal family. (Truhelka, 1909, 447, Anđelić, 1982, 153).

            It is likely that Gradačac fell to the Ottomans in 1463 when they took Bosnia. After the Hungarian counter-offensive in 1463-4, the Jajce and Srebrenica banates (ruled by a ban [governor]), including Gradačac, were established (Handžić, 1975, 36). Historical sources provde no exact data on the time when the Srebrenica banate fell to the Ottomans. According to Handžić, the Ottomans finally took this territory after a seven-year long truce (1503 – 1510), and certainly before 01 April 1519, when a new three-year truce was concluded in Budim between the Hungarians and the Ottomans (Handžić, 1975, 48). The conquered territory belonged to the Zvornik sandžak.

            A summary census ("defter") of 1533 mentions the commercial area of the Gračac fort (kal'a and Gračac) with only 19 houses in the Gračac nahija (nahiye, district). The fortress in Gradačac, together with the forts of Rača, Koraj, Brčko and Dobor, formed part of the north line of fortresses of the Zvornik sandžak. It was one of the fortified outposts of the borderland (krajina), which were held only by ulufedžija (movable troops acting only in case of need, with no connection to timars [landholdings granted in exchange for military service] in the fortified outposts of the military borderland). This explains why it was not mentioned in the census prior to 1533, and even not in the summary census of that year. It was only between 1536, when the Ottomans embarked on an offensive to conquer Slavonia, and 1548, that some of these forts, including Gradačac, ceased to be frontier fortresses. At that time the Gradačac garrison had only 10 mustafhiz (garrison of fortress guards who had a right of timar) with no strategic importance, and the fort had no prospect of further progress (Handžić, 1975, 8, 72-72, 138, 144).

            From 1548 to the 19th century, the Gračac nahija (district) was referred to by the name of Nenavište nahija. This nahija belonged to the Zvornik sandžak and Srebrenica kadiluk (area under the jurisdiction of a kadi) up to the 1520s, and then to the Zvornik kadiluk to 1633 when it fell under the jurisdiction of the Gračanica kadiluk (Šabanović, 1982, 170, 201-202, 231).

            The name of Gratschac or Gradzatz was still common on espionage maps of the mid 16th century. The first reference to the name of Gradačac was in 1634, but there were no data on the fortress (Kreševljaković, 1953, 39). As a Tuzla sidzil (court document) of that year rfefers to a lower mahala in Gradačac, it might be assumed that there was an upper mahala too, or a hillfort which had been abandoned for military use. Immediately after the Karlovac peace agreement of 1699, an agaluk (military administrative unit headed by agha) was founded on part of the future Gradačac captaincy. The fortress probably already had a guard of 20 azap (infantry – one of the main military ranks in the border fortresses and captaincies). On 10 April 1702, a military džemat (religious community) of 50 officers and soldiers was founded. It was mentioned as a small town in 1701.

            It was not until the 18th century, when the border of the Ottoman Empire was definitely set at the Sava river (by the provisions of the Belgrade peace treaty of 1739), that Gradačac became an important strategic place in the frontier regions of the Empire. Around 1710, and certainly before 1730, the agaluk grew into captaincy with 300 soldiers of various ranks on the payroll. The fortresses of Soko near Gračanica and Srebrenik also belonged to this captaincy. All three forts of the captaincy were well equipped with cannon and all branches of the military. According to reports from 1718-1739, the Gradačac fortress was quite solidly built and surrounded with a moat. It was guarded with three batteries of 15 heavy guns (Bodenstein, 1908, 98).

            The first properly documented captain was Muhamed, around 1730. One of his successors was Mehmed-captain (known from documents dating from 1749-1781). It was in his time, in 1756, that the construction of fortress began, as well as the entire complex of the Old Town, and the forts of Soko and Srebrenik were repaired. Sergeant Božić of the Brod border regiment described Gradačac fortress in his report of 1785 as well organised and well fortified. It was already a stronghold with a moat and 15 heavy guns. This description revealed the existence of the Lower Fort with entrances to the northeast and south. A square tower, solid enough to have cannon positioned it, was built next to the northeast entrance. According to Božić, "the Captain's headquarters were surrounded with a palisade and a moat. The headquarters and hillfort dominate the area", which means that the Upper Fort was already within the fortress, and that there was a tower there. Božić also correctly described two polygonal bastions in the Lower Fort and one in the Upper Fort, as some 12 feet high with ramparts around them 18 feet in height (Husedžinović, 1999, 15). Mehmed-bey was succeeded by his son Osman-captain before 1795. The fortress in Gradačac was significantly extended during his time. According to the inscription over the north gate (next to the Husejnija mosque), the extension works were completed in 1808. Two gate towers were built (next to Husejnija and at the upper (south) entrance to the fort). Osman died at the end of 1812, and was succeeded by his oldest son Murat-captain (1813 – 1821) who finished the construction of the fort. Most of the information on repairs and reconstructions of the fortress that were carried out upon the order of the valija (provincial administrator), came from his time. Murat-captain was one of the most powerful Bosnian captains and a highly educated man. It was probably his order to build water supply system in Gradačac, primarily because of the needs of the fortress. The water supply system had a fountain and three drains close to the Husejnija mosque (Kreševljaković, 1991, 183). His successor was Husein-captain Gradaščević, nicknamed the Dragon of Bosnia, the last of the Gradačac captains (1821 – 1832). He was a son of Osman-pasha, Murat's younger brother. His captaincy was the best-managed captaincy in Bosnia. He reconstructed both the tower and the fortress. Besides stone, bricks were used for construction, which was initially transported from Slavonia (Austria) and later on probably manufactured in a brickyard in Orašje. He built a clock tower in Gradačac (1824) and the Husejnija mosque (1826) (Kreševljaković, 1991, 185). Father Martin Nedić described the town in the mid 19th century and wrote about its inner fort (Upper Fort) built by the Gradaščević’s "of brick", which could be entered via a drawbridge over the fortified moat. The captains' headquarters were in the "inner fortress" surrounded with solid walls and moats with bridges on three sides.

             According to the official census of 1833, there were 29 cannon in the fort (Kreševljaković, 1952, 167).

            A description of the state of the Zvornik kajmakat (district) in 1856 indicated that the Gradačac fortress was in very poor shape. The fortress was half ruinous and had only two six-pounder cannon (Kamberović, 2000, 254).

            The Austrian occupation in 1878 encountered only a small garrison in Gradačac (Kreševljaković, 1991, 181-185; Husedžinović and others, 1999, 11-20).

            After the captaincy was abolished, the Husein-captain tower was used as the headquarters of the administration authorities from 1832 to 1895. Between 1878 and 1940, the tower was used as gendarmerie barracks. During the World War II it was used for military purposes.

            Archive documents show that the Sultan Fatih Mehmed-han Mosque was built within the fortress. It was certainly built before 1711, which corresponds to the historical facts, although it had name of Mehmed-el Fatih. It was abandoned in 1878, as the Austro-Hungarian authorities and army closed the gates of the fort. The Austro-Hungarian army, which did not need a mosque, started to remove at first the timber wooden partsof the mosque and then the stone as well. It seems that stones from this mosque were used in the construction of Reuf-bey mosque (New central mosque), as well as Orthodox church (1887) and Catholic church (1889) in Gradačac. The district authorities demolished the mosque in 1892, and hafiz Mustafa effendi Imamović stated in 1908 "nowadays, there is not a single stone where the mosque used to be, but only some to be seen on the main wall around the fort that there used to be a building of some kind there". The mosque was small and was used by the fortress garrision and džemat in the mahala (residential area) next to the fortress. It was built of stone, with a wooden roof and a minaret. Nowadays the citizens of Gradačac do not know where the mosque stood, but one document indicates that it was somewhere inside the ramparts on state-owned land back in the Ottoman period (Kamberović, 2000, 253-264).


2. Description of the property

Fortified complex of the Lower and Upper Fort

            According to historical data, the fortress acquired its current appearance between 1765 and 1824. Two buildings used from the outset for civilian purposes, the court building and the land registry building, were built inside the ramparts during the Austro-Hungarian period. Many alterations can be seen to the fortifications, the date of which is not known.

            The fortress is situated on terrain slopin g from all sides towards the north gate-tower, which stands at the lowest point, and where the fortress and and the central part of the civilian settlement, the čaršija (commercial area) are connected. The fortress has two ensembles: the Lower Fort, and the Upper Fort within it. The whole complex was fortified with ramparts, which surround an area of 35 ares and 91m2. A feature of the fort is that some parts of the ramparts and towers of the complex were built much more carefully, using cut stone, than many other forts of the same period in Bosnia. The Old Fort forms an irregular rectangle with the sides some 180 – 200 m long. The acropolis or Upper Fort, which is in fact a fortress within a fortress, forms a separate entity in the north-west part of the Old Fort. The ramparts surrounding the fort from a zigzag line. The line of octagonal bastions, which are now covered by earth or of which only the retaining walls remain, can be detected at the southeast, southwest and northwest corners. There are ruins of yet another polygonal bastion within the Lower Fort. The town has three entrance gate-towers: from the čaršija through the main north gate tower, and through the south and west towers. The gate towers are of almost square ground-plan, with a hipped, shingle-clad roof. They were built with well-cut rectangular stone blocks.

The north gate-tower measures 9 x 8 m on the outside and 5 x 4.5 m on the inside. The entrances are arched. The entrance at east wall of the gate-tower is emphasised by a moulded square frame. The arch over the entrance is decorated with a floral ornament. Above the apex of the arch is a framed plaque with a carved figure of a man on horseback and a floral motif. There is an inscription "Benefactor Osman-captain, 1223" (1808) on the north side of the entrance (Mujezinović, 1998, 182). There are four symmetrically cut apertures at the top of the tower, below the roof; in the centre somewhat lower than these, just above the plaque with the carved figures, a block with a real loophole has been inserted. The west wall is simple, without ornaments or loopholes. It can be seen inside the tower that the walls were very carefully constructed up to the apex of the arch, with blocks of equal sizes, while the upper part up to the roof was built with somewhat smaller and less carefully laid stones.

The south gate-tower measures 9 x 8.5 m on the outside and 5.4 m on the inside. The arch and doorjambs of the entrance in the south wall of this gate-tower are emphasised and decorated with geometric and floral ornaments. A plaque with tendril ornaments is set above the arch, with a loophole right above it. There are narrow apertures resembling loopholes cut symmetrically on both sides. There is an inscription "Benefactor Osman-captain, 1223" (1808) at the east side of the entrance (Mujezinović, 1998, 182). There are also a mace and sabre incised on one of the stone blocks along the east edge of the south wall. The same motif appears on a stone block on the west side close to the base of the south wall. Roughly in the middle of the same side, there is a stone with motifs of a crescent moon, rosette and apple. The north wall of this gate-tower, with an entrance to the fortress, is very simple, without ornaments or loopholes. It can be seen inside the tower that the walls were very carefully constructed up to the apex of the arch, with blocks of equal size, while the upper part up to the roof was built with somewhat smaller and less carefully laid stones. There are visible traces of repairs and reconstructions outside on the upper part of the west wall. A small, arched window has been walled up, and one loophole and one aperture were cut. There is a loophole on the east wall of the gate-tower, and there are visible traces of repairs to the wall below the roof. The rampart between the north gate-tower and bastion at the southeast corner is the best-preserved part of the defensive walls of the fort. There are many apertures for loopholes. The outer side of the walls was faced with carefully cut rectangular blocks, while the inner side of the walls was more carelessly built.

The west gate-tower, with external dimensions of 7 m, and internal of 4 m, was a side gate, built with less carefully cut blocks and without ornaments at the entrance wall.

The polygonal bastion (measuring 15 x 20 m) was built in the centre of thepresent-day town park area and facing north-east, i.e. to the north gate-tower, čaršija and the lowest point of the site. Partition walls were built to the left and right of its sidewalls toward the ramparts. The rear of the bastion was naturally protected by steep ground, surrounded by the outer ramparts between the west and the south gate-towers.

Kazamats (dungeons) are concealed under layers of earth and vegetation, next to the south-west corner of the ramparts of the Lower Fort, on the inner side of the former polygonal bastion.

The Upper Fort (the main part of the fortress – acropolis) with the Husein-captain tower stands on the highest point of the hill, at the north side of the fortress complex. It stands on a terrace surrounding it to the south and east. To the north are the  outer ramparts belonging to the whole complex. The Upper Fort with its platform (the terrace referred to) covers an area of some 6 ares, and the fortress alone in the Upper Fort an area of some 3 ares.

            The Upper Fort fortress is square in plan, adapted to the lie of the land, and the perimeter ramparts have few angles. There are tabijas (bastions) at the corners of the north ramparts, and substantial towers at the corners of the south ramparts. There are kazamats along the west, entrance wall, a small one in the basement of the south tower and a large one along the rampart from the fortress entrance, just opposite to the small kazamat.

            There is a substantial tower of rectangular ground plan, the sides measuring 10 m on the outside, at the south-west corner of the fortress. The walls of the tower are 1.20 – 1.80 m thick. There are walkways at the top, 1.10 m wide, for marksmen. There used to be a small kazamat at the bottom of the tower. The entrance to the kazamat was arched. Nowadays it is covered with earth up to the arch. The entrance to the tower is in the east wall. The south-west tower and large kazamat are separated by a passageway and the main entrance to the Upper Fort. The entrance is some 3m wide and arched. The west, outer wall of the large kazamat is 2 m thick, and the one inside the fortress 1.2 m. The kazamat is some 13.50 m long on the outside and 8.605 m long on the inside. The kazamat has two rooms with a barrel-vaulted ceiling. There are two entrances, one to the south and another one to the west of the building. The west side is partly covered with earth, so that all that is visible above ground is the arch, half of which has been walled up. The north-west corner of the fortress ends in a small bastion with a footprint forming an irregular rectangle, some 11m high.

            A low building of rectangular ground plan, measuring 14.75 x 8.55 m, was built above the large kazamat. The entire building is stone-built. The ground floor has a barrel-vaulted ceiling. It has two rooms connected via two round-arched openings. The roof had a  wooden structure and was clad with plain tiles.  The roof also covers an open space to the north of the building. The main entrance to the building is to the east. It is used as a restaurant.

            A rectangular tower, the sides measuring some 9.6 m on the outside, and with a height of almost 6 m, stands at the south-east corner of the east side of the fort.  This tower is empty. The walls of the tower are some 2 m thick. There is a walkway at the top, some 1.20 m wide, for marksmen. There are two openings at the base of the tower, leading to some underground corridors, and two large round-arched niches. Above these the projection that used to support the ceiling and upper floor is still visible. The entrance to the tower was to the north.

            A small raised plateau was built next to the tower to the north, probably as a cannon emplacement.

            There is an octagonal bastion almost 16 m high at the north-east corner. Its walls are 1.50 m thick. The inside of the bastion interior is some 8.5 m wide. The entrance is rather narrow and reached via stairs. The tower and the bastion to the north of the fortress are connected by an underground corridor.

            There is a large arched opening in the ramparts to the east of the bastion, which is now unprotected.

            Ramparts surround the entire Upper Fort. They are now up to 1 m in height above ground level. The crowns of the walls are mainly covered with concrete; where they are not, they have fallen away.  The south rampart is brick-built; here too the crown is falling away.

The Husein-captain Gradaščević Tower stands at the highest point of the Old Fort. It is a typical feudal castle, fortified for security reasons(1). Alterations to the use of the building have greatly affected its architecture. It was found during research in 1952 that there was a whole row of windows on every storey, which were walled up over the years, probably when the tower was used as the gendarmerie barracks. It was also established that part of a wall on the topmost floor was a later addition, or that some sizeable openings were walled up there. Documentary material, especially a photograph in the 1901 "Bosniac" calendar and a drawing in the magazine "Nada" (Hope) confirms that there was a wooden doksat (veranda) on all four sides of the topmost floor. There was another one the entrance, probably a three-sided doksat (veranda).

            The tower consists of two parts: the main building with three floors (measuring 12.50 m x 15.50 m) and a tower (7.18 x 7.70 m) to the east side, with three more storeys than the main building. The height of the lower part of the building up to the roof is 10.45m, and the height of the tower is 18.20m.

            There are three rooms on the ground floor, with barrel-vaulted ceilings, five rooms on the second floor and five rooms on the third floor, arranged symmetrically around the central staircase and hall.

            Concrete and reinforced concrete structures were added to the building when the tower was adapted into a modern restaurant.

The Clock Tower was built by Husein-captain Gradaščević in 1824. The plaque built-in into building confirms this. The inscription reads: "The founder of this building is Husein-captain, son of Osman-captain, captain of the Gradačac fortress. Year 1240" (1824). The inscription was written in ordinary naskh script(2).This is the last building of its kind built during the Ottoman period in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The clock was bought in Vienna after 1878. A new clock was installed in 1923. It stopped functioning in the World War II, when the Clock Tower was used for gas storage.

            The Clock Tower is in the a shape of tower gradually tapering towards the top. Its ground plan is approximately square, measuring 5.23 x 5.11 m, and its overall height is 22.0 m. It has a ground floor and five storeys. The entrance door is to the south, and measures 0.77 x 1.83 m. A wooden staircase 0.75 m in width, with 90 steps, leads from the ground floor to the top floor. The fourth-floor windows are round-arched, and measure 0.58 x 1.15 m, while the four windows on the fifth floor are rectangular. Light also enters the building through narrow openings that widen towards the interior and which are arranged from the ground floor to the top of the building.

            The walls are 0.75 m thick and are built of stone, except for the top part at a height of 2.15 m, which was made of brick. Although the most recent of all clock towers, this one leans,  as a result of its inadequate foundations.

The building of the Town Library, radio station and museum was built at the end of the 19th century, during the Austro-Hungarian period, not far from the Clock Tower. It was originally the land registry office, founded in 1887. The building measures 15 x 19 m. It has a ground floor and one upper floor. It has a wooden roof structure and was roofed with plain tiles, which have now been replaced by Canadian shingle.

The Grammar School building (measuring 31 x 16 m) was built at the end of the 19th century. It was originally the court building. It has a ground floor and two upper floors. The second floor was a later addition in 1956. A gym was built next to it (14 x 23 m), which was an inappropriate building for the Old Town. Its roof and ceilings were seriously damaged during the war. Thanks donations, the building has been rehabilitated and has been used since.


3. Legal status to date

Pursuant to the provisions of the law, and by Ruling of the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of NR BiH no. 86/51 dated 20 January 1951, the Old Town in Gradačac, municipality Gradačac, was placed under state protection. By Ruling no. 02-715-3 dated 8 June 1962 the property was entered on the the register of immovable cultural monuments.

By Ruling of the National institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of NR BiH no. 87/51 dated 20 January 1951 in Sarajevo, the Clock Tower in Gradačac was placed under state protection.

The Provisional List of the National Monuments lists remains of the Husein-captain Gradaščević Tower, under serial no. 260, and the Clock Tower, under serial no. 264, all within the walls of the Old Town in Gradačac.

The Regionla Plan, phase B – Valorisation to 2002, lists the Old Town in Gradačac as a Category III monument.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

1953/1954 - Repairs tothe roof and floor joists of the Husein-captain Tower. The Clock Tower was rehabilitated in 1953 – repair to the roof structure, replacement of old sheet metal roof cladding with shingles, repair of staircase, fitting new door.

1958 - Rescue and restoration works on the retaining wall next to the entrance to the fort, over a length of 70m.

1965 - Replacement of ceiling and roof structure of the Gradaščević Tower and beginning of works on the extensive restoration of the Old Town.

1966 - Rehabilitation of the Gradačac Old Town ramparts and works on the adaptation of the Husein-captain Tower.

1967-  Conservation of the roof and walls of the Old Town.

1968 - Reconstruction of the ramparts of the Old Town.

1969 - Conservation works on the Old Town.

1970 - Reconstruction of the ramparts and the west tower of the Old Town.

1971 - Conservation works on  the Old Town. The works made good some major damages to the ramparts and towers, and eliminated the risk of subsidence beneath the fortress.

1954 – 1970-  Restoration works and adaptation for tourism/restaurant purposes. Engineers Dž. Čelić, N. Rosić and S. Smailbegović carried out the works.

Experts from the BiH Institute for the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage, Sarajevo, performed all these works.

1980s-  Emergency works on preventing the Clock Tower from leaning further, undertaken in accordance with a project by Prof Z. Langof.

1997 - The "Lora" foundation for training and employment of Sarajevo carried out urgent protection works on the Husein-captain Tower and laid new shingles on the roofs of the gate-towers. The Clock Tower was also rehabilitated. Restoration works were carried out on the building of the Town Library, radio station and museum, and the Grammar School building. Gradačac municipality managed the works.

2003 - Conservation and restoration works on the Husein-captain Gradaščević Tower under the supervision of the Institute for the Protection of the Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Replacement of destroyed roof and ceiling structure, and façades. Replacement of the window frames, and interior floors, carpentry and installations.

There have been no archaeological investigations of the site.


5. Current condition of the property

The defensive complex suffered significant damage due to many years’ lack of maintenance and the recent 1992-1995war.

The ramparts as a whole are quite badly damaged. Almost the whole of the Old Town, except to the north-east (around the north gate-tower), was built on elevated ground, which had to be reinforced as it was obvious that the terrain was not solid enough to take the weight of walls with shallow foundations. This is why only parts of these reinforcements are still standing along most of the ramparts, while the walls themselves have almost totally disappeared in places. The reinforcements are damaged in many places, some stones or the entire facing are missing. Many parts of the walls are covered with vegetation.

            There is a visible crack in the north façade of the south gate-tower, just above the arch. Some damage and breaks are visible also on the ornamented parts of the south façade. The pointing needs to be re-done on parts of the façade, especially below the roof on the west wall. Grass is growing between the stones below the roof on the inside.

            The wall facing at the south-west corner of the Lower Fort is so badly damaged or covered with vegetation that it is impossible to establish its chronological order – whether it belongs to the mediaeval or to the Ottoman period. It is also not known whether there was a mediaeval fortress tower at the top of the hill, the surface of which has undergone various changes as well as a change of level.

            Upper Fort. The south-west tower is damaged on the south-west edge. The upper part of the tower, roughly up to the height of the entrance arch into the fortress and kazamat, was built of well-cut and dressed pale-toned stones, while the entire lower part of the tower as well as the rest of the west rampart was built of smaller grey stones. Some damage and repairs to the façade are to be seen on the south façade of the ower part of the tower. Grass is growing between the stone blocks of the outer facing.

            Cracks and damage to the wall facing are visible on the walls of the north-east bastion within the fortress. There are also noticeable holes from fallen stones or stones taken out from the retaining wall of the terrace on which the Upper Fort stands, as well as bigger damage at the places where the wall facing is falling away.

            The wall facing at the south-west corner of the Upper Fort is so badly damaged or covered with vegetation that it is impossible to establish its chronological order – whether it belongs to the mediaeval or to the Ottoman period. It is also not known whether there was a mediaeval fortress tower at the top of the hill, the surface of which has undergone various changes as well as a change of level.

            The entire fort is almost completely uninvestigated. Many secrets lie hidden underground, such as the existence of a mediaeval fort, various underground corridors and kazamats (in the south-west corner of the fort) built in the Ottoman period. Some arches of kazamats and underground passages are visible on the surface, but not the vertical parts of their entrances. It is obvious that some levelling of the ground took place, especially inside the Upper Fort. The history of the construction of the fortress is yet to be completed.      

            The Husein-captain Gradaščević Tower has been restored and adapted to the restaurant needs of modern times.

            The reconstruction of the Clock Tower was not done in a professional manner. The newly built parts of the building do not follow the angle of the old walls. The roofing shingles are of poor quality.

            The building of the City Library, radio station and museum, which suffered significant damage to the roof construction and roof cladding, external walls and ceilings, has been only partly repaired. The damaged plain tiles were replaced by Canadian shingles. Years of lack of maintenance have further endangered the building, which is particularly noticeable on the exterior woodwork, floors and installations. The wooden floor joists of the upper floor were seriously damaged, especially in the toilets, where iting is possible they may collapse. Generally speaking, the building is in poor shape.

            The building of the Grammar School is in good shape. The adjacent gym building spoils the appearance of the building and that of the Old Town in general.




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

Connection with a significant historical event or individual

D.Clarity (documentary, scientific and educational value)

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. v. location and setting

             I. Completeness

I. iii. completeness


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

o        Copy of cadastral plan

o        Photo-documentation

o        Drawings




1908  Bodenstein, Gustav, Povijest naselja u Posavini 1718 – 1739 (History of the Settlements around the Sava River 1718 – 1739), Jnl. Of the National Museum, XX, Sarajevo, 1908, 95-112


1909  Truhelka, Ćiro, Fojnička kronika (Fojnica Chronicles), Jnl. Of the National Museum, XXI/1909, Sarajevo, 1909, 445-459


1952  Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Prilozi povijesti bosanskih gradova pod turskom upravom (Supplements to the History of the Bosnian Towns under the Turkish Management), Supplements to Oriental Philology and the History of the Yugoslav Peoples under Turkish Rule, II/1951, Oriental Institute in Sarajevo, Sarajevo, 1952, 119-184


1953  Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Stari bosanski gradovi (Old Bosnian Towns), Our Heritage I, Sarajevo, 1953, 7-45


1957  Vego, Marko, Naselja srednjovjekovne bosanske države (Settlements of the Medieval Bosnian State), Sarajevo, 1957


1982  Anđelić, Pavao, O usorskim vojvodama i političkom statusu Usore u srednjem vijeku (About Usora Dukes and Political Status of Usora in the mediaeval period), In: Studies on Territorial and Political Organisation of Mediaeval Bosnia, Sarajevo, 1982, 142-172


1982  Šabanović, Hazim, Bosanski pašaluk (Bosnian Pashaluk), Svjetlost, Sarajevo, 1982


1988  Belić, Branko, Gradačac (Gradina) (Gradačac (Hill-Fort)), Archaeological Lexicon of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vol. 2, National Museum of BiH, Sarajevo, 1988, 77


1991  Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Kapetanije u Bosni i Hercegovini (Captaincies in Bosnia and Herzegovina), In: Selected Works I, "Veselin Masleša", Sarajevo, 1991


1998  Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, knjiga II – istocna i centralna Bosna (Islamic Epigraphy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Book II – Eastern and Central Bosnia), Sarajevo - Publishing, Sarajevo, 1998


1999  Husedžinovic, Sabira, Hećimović-Kamberović, Zahida and Kamberović, Husnija, Stari grad u Gradačcu i kula Husein-kapetana Gradaščevića, vrijednosti i stanje poslije rata 1992/1995 (The Old town in Gradačac and the Husein-Captain Gradaščević Tower: Values and Situation after the War 1992/1995), Bosniac Cultural Community Renaissance, Gradačac, Sarajevo, 1999


2000  Kamberović, Husnija, Sudbina džamije u gradačačkoj tvrđavi i pokušaji njene obnove 1891-1909 (Destiny of the Mosque in the Gradačac Fortress and Attempts of its Renewal 1891-1909), Supplements for Oriental Philology no. 49/1999, Oriental Institute in Sarajevo, Sarajevo, 2000, 253-264.    


(1)  In the Ottoman period, separate residences, so-called odžak (hearth), were built next to a tower, while the tower itself was used mainly for retreat in the case of danger (Dž. Čelić, 1954, 170)   

(2) Sources mention one more clock tower built by Husein-captain's father Osman-captain. (M. Mujezinović, 1998, 182) 

Old fort of Gradačac with Gradaščevića towerGround Plan of the old town of GradačacUpper fort with towerUpper fort, southern wall
Upper fort, western wall Husein-captain TowerInterior of the tower Upper fort – Southeast tower
South kapi-kula(gatehouse) North kapi kula(gatehouse) West kapi kula(gatehouse)Clock tower
The building of the City Library   

BiH jezici 
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