Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Careva (Emperor’s) mosque, the architectural ensemble

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Status of monument -> National monument

Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 2 to 8 November 2004, the Commission adopted the following






The architectural ensemble of the Emperor's (Hatib, Old Sultan Mehmed, Old-‘Atiq, Gazi sultan Fatih Mehmed-han) Mosque with the Isa-bey hammam in Sarajevo is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of the mosque with front and side porticos, the inner courtyard with šadrvan fountain, the Ulema-majlis building, the mosque graveyard with nišan tombstones, Sheik Bistrigija's turbe, the stone boundary walls, two entrance gates, and the Isa-bey hammam building.

The National Monument is located on cadastral plot nos.12, 13, and 14 in cadastral municipality Sarajevo IX (new survey), Municipality Stari Grad, federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The provisions relating to protection and rehabilitation measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established under 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 required for the protection, conservation, restoration, presentation and rehabilitation of the National Monument.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Commission) shall determine the technical requirements and secure the funds for preparing and setting up notice-bards displaying the basic data on the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




The following protection measures are hereby stipulated for the area designated as c.p.nos.13 and 14, which includes the mosque with porticos, the inner courtyard with fountain, the Ulema-majlis building, the mosque graveyard with nišan tomstones, Sheik Bistrigija’s turbe, the stone boundary walls, and the two entrance gates:

  • all works are prohibited other than conservation and reconstruction works with the approval of the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning (hereinafter: the regional planning Ministry) and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority).
  • all protection works, regardless of their nature and extent, must subject to prior approval from the regional planning ministry.

            In order to protect and secure the conditions for the rehabilitation of the new Isa-bey hammam building located on the site designated as c.p no. 12 and including the chimney on c.p. no. 13, two stages of works are hereby stipulated:

Stage I – urgent protection from further deterioration

  1. removal of rubble and debris;
  2. survey and structural analysis of load bearing floors and walls
  3. repair and structural consolidation of floors and walls;
  4. protection from adverse weather conditions (sealing off roof and windows)

Stage II – rehabilitation of the building – entailing the following works:

  1. the findings of the surveys and structural analyses shall be used as the basis for drawing up a project for the reconstruction and restoration of the building, including the restoration of the façade on the basis of available photographs and architectural surveys prior to devastation;
  2. all components for which no reliable documentation is available shall be incorporated into the project in a way which ensures that their interpolation is clearly identifiable.

All measures listed in the Study for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage for the Regulatory PlanLeft Bank of the Miljacka – Bistrik” drawn up in April 1999 by the Cantonal Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Sarajevo, under the terms of which the National Monument is located in the zone of strictest protection, shall be observed.  The street known as Obala Isa-bega Ishakovića (Isa-beg Ishaković embankment), the northern part of Bistrik street, the western part of Franjevačka (Franciscan) street, the Konak (Residence), the western part of Isevića side-street and the other street-scapes marked on the graphic enclosure of the zoning plan of the Study are located within the zone of strictest protection within which no new building shall be permitted, and all demolitions or alterations that could alter the relationships of the volumes or even of the colours are prohibited.  Protection in this zone shall be enforced in such a way as to extend the lifetime of the most valuable buildings with their appearance unaltered.  No permits shall be issued for extensions to any of the buildings.  Other than routine maintenance works and repairs to materials and structures, major interventions may be carried out on the basis of detailed programmes drawn up by the heritage protection authority, based on prior surveys and rersearch and a scientific valorization.




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




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




The Government of the Federation, the relevant ministry, the heritage protection authority, and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II to V thereof, 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  visiting 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. 539.




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


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


No: 06.1-2-206/04-7      

3 November 2004                                            



Chair of the Commission

Amra Hadžimuhamedović


E l u c i d a t i o n




Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina  and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of  BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a petition for the property in question has been submitted or not.

            The Commission to Preserve National Monuments issued a Decision to add the Emperor’s mosque in Sarajevo to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, numbered as 539.

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




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

  • Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data of war damage if any, data on restoration or other works on the property if any, etc.
  • Current condition of the property
  • Copy of cadastral plan
  • Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography which is an integral 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 complex of the Emperor’s Mosque with the Isa-beg hammam stands close to the left bank of the river Miljacka, in the contact zone between Bistrik, the river Miljacka and the old trades and crafts centre of the city known as Baščaršija. The mosque is bordered by Bistrik street to the north-west, Obala Isa-bega Ishakovića street to the north, Konak street to the east, and the Konak residential complex to the south.

Historical information

The records of the land-holdings of Isa-bey Ishakovic dating from 1455(1) refer to Tornik or Utorkovište(2) as the most advanced settlement that Turks came upon in the župa (county) of Vrhbosna(3). According to sources dating from 1462 and 1468/9, this place, which began to acquire the urban features still identifiable in the urban matrix of present-day Sarajevo with the construction of Isa-beg’s endowed properties, gained the status of a kasaba (small town) or šeher (city), and went by several names such as Staro Trgovište, Stara Varoš, Trgovište, Saraj, Saraj-ovasi(4), and Saraj-kasabasi Bosna-saraj(5).Its current name – Sarajevo – was used for the first time in 1507(6).  

In the vakufnama(7)(deed of perpetual endowment) which he drew up between 1 and 3 March 1462, Isa-bey Ishaković(8) endowed a zawiyya(9) and a bridge(10), and provided for their maintenance the mills of the village Brodac, a hammam (11) supplied with running water, the surplus water, a han (inn or hostel) (12), shops, and a number of land holdings located in and around the area of present-day Sarajevo.

Several transcripts of the vakufnama exist:

a.     the official transcript in the court records of Sarajevo’s qadi from 1254/1838, i.e. sijil (court records) No. 77, pp. 51-2 in Gazi Husrev-bey’s library; (13)     

b.    a transcript in the archives of the former waqf Ministry in Istanbul;

c.     the official transcript of this transcript in Istanbul, held by the muteveli of Isa-bey’s waqf in Skopje;

d.    a transcript in the collection of manuscripts prepared by Muhamed Enver Kadić, Vol. 1, pp.158-163, GHB Lib. 91;

e.     a transcript in the court records of vakufnamas, Vol.1 p. 250, currently located in the GHB Library in Sarajevo. (14)     

A translation(15) of the vakufnama reads as follows:

“All praise be to Allah for the abundance of his beneficence, and may God bless his messenger Muhammad and his posterity!” Then: “The eminent Duke [commander], benefactor and helper, blessed [follower] of the glorious law and faith(16), Isa-bey son of the late Ishak-bey(17) – may Almighty God raise the banners of his greatness and strengthen the pillars of his power! – professed that Allah is the only God, with none to share his rule, and that Allah alone has the unique power to chose and do as He will(18), and [professed further] that He [God] sent Muhammad to deliver the true message and faith – may Allah bless him and save him! - so that it prevails over all other faiths despite the protestations of polytheists(19); he further professed that God accepts true repentance from His servants and absolves their sins, as His mercy is stronger than his anger; he is generously forgiving and merciful. He then stated that in the Brodac village(20) of the Sarajevo area he built a tekke (zawiyya)-style(21) lodging [residence](22),  consisting of three buildings(23), a stable (istabl), a fenced courtyard (harem) and whatever else was necessary, and in his lifetime he made an endowment of it subject to its serving as a tekske (zawiyya) and a lodging for destitute Muslim students, sayyids(24), warriors(25) and passing travellers(26).    

(There) enough meat, rice(27) and bread would be cooked to go round and as much oil as needed would be consumed.

The guests would be entitled to a meal (soup) for 3 days, which was as long as they would be allowed to stay. Also entitled to soup would be those employed in the tekke, while leftovers and surplus food would be distributed to infirm orphans in the kasaba.

The benefactor also built a bridge(28) on the Miljacka river and ordered that fifteen arshins(29)  (of land) on each side of the bridge be set aside for its maintenance. He dedicated the bridge to those that would be using it(30), as a valid and Sharia-sanctioned waqf and a valuable legacy which would last through eternity and which would satisfy Almighty Allah, thus securing with the Lord Almighty a place of distinction deserving of the His generous reward in the desire (to achieve) the great promise of the Qur’an: “Whatever good you shall forward to your souls' account, you surely will find it better with Allah, and a mightier wage. (31) All this was endowed in such a way that it could not be sold, given away, or transferred to anyone’s full ownership (mulk). Instead, it was to remain forever as prescribed in the deed of endowment until God remains as the sole master on earth and everything on it; for He is “the best of inheritors.”(32)   

The following assets of which he enjoyed full ownership (mulk) were set aside for the maintenance of his endowment(33):

All the mills(34) that were under one roof(35), and a mezra(36) located behind these mills in the aforementioned village;  a public bath-house(37) with the associated water supply system and the surplus water from the baths, the piped running water; an inn(38) and shops that were built in the village. The area occupied by the shops(39) was demarcated by the running water to the south-east(40), a public road running the full length of the shops to the west, a public road behind the inn to the north, and the mulk-property of his son  Muhammad es-Sagir(41) to the east, along with the other property bequeathed by Isa-bey to his son, including the stretch of land reaching to and bordering with or located above the čaršija(42). Next on the list was the estate(43)     below the aforementioned tekke which bordered to the north with the Biosko(44) road, the road leading towards the čaršija, and the public road to the said mills, while to the east the boundary was with the river that had been channeled towards the mills, and the garden(45) which he had bought from Jusuf (known as Kotka(46)), and which (the estate and the garden) were located in that village(47), including all the structures, building sites, courtyards, and everything else, large or small, that lay within the said borders; and the vineyards(48) and the acres ('aqâr). In addition, the endowed items included a property known as Hleb Selište(49) whose borders therefore need not be stated, a property called Vrti(50), a property between the two roads called Selište(51), a property called Podine(52), a mezra close to Podine, a mezra extending between the border with Radoje(53) and the border with Radilovići(54), a property called Jondžaluk(55) located below the čaršija (suq) between two roads; a property known as al-’atiq located in the area called Varoš(56)     and reaching all the way to the river Miljacka(57), the property called Zagorica(58) located near Stara Varoš(59), properties called Međuputnica(60) and Nisputnica(61), a property called Bilavica(62); the shaft(63) of the mill on the Koševo creek,  two mezra (graveyards) on either side of Koševo brook bordering with the mulk-property of Balaban son of Bobčin(64) to the south-east and with nonbelievers' graves to the west(65); the mill he bought from Kasatići in Bolna(66), with one mezra below that mill, and two mezras above the one just mentioned(67), which border to the east with a Muslim graveyard(68) and the Great Rock (Veliki Kamen)(69) above that graveyard, to the south-east with the Kasatići graveyard(70) and, to the west, with what is referred to in Turkish as “sirti sira(71) to Jaz(72), a place in the vicinity of Blažuj(73).

Furthermore, he endowed all the mills(74) under a single roof on the river Željeznica(75)     in Visoko county(76), and a mezra called Luka(77) located near Ljubogošte(78) as well as the one called Brus(79) which he bought from Balaban son of Bobčin along with the associated forest which extends through the valley eastwards until it reaches the border with Skaklići(80), Crni Vrh(81), and Kozarevići(82), Oštra Glavica(83) and Trebević Tower(84), and with a mountain slope reaching the meadow (“čayir”) of Radman Zavratilo(85) and Radava(86) on the west, while on the north it extends towards the rocks called Vaganj(87) and Videž(88) until it reaches the aforementioned eastern borders.

Among these lands is one in the proximity of the prison(89) leased to Rajko, the income from which has been put aside for the maintenance of the (mulk) property(90). All this property has been endowed as a valid and Sharia-sanctioned waqf. The conditions set forth by the benefactor-endowment founder were as follows:

The returns and income from the waqf was to provide for the maintenance and repair work on the endowment to the extent that this was deemed necessary, for which the amount of 8 dirhams(91) was set aside(92).

Similarly, the person in charge of repairs and maintenance works was to receive two dirhams per day for that purpose, along with morning and evening servings of soup and half a dirham daily for bread(93).

In addition, ten dirhams daily were to be spent on meat, which was to be cooked twice a day, half in the morning and half in the evening. Enough wheat was to be provided with the soup to serve the needs of the said tekke (zawiyya). The surplus and leftovers were to be distributed to infirm orphans in the kasaba(94). Similarly, as much of the revenue from the mills as was necessary was to be spent on the bread for the morning and evening meals. The cook in charge of preparing the meals in this tekke was to receive two dirhams per day, along with the morning and evening servings of soup and half a dirham for bread(95).

Four dirhams were to be spent daily on firewood, along with five dirhams each day for the remaining supplies to the tekke. i.e. for reed matting and lamp oil, salt and whatever else was necessary for the preparation of food(96).

Similarly, one dirham each day was to be given to the Muslim qadi(97) administering the waqf(98) in this area(99).

The waqf administrator(100)  was to receive a tenth (‘ushr) of total returns from his waqfs. 

The hiring and discharge of personnel was in hands of the muteveli.

The endower further stipulated that the personnel in this tekke were to be freed slaves and their posterity, and that no one could take over their posts by decree (berat), and that anyone who does take over their posts(101) by berat will not be pardoned and what he takes will be haram (forbidden), and he will be considered as tyrannical(102).

            The donor also stipulated that wages of the mutawalli’s agent, scrivener and the sheikh of the tekke were to be determined at the discretion of the mutawalli(103). The wages were to be set aside from the income of the aforementioned waqfs. In addition, they were each entitled to a serving of the morning and evening soup along with half a dirham for bread with each meal(104).

It was further stipulated that whoever was in charge of preparing the wheat was to receive the morning and evening soup as well as half a dirham for bread(105).

One dirham per day was to be given to the mutamadi(106), who was also entitled to the morning and evening soup and half a dirham for bread. Whenever the need should arise to construct a building in the said waqf, in residential and nonresidential areas alike, it was to be founded and erected by the mutawalli, on a site to be selected at his discretion(107).

He further made a provision that his freed slaves, their children, or even their remote descendants, were to receive the appropriate serving of soup and bread from this tekke when they became too impoverished, or too old or infirm to provide for themselves(108). He further ordered that three rations (kayl)(109) of wheat be cooked on both Eids, with enough butter (ghee) and bread to go round, that two head of meat be given to those that at other times receive the soup, and that the leftovers be given to those to whom they are due(110).

A pasture in Brus(111), currently held by Milko(112), a gardener, and the waqif’s freed slave, was to remain in his and his children’s possession along with all other plots of land that he had been cultivating in Brus,  for as long as they were regularly paying the ‘ushr (tenthe)(113). 

It was further stipulated that surplus after these expenses were met should be used for the imarat (public charity kitchen) which the donor had established in the area of triumphant warriors – Skopje (Usküb) – may God protect it from hardship! – if it becomes so dilapidated as to require repair, otherwise it will not be sent there(114).

The management and supervision of his endowment was to remain with the donor for life. And when he dies and goes to face his Maker, these locations were to become the property of his chosen son Muhamed es-Sagir (Muhammad jr.), and upon his death to those of his children who stand out from the others for their piety and godliness. They in turn were to be succeeded by their own children, from generation to generation, in order of maturity and in both the male and female lines. And if and when they should die out, these were to become the property of the endower’s freed slaves(115) and, down the family line, their posterity(116).  

The endower had already given over this property at a time when there were no legal impediments to such transfer, relinquishing his ownership thereof and setting it apart from his possessions(117).

Convinced that the ayan(118) Sinanudin-khoja Karamanija(119) was an honourable man who kept away from sin and followed the right path, he appointed him the administrator (executor) of his waqf, handed the waqf over to him and entrusted him with administering it and implementing all the stipulations in regard thereof according to the Holy Sharia laws, with the aim of registering his aforementioned endowments with the judge(120).

However, the latter decided to dispute the subsequent request of the aforementioned endower to regain the ownership of the waqfs, and opposed the legal appeal for the return of ownership which was launched by the waqif’s commissioner, the pride of the knights(121) and coevals, Duke Hoškadem(122). The said commissioner, his commission having been duly verified under Sharia laws in the presence of the aforementioned mutawalli and the qadi whose signature appears on the head section (of the document) – may his glory and greatness never end! –submitted the request in which it was stated that the said endower, who had transferred his waqf in the stated manner, subsequently decided to revoke his donation and regain full ownership thereof, basing his request on the fact that, in the opinion of the Grand Imam(123) – may God’s mercy be with him!  – , such a donation (waqf) was not legally valid(124).This legal move was countered by the said mutawalli, who was not willing to have the ownership transferred back to the waqif and who argued for the validity of the waqf on the basis of findings of latter-day Sharia jurists (mujtahids) – may God be pleased with their actions! - who thought that such a waqf was binding in law(125).

So the two of them brought their cases before the qadi, who ruled that the said waqf was lawful and binding (luzum), in line with the opinion of these great Sharia jurists – may God forever be pleased with their actions! – who had decided that such a waqf was perfectly lawful (tajwiz)(126).This ruling was just and based on the teaching of Sharia, and the waqf was therefore registered by the qadi against the appeal by the said commissioner, by final and binding registration(127).

It was through such matters that the waqf, having been declared perfect by the judge, was accepted as valid (lawful and binding) by each and every one of the lawyers, whereupon its alienation, alteration, or cancellation (tatil) was strictly prohibited(128). Thus, no one who believes in God and the Judgment Day may amend or alter the waqf in its nature (hal, whole) in any way, or to modify any of the conditions stipulated therein(129).

And anyone who takes it upon himself to invalidate this waqf, be he an heir(130), a judge, a ruler or anyone else, is certain to carry the burden of sin on his soul and bring the wrath of the Lord upon himself, and may God’s punishment be his wage. God will punish him and take revenge on him, and he will be an unfortunate wretch whose every effort on this world will be in vain, and may he be cursed forever by God, the angels and all people. The reward for this endowment is in accordance with the waqif’s original intention. God, our divine guardian,  is all we need(131).

The events recounted herein took place and were recorded in (the month of) Jumada Al-Awwal (fifth month) of the year eight hundred and six (AH)(132).

Witnesses to the act:

Mevlana(133) Šemsudin, Višegrad qadi; maulana ”Sheikh” Alijuddin, qadi in Selce(134) Alija faqih(135), a soldier (al-jundi); maulana Sulejman, faqih, son of Ivad, Iskender Duke; maulana Muhjuddin, son of Muhammed, Imam; Hamza, son of Ugurlija, doorman; maulana Kivamuddin, son of Kasim, scrivener, ćehaja (bailiff)(136) Oruč, son of Hisar-bey; maulana Ejjub-khoja; Mahmud, son of Hamza; Mehmed, son of Jusuf; Hasan, son of Oruč; Husein, son of Oruč; Mahmud subasha [estate manager] of Ibri-zade (Iglić); Mehmed, son of Hasan; Sulejman, son of Hamza; Ibrahim, son of Musa; and others. (137)

            There is no mention in the vakufnama of either the Isa-bey’s Mosque or his saraj. The fact that the name Saray-ovasi appears for the first time in 1455 in the Isa-bey Ishaković’s census suggests that the palace must have already been built by then(138). Its was in the vicinity of Konak, the last residence of the Bosnian viziers. At one time that whole area was called Begluk or Zabegluk, after the Begluk-saraj.

            Turkish documents refer to a smaller mosque(139) on the site of the present-day Emperor’s Mosque; “a later document clearly indicates that it [the older mosque] was built by Isa-bey Ishaković(140).” The location of the mosque in relation to the disposition of the other buildings explicitly referred to as parts of Isa-bey’s legacy confirms this statement. It follows from this that Isa-bey dedicated the mosque to the glory of Sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror to whom it was gifted, which explains why there was no provision in his vakufnama (endowment) for the maintenance of the mosque and wages of the personnel(141). 

            In late November or early December of 1480, during three days of attacks, siege, looting, and arson, the army of the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus(142), led by Vuk Grgurević and bans Ladislav of Egervar and Petar Dojčin, set the city on fire and, as recorded in a later court deposition dating from 1565, caused serious damage to the Emperor’s Mosque(143). 

It may be deduced from the fact that documents dating back to 1489 refer to the personnel of the Emperor’s Mosque that the mosque was quickly repaired and restored to its purpose. Specifically, the 1489 census of the Bosnian sanjak indicates that the mosque personnel received special rewards(144), whereas a Bosnian defter dating from 1541 states that they did not receive wages from either the sultan’s treasury or Isa-bey’s waqf, but were instead granted state timars located in the vicinity of Sarajevo and Visoko. The timars of hatibs (preachers) and imams included the village Stup and the hamlet Doglodi, as well as taxes collected from akindžis(145), vojnuks(146) and eight čifluks(147), while the muezzin’s included the Mokrinje village of Visoko county, as well as funds collected from akindži’s taxes and the two čifluks of that village(148).  

In the 1565, “the Bosnian wali Mustabeg received a ferman (order) to rebuild the mosque with a stone minaret and dome, whereupon Mesub, Muslihudin’s son and the wali’s commissioner, joined by a number of dignitaries as required by Sharia, went on to examine the mosque and prepare a report.  The report was registered in the court records of that year and is now housed in the kutubhana (library) of the Emperor’s Mosque(149).”

The report, which included the assessment of the mosque’s current condition and steps that needed to be taken, was translated by Kemura, Sejfudin Fehimja:

            “To Sarajevo, which Almighty God has preserved and in which the beautiful mosque of the late Sultan Fatih Mehmed is located, there came a supreme command, which must be obeyed, to renovate and restore the mosque: half of the walls were to be pulled down and rebuilt and, if possible, a dome made. Such was the message of the ferman, and in obedience to the supreme command the Muslim people gathered around the mosque.  Appointed as subasha was Mustafa, most humble servant of His Majesty Sultan Mustafa. And among the dignitaries was the Bosnian wali Mustafa-bey, whose honour will last forever.

And one H. Nesuh, son of Ulslihuddin, was appointed as commissioner under Sharia; so the two of them set out to demolish the walls of the splendid mosque, as the sultan had ordered.

Among the šeher’s dignitaries and notables were:

Ali-bey Zaim, and                                H. Husejn son of Nesub

H. Ali-bey son of Hadar                       H. Ibrahim son of Abdulah

Mustafa-bey son of H. Sinan                Kurt-khoja son of Skender

H. Davud son of Timur                         Osman son of H. Hasan,

H. Ahmed second son of Ajdin              Imam of Abdi-khalif, and

H. Alija son of Hadar,                           H. Hasan son of Jusuf

These and others gathered together and recounted that: “A few years ago this splendid mosque was set on fire when the cursed vlach commander known as Despot – may God’s curse be on him! – came with a rabble of infidels and looted and torched Sarajevo. Its [the mosque’s] tie beams were burnt, its corners split open and its walls were cracked and shaken to the foundations. There was no chance that the dome would stand unless the walls were first pulled down and rebuilt.”  In this situation, they decided that “If the funds set aside by the devlet (government) for the repair of this splendid mosque are not forthcoming, it should by all means be rebuilt with a dome, and if no additional funds for the reconstruction should come from Stamboul, then each of us shall contribute within our means and shall warrant for each other to rebuild and complete the mosque. The mosque shall be demolished to the foundations, and a new one with a dome, in every way its superior, shall be built in its place.”

Having thus spoken, the two commissioners, i.e. Mustafa subasha and H. Nesuh, requested that this be entered in the court records of the month Dhu-l-Hijja 973 AH.


Sheik Omer, imam                               Hasan, son of Abdullah,

Jusuf. son of Husejn,                           H. Behram, son Mehmed,

Mustafa, son of Ali,                             Hasan, son of Abdi-spahi,

H-halife, son of Uvejs,                          Osman. son of Džafer

Mustafa, son of Ahmed,                       Davud, son of Mehmed,

Mustafa, son of Abdullah,                    Tur-Alija, son of Mehmed,

Husejn, son of Abdullah,                      Velija, son of Mustafa,

Timur. son of Skender,                         Balija, son of Abdullah,

Abdi-halife, son of Mustafa,                 Džafer, son of Bali,

Mustafa, son of Firuz,                          H. Torsun,

Abdurrahman, son of Mehmed.              H. Ahmed, son of Mahmud,

Oruč, son of Murat.                              Alija, son of Jahijin,

Ibrahim, son of Hasan,                          Husejn, son of Durgut,

Jusuf, son of Ali,                                 Memija, son of Abdullah,

Perija son of Mehmed,                          Mustafa. son of Skender. “ (150)   

            The following excerpt from Volume II of the records of the Sarajevo Sharia Court indicate that a builder named Nikola was involved in the construction of the Emperor’s Mosque before 11 August 1565 : “That day his son Marko received by court order the money owed to him by Margarita, a daughter of Marko from Latinluk, which was her debt to the late neimar [builder] Nikola who had been involved in the construction of the Emperor’s Mosque.(151)“ Turkish sources also provide information about tile makers from Serbia arriving at the building site of the mosque: “A number of them came in 1565 from Novi Pazar and Prokuplje to make roofing tiles for the Emperor’s Mosque in Sarajevo.(152)” The Sharia court appointed Sudjah-khalif, son of Muhammad as supervisor of the construction works, and the court scrivener Hajdar-effendi, Sulejman Čelebija, son of Abdulah, and Vit-khoja, son of Sadi, as his assistants(153).

            Records from the 17th century contain little information about the mosque:

In 1605, a mekteb (primary school) was build by Ajni-bey. The mekteb was built to the left of the Emperor’s Mosque, opposite what was then Nurija Pozderac street, as recounted by Mehmed Mujezinović in 1974(154).The 1660 travelogue by Evliya Çelebi notes that professors of Islamic traditions ('ilmu'l-hadith) were giving free lectures in the mosque(155).

In 1697, during Prince Eugene of Savoy’s conquest of Sarajevo, the Emperor’s Mosque and all the surrounding buildings were heavily damaged in a disastrous fire. The events were recorded under the order of Halil-pasha, in an official report from 1112 AH (=1700 CE): “Old mosque in the same mahala. Its surroundings have been totally destroyed, but prayers are still  being held there. There is no money nor the buildings associated with [the mosque]. The hatib, imam, and muezzins are being paid from timars(156).

Documents dating from the 18th century provide more information on building works related to the mosque:

The following description has been found concerning a hexagonal library built of stone and located in the left-hand corner of the courtyard of the Emperor’s Mosque: “In the left-hand corner of the courtyard of the Emperor’s Mosque was a library of hexagonal ground plan, with a turbe-like dome, whose founder was Osman Šuhdi-ef. Bjelopoljac, a divan effendi of the Bosnian vali Ali-pasha Hećimović with whom he came to Bosnia.” The building itself was erected in 1167/1753. In addition to the books donated by Osman Šuhhdi, all the records of the Sarajevo Sharia Court were later housed in the library, and have been preserved. The oldest among them date back to 959/1552 and 973/1565. In 1910, when the current Ulema-majlis building was being erected, the library was pulled down and special premises in the left wing of the new building were designated for its holdings. The demolition of this beautiful building has been described as barbarism by one of our contemporary historians. In 1914, when a separate mufti’s office for the Sarajevo district was established, its office premises were located in the library’s premises, while the books and the court records were transferred to the Gazi Husref-bey library. The court records were entered separately in the library catalogue(157).

In December 1768, a court document signed by the muezzin of the Emperor’s Mosque, Hajji-Mustafa, was referred to in the context of repairs to old water pipes bringing water from Hrvatin to the fountain outside the mosque(158).

In 1791, Abdulah-aga Hadžimuratović, a resident of the Emperor’s mahala, built a fountain with five taps, subsequently reduced to three. The water was supplied from Megara. A poem in Turkish was inscribed on the 34 x 60cm(159) stone plaque above the fountain:

“Abdulah-aga Hadžimuratović, the noble aga,

brought in God’s name this drinking water,

And adorned this place like the garden of Iram

The water to be used for drinking and ablution

When the stream of water began to flow

Namik composed a chronogram for it:

May Allah have the endower drink

From the springs of Firdaus.”

The year 1206 on the inscription was given only in abjad; however, the numerical values of the letters of the last half-verse add up to 1206 AH (1791/91 CE).

An appeal by the people of Sarajevo, forwarded via the Sharia court to Sultan Selim III, provides further information of importance for the history of the mosque:

"Since no funds have been allocated for the restoration of Fatih’s mosque, which is situated in the town of Bosna Saraj and which the deceased had repaired and was as it were the pride of the whole city, and since as time went by the lead roof and other places had deteriorated and had long needed repair, at  some point before 1193 AH (1779 CE) a ferman resulting from the appeal by the people of Sarajevo was brought to the Bosnian wali Abdullah-pasha Teftedarević to the effect that the mosque was to be repaired with state funds. This was carried out, but since then no maintenance work on the mosque has been done and the need for its repair has arisen again: therefore the residents of the town, the khojas and the well meaning people, and all the inhabitants, have come to appeal to Your Highness to kindly order the mosque to be repaired, which I have also witnessed to be necessary. For the love of God Almighty, I take the liberty to bring this appeal from the inhabitants of Sarajevo before Your Highness, and your order will be obeyed. On the 19th day of Sha’ban in the year 1211 AH (= 1796 CE). (160)"

            A court record dated 1 Muharram 1215 AH (26 May, 1800) provides details of the refurbishment of the dome with lead cladding. As remuneration for the completed reroofing project, the “craftsman Mihat, dhimmi (non-Muslim) charged 1,200 paras, while the lead roof itself cost 54,592 paras. At about the same time the painting of the interior of the mosque was completed(161). 

            A diploma from Istanbul makes it clear that Muhamed Fadil Šerifović was appointed as the main imam, hatib, and muteveli of the Emperor’s Mosque(162). He then proceeded to follow the order issued in 1847 by Sultan Abdül Mecit, son of Mahmut II(163), requiring that the mosque be “repaired and enlarged” and to manage the works of “enlarging the mosque by two wings [tetima], and a roof in front of the mosque, supported by eight stone pillars and with open sofas below.(164)  He then built two wooden ćurs [pulpits], a musandara (mahfil) for the muezzin as well as musandaras in the tetimas, and remodelled the portal above which an inscription was mounted with the sultan’s tughra of Abdül Mecit(165).  

In 1850/51, Fadil-pasha Šerifović restored the mekteb that was demolished in 1605, dedicating it to his mother Ćamila-hanum, as witnessed by his chronogram incised in stone:

The mekteb for children was nicely enlarged. The other maker of this building was Ćamila-hanum.” And the chronogram to his mother’s legacy read: “May the deceased builder rise to God’s mercy as small children do! 1267 AH (=1850 CE).” (166)   

In 1853/54, at the other end of the mosque courtyard and across the kutubhana (library), he erected  a muvtekihana (a clock-house used for determining the exact time of prayers and month transitions in the Islamic calendar) in Sarajevo, as recorded in the gold-painted chronogram incised on stone: “Restoring the Fatih’s place of worship I built a clock-house, for there was none previously in this town; installing the required clocks, Fadil expressed the following tarih gjevherli: “In Saraj-Bosna this new clock-house area lifts the spirit.”

In 1289 AH (=1872 CE), late Mustafa Asimpaša, a Bosnian vali, built next to the clock tower a chamber for the muezzins and, above that chamber and the tower,  two other chambers for the imam and hatib.

For some time these chambers served their original purpose. Later, i.e. following the occupation, they were taken over by the Bosnian ulema-majlis who stayed there all until last year. i.e. 1325 AH (=1907 CE). Last year, when the majlis moved to a somewhat larger building, these chambers were returned to the imam and muezzins.” (167)   

            In 1857/58, the same muteveli built next to the mosque a medresa with 12 small rooms for the students and a dershana (classroom) in which he himself taught for some time as muderis. A 90 x 25 cm stone plaque at the entrance to the medresa bears a chronogram written in taliq script in Turkish in four rectangular panels.

“In God’s name the foundation of this scholarly institution was laid,

And with thanks to our Maker its construction completed

The founder made a fine tarih gjevherli:

The True [God] enabled Fadil to build the medresa.

In the year of 1274.

The sum of the numerical values of the letters with diacritics in the last distichon gives the year 1274.” Above this inscription was another elliptical stone plaque which bore the names of the messengers of the faith Muhammad, Fatima, Ali, Hassan, and Hussein, with below that a date indicating that the entrance gate of the medresa was completed by Fadil-paša Šerifović in the year 1274. According to Kemura, the medresa was located above the Ajni-bey mekteb and was known as the Emperor’s Medresa. (168)    

            Following the Berlin Congress, the Austro-Hungarian occupation, and the armed resistance by the people of Sarajevo to the Austro-Hungarian army, the city was conquered on 19 August 1878, whereupon a number of mosques were turned into warehouses, including the Emperor’s mosque, which remained out of use until 1891. (169)   

            Twenty years after the City Hall, the Sharia School and a number of other buildings were completed in the pseudo-Moorish manner, “the Imperial/Royal Common Ministry approved the construction of a new palace outside the Emperor’s Mosque in Sarajevo that was to house the Ulema-majlis. . . , (170)  and along with the construction of this palace the Emperor’s Mosque is to be renovated, and part of the project was that the mosque was to be painted as beautifully as possible(171).”  In 1910, to make way for the new building to be erected, the library, the muvekithana and the imam’s, muezzin’s, and hatib’s premises were demolished along with the fountain and all the surrounding structures, and the city’s senior building advisor, architect Karl Pařik, was appointed as the chief designer.

            Restoration of the painted interior of the mosque was in the hands of Karl Jožane (or Jožanc), the “Maler”.(172)    

            In World War II, during the German bombardment of Sarajevo on 13 April 1941, the Emperor’s Mosque complex came under air bombardment, and a bomb damaged the top left corner of the section above the tromp, the juncture between the left tetima and the entrance porch, and the arcades on the side of the portico. By 1943, however, all this had already been repaired. (173)    

            Thanks to funds raised in 1980, the administrators of the Emperor’s mosque headed by the muteveli and the Council of the Islamic Religious Community in Sarajevo decided to hire the painter-conservator Nihad Bahtijarević who worked from 1980 to 1983 on the evaluation and subsequent conservation/restoration of the painted interior decorations of the mosque. (174)    

            Between 1985 and 1990, the painter-conservator R. Perović restored the mimber on the basis of traces of the original decoration that had been discovered. (175)    

During the 1992-1995 war, the Emperor’s mosque sustained the following damage:

  • the copper cladding of the central dome was pierced by shell shrapnel
  • the roof above the right-hand, men’s tetima was directly hit by a grenade
  • damage to the roofing above the central and side porticos, and above both tetimas caused leakage and damage to the ceiling structure
  • roof cladding – the edge of the copper-plated spire of the minaret was damaged and pierced in a number of places, and is leaking; here too, the electric wiring was damaged or destroyed in places when the roof caught fire; the timber frame, on the other hand, is good physical condition;
  • the window panes, and  in most cases the stained glass, were all broken or cracked,
  • mortar shell impacts have inflicted substantial damage on the mosque façades (particularly the north, entrance façade), the roof above the entrance portico, the underside of the domes and the arches of the side porticos;
  • on the roof frame above the central portico and the right-hand men’s tetima, the eaves and facing board are damaged.  The undereaves are damp, and loose in places;
  • the copper guttering and downpipes were pierced, but have meanwhile been temporarily made good by patching up with a bitumen coating;
  • there is minor damage to the stone of the shafts and capitals of the pillars of the main and side porticos. The stone pillars of the right-hand courtyard portico was badly damaged, i.e. pierced through by a grenade. The shaft was crushed in places, but the capital and the base remained intact. Four circular-section steel tubes supporting the arch and the whole portico have been installed to replace the column shaft;
  • the wooden double doors at the entrance to the mosque and the harem were pierced in places;
  • a number of the round windows in the tetimas were dislodged and parts of the radial frames were damaged. The protective coating on the woodwork has generally deteriorated and is peeling and coming away; 
  • the wooden lattice (mušebak) of the women’s tetima was pierced and is leaning at an angle;
  • the stairway by the women’s tetima was damaged by a direct hit, causing 3 steps to become somewhat loose;
  • parts of the polished marble šadrvan fountain were broken off, and the water and drainage pipes that had previously been installed there were in breach of the regulations;
  • sections of the arcade wall stone facing broke off or were damaged;
  • the stone lintel in the women’s tetima (south-east facing façade wall) was cracked along its entire length
  • the women’s tetima contains a gallery which has hardly ever been used. The reason for this is the steepness of the wooden stairway, making it hazardous for worshippers to go up and down. (176)    

Between 1995 and 2000, most of the war damage was repaired under the auspices of the Cantonal Bureau for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage, and floor heating was installed in 1998-1999(177).

Historical information on the Isa-bey Bath-house

Between the fall of the Roman Empire and the loss of Bosnian independence to the Turks, there were no bath-houses in the territory of present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina. Vrhbosna County, including most of  the Pavlovići lands, fell to the Turks in 1435, followed by the Bosnian Kingdom in 1463. By 1482,  the Turks had taken all the  remaining parts of the Herceg's land. In these early years of Turkish rule, three hammams were built: two in Sarajevo, and one in Visoko. While a number of hammams in the Balkans are still in use, in Bosnia the last one was closed in 1916(178).

Isa-bey’s hammam, which was also known as the Emperor’s(179) hammam since it belonged to the complex of Isa-bey’s endowments, was the oldest hammam in Bosnia and Herzegovina and was built a couple of years before it was referred to in Isa-bey’s vakufnama in 1462(180).

“It is not known whether the hammam was damaged in the 1762 fire that spread in the surrounding area, but we do know that all the wooden components were burnt in the fire of 22 January 1810. After the regular army was established in Turkey, the hammam was used in particular by the military.

Water for the hammam was supplied from springs above the Bistrik area, and the pipes were laid along Bistrik brook. On 9 November 1887, when the level of the Miljacka river and other waters around Sarajevo rose to unprecedented heights, the hammam was badly damaged by Bistrik brook and closed. The leaseholder, Mujaga Hamamdžić, reported the event to the Vakuf Authority(181), requesting that the hammam be repaired. A few days later he was told that the hammam was to be demolished and a new bath-house built in its place. And so it was. The old hammam remained closed for more than a year until it was demolished, using even dynamite for the purpose, in the spring of 1889. The present-day building, which was designed by the architect Vancaš, was opened on 16 February 1891 as the first modern bath-house in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was named the Isa-bey Banja.

From 1874 to 1887 the bath-house was leased by hajji-Derviš Bilal, hajji-Salihaga Gurabija known as Hamamdžić, and his son, Mujaga Hamamdžić(182)." 

The construction of the new Isa-bey building was supervised by the Viennese civil architect, the noble Josip Vancaš, the site manager was Vjekoslav Toth, and the machinery was supplied by the Budapest company Mat Zellerin. The furnishings and linen were obtained from local Sarajevo merchants. A written record of the expenditure related to the construction states that: “The construction expenditure totaled 41,817 florins, or 72,75 florins per m2 of the total construction area of 575 m2. The construction of the tall chimney cost 1,364 florins. The set-up of the machinery with supply tank, heating and ventilation systems, laundry room, steam dryer, and the water supply line came to a total of 15,482 florins.

Utilities works came to 2,032 florins. Household items and linen cost 5,467 florins. The procurement of tools for the mechanic and the installation of the telephone and bell cost 788 florins. The architect's fee was 2,200 florins. Sum total: 65,132 florins(183)." 

The bath-house was renovated 20 years after it had opened: "The Gazi Isa-bey bath-house will close today, and will reopen in six weeks (in mid-August). Meanwhile, it will be renovated; its walls will be enamelled, electric lighting will be installed, and several booths will be added to the steam bath, which will be divided into first and second classes. Similarly, the rooms with running water (Wannenbad) will come in two classes, and charges per bath will be K2,40 and K1,40 for first and second class respectively. The cost of the steam bath will be: K1,40 for first class, and 80 h for second class. After 6 pm the cost will be 70 h. The renovation will cost K 35,000, of which K 27,000 will be provided by the Vakuf, and the remainder by the bath-house agent B. Atas(184)."  After two months of renovation works, the Isa-bey bath-house reopened on August 21, 1911(185).

            There is little doubt that at some point after 1940, most likely in the period following World War II, the southern part of the graveyard, which at the time was located at c.p. no. 11(186),  was expropriated, given that this part of the land section has not been included in the present-day c.p.no. 13 of cadastral municipality Sarajevo IX (new survey) – Stari Grad municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            During the 1992-1995 war, the bath-house building was badly damaged by grenades. As there have been no restoration works on the building since the end of the war, the building is at risk of falling into a state of complete dereliction.


2. Description of the property

The architectural ensemble now consists of a roofed entrance portico with two colonnades of domed pillars connecting the mosque with the building of the Ulema-majlis and forming an internal courtyard with a šadrvan fountain, as well as a graveyard with nišan tombstones, sheikh Bistrigija’s turbe, the stone boundary walls, two entrance gates, and the building of the Isa-bey bathhouse.

Over the centuries, the mosque building has undergone several stages of architectural modifications. The oldest part of the mosque, dating from 1565, is the central section, to which two wings with arcades were added in 1800. In 1848, both wings were walled up and connected via a door with the central prayer area(187).The new Isa-bey bath-house was built in 1891, and the Ulema-majlis palace in 1910. Each of these buildings modified the original appearance of the mosque, which is therefore difficult to characterize typologically. We can therefore adopt the description by the architect Andrej Andrejević: "Architecturally, the Emperor's Mosque in Sarajevo, or specifically its central section build in 1565/66 – the prayer area with domed trompes and a minaret abutting onto its right wing – belongs to the standard type of single-space domed mosque with a portico and a minaret(188).”  Writing of domed mosques, Prof. Madžida Bečirbegović observes that all domed mosques in Bosnia and Herzegovina belong to the standard single-space type, with the exception of the Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque in Sarajevo and the Ferhadija in Banja Luka which have the complex layout of multi-spatial mosques(189).

The central section of the mosque measures approx. 15.63 x 15.66 m(190). The porticos measure approx 4.99 x 14.16m and abut onto the west and east walls of the central section. The entrance portico, covered by a three-paned roof clad with copper(191), is 5.97m long, 25.16m wide, and supported by a colonnade of eight arcade pillars. The mosque is connected to the building of Ulema-majlis via the west (measuring 4.52x14.5m) and east (4.22x10.56m) porticos with domed colonnades, the domes clad with copper. The pillars are axially spaced at 3.61m to 3.65m, and are reinforced above the bases and below the capitals with metal rings. Tie-rods are set at the arcade footings above the capitals to take up the horizontal forces.

The capitals of the main portico pillars are elaborately moulded, but it is unclear how much of the original appearance has been preserved. Ayverdi states that they have been over-decorated with almond-shape forms and that they are somewhat stockier than was typical of the 16th century (A. Andrejević, 1986, p.146).

The entrance portal of the mosque measures 3.44 x 5.80m and projects 35cm outwards from the face of the north wall. A pointed arch and a chronogram in the lunette above the door emphasize the entrance section of the mosque. External sofas have been added to the right and left of the central passageway to the entrance door(192). The double entrance door, above which is located an arched beam executed as a stone-sectioned lintel, is made of solid oak wood and leads to the central prayer area of the mosque (measuring 13.16 x 13.12m in the interior).

The painted decoration of the portal has been redone several times and is much damaged. Decoration can be seen at both top corners, between later-applied stucco-rosettes, and on both door jambs and in the arch above the chronogram mounted by Šerifović. Although the decoration has been spoiled, it can be associated with the painting of the mosque carried out in the 16th century (Andrejević, 1986, p.156).

To the left and right of the entrance doors are 209cm long and 504cm wide sofas with a 308 cm wide passageway between them. The technical drawing of the condition of the mosque in 1986 indicates a stairway in the left-hand corner of the sofa which provided access to the mahfil.  The mahfil thus extended from the east to the west wall(193).The present-day mahfil, which is 500cm wide and 255cm long, is made of stone and is the result of the conservation/restoration works of the 1980s. The mahfil is supported by four stone pillars. The square cross-section of their 90cm high bases changes at the lower third of the pillar into an octagonal cross-section, terminates in a capital of square-cross section. The architrave beam has a cornice and an “en masse” moulding. The mahfil balustrade was executed in the shape of stone transennas decorated with geometric forms. The mahfil has a coffered ceiling with exposed beams and geometric motifs of octagonal stars applied in the caisson sections.

The central prayer area of the mosque is enclosed by massive stone walls, 1.20-1.27m thick and 11.60m high(194), on which supports for trompes(195) are set at a height of 7.85m(196).  The apex of the frontal trompe arches is at 11.38m.  There are shallow rebated arches between the triple-sectioned trompes, while the transition from the trompes and the rebated arches to the sphere of the dome is by means of spherical triangles. Below the mid-segments of the trompes are painted brick niches, approx. 160cm high, with muqarnas (stalactite decorations). The start of the drum is indicated with a semi-circular string course set at a height of 11.67cm. The span of the dome is 13m, and the inside and the outside apices of the dome are at 19.40m and 20.00m respectively.

The dome arch calotte, the trompes and their frontal arches, and the relieving arches set in the walls between the trompes, are made of 40 x 20 x 4.5-5cm Turkish-format bricks. The inside of the dome calotte contains some 40 ceramic pot-shaped resonators with 8cm-radius necks facing the area under the dome and with their bases inserted into the wall mass of the dome.

The stone mihrab is indicated by a 2.65 x 5.32m frame projecting outwards by 40 cm from the wall plane. The mihrab niche is 119cm wide, and its cross section is in the shape of half a regular duodecagon inscribed in a 60cm radius circle. The mihrab niche is 435cm high with the top arched towards 7 rows of muqarnas.

The mihrab stands out in its height and simplicity. It is set in a wide and simply moulded stone frame whose top part ends not in a typical ornate frame but in a simple horizontal border. The central section of the 5-sided niche is ornamented with just six rows of muqarnas whose bottom row ends in sculptured stone ornaments. The colours of the muqarnas are blue, ochre, and vermilion (cinnabar red).

The area around three sides of the mihrab (two vertical and one horizontal) are painted ochre and two shades of blue. This is composed of three sections, with the outer section painted dark blue, and the central and inner sections painted ochre and a lighter shade of blue respectively. The interior of the latter section is decorated with interlinked medallions whose white frames are filled with rose buds and leaves. In the centre of medallions are four flowers. The projecting parts of the five-sided niche are painted ochre, forming pillars. The recessed sections are painted blue. The central recess of the niche contains a painting of a medallion with a flower inside(197).

The octagonally-domed minbar, which is 97cm wide, 4,25m long and 8.04 high, stands on a shallow postament which is 435cm wide, 127cm long, and 8cm high.

The architecture of the minbar is no different from the standard type of minbar found in larger mosques. It consists of three components:

  1. the entrance portal with a stairway and stone balustrade,
  2. the top pyramidal section supported by four stone columns,
  3. lateral triangular sections located underneath this part and the stairway balustrade.

Below these three sections are three openings with pointed arches and a much higher passageway with a shallow pointed arch framed in a simple rectangular molding.

The entire surface of the minbar was painted between 1985 and 1990, as can be inferred from surviving traces of the original decoration.

The original decoration was discovered in the autumn of 1985, when, following a proposal by the Sarajevo Institute, the investigative works were taken over by a team of experts from the Institute for the Protection of the National Heritage of the Republic of Serbia headed by the painter-conservator R. Petrović. During these works, vestiges of the earlier paintings were discovered in the following sections:

  • stone base of a square panel below the pyramidal baldachin,
  • vertical frame of a large triangular panel,
  • exterior of the stairway balustrade.

On these sections dense rumi decoration with the same features as on the walls was discovered, here extending in continual friezes. The elements of this decoration include white circular tendrils in full leaf, with buds, flowers, and serrate leaves. The tendrils, set off against the light green background and skillfully delineated with black contours, intersect and intertwine in the same way as those of the wall decoration. Vermilion again features amid the flowers and buds, and occasionally in the background. In their colours and patterns, and their style and density, these designs correspond to the decorations on the wall surfaces.

The original painting of the minbar should thus be ascribed to the 16th century (Petrović, 1986, pp.92-3).

The side tetimas are accessed from the central area of the mosque, and each has a door in the façade wall. The left wing measures 4.47 x 12.74m, and the right 4.43 x 12.84m. The left wing contains a 2.79m deep stairway to the so-called women’s mahfil, set along the north wall of the tetima. The stairway is supported by three wooden pillars and has a low wooden stair-rail with a torbozanluk.

The mosque has a regular rhythm of windows set at varying levels: four levels on the mihrab wall, two on the other side walls of the central section, one on the drum, one each on the north and south walls of the wings, and two on the side walls of the wings.

The side façades of the central area each have three windows, and the south and north walls each have two. The 115 x 237cm windows have a frontal pointed arch with a rise of 117cm. The window lunettes have internal and external stone transennas with a pattern of circles and six-pointed stars. The windows have  wrought iron grilles on the outside.

The second row on the mihrab wall has windows with pointed frontal arches. The window lunettes have internal stone transennas with a star of David pattern. It is quite likely that during the construction of the side porticos (tetimas), the second-row windows on the wide walls of the central area were walled up.

The only window in the third row is an oculus with a diameter of 148cm, set at a height of +6.12 m above in the axis of the mihrab.

An arched window with a frontal pointed arch is set at a height of +8.10 m on each side of the central section. The window lunettes have internal stone transennas with star of David patterns.

Another arched window with frontal pointed arch is set immediately above the drum string course, at a height of +11.89m, centrally on each side of the octagonal drum.

The south and north walls of the side tetimas have windows with flat lintels and no arches. The external side walls of the tetimas each have five round-arched windows, all fitted with grilles.

Access to the stairway of the minaret is from the ground level of the mosque, which also leads to the mahfil of the central section. The stone minaret is 47 metres high and stands on a base with sides 12.74 cm long. The floor of the šerefe (balcony) is at a height of 29.28m and is accessed via a 123-step(198) spiral stairway. The top of the šerefe parapet is at 30.14m.

The prismatic base of the minaret has been executed with a rhomboid-decorated transition, a sculptured horizontal string course and a horizontal frieze of stylized bud motifs. Below the šerefe are three rows of muqarnas (A. Andrejević, 1986, p.146).

The view of the base of the minaret is obstructed by the outer walls of the right-hand side portico, which provides further evidence that the tetimas were a later addition. During the investigative and restorative works in the 1980s, the plaster was stripped off, revealing pillars with capitals and longitudinal arches supported by the pillars in the outside walls of the tetimas. The arches, and the walls above them, were built using the opus mixtum  technique of alternating stone and brick. This discovery  provided a basis for the hypothesis that, at the time the side porticos (tetimas) were built, the arcades were initially left open, and that the inter-columnar sections were subsequently walled up.

The capitals of the columns in the north-east wall were decorated with a shallow diamond-shaped pattern (A. Andrejević, 1986, p.147), while those on the south-west wall do not have a decoration. This difference not only suggests that the capitals of the side porticos and those of the main portico do not belong to the same period, but also that, unlike the original part of the mosque, these plain capitals must have been built at a subsequent period when funds were more limited and less skilled workmen had to be hired.

In addition, a survey of the junction between the walls of the side porticos and those of the main body of the mosque carried out in 1984/1985 revealed showed that the tetime wall was built with irregular stone packed with pebbles, in contrast to the regular structure of the north wall of the mosque(199).

The mosque was build of traditional materials such as stone (limestone and tufa), Turkish brick (tavela), wood, wrought iron, lead and copper sheet-metal, using traditional building techniques.

The part from the foundation to the offset of the dome was built of cut limestone,  producing massive walls 120-127cm thick. Turkish brick was used for the arches above the windows, the squinches (spherical triangles) forming the transition from the square ground plan to the dome, and the dome itself. Tufa, being easily worked, was used for the main shaft of the minaret, while the base was made of limestone.

Wood was used for the tiebeams, lintels, and the woodwork fittings and fixtures of the mosque (stairway, ćurs, roof of the mahfil, doors, windows). Wrought iron was used for the window grilles, studs, zvekirs (knockers), and nails, and copper sheet was used to clad the dome.

Mural decoration

In 1980, the head office of the Emperor's Mosque with the muteveli, the Islamic Council of Sarajevo, and  the owner of the monument, raised enough funds to hire the painter-conservator Nihad Bahtijarević, inviting him to undertake preliminary investigations, under the supervision of the City and Republic Institutes, in ordedr to confirm or refute claims that had appeared in the press and literature about the possible existence of earlier painted structures in the mosque (H. Kreševljaković, 1958, p.138, M.M.Š. Bašeskija, 1968, p.463.). The work carried out in the period between 1980 and 1983 produced evidence of the original paintings.

It was thus that the remains of a painted frieze of boldly stylized buds was discovered alongside the string course running between and above the dome windows in the calotte of the dome, the crown of which had once had a large painted rosette(200). This bud-like pattern, which was also carved in a frieze above the base of the minaret, now consists of six such sections above the north-east wall. Seven sections of the pattern also appear in the analogous part of the calotte above the south-west wall, and above the north-west wall in the sections facing north-east and south-west where four and seven bud patterns respectively have survived. In sum, a total of 24 flower-bud patterns have survived in the broken string course at the foot of the Emperor's Mosque dome. It is estimated that the whole string course may have contained a total of fifty six flower-bud patterns (Andrejević, 1986, p.148).

Each of the bud sections has a triangular base and a densely decorated inside area. The buds outlined in dark vermilion (cinnabar), with every other section containing a dark blue and white-grey or light green ornamental filling, with red central accents at the top and bottom (Andrejević, 1986, p.148).

Another zone, also partly preserved in the drum between the windows and above the semicircular moulded ring of the dome which is surrounded by the drum of the domed area, is covered by a frieze with a wavy line dividing each area between the windows into two horizontally. The top part contains an arrangement of painted medallions which appear to grow out of every other peak of the wavy line, with a pattern of tall, slender trees with flowers on the top and sides between the medallions. The bottom part contains densely painted rumi-ornaments with floral motifs. At one point each of the sections between the drum windows contained five such medallions, making a total of 40 in the drum as a whole(201).The best preserved part is the frieze of these medallions located above the north-east wall of the mosque’s central section, near the trompe above the corner between this and the frontal wall. Because of this, it was possible to infer that very few colours were used in these sections. The background is grey, with white outlining the medallions and forming the wavy lines and tendrils of various kinds filling in the top section and the medallions themselves; then there are vermilion sections of every second or third medallion, vermilion flowers on thin stalks, and accents of the same colour in the section below the wavy line. In the densely ornamented bottom part, the background is pale green, with dove-grey, white and vermilion. (Andrejević, 1986, p.148)

The third zone of the original painting, below the ring of the drum adorned with red, blue, green and white zigzag lines, includes eight rosettes to the right and left of the top of each trompe. It is interesting that the eight spherical triangles (squinches), which provide a more gradual transition from the frontal arches of the trompes to the drum ring, do not bear calligraphic inscriptions on levhas with the names of Allah, His prophet Muhammad, and the first six imams, as was customary in the endowments in Istanbul of the 1560s, but  are filled instead with imaginative, boldly executed rosettes. While most of these have survived, two are damaged, and the central section of the one by the trompe located above the door to the minaret was cut out and removed, along with the original plaster base, in order to be replaced at a later stage by a whole new stucco disk with a calligraphic levha. All the surviving rosettes are much bolder (with a diameter of 140 cm) than the medallions of the second zone in the dome drum. Their multi-arched rims are delineated with a carefully executed vermilion contour, while the inside field is painted with a green background and densely intertwining stylized tendrils, branches, leaves, buds, and flowers. Within each of the rosettes, these elements form several smaller circular sections, with larger ones located near the centre and the smaller near the edge. In some sections, particularly along the horizontal and vertical axes of the whole painted area, vermilion accents appear with bold dots indicating the centres of flowers or leafing bud patterns (Andrejević, 1986, pp.148-151).

The fourth, partly preserved zone of the original painting includes friezes of stylized vases located at the base of the trompes. These form horizontal bands above the shallow string course delineating the lower edge of the trompe, with five such motifs in each of the three sections of the trompe. This means that at some point each of the trompes was adorned with fifteen painted vases, which brings their total in the entire mosque to sixty. In form and ornamental filling, this motif of standing vases is reminiscent of those that were executed in the reverse position in the dome of the Ferhadija mosque in Sarajevo. The narrow lower part of these is much thinner, and the top has pronounced shoulders. The ornamentation of the foot and the wide top section is almost identical in both mosques. The only difference is in the colours: the Ferhadija Mosque features a combination of intense red, green and ochre with black outlines and white-grey background, whereas the background in the Emperor's Mosque is dove-grey, with shades of pale-green and dark grey, and with vermilion applied in some central sections (Andrejević, 1986, p.152-3).

Overall, in addition to bold bud motifs, circular medallions and dense rumi-ornaments in the dome, rosettes in the spherical triangles, stylized vases in trompes, and probably some as yet undiscovered forms in the lower sections, the unknown master-builder used smaller-size components of tendrils, branches with stylized leaves, buds, and flowers, and elements that intersect and intertwine thereby forming whole friezes or independent sections, or just filling in smaller areas. In arranging the decoration sections along different height zones, horizontal fields and individual sections, the painter did not use the technique of shallow incision of the borders and outlines of painted fields, as was done in the Aladža Mosque in Foča or in the Ferhadija Mosque in Sarajevo. In the case of the Emperor's mosque, the painter, nakaš,  used ready-made cardboard templates to directly apply the larger forms and basic elements of ornamental sequences, subsequently delineating their outlines with light brush-strokes, and finally applying the coloured filling to individual elements and background sections. Using such floral motifs and this technique, the artist sought to paint in the spirit of the oriental tradition all the wall surfaces which, in the monumental endowments of the most affluent Ottoman noblemen, would have been clad with longer-lasting and costly faience tiles. The purpose of these developed floral motifs was to create an association with the Islamic concept of paradise landscapes in all religious buildings  (Andrejević, 1986, p.153).

The first painted layer in the Emperor's mosque was created immediately upon completion of the mosque, as indicated by densely painted motifs and the manner of their stylization and arrangement on the wall sections. All these elements were characteristic of 16th century(202) mural painting in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and even on the Balkan peninsula generally, with differences occurring mainly in the area of technical details and colours. Apart from all this, indirect evidence for a 16th century date may be found in the fact that most archives in which the names of some dozen painters from Bosnia are mentioned refer to the mid and late sixteenth century (Andrejević, 1986, pp.153-156). (203)   

In addition to the original layer, five other stages of decorative paintings were found to have occurred in the Mosque. During the investigation and determination of the first painted layer in 1980, all layers were removed and the newly discovered older layers were conserved, providing a basis for the reconstruction of the decorations now to be seen on the north-east, south-west, and south-east walls inside the mosque. The removal of painted sections created after the 16th century and the conservation and reconstruction of the original painted layers did not affect the 1930 decorations on the north-west and partly on the north-east and south-west walls of the mosque. This area was decorated by “Maler” Karl Jožane (or Jožanc),  (Andrejević, 1986, p.156).

The decoration created in this period can be divided into two height zones.

The first zone includes the section from the foot of the trompes to the arches of the first row of windows. The section is delimited by a horizontal line at the bottom.

The angle formed by the north-west and north-east walls was decorated with painted columns (five in all) with lavishly ornamented bases and capitals. The colours used in this section were light and dark blue and white, which are also the colours of the muqarnas.

The opposite corner, i.e. the one between the north-west and south-east walls, is also delimited by a black horizontal line on which four painted columns rest. Three of these columns have richly moulded bases. The base of one column is interrupted to allow for the arch above the door to the mahfil. The capitals are adorned with stylized plant motifs. The sections are painted in light and dark green and white, which are also the colours of the muqarnas.

A circle is painted in the middle of the north-western wall, below the top window framed by a floral garland. Inside the circle is a smaller circle with eight radial lines whose outer points are joined by a wavy line. The circle is framed by a garland with a floral pattern. This motif is painted white and light and dark blue.

The second zone includes the area above the horizontal line already referred to, and pertains to the decoration of the window frames and arches. The adornment consisted of painted plant motifs and individual flowers (in the arches above the windows), in dark and light blue and white.

Eight calligraphic inscriptions are arranged below the pendentives.  The inscriptions are in yellow, within circles with a light blue background.(204)   

South-east wall:

  • viewed from north-east to south-west

 - inscription with the name of God, Allah jalla-jalāluh: God, Great is His Majesty

الله جل جلاله

 - inscription with the name of the Prophet of God, Muhammed, within which is composed ayat 40 of Sura 33 of the Qur’an:


ما كان محمد ابا احد من رجالكم و لكن رسول الله

“Muhammad is not the father of any one of your men, but the  Messenger of God. “

South-west wall:

  • viewed from south-east to north-west:

- inscription with the name of the first caliph, Abu Bakr.

ابو بكر الصديق رضي الله عنه

“Abu Bakr as-Siddīq, may God be pleased with him.”

- inscription with the name of the third caliph, Uthman.

عثمان ذو النورين رضي الله عنه

“Uthman Dhū-n-Nūrayn, may God be pleased with him.”

North-east wall

  • viewed from south-east to north-west

- inscription with the name of the second caliph, ‘Umar.

عمر الفاروق رضي الله عنه

“’Umar al-Fārūq, may God be pleased with him. “

- inscription with the name of the fourth caliph, ‘Ali

علي المرتضي رضي الله عنه

“Ali al-Murtada, may God be pleased with him.“

North-west wall:

  • viewed from north-east to south-west

- inscription with the name of the Prophet Muhammad’s elder grandson Hassan.

حسن رضي الله عنه

“Hassan, may God be pleased with him.“

- inscription with the name of the Prophet Muhammad’s younger grandson Hussain.

حسن رضي الله عنه

“Hussain, may God be pleased with him. “

   - inscription above the window (north-west wall) in white lettering on a circular green background:

يا مفتح الابواب

“Thou Who openest the door “

- inscription facing the north-east tetima:

افتح لنا خير الباب

“Open the best door for us. “

Inscriptions on the mihrab: (205)   

  • upper part of mihram

- Qur’anic ayat

فول وجهك شطر المسجد الحرام

“Turn thy face towards the Holy Mosque. “ (Holy Qur’an II.149)

  • mihrab niche

- Qur’anic ayat:

كلما دخل عليها زكريا المحراب

“Whenever Zachariah went into the Sanctuary.” (III-37).

  • Above the mihrab is an inscription perforated on a wooden plaque:

لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله

“There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” (206) 

  • Dome(207)   


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الملك القدوس السلام المؤمن المهيمن العزيز الجبار المتكبر الخالق البارؤ المصور الغفار القهار الوهاب الفتاح العليم القابض الباسط الحافض الرافع المعز

“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, the King, the Holy, the Peace, He Who is obeyed, the Vigilant, the Mighty, the Almighty, the Irresistible, the Self Exalted, the Creator, the Uncreated, the Shaper, the Forgiving, the Bestower, the Opener, the Kindly, the Seizer, the Exalter, the Honourer.”

  • South-west tetima(208):


بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم و من حيث خرجت فول وجهك شطر المسجد الحرام و انه الحق من ربك و ما الله بغافل عما تعملون 

“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.  From whatsoever place thou issuest, turn thy face towards the Holy Mosque; it is the truth from thy Lord.  God is not heedless of the things you do.” (Holy Qur’an II.149).

  • North-east tetima(209):

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم و تعاونوا على البر و التقوى و لا تعاونوا على الاثم و العدوان و اتقوا الله ان الله شديد العقاب

“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.  Help one another to piety and goodfearing; do not help each other to sin and enmity. And fear God; surely God is terrible in retribution.” (Holy Qur’an V.2)


The author of the inscriptions is Ešref Kovačević, one of the best-kinown calligraphers of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the past century.

During the conservation and restoration works carried out between 1980 and 1990, three old inscriptions were reconstructed: the inscription in the mihrab niche, the inscription on the north-west wall above the window, and the inscription above the opening between the central mosque space and the left-hand tetima.  The reconstruction of the inscriptions was carried out by Nihad Bahtijarević’s team.

The Emperor's Mosque has two pulpits (ćurs). One of them is made of wood and stands alongside the north-east wall. A semicircular section is mounted on the moulded foot The base is painted with leaves. The top section of the semicircle terminates in a railing of turned uprights. This ćurs is painted ochre, green, blue, and vermilion. The other ćurs stands alongside the south-east wall. It is of the same shape as the first, but is somewhat larger. The semicircle of the ćurs is painted light blue and has painted leaves at the base.


Above the main entrance to the mosque is a stone plaque with an inscription in Turkish, in nasta’liq script. It reads:

“His Excellency  Abdül Mecit-han, religious leader,

Heads the khilafet and is leader of the Muslims

He is the lighthouse of generosity, and his nature pure nobility.

His mosque of two periods radiates light in all directions,

its dome shining like a moon,

and the minaret reaching to heaven.

The mosque of Fatih Mehmed-han in Saray-Bosna

built earlier and then dilapidated and ruinous,

This legacy of his glorious grandfather,

was rebuilt by this chosen ruler in his goodness

that worshippers might line up there in prayer.

May the True One safeguard this army of

the faithful until Judgment Day.

            Above the entrance two chronograms (tarihs gyevherli) were mounted, in verse:

A good deed was done by the ruler this year

rebuilding the  Fatih’s house of worship,

Composed by Muhamed Rifat. The year 1264” (1847/48)

The year of the inscription was given not only in numerals but also in abjad in each of the last two couplets. Above the text there is a tughra bearing the name of the sultan Abdül Mecit-han and the year 1263 AH (1846 CE) (Mujezinović, 1998, p.19).

Turbe of the mufti Sheikh Ibrahim Bistrigija

Alongside the minaret in the Emperor's Mosque graveyard is the turbe of  the Sarajevo mufti, Sheikh Ibrahim-effendi Bistrigija. Its only preserved elements are walls 1.50m high and 0.50m thick made of semi-dressed stone enclosing an area of 6.60 x 3.80m. The structure has no roof, and the walls have a coping of hollow tiles. In addition to Bistrigija’s tomb bearing an inscription on the headstone nišan, this section contains two other tombs with nišans. One of them records that therein rests the body of Sheikh Muhamed, son of Jakub, who died in 1856, while the other bears no epitaph.

To the right of the entrance to the turbe is a stone plaque with an inscription recording that Bistrigija was buried there and that he died in 1069 (1658/59). The epitaph on the Bistrigija’s nišan does not indicate the year of his death. However, four other chronograms have been preserved which give 1075 (1664/65)  as the year of Bistrigija's death. Some authors state that Bistrigija died in 1070 (1658);


( according to S. Kemura)

To the right of the entrance of the turbe is a large 40 x 58cm stone plaque bearing an inscription in five lines of large t’aliq script. The inscription is in Arabic prose, and reads:

“Herein lies the leader of sheikhs Ibrahim-effendi Bistrigija. For his soul and in the name of Allah, recite Fatihah. In the year of 1609 (1658/59).


Bistrigija’s tomb has two nišans. The footstone nišan is cylindrical in shape, and the 106 cm high headstone nišan of 20 x 20cm cross section featuring a mušebak turban bears a prose epitaph in Turkish, written in a flowing and legible naskh script. The inscription reads:

“He (God) is the eternal creator. The leader of high scholars, the former Sarajevo-mufti sheikh Ibrahim-effendi Bistrigija. For his soul recite Fatihah "

(The year of the inscription is not given).


This inscription is given in ten couplets of verse written in Turkish It has been preserved in Kemura’s transcript, and reads:

“Sheikh Ibrahim-effendi, a mufti and upholder of the Shariah

Left the transient saray for eternity

Leaving to the world the Qur’an and hadith

Departed this life to seek shelter with the True God.

When the word of his death became known

It was as if the world were shrouded in black

May God’s mercy fall on the pure soul

Of the deceased, and may his grave be full of light.

On the day of his coming may God meet him with a chronogram:

With the word of God on his lips Ibrahim-effendi left for eternity” (1075)

In the transcript of this inscription included in his work on the Emperor’s Mosque in Turkish, S. Kemura did not indicate the date; on the other hand, his work "Sarajevo mufti" gives the year 1075 below the text of the inscription, which was obtained by recalculating the letters of the chronogram: 2 kj =  0+t = 400 + 2d = 8 + 3j = 30 + 4a = 4 + 3b = 6 + r = 200 + 3h = 15 + m = 40 + f = 80 + n = 50 + 2v = 12 + d = 3 + 3 + ajn = 70 + k = 100. = 1074. The sum should be increased by 1, giving a sum total of 1075 (1664/65).


The following chronogram in four couplets of Turkish verse was recorded by Kemura:

“Sheikh Ibrahim-effendi Bistrigija

Answered the call and departed for the house of truth.

When asked about the chronogram, one of his murids said:

The first among sheikhs left for the house of God (1075)”

In Kemura the inscription does not have an indication of the year; adding the letters of the chronogram, we obtain 1075 AH: 2b=4+4j=40+4r=800+4a+n=50+k =100*s=60+h05: In total 1075 (1664/65).


The transcript of this chronogram in Turkish verse was preserved by Kemura:

“The lighthouse, my esteemed sheikh, Bistrigija,

I learned he arrived at the banquet of the godly

When he departed for the banquet, the whole world was in tears

And I, humble slave Šugvelija, weep too for my teacher.

In the year 1075.”

The year of the chronogram is given in the words "Agladim", the sum of whose letters yields the number 1075: a=1+g=1000+1=30+d=4+m=40. Total: 1075 (1664/65)


Kemura's transcription also contains this chronogram in Turkish verse:

“For Bistrigija, everyone prayed:

May God accept him in His mercy.

When I humble as I am learned of his death,

I made him a chronogram

In the month of Rajab he passed on to heaven” (1075)

Kemura did not provide the year of this inscription, but the calculation of the abjad values adds up to the year 1075:

2r=400+2d=6+b=2+2a=2+3j=30+s =60+f=80+v=6+1=30+d=4+n=50+t=400+h=5, or a total of  1075 (1664/65).

The surviving chronograms to Bistrigija differ with respect to the date of his death. The plaque on the turbe bears the year 1069 AH (1658/59), while the four inscriptions from the poems give the year 1075 (1664/65). Bašagić has noted that Bistrigija died in the year 1070 (1659/60).

Analyzing the inscriptions, one sees that Bistrigija died in 1075, in the month of Rajab, i.e. between 18 January and 2 February 1665. This is also supported by four chronostichons in the poem from the year 1075 and the fact that the work Sijil Osmani indicates this year as the date of the sheikh’s death. The incorrect date on the turbe could have resulted from building restorations, in all probability the one carried out by Fadil-pasha Šerifović in 1847 during which major repair work was done on the Emperor’s mosque and its surroundings. Bašagić could also be in error because of a small difference between the Turkish numerals for 5 and 0.

Graveyard by the Emperor’s Mosque

Along the south-east and south-west sides of the Emperor’s mosque is a spacious graveyard with more than a hundred nišan tombstones of various shapes and sizes. Some 70 of these have been recorded by Mujezinović, the oldest of them dating back to 1032 AH (1623); however, there were burials here at earlier times as well, probably since the early 15th century.(211)   

The surviving epitaphs show that this was a burial ground for dignitaries such as viziers, munlas, muftis, sheikhs, those employed in the Emperor's Mosque, and their families. Among them was the Sarajevo mufti and the founder of a haniqah, sheikh Ibrahim-effendi Bistrigija. Bašagić notes that the poet Tevekuli-dede, the sheikh of a Mevlevi tekke, was buried by the mosque in the mid-17th century. There is no epitaph, however, on the nišan.

Many of the epitaphs are in verse, and almost all of them are in decorative Arabic script. There are other, though rare, decorative elements on the tombstones of this graveyard. Thus, a woman’s nišan made of Skopje marble has a lavishly decorated unmarried girl’s cap, while another aga’s nišan without an epitaphy has a turban plume and a sword on one side.

In 1955, the Sarajevo Parks Administration took up the project of landscaping the Emperor's Mosque graveyard. During these works all the nišans of the graveyard were straightened and arrayed like soldiers in a line, whereby much of the graveyard’s authenticity and archaic quality was lost (Mujezinović, 1998, 24-25).


The grave is surrounded by a railing and has two precisely carved nišans. The epitaph, written in Arabic prose, is located on the head nišan, which is 1m high and has a cross-section of 16 x 16cm. The tombstone features a skillfully sculpted “creased” turban. The epitaph, carved in seven rectangular panels on three sides of the nišan, and written in naskh, reads:

“The deceased mukatadžija Šehsuvar-effendi from the Modriča kasaba, needing the mercy of the Lord God who forgives many [sins]. He died at the beginning of the holy month of Rajab in 1032.” (1-10 May 1623) (Mujezinović, 1998, pp.26-7).


The head nišan bearing this inscription in Turkish prose is 1.10m high and has a base of 16x16cm, while the foot nišan has an octagonal base and is of the same height as the former which also features a nicely sculptured "creased” turban. The grave is enclosed with a railing. The epitaph, carved on three sides of the nišan and written in naskh script, reads:

"The deceased and buried Mukabeledžija Osman-Čelebija, a nephew of the Bosnian defterdar Osman-effendi from the Modriča kasaba, died in the middle of the holy month of Sha’ban in 1032. For his soul, recite Fatihah” (31 May – 9 June 1623), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.27). 


The nišan bearing this epitaph is 80 cm high with a cross-section of 11 x 12 cm and has a nicely sculpted “creased” turban. The foot nišan is octagonal. The nišans stand on a sarcophagus. The epitaph in Turkish verse, carved on three sides of the head nišan, is written in naskh  script:

“The deceased Alija, son of the defterdar Osman-effendi.

When the son of Osman-effendi,

may his happiness never end,

died, he made him the chronogram:

May Alija find his place in the celestial rose-garden.

He died on 21. of the holy month of Dhu-l-Hijja, in the year 1034.” (28 September 1625), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.28). 


Only the head nišan, 1.15m high with a cross-section of 11 x 11 cm,  has been preserved. It  bears a decorated woman’s cap, and has zigzag lines below the cap and above the epitaph. The nišan edges are decorated with rope-twist, and are in the shape of pillars with bases and capitals. The epitaph in Arabic prose, carved on three sides of the nišan, is written in naskh script. The tomb was made of Skopje marble.

“Deceased Fadila, daughter of Muhamed-effendi. She died in the month of Sha’ban of 1053. (15 October-13 November 1643).

On one side of the nišan, four oblique lines bear verses which atmospheric conditions have rendered illegible (Mujezinović, 1998, pp.28-29).


The grave is surrounded by a railing and has two nišans above. The 1.30m tall head nišan with a cross-section of 21 x 22 cm has a turban of the kind usually seen on the nišans of pashas and viziers. The five lines of the epitaph in Turkish are written in the naskh script:

“The janissary aga Abdulah-pasha

Was for several years Bosnia’s muhafiz.

The voice of the Unseen made him a chronogram:

The deceased has found a place in the vicinity of God.

In the year 1105.” (1693/94), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.29).


The grave is surrounded by a railing. The foot nišan is octagonal, whereas the head nišan features a “creased” turban, and measures 100 x 21 x 23cm. The epitaph is written in naskh script:

“He (God) lives eternally. The support of esteemed qadis, Sarajevo’s mullah Sijahi Mehmed-effendi Bursevi (from Bursa). In the year of 1142.” (1792/93), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.29). 


The transcript of this inscription has been preserved by Kadić. Mujezinović offers no record of its existence.

“The pride of esteemed qadis, Nimetulah-effendi Uskudarlija, son of Sadrudin, Sarajevo qadi. In the year of 1148.” (1735/36), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.30). 


The transcript of this inscription is also preserved by Kadić. He does not indicate where the transcript was taken from. In translation, the inscription reads:

“The death year of the deceased I wrote with tearful eyes:

May heavenly paradise be the refuge for Abdulah-bey.

In the year 1149.” (1736/37), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.30).


The grave is surrounded by a railing. The head nišan with a sculpted aga’s turban  measures 1.30 x 19 x 19cm. The epitaph, written in bold naskh script, reads:

“The deceased and buried Ahmed-baša. For his soul recite Fatihah. In the year of 1165.” (1751/52), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.30).


The epitaph is carved on two sides of a 1.20m tall head nišan with a cross-section of 17 x 17cm, featuring a turban of the kind typical of learned persons. The grave has a railing. The epitaph was written in bold, barely legible naskh-jali script. Its translation reads:

“Oh sadness! Another noble person

has been destroyed by the winds of fate.

The scrivener of the Bosnian vali,

Husejin-aga, has left this world for eternity.

May Almighty God absolve him from sins

And may God’s protégé (Muhammad) seek his redemption

Thus stated Mejlija the date of the death with chronogram gyevherli:

May God reward Čehaja-beg with Firdaus. (1167=1753/54).

In the chronogram, the year was not given in numerals.  The sum of the numerical values of the letters bearing diacritics in the last line gives the year 1167. The deceased Husejin-aga may have been the same person as Husejin-effendi, the scrivener of the Bosnian vizier Mehmed-pasha Kukavica who is also mentioned by Bašeskija. (Mujezinović, 1998, p.31).


The tomb no longer exists. The transcript, taken by Mujezinović from Kadić's "Collection", reads in translation:

“Pure and innocent daughter, a child of Asaf,

Was at earlier times the source of joy.

A sudden blow of the wind of destruction

carried this fresh rose to the celestial rose-garden.

Sincerely and from my heart I made her the chronogram:

Oh God, may the castle of Firdaus be her new home.

In the year of 1171.” (1757/58).

Kadić writes that Naila was a daughter of the Bosnian governor Mehmed-pasha Kukavica, and that the chronogram was made by Mejlija. (Mujezinović, 1998, p.32).


The head nišan has a nicely sculpted creased turban. The foot nišan is octagonal. The epitaph in Arabic is incised in bold naskh script, and in translation reads:

He (God) is immortal. Departed has the deceased and buried Mahmud-effendi Endrevi, the qadi of Sarajevo, known as Hatibović (hatib-zade). For his soul, recite Fatihah. On 12 Safar 1202.” (3.XII 1786).

Gazi Husrev-bey’s library contains records from 1200 which were kept by this qadi. (Mujezinović, 1998, p.32).


The grave is surrounded by a railing and has two nišans above it. The 70 cm tall head nišan with a 13 x 15 cm base bears an unadorned woman's cap. The epitaph in Turkish is incised in a fine naskh script, and reads:

“The heart and mind are powerless to change the fate

which did not spare this innocent bird

Who fell sick with the plague and gave up her soul

May (heavenly beauties) keep her company

Vehbija, they made her the chronogram:

Come, Nefisa, to observe eternity.

In the year of 1212.” (1797/97), (Mujezinović,1998, p.33). 


The transcript of the chronogram is kept in M. Kadić’s Collection (XV, 93), but there are no tombs with such an epitaph in the graveyard.

"From Abdi-aga’s rose-garden, a new flower

Which used to lift the spirit

Was cut by the plague in the second year of life

and the rose was taken to the house of joy.

In levha-mahfuz the full chronogram was written by Vehbija:

Murat’s wish to leave for Heaven came true

In the year of 1213.” (1798/99) (Mujezinović, 1998, p.33)


The transcript of the chronogram is kept in M. Kadić’s Collection (XV, 92), but no tomb with such an epitaph exists in the graveyard.

“From Abdi-aga’s shell a new pearl appeared

The namesake of one whose name is in Arša’s defterdar.

His life was cut short by the plague.

May he stay forever in the house of eternity.

At this hour a chronogram was made by Vehbija:

May Muhammad, the pride of the world

(the herald), safeguard the deceased.

In the year 1213.” (1798/99, Mujezinović, 1998, p.33-34). 


This is a typical female nišan. The inscription is given in 8 slanting lines in Turkish.

“God is the eternal creator,

Oh death.

The pure wife of Mr. Abdi-aga,

With beautiful features like those of Rabija (Adevija),

In the spring of her life she

Gave to the garden three flowers (buds)

(two unclear verses)

Murat, Muhammad, and Ibrahim

and finally left the house of temptation.

Vehbija sent her the chronogram:

May the house of eternity be God’s present to Atija.

On the 1st day of Rabi, 1214" (3 August 1799), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.34).


The epitaph in Turkish verse is incised on the head nišan, which has a typical creased turban. It is written in naskh, and reads:

“He (God), is an eternal creator.

The son of Muhammad-pasha Ferhatagić,

Hajji-dervish Abid-bey was well known.

He was a descendent of New Pazar’s hanedans,

But he ended his life in Sarajevo.

Two strokes of pen made him the chronogram:

Hajji Dervish-bey set off on the journey to heaven.

For God’s pleasure, recite Fatihah.

22. On the 22nd day of Rajab, 1218.” (Mujezinović, 1998, p.34).


This epitaph in prose appears on the nišan with a “folded” turban. The tomb is surrounded by a railing.

“The deceased and buried Bosnian mullah Ishaković (Ishak-zade) Muhamed Emin-effendi. For his soul recite Fatihah. On the 11th day of Rajab, 1219.” (11 October 1804), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.34).


The transcription of the chronogram is kept in M. Kadić’s Collection (XVII, 11), but no tomb with such an epitaph exists in the graveyard. The verse epitaph consists of eight distichons.

“Fate became envious of Muhamed-bey,

The famous descendent of the Ferhatagićs,

Oh, sorrowful is his loss to death,

Who as a bud grew into a chosen Emir and Edib,

The ghost of death thus ruined his beauty.

Leaving all his friends with a wounded heart.

Oh, merciful God, pardon all his sins and errors

And take him to the company of heavenly beauties and boys.

Expressing his condolences, Nurija made him the chronogram:

The peaceful Muhamed left for the celestial rose-garden

In the year of 1222.” (1807/08), (Mujezinović, 1998, pp. 34-35). 


This chronogram is set above the entrance to the graveyard by the Emperor’s Mosque. It is written in the nasta’liq script in Turkish verse. The plaque is adorned with a rope-twist border.

“Chronogram on the departure to heaven of Rifat-bey,

Son of Osman Nuri-pasha, the mušir of Bosnian ayalet:

Death had no mercy

To the adolescent son

Of the just ruler, the Bosnian mušir,

The namesake of Hazreti Osman.

Such is the merciless fate,

Which eventually destroys all of worth

Nipping many an ungrown bud.

His parting left his parents in mourning

Which will last until Judgment Day

When heaven’s agents gather for council

This emir will come to power.

The golden plaque bears the following chronogram:

Rifat-bey’s hand opened the door of heaven.

In the year 1261.” (1845/46), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.35).


The head nišan, featuring a typical creased turban, bears a prose epitaph written in naskh script:

“Al-Fatiha, the deceased and buried mullah Salih, son of Osman, was for thirty eight years a muezzin in the Emperor's Mosque. For his soul, recite Fatihah.

On the 4th day of Muharram, 1262.” (2 January 1847), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.36).


The nišans are set above Azmi-effendi’s sarcophagus. The above epitaph appears on the head nišan, which also features a fez with a tassel. The sarcophagus and the nišans are made of miljevina limestone. The epitaph in verse written in naskh script appears on the inside of the head nišan.

“He (God) is the eternal creator.

In this world everything is uncertain,

Any one who had longed for this world,

Did not find it eternal, nor its pleasures permanent

Therefore do not live in vain, but serve the Lord (God) instead.

Azmi-effendi, oh sorrow, died while serving as

a Bosnian defterdar.

He left his children and relatives in sorrow


When he died, I made him this complete chronogram:

Azmi-effendi decided to leave for heaven.

For his soul, recite Fatihah.

In the year 1267.” (1850/51), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.36). 


Above the deceased’s sarcophagus are two marble nišans with lavishly decorated tops. The inscription in Turkish prose is given in the ta’liq script.

“He (God) is eternal. Departed to heaven is Zefera-hanum, a respectful daughter of Omer-pasha, a high mušir of the Emperor's Urumelija army. On the first day of Shawwal, 1267. “ (30. 7. 1851), (Mujezinović, 1998, pp.36-37).


Surrounding the grave of the deceased is a railing with two nišans. The head nišan features a fez and an inscription in eight lines of Turkish, in the naskh script.

“He (God) is the eternal creator.


Having come from Edrina and died here.

He left in his youth,

Leaving his parents in sorrow.

On learning of his death, Hatih made him the chronogram:

May Bekir Sezaja found refuge in heaven.

In the year 1268.” (1851/52), (Mujezinović, 1998, pp.36-37). 


The 1.10m tall head nišan with a cross-section of 35 x 15cm features a fez and bears an epitaph written in eight lines of Turkish, in the nasta’liq script.

“The deceased and buried Sejid Mehmed Seid-effendi, in mid-Shawwal of the year 1217 (27. 6. – 25. 7, 1854.) Came to Sarajevo as a malia baš-katib of Bosnian ayalet and died on the 28th day of Dhu’l-Hijja of the same year. (21 September 1854). For his soul recite Fatihah. (Mujezinović, 1998, p.38).


The grave is surrounded by a railing and bears two nišans. The head nišan bears a fez. The epitaph in verse is written in nine lines of naskh script.

“Hajji Muhamed Zildžić, son of hajji Salih-aga,

Departed to eternity at the age of seventy

Leaving his posterity in mourning.

And the best prayer is with patience

When visiting his grave, do a prayer:

May God receive the deceased in his mercy.

With tearful eyes, his son made him a chronogram:

May the heaven of Firdaus be the refuge for the deceased.

On the 7th day of Muharram, 1276.” (6 August 1859), (Mujezinović, 1998, p.39).


Of the nišans located on Salih-bey's grave, the one at the head bears a fez. The grave is surrounded by a railing. The epitaph consists of seven lines of prose.

“Mektubdžija of the Bosnian vilayet, Salih-bey, son

Of a former principal of the medical school. Abdulah Menla-bey,

Died in 1289 (1872/73). For his soul, recite Fatihah.” (Mujezinović, 1998, p.39).

Other dated tombstones in the graveyard alongside the Emperor's Mosque show that the following persons were buried there:

  • Hajji Muhjudin-aga Ostrovičanin (Ostrovičeli), died in 1147 (1734/35).
  • Hajji Murat, died in 1165 (1751/52).
  • Dervish Mehmed, son of hajji-Ibrahim, 1197 (1783).
  • Merjema, daughter of hajji-Ibrahim, 1197 (1783). (head nišan with a maiden’s cap, measuring 55x15x15 cm).
  • Umihana, daughter of hajji-Ibrahim, 1197 (1783). Head nišan with a maiden's cap, measuring 70x14x14 cm.
  • Rabija. The head nišan of her tomb, which features a maiden’s cap and plume with three feathers, bears the following text:The heavenly bud-flower Rabija. For her soul recite Fatihah. In the year 1221. (1806/06).
  • Fatima, wife of Mir-Omer, Sarajevo’s muteselim (district administrator), died in childbirth in 1232 (1816/17). (Nišans surrounded by a railing.)
  • Babić Omer-bey, son of hajji-Ibrahim, 1236 (1820/21).
  • Hajji-Abdulah Kapo, 7th day of Dhu’l-Hijjah, 1239 (3 August 1824).
  • Hajji-Mustafa alemdar (standard-bearer), son of hajji-Džafer, 1250 (1834/35).
  • Qadi Ćesrija Mehmed Sadih-effendi, son of Muhamed-effendi, 1244 (1828/29).
  • (name illegible), daughter of Mustafa-pasha, 1253 (1837/38).
  • Merjema, daughter of Seid Omer-bey Babić, 1253 (1837/38). (the head nišan bears an unadorned maiden’s cap.)
  • Muharem-hanum, daughter of Muftić Seid Naim-effendi, Sarajevo qadi, 5 Safar 1258 (18. 3. 1842).
  • Atifa-hanum, daughter of Ahmet-effendi Čurčić, 18 Rabi I 1259 (1843/44). (“folded” nišan).
  • Sulejman Salim-effendi, son of Sarajevo qadi Ahmed Ata-effendi, 1265 (1848/49).
  • Šerifa-hanum, daughter of hajji-Ibrahim Sabura, wife of Hadžimuratović Abdulah-aga, 1265 (1848/49).
  • Umi-Gulsuma, daughter of Mehmed-bey, wife of hajji-Salih Nezir-effendi Zildžić, 1267 (1850/51).
  • Nasiha-hanum, daughter of Bosnian vali Huršid-pasha, 1269 (1852).
  • Fatima-Galiba hanum, daughter of Miri-liv dervish-pasha, member of Majlis and erkjan of the Emperor’s Rumelia army, 1269 (1852/53).
  • Nazim-effendi, defterdar of Bosnian ayalet, 1269 (1852/53). (nišans with a sarcophagus and fez)
  • Hajrija-hanum, daughter of Seid-effendi baš-katib for finances of Bosnian Divan, 1270 (1853/54) (a railing and nišans with a rounded turban.)
  • Mehmed Lufti-effendi Jenišeherli, a muktubdžija  of the Bosnian vali Huršud-pasha, 15th day of  Dhu-l-Qa’ada 1270. (sarcophagus, nišans with fez)
  • Muhamed Asim-bey, son of Bosnian vali Huršid-pasha, 1272 (1855/56). (sarcophagus and nišans of miljevina limestone, broken turban
  • Sheik hajji-Muhamed, son of sheik Jakub-effendi, 1273 (1856/57). Buried in turbe with Bistrigija.
  • Husejin Hulusi-effendi, son of muhendis, binbaša1274 (1857/58). Head-nišan with fez, tomb surrounded by railing.
  • Fatima-hanum, daughter of sanjak-dar hajji-Abdulah’s saddler, wife of Mehmed-aga Hadžiabdagić, 1274 (1857/58).
  • Ibrahim-aga Hadžimuratović, 1277 (1860/61).
  • Šerif Mustafa Nail-bey, son of  muderis Šerif Mahmud-bey, the brother of Bosnian vali Šerif Osman-pasha, 1280 (1863/64). (nišan with a fez and a railing).
  • Fetima, daughter of hajji-Murat Avni-effendi, wife of Sejid hajji-Mehmed Nurudin-effendi, 1280 (1863/64).
  • Ibrahim Edhem-effendi Zildžić, son of Mehmed-aga, 1285 (1868/69).
  • Rašid-effendi Ćesrija, son of Sadik-effendi, 7th day of Rabi' al-awwal, 1289 (15. 5. 1872).
  • Fatima-hanum, daughter of Bosnian commander Ferik Husejin-pasha, died young in 1293 (1876/77).
  • Mehmed Ferid-bey, son of alajbey Emin-bey, a military doctor, 1293 (1876/77) (sarcophagus and nišans of miljevina limestone).
  • Ćesrija Ibrahim-effendi, katib of Kalem vilayet.
  • Sejid Muhamed Seid-effendi, former Bosnian mullah (mušebak nišans). (Mujezinović, 1998, 39-41).

Inscriptions on the fountain in front of the Emperor’s Mosque

The plaque measures 50x78 cm and bears an inscription in large naskh. It is now housed in the Gazi Husrev-bey library.

“Hajji-Omer(212), the entrepreneur,

Whose good deeds flow like a river in several places,

And among them this new water of life which he brought in

and which he paid for in gold.

He rebuilt everything from the spring

And may God reward him for that until the Judgment Day.

To the thirsty, Mejlija made the chronogram:

Come and drink from this fountain which is like Kauthar.”


The year of the inscription, 1184 (1770/1771), is only given in abjad, and is obtained by calculating the numerical values of the letters of the last half-verse.

The benefactor hajji-Omer renovated the same fountain in 1195, as can be read from the following inscription, written in naskh script on a 30x40 cm plaque which is also housed in the Gazi Husrev-bey library.

“Hajji-Omer, a benefactor and pride of the generous,

Built this fountain to leave a fine memorial.

In approval (of this deed), Mejlija made it the chronogram:

This fountain was renovated by hajji-Omer”.


The year of the chronogram is only given in abjad; the sum of the numerical values of the letters from the last verse yields 1195 AH (1780/81). (Mujezinović, 1998, pp.41-43).

Inscription on the fountain in the Emperor’s Mosque courtyard

A 34x60 cm stone plaque, set above the fountain in the mosque courtyard, bears the following inscription in Turkish, written in naskh-jali script:

“Abdulah-aga hajji-Muratović, a noble aga,

Brought on God’s behalf this drinking water,

the water to drink and used for ablution

And adorned this place like the garden of Iram.

When the water poured out,  Namik made it  the chronogram:

May Allah have the benefactor drink from the springs of Firdaus.”


The year of the chronogram is only given in abjad; the sum of the numerical values of the letters from the last verse yields1206 AH (1791/92). (Mujezinović, 1998, pp.43-43).

Inscription on Osman-Šehidija’s library(213) 

The building of this library was located in the north-east corner of the courtyard until 1911, whereupon the 55 x 68 cm plaque bearing the inscription was transferred onto the building which at that time contained the Gazi Husrev-bey library (now the Ulema-majlis office).

“In the name of God, the merciful benefactor. It holds valuable books. In the year 1173.” (1759/60), (Mujezinović, 1998, pp44-45).

Inscription on Ajni-bey’s mekteb(214)   

A stone tablet baring the notice of the renovation of Ajni-bey’s mekteb is included in the holdings of Gazi Husrev-bey’s library. The inscription is in Turkish, written in the ta’liq script.

“Beautifully enlarged is this mekteb for children

Whose other benefactor is Ćamila-hanum.

For her good deed, I made her the chronogram:

Oh, Fadil, may her children bring her absolution from sins.

In the year 1267.” (1850/51), (Mujezinović, 1998, pp.45-46).

Inscription on muvekithana beside the Emperor’s Mosque

The plaque bearing this inscription is at present located in the passage of the Muftiship building, whereas in the past it  was mounted above the entrance to the muvekithana.

“Restoring the Fatih’s place of worship

I built a clock-house, for there was none previously in this town;

Installing the required clocks, Fadil gave the following tarih gjevherli:

“In Saraj-Bosna this new clock-house area lifts the spirit.”

In the year 1270.  (1853/54).“ (Mujezinović, 1998, pp.46-47).

Inscription on the Emperor’s medresa

The stone plaque bearing the inscription in Turkish measures 90 x 25cm and is at present housed in the Gazi Husrev-bey library. The inscription is in four panels and is written in ta’liq.

“In God’s name the foundation of this house of scholarship was laid,

And with thanks to our Maker its construction completed

The founder made a nice tarih gjevherli:

The True God made it possible for Fadil to build the medresa.

In the year of 1274.”

The sum of the numerical values of the letters bearing diacritics in the last couplet gives the year 1274 AH.

In the past, there was an elliptical stone plaque located above the inscription, which bore the names of the messenger of the faith Muhammad, Fatima, Ali, Hassan, and Hussain, as well as the year which was claimed to be the date on which the medresa was completed by Fadil-pasha Šerifović, 1274 AH. (215) (Mujezinović, 1998, p.47).

Inscription on the Ulema-majlis building

Above the entrance to the passageway of the building is a stone plaque bearing an inscription in Turkish verse, written in naskh-jali script:

“This is a unique place for Muslims in Herceg-Bosna,

And was built specifically for the head-office of the Ulema-majlis,

During the rule of Franz Joseph I,

It showed its face to visitors from all parts of the world.

Subtracting three, Džemal made it the chronogram:

A lustrous and attractive site was built.

In the year 1329  (1911).”

According to Mujezinović, the author of the text was Reis-ul ulema Džemaludin Čaušević.

The internal courtyard of the mosque is rectangular in shape and is paved with cobblestones, with seven steps bridging the difference in level between it and the access-way to the Ulema-majlis building. The central area of the courtyard contains a šadrvan fountain which is set in a stone trough with 4 footrests in the shape of low three-sided prisms set right against the trough. The bottom of the trough is about 15 cm lower than the courtyard, and is equipped with drainage holes. The fountain, which is set on four short stone pillars, was made of hreša stone blocks in the form of a “creased” capital. The fountain was ordered and donated by the late Fehim Rašidagić, and was designed by the architect Nedžad Kurto. The fountain was built in the late 1990s.

The Ulema-majlis building

Moving away from eclecticism in their attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the ways of synthesizing the formal, functional, and structural elements in Islamic architecture, the architects Pařik and Vancaš were first to provide high quality examples of the principle of organic unity of form and decoration as practised in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the period from 1887-1914(216). In his design of the current layout of the Emperor's mosque complex, Pařik resorts to a solution similar to the one he used in designing the Sharia school in 1887, where he applied the principle of a central courtyard, which in a way recalls and perpetuates the concept of an Ottoman medresa. The entrance to the complex is through a passageway leading into the inner courtyard located on the same axis with the entrance, with a symmetrical part of the building oriented toward the present day Obala Isa-bega Isakovića street. Its south-west wing abuts onto the new Isa-bey bath-house, enclosing the block of street buildings in this section of Isa-bey Isaković street.

Vertically, the building is divided into a lower ground floor in the central section, with a length of about 17.50 m, and two-storey side wings(217).If one looks at the building from the other side of the Miljacka river, Pařik’s intention to avoid obstructing the rear view of the mosque complex with the new building becomes quite evident.

The layout of the building is bi-sectional, with a narrow wing designed for sanitary and communication facilities, and the wider wing containing the office premises, facing the street, the promenade, and the river(218).The main entrance to the mosque and the Ulema-majlis building is accentuated by an entrance portal and a wooden pent roof supported by wooden struts. The 3.70 m wide passage intersects a corridor on the ground level which provides access to the left to the imam's room (3.15 x 5.50 m), muvekit’s rooms (3.30 x 5.50m and 7.00 x 7.00m) and librarian’s rooms (5.50 x 6.50), leading via a double spiral stairway to the library premises (5.50 x 6.50 + 7.00 x 7.00m).  An antechamber to the right of the passage leads to the servant’s quarters (3.15 x 5.50m), a divanhana with a triple-flight wooden stairway (5.00 x 7.30) and the Reis-ul-ulema’s chamber (7.00 x 7.00m) which connects to the secretary’ room (3.30 x 6-00) and, via the latter, the scriverner’s rooms (6.00 x 7.35m). The divanhana and the stairway lead to the right-hand side of the upper storey, which contains premises for the majlis (7.00 x 7.00m), the 1.75m wide right-wing corridor, and three rooms for the ulema (two rooms of 3.70 x 6.00m and a third, somewhat larger, room). (219) 

Four small domes(220) with crowns at +6.60m and a rather larger one with a crown at +7.85m rest on octagonal drums above the lower-level corridor of the Ulema-majlis building. The two upper storeys of the building, located to the right and left of the central section, are roofed by domes on 70 cm high drums,  their crowns at a height of +10.45 m. The domes are clad with copper, and the rest of the roof consists of a gabled wooden roof clad with copper.

In his design of the façade, Pařik uses a doksat (oriel), which in this building takes the form of covered balconies on the first floor, replicates the form of a chimney(221), and implements the transition from a square to a circle via an octagon in the vertical structure of the building.

The new Isa-bey bath-house

“A knowledge of the features of the existing architecture is at its most evident in buildings of certain traditional uses in Bosnia. This is most obviously the case with the architect Josip Vancaš’s 1890 design of the Isa-bey bath-house, where the elevation of the main front of the building has the features primarily of Moorish architecture, while the purpose and layout of the rooms as well as the proportions and decorations of certain of the domed premises indicate that the architect was quite familiar with the classical style of Ottoman architecture. Differences regarding the layout of the hammam are the result of a more extensive programme and the use of contemporary water and air heating systems. This was also the first building in the architecture of Sarajevo to feature a flat roof (Holzcement).” (222) 

The main body of the building is divided into three sections: the central part measuring 16.10 x 16.70m and 11m high, and two wings, 6.50m high, the left measuring 16.70 x 11.10 and the right 17.10 x 11.70m. A brick-built chimney stands at a distance of 1.50m to the southeast of the left wing of the building. Its 4.50m high parallelepiped base measures 2.75 x 2.75,  with above it a section effecting the transition from the square cross-section to circular, approx. 3 m in height. The shaft of the chimney is cylindrical and is approx. 10m high, thus the overall height of the chimney is approx. 17.50m. (223) 

Functionally, the building has five main sections: 1) the basement, which contains the utilities and technical equipment required for the operation of the bath-house; 2) the entrance section with shared communication lines (12.90m2), a vestibule (11.00m2), a reception (2.50m2), a shop (23.30m2), and a Bosnian-style café-bar (20.26m2); 3) premises for hygienic washing and washing in “barrels” (91.50m2), bathing rooms (52.40m2), a waiting room (17.30m2), a corridor and sanitary premises (17.45m2) located in the basement of the right wing, 4) Turkish sauna premises with a cloakroom and sanitary facilities (33.00m2), a hot-water pool (41.10m2), a sauna (30.45 m2) and steam bath (22.20m2), a pool (34.60m), rest area (12.00m2), massage and inhalation rooms (13.80m2), hair drying rooms (33.00m2), as well as communications (44.60m2) and sanitary facilities (5.52m2) in the basement of the central and left-wing sections; 5) offices, (162.55m2), sanitary facilities  (7.52m2), and communications (25.80 + 39.35m2) and meeting rooms (33.60 m2) located on the upper floor of the central and right-wing sections.

The hot-water pool area has an air space rising through the upper floor, as well as a cloakroom bloc connecting the two floors in the central section of the building.

It is clear from the cadastral plan copy dating from 1940(224) that at that time the right wing of the Isa-bey bath-house did not have a south-east extension, which must therefore be the result of a subsequent extension of the building.

In his design of the façade, which faces the present-day Bistrik street, the architect Josip Vancaš used a Moorish style with alternating bands of different colours and a symmetrical layout of the façade planes. According to the original design, the horseshoe-style windows were accentuated by a horseshoe arch of radial sections of alternating colours. The cornice of the central section attic is made of stone and has an indentation with floral motifs. The angular endings of the central section roofing are accentuated by octagonal prismatic finials topped by an octahedral bulb-shaped cap. Below the attic, in three panels, is a trilingual inscription – German, Arabic, and Bosnian(225):Gazi Isa-bey bath-house. The central section has five windows axially spaced at 2.65m. The 1.85 x 4.30m entrance door in the central axis of the basement is accentuated by an entrance stairway. The upper floor of the central section contains six blind window niches of the same form and measurements as the windows of the central section. The side wings contain four windows axially spaced at 4.35m.

The windows measure 1.85 x 3.90m, and terminate in horseshoe arches (fanlights). The side wings of the building have 50cm oculi between the central window axes, in the zone below the attic(226).The parapet of the building is made of hreša stone. According to the original design, the façade fabric was painted in alternating colours.


3. Legal status to date

By Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural and Historical Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina no. 02-630-3 dated 18 November 1950,  the Emperor’s Mosque with the graveyard, the property of the Emperor’s mosque vakuf, was placed under state protection and entered in the Register of immovable cultural monuments .

The Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural and Historical Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina No.248/67 dated 7 October 1967 “included the Emperor's mosque and the two domed buildings facing the river, as well as the graveyard beside the mosque and the two undeveloped land sections behind the "Hygiene" bath-house which were previously placed under state protection as independent monuments by Ruling No.695/50 dated 12 April 1950 by the same Institute.”

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

Pursuant to the Instructions for a uniform and mandatory methodology in the preparation  and development of urban projects and regulations (Official Gazette of B&H, No. 37/38, p.1140), the protection of the cultural-historical heritage and its integration into development prospects form an integral part of executive planning documents. The study for the protection of the cultural-historical, urban-architectural, and environmental values of the “Lijeva Obala Miljacke [Left Bank of the Miljacka River]” complex, which was prepared for the development of the regulatory plan “Lijeva obala Miljacke” drawn up in 1999 by  Sarajevo Cantonal Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage, places the complex of the Emperor's Mosque in the zone of strictest protection.

This zone includes areas and ensembles of multiple value, giving them the quality of monuments.  These zones include the ensembles of the street known as Obala Isa-bega Ishakovića (Isa-beg Ishaković embankment), the northern part of Bistrik street, the western part of Franjevačka (Franciscan) street, the Konak (Residence), the western part of Isevića side-street and the other street-scapes marked on the graphic enclosure of the zoning plan(227). In these zones, no new building is permitted, and all demolitions or alterations that could alter the relationships of the volumes or even of the colours are prohibited.  Protection in this zone is to be enforced in such a way as to extend the lifetime of the most valuable buildings with their appearance unaltered.  No permits shall be issued for extensions to any of the buildings.  Other than routine maintenance works and repairs to materials and structures, major interventions may be carried out on the basis of detailed programmes drawn up by the heritage protection authority, based on prior surveys and rersearch and a scientific valorization.

The adoption of the urban plan for the City of Sarajevo brought into force the preliminary protection act of the urban-architectural complex of Bistrik (north slope of Trebević), as registered on p.218 of the Official Gazette of Sarajevo No. 4/1990. The said preliminary protection act stipulates that “Bistrik’s prominent position in the city’s landscape makes it an irreplaceable part of the city’s identity.” Prominent in this section is the ensemble extending from the brewery, via St. Anthony’s church and the Franciscan monastery, the Vizier’s Konak (Residence for important visitors), and the Emperor’s Mosque with the Ulema-majlis palace (the present-day Rijaset), to the Barracks (Kasarna) in Bistrik and the Atmejdan Park.

The property is on the Provisional List of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, under serial no. 539.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

The most important conservation and restoration works on the Emperor's Mosque were carried out between 1980-1983 and 1985-1990, and have been described above in the sections headed Historical information and Description of the property.


5. Current condition of the property

The inspection of the current condition of the property carried out on 16 August 2004 ascertaine that the buildings of the Emperor’s Mosque and Ulema-majlis were in good condition, well maintained, and in use.

The building of the new Isa-bey bath-house, which sustained serious damage during the 1992-1885 war, has not been repaired or maintained and is at risk of becoming completely derelict.




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

i.          quality of workmanship

ii.         quality of materials

iii.         proportions

iv.        composition

v.         value of details

vi.        value of construction

D. Clarity (documentary, scientific and educational value)

i.          material evidence of a lesser known historical period

ii.         evidence of historical change

iii.         work of an important artist or builder

iv.        evidence of a specific type, style, or regional feature

v.         evidence of a typical lifestyle in a historical period

E. Symbolic value

i.          ontological value

ii.         religious value

iii.         traditional value

iv.        relation to rituals or ceremonies

v.         significance for the identity of group of people

F. Townscape/ Landscape value

i.            relation to other elements of the site

ii.           meaning in the townscape

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

G. Authenticity

i.          form and design

ii.         material and content

iii.         location and setting

iv.        tradition and technique

v.         location and setting

vi.        spirit and feeling

vii.        other internal and external factors

H.  Rarity and representativity

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

ii.         outstanding work of art or architecture

iii.         work of a prominent artist, architect or craftsman

I. completeness

i.           physical coherence

ii.          homogeneity

iii.         completeness


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

§  Copy of cadastral plan

§  Proof of title,

§  Photo-documentation,

§  Drawings



During the procedure to designate the Emperor’s (Hatib, old Mehmed-sultan, old Atiq, Gazi-sultan Fatih Mehmed-han) Mosque with the Isa-bey bath-house in Sarajevo as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina,  the following works were consulted:


1890     Parna banja u Sarajevu, Sarajevski list [Steam-bath in Sarajevo, Sarejevo Newspaper], Sarajevo, Wednesday, April 9, 1890, No.42


1897     Newsletter of The Engineering and Architectural Society of Croatia and Slavonia, Zagreb, 1987, No.5, pp. 55-57


1910     Design for the Ulema-majlis in Sarajevo, February 1910 (copies of the drawings are held in the Gazi Husrev-bey library in Sarajevo)


1911     Gazi Isa-begova banja [Gazi Isa-bey's bath-house], Sarajevo Evening Paper, Monday, July 3, 1991, Year XXXIV, No.141


1911     Otvorenje Gazi Isa-begove banje [Gazi Isa-bey Bath-house Opens, Sarajevo Evening paper, Monday, August 21, Year XXXIV, No.178


1930     Spaho, Fehim: Gazi Husrevbegova knjižnica [Gazi Husrev-bey's Library], Novi Behar, Year IV, Nos. 2 and 3, Sarajevo, June 1, 1930., p.31.


1930     H. Kreševljaković, Vodovodi i gradnje na vodi u starom Sarajevu [Water Supply Systems and Water-Related Structures in Old Sarajevo], Sarajevo, 1930


1932     Kreševljaković, Hamdija: Mudževvidi [Mudževidi, Commemorative Volume for the Quadricentenary of Gazi Husrev-beg] Sarajevo, 1932,


1935     Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Esnafi i obrti u Bosni i Hercegovini 1463-1878 (Guilds and Trades in BiH 1463-1878), Zagreb, 1935


1937     Skarić, Vladislav, Sarajevo i njegova okolina od najstarijih vremena do austrougarske okupacije. (Sarajevo and environs from ancient times to the Austro-Hungarian occupation) Selected Works, bk. I. Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo,1937


1940     Copy of Cadastral Plan, scale 1:1000, cad. plan sheet Polyg. VI, c.m. Sarajevo, Mahala CXVIII, Copy No.161, Location on the survey layout J-5, Vakuf Directorate in Sarajevo, Vakuf Properties in the City of Sarajevo,  Property Register. Cadastral register prepared by Ferhat Kapetanović, surveyor, in Sarajevo, May 1940.


1952     Kreševljaković, Hamdija: Banje u Bosni i Hercegovini 1462-1916 [Bath-houses in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1462-1916] 


1956     Kreševljaković, Hamdija: Saraji ili dvori bosanskih namjesnika 1463-1878.(Serais or courts of the Bosnian governors 1463-1878) Naše starine III, Sarajevo, 1956, Naše starine III, Sarajevo, 1956


1958     Hamdija Kreševljaković, Esnafi i obrti u starom Sarajevu [Guilds and Trades in old Sarajevo, Sarajevo], 1958.


1968     Mula Mustafa Ševki Bašeskija: Ljetopis 1746-1804 [Annals 1746-1804], Sarajevo, 1968, p. 463


1978     Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: Gradska naselja srednjovjekovne bosanske države. (Urban Settlements of the Mediaeval Bosnian State), Sarajevo, 1978, pp. 24, 77, 78, 79, 85


1979     Kurto, Nedžad: Project for the restoration of the Isa-bey bath-house in Sarajevo, 1979


1985     Šabanović, Hazim: Vakufnama Isa-beg, sina pokojnog Ishak-bega, Vakufname iz Bosne i Hercegovine, XV i XVI vijek (The vakufnama of Isa-bey, son of late Ishak-bey. Vakufnamas in 15th and 16th century Bosnia and Herzegovina), Oriental Institute of Sarajevo


1986     Andrejević, Andrej: Arhitektura i zidno slikarstvo XVI veka sarajevske Careve džamije (16th century Architecture and Mural Paintings in the Emperor's Mosque in Sarajevo), Report No. XVIII, Belgrade, 1986, pp 148-156]


1986     R. Petrović, Istraživački i preventivni slikarsko-konzervatorski radovi u Carevoj džamiji u Sarajevu (Investigative and preventive painting-conservation works in the Emperor’s Mosque in Sarajevo), Newsletter of the Association of Serbian Conservators, No.10, Belgrade, 1986


1986     Survey of the current condition of the Emperor’s Mosque in Sarajevo, Republic Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 1986


1988.    Mujezinović, Mehmed: Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine (Islamic Epigraphics in BiH), Volume I – Sarajevo, Sarajevo, 1988


1994     Mušeta-Ašćerić, Vesna and Arnautović, Amira: Smjernice za sanaciju Careve džamije, Stanje objekta,  Propozicije za izradu projekta sanacije i restauracije Careve džamije u Sarajevu (Guidelines for the restoration of the Emperor's Mosque, current cvondition of the site, Propositions for the development of the Emperor’s Mosque preservation and restoration project, City Institute for the Protection and Utilization of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage, Sarajevo, 1994]


1996     Çelebi, Evliya, Putopis – odlomci o jugoslovenskim zemljama (Travelogue – Excerpts on South Slav countries),  Sarajevo Publishing, Sarajevo, 1996


1997     Pelidija Enes: Uloga i mjesto vjere u povijesti bosanske države (The Role and Place of Religion in the history of the Bosnian State), a study published in  BIH Takvim, 1997


1998     Kurto, Nedžad: Arhitektura Bosne i Hercegovine, Razvoj bosanskog stila (Architecture of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Development of the Bosnian style), Sarajevo, 1998


1989     Božić, Jela: Arhitekt Josip pl. Vancaš, Značaj i doprinos arhitekturi Sarajeva u periodu austrougarske uprave (Architect Josip Vancaš, significance and contribution to the architecture of Sarajevo in the period of Austro-Hungarian rule (doctoral dissertation), University of Sarajevo, Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo


1999     Bećirbegović, Madžida, Džamije sa drvenom munarom u Bosni i Hercegovini (Mosques with wooden minarets in BiH), Sarajevo Publishing, 1999


1999     Study for the protection of the cultural-historical, urban-architectural, and environmental values of the “Lijeva Obala Miljacke [Left Bank of the Miljacka River]” complex, Sarajevo Cantonal Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage, 1990


2000.    Werner Mueller, Gunther Vogel: Atlas arhitekture (Atlas of Architecture), Vol.I, Zagreb, 2000]


(1) H. Šabanović, Krajište Isa-bega Ishakovića, Zbirni katastarski popis iz 1455. godine [The land-holdings of Isa-bey Ishaković, 1455 cadastral census], Sarajevo, 1964

(2) Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka: Gradska naselja srednjovjekovne bosanske države [Urban settlements of the mediaeval Bosnian state], Sarajevo, 1978, pp. 24, 77, 78, 79, 85

(3) References to Vrhbosna county appear as early as in 1244. In the 13th century, the county was a site of a cathedral church of the Bosnian bishop, and in the 14th century it belonged to the powerful Pavlović landowning family  (Redžić, Enver: Prilozi historiji Sarajeva pp.. 261-275,  Tri historijske monografije o Sarajevu [Contributions To The History Of Sarajevo, pp.261-275, Three Historical Monographs On Sarajevo])

(4) The name which appears in the original vakufnama of Isa-bey Ishaković was Saray ovasi: the name Sarajevo was derived from the Turkish saray – court, and ova – field. A large number of old Turkish geographic names were derived in this way: Ak-ova, Edže-ovasi, Artik-ova, Pasan-ova, etc. This is the earliest reference to the current name of Sarajevo. Earlier, and in the 16th century, local and western sources refer to it as Vrhbosna, Vrhbosanje, etc., and only later as Sarajo, Saraglio, Saraj-Bosna, and so on (Šabanović, Hazim: Vakufnama Isa-bega, sina pokojnog ishak-bega, Waqfname iz Bosne i Hercegovine, XV i XVI vijek, [The vakufnama of Isa-bey, son of the late Ishak-bey. Vakufnamas in the 15th and 16th century Bosnia and Herzegovina], 1985, pp. 9-27.Sarajevo, 1985, pp. 9-27)

(5) A. Benac and Lj. Mladenović: Sarajevo od najstarijih vremena do danas, bk. I [Sarajevo from ancient times to the present], Sarajevo, 1954, p. 46

(6) The earliest reference in which the name Sarajevo appears in writing is a letter of the Bosnian sanjak Firuz-bey dated 7 March 1507  (Truhelka Ćiro: Tursko-slovjenski spomenici dubrovačke arhive [Turkish-Slavonic monuments in the Dubrovnik Archive], Sarajevo, 1911, p.136

(7) Since the original deed of endowment referred to or quoted in this Decision was written in Arabic, where this translation pertains to this deed, words of Arabic origin have been re-transliterated in the generally accepted manner used in English translations, with the exception of a few words of mixed origin, such as “vakufnama,  the Bosnian spelling of the compound word waqf (perpetual Islamic endowment – Arabic) + name (letter, deed – Persian). Elsewhere in the text of this Decision, the Bosnian or Turkish spellings are used, as appropriate (op.SR, sub-editor)

(8) Isa-bey Ishaković, the Duke of the Western Marches (1440-1463), who in 1463 became the second Bosnian sanjak-bey,  built his waqf just a few years before Bosnia finally fell under the Ottoman rule, while he was still the ruler of the border-land which spread from Skopje through Novi Pazar and cut into the territory of mediaeval Bosnia. He inherited the position from his father, Ishak-bey, of whose origins not much is known. The extremely wealthy Isa-bey built a number of endowments throughout the Ottoman Empire. He died after February 8, 1470. (Amina  Kupusović: Vakufnama Isa-bega Ishakovića,  Prilozi historiji Sarajeva : radovi sa znanstvenog simpozija Pola milenija Sarajeva, [The Vakufnama of Isa-bey Ishaković. Contributions to the History of Sarajevo, Proceedings from the symposium The half-millennium of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, 19-21 March 1993. ed. Dževad Juzbašić] - Sarajevo : Institute of History [etc.],  1997, pp. 47-52;  Kreševljaković, Hamdija: Banje u Bosni i Hercegovini 1462-1916 [Bath-houses in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1462-1916], Sarajevo, 1952)

(9) The zawiyya consisted of a tekke, a musafirhana, and an imaret (public kitchen), and remained in service until 1769, when it burned down in the disastrous fire that swept the city during the conquest of Sarajevo by Prince Eugene of Savoy. The tekke and the musafirhana were rebuilt in 1782, and were pulled down in 1958 during the construction of dams in Bembaša.

(10) The earliest Sarajevo bridge across the Miljacka river was built on the between the entrance gate of the Emperor’s Mosque on the left bank and Kolubara-han on the right. It was demolished in 1897 and its name was taken over by the first concrete bridge in Sarajevo which was built following the demolition of the old Emperor’s ćuprija (bridge), some 20 metres upstream from its predecessor, in line with the street which now leads to the Konak. Evidence of the existence of this bridge is unquestionable and is based on Isa-bey’s vakufnama; furthermore, given that the Emperor’s Mosque was surrounded by Isa-bey’s palace, mosque, and hammam on the one side, and his Kolobara-han and the main market on the other, there is little doubt that the bridge was located on that very spot.

In addition, the bridge provided the link for the main axis of the city at the time, running from north to south, i.e. from Širokača and Bistrik, via the main marketplace, all the way towards Biosko (Biosko road). It seems safe to assume that Isa-bey’s bridge was made of wood. A reference to its  name – Isa-bey’s ćuprija – appears some hundred years after it was built, in a document written in August 1557 (early 964 AH). It came to a disastrous end in 1619 as a result of the great damage caused by the flood, when no fewer than six Sarajevo  bridges were swept away by the Miljacka. This is also referred to in a document from the Zadar Archive dated 4 January 1620. As mentioned, the bridge was restored the very next year, i.e. in 1620.  The first author to provide information about the events, albeit vague and ambiguous, was Evliya Çelebi.

On the 18th day of Rabi’ Al-Awwal 1206 (15 November 1791), the great flood, as noted by Bašeskija,  swept away all of Sarajevo’s bridges except Šeher-Čehaja’s; among those that were destroyed was the Emperor’s, or hajji-Husein’s, ćuprija. However, shortly afterwards the bridge was restored with the personal funds of a wealthy Sarajevo merchant Mustafa hajji-Bešlija, who hired builders, probably from Herzegovina, to do the job.

(11) Isa-bey's hammam was located in the area of the present day hammam, alongside the Emperor's Mosque. The hammam was closed in 1887, after the flood destroyed the water supply line that brought water from the Pastrma springs in Bistrik (Kreševljaković, 1952: pp. 73-75)

(12) Isa-bey's caravan-sarai (better known as Kolobara-han) had 400 rooms and 4 shops, and its annual rent was 4,500 akce. The inn (han) was totally destroyed in the last big fire in 1939   (Kreševljaković, Hamdija: Hanovi i karavan saraji u Bosni i Hercegovini [Hans and Caravanserais in Bosnia and Herzegovina], Sarajevo, 1957, 20-21)

(13) The transcript in the court records of the Sarajevo qadi Seid Mustafa Salim effendi-zade from 1254 (1838), on which Hazim Šabanović's translation is based, contains verification by nine Sarajevo qadis, who held office as qadis at different times (Kupusović : 1997., pp. 47-52)

(14) (Šabanović, Hazim: Vakufnama Isa-bega, sina pokojnog Ishak-bega, Waqfname iz Bosne i Hercegovine, XV i XVI vijek, [The vakufnama of Isa-bey, son of late Ishak-bey. Vakufnamas in the 15th and 16th century Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Oriental Institute of Sarajevo], Sarajevo, 1985, pp. 9-27)

(15) Two translations of the vakufnama are available:

  • Gliša Elezović: Turski spomenici [Turkish Monuments], Beograd 1940. Vol. I, sec. 1, No. 10, pp. 27-36.
  • Hazim Šabanovic: Prilozi za orijentalnu filologiju i istoriju jugoslovenskih naroda pod turskom vladavinom [Contributions to Oriental Philology and the History of the South Slavic Peoples under Turkish Rule], sec. II, pp.7-29, Sarajevo, 1952.

In the subsequent sections of this Decision, Šabanović's translation has been used, which is the more recent of the two and which contains some critical discussion of a number of controversial sections in Elezović's translation. (op. E. Softić).

(16) The original has: Muhammed al-milleti wad-dini. Here the expressions el-millet and ed-din are synonyms; the word millet here means faith, jus as din does, and not people, and it is therefore erroneous to translate the expression as “faith and people”, as Elezović does.  (p. 28, line 4).

(17) On Isa-bey and the Ishakovići, see: Ćiro Truhelka, Tursko-slovjenski spomenici dubrovačke arhive [Turkish-Slavonic monuments in the Dubrovnik Archive], Sarajevo, 1911; GI. Elezović, Turski spomenici u Skoplju [Turkish Monuments in Skopje], GSND sec.1. p.9 et seq.; Gl. Elezović: Skopski Ishakovići i Paša Jigit [The Ishakovićs of Skopje and Paša Jigit], GSND sec. IX. D.N.V. 1931; Gl.Elezović:, Turski spomenici [Turkish Monuments], Beograd, 1940, Vol.I, sec.1, in a number of sections.

(18) Here, Elezović has: “and that he should order as he chooses and rule as he pleases" (pp. 28, 9).

(19) This was translated by Elezović as: “... and raise it above all others, whether polytheists like it or not” (p. 28, lines 12-13).

(20) Here, Elezović has: “built in Brodac village in the vicinity of Sarajevo...” (28, 18-19), while in Note 4 he says: “written as min a'mal Saraj ovasi.“ However, a'mal does not mean vicinity, but area. Therefore, one should not look for Brodac village “in the vicinity of Sarajevo”, or “in Sarajevo Polje,” as Škarić was led to do (Sarajevo, p. 38). The comment on the use of Brođac given in Note 3 states that: “The name given in the transcript is: Brurge. My assumption was that the transcriber had rendered Brođac as Brurge, but I was then told that no place with such a name may be found in the vicinity of Sarajevo either.” (nn. 28, 3). The correctness of Elezović’s assumption is confirmed in a better transcript of this waqfiyya, on which our rendition is based and which quite correctly gives the name: Brodče. While it is true that such a locale does not exist today, the text of the vakufnama makes it clear that the village of Brodac was located between Bendbaša,  i.e. where  Isa-bey’s tekke still stands today, and Isa-bey’s han (“Kolobara”) which was located at the heart of the old Sarajevo čaršija at the spot which still bears the name Kolobara. It may be worth mentioning that in Arabic the word qarya means not just village, but more generally a settlement of some sort.

(21) The original has zawiyya, which most closely corresponds to our concepts of monastery or convent. In an attempt to elucidate this word, Elezović claims (p.23, n2) that the word “used in the original is zivajet.” However, the word zivajet does not exist in Arabic, Turkish, Persian, or any other language, and I doubt that the transcriber of his original was likely to make such a mistake, particularly in view of the fact that the transcript itself gives the correct term zawiyya and not zivayet in all other places.

(22) The original uses the term manzil.

(23) Here, Elezović has:  which consists of one building”.

(24) The original has sâdât, pl. of sayyid, which refers to Muhammed’s posterity in the female line.

(25) The original has ghuzât, pl. of ghazi, which means fighter, warrior, one who fights for his faith, a hero.

(26) Here, Elezović has: “... and in his lifetime he endowed it and made a present of it, provided it served as a hospice for destitute Muslims, students, sayyids, victors-fighters for the faith, and passing travellers” (pp. 28 line 19-22). The most important difference between Elezović’s translation and mine is that he combined the terms zawiyya =tekke = and maskan [a dwelling, an abode] into a single term, hospice.  Such a translation led Elezović to constantly refer to this endowment in subsequent sections as a hospice, whereby its main function, to serve as a tekke, was completely lost.

Besides, the words li fukara al-muslimin are not followed by any conjunction whereby they would be linked to the following expression, but by a preposition min whose purpose is to clarify and make more specific the content of the word which the preposition follows (min al-bayaniyya). It is therefore an error to translate the text as “for the Muslim poor, students,” etc, instead, it should be translated as: “for poor Muslims who are students...” etc.

(27) Here the expression used is al-aruzzu. This word is pronounced in Arabic as al-ruzzu and in many other ways, but never as “al-arz or aruz and urz”, as suggested by Elezović, whose claims are based on the modifications that the word has undergone in Turkish, which is irrelevant in this case since the deed was written in Arabic. It is interesting to note that the passage mentions rice as a meal to be cooked in the tekke kitchen; but later, when the benefactor refers to the breakdown of expenses, he deoes not specify how much money was to be spent on rice, but specifies wheat for the soup.

(28) The Isa-bey bridge was later called Careva Ćuprija (Emperor's bridge), as it is still known today.  On this, see H. Kreševljaković, Vodovodi i gradnje na vodi u starom Sarajevu [Water Supply Systems And Water-Related Structures In Old Sarajevo], Sarajevo, 1930, pp. 198-200.

(29) The original here contains the Arabic term zira which is synonymous with the Turkish term arshin, and denotes a unit of length in the Oriental system of measures: the equivalent of 0,68 m.

(30) Elezović’s translation of this section is as follows: “At each end and each side, he built ground- and upper-level 15 ziraen and set them aside for these operations.” The associated note then states that “written ziraen. It is obvious that something has either been left out or mistranscribed here. Perhaps the word that was intended here was hujra.” However, once the text is properly understood, it becomes obvious that nothing has been mistranscribed and that no hujra – Bos. hudžera (hut, outbuilding) was intended here; instead, what is referred to here is the land around the bridge. Shops of Isa-bey’s waqf, referred to in a number of documents from the mid-16th century, were later built on this land.

(31) Qur' an LXXIII, 20, version by A. Arberry

(32) Qur' an XV 23; XXI, 89; XXVI, 58, version by A. Arberry

(33) In Elezović's translation, this section reads: “To serve these needs he made a gift of his most immediate immovable possessions.” It is not clear here what needs are being served by making a gift of it. Instead of the expression “make a gift”, the verb tasaddaqa should be rendered in this and other sections of this document as uwaqfio “endowed“ since this verb is synonymous with the verb waqafa. Besides, it is not correct to have “immovable possessions” here, because this is not what the original contains.

(34) The original has tawahin, pl. of tahun, meaning mill or water-mill. These mills on Bendbaša were called “Ercebey’s mills” by the people, which is a corrupt form of Isa-bey, or Ese-bey, which is how Isa-bey was sometimes referred to in Dubrovnik.  The mills were located at the spot which at some point was occupied by premises of the “Hurijet” association. Nadmlini street in the same location is a present-day reminder of these mills.

(35) Literally: in one building.

(36) The Arabic term mazra'a, which is most frequently used in deeds, wills, and other documents, typically denotes a sizable section of cultivable land, and may even denote a whole area.

(37) The original uses the term hammam.

(38) The original has the Persian word khan here. This Isa-bey’s khan was sometimes called Karavan saraj (caravanserai), but has generally been known as Kolobara-han for a long time now. See: H. Kreševljaković,  Esnafi i obrti u Bosni i Hercegovini [Guilds and Trades in Bosnia and Herzegovina] (1464-1878). Zagreb, 1935, p. 63.

(39) In Elezović's translation, this section reads: “All the mills under one roof and a mezra behind the said mills which are located in that village and a hammam with the associated water supply system, and the water that remains which he himself had supplied, and an inn and a shop whose borders have thus been determined” (p. 29).

First of all, the original gives not “a shop”,  but “shops”.  The word used there is hawanit (pl. of hanut),  meaning shops; furthermore, Elezović claims that it was “written in Arabic as hawaniyyat” (p.29, line 48, and i n.6). However, as was the case earlier with “zivajet”, this word is not attested in Arabic, Turkish or Persian languages.

(40) The original uses the term qibla to designate the direction of Mecca, or the Ka’ba, the major religious temple of all Muslims. In our area this means to the south-east, which is the reason I have adopted that translation throughout the text.

(41) In the original:  Muhamed es-Sagir, which translates into Turkish  Kučuk Mehmed, i.e. Mehmed jr.

(42) The original uses the word suq – market-place, čaršija. That marketplace occupied the area of the present-day Baščaršija, which is the first čaršija ever in Sarajevo.

(43) The original uses the term 'aqâr.

(44)  In the original: Bioska. Today there are the villages of Gornje and Donje Biosko. The road in question was the one that ran through Donje Biosko, while its urban section ran down Kovači and further down the present-day Marshall Tito street.

(45) In the original:  bustan.

(46) The original has: Jusuf el-musema bi Kotka (k-olu-t-k-a). According to Škarić (ibid.. 40), the land of this Jusuf Kotka was in the south-west part of the complex which included the Isa-bey’s zawiyya, not far from the bridge.

(47) This section in Elezović's translation reads: «... and to the east to the estate of his son Sagir Mehmed, along with the water which he gave him as a gift and which connects him all the way to Čaršija and all the property below and above the aforementioned hospice and which border, to the north, with the Bioska road which leads to the marketplace and the public road leading to the said mills, and on the  Qibla side with the river which runs through the mills and the melon field he bought from Jusuf, better known as Kotka, which are both located in that village.»

The Arabic text does not mention in this section any water that was a gift from Isa-bey to his son Sagir Mehmed. Elezović interprets the relative pronoun ma as a noun maun (=water). Another mistake is that the translation indicates the melon field as a boundary mark and not as a property which is being endowed.

(48) In the original:  kurūm.

(49) In the original: H-l-b Selište; at present, it cannot be determined where this land was located.

(50) In the original: Vrti (V-r-t-y); cannot be located.

(51) In the original:  Selište; cannot be located.

(52) In the original: P-o-d-i-n-e. In the opinion of Prof. Škarić, for which no evidence has been offered, the four named land sections and another unnamed section would have been located on the northern side of Kračule and the present-day Varoš. (ibid., p. 40).

(53) Our translation has Radoje, Elezović’s Radome, and Turkish: Radone.

(54) The village of Radilovići extended towards the present-day Budakovići, Bardakčije, and, to an extent, Koševo. It appears in records until the end of the 18th century.

(55) In the original:  yonjalik, meaning clover-patch.

(56) This is, to the best of my knowledge, the earliest record of the Hungarian word városu in Turkish documents.

(57) This is one of the most difficult, and at the same time most important, sections of the entire document. In Elezović’s first rendition of the vakufnama the section reads as follows: “ ... and the place called ‘atiq located in the area which from the earliest times was called Varoš to the Miljacka river.” (see. GSND sec.1, p. 40). Based on this translation, Škarić wrote in his monograph on Sarajevo: ”In this vakufnama,  that part of Sarajevo near Kolobara is called Varoš to Miljacka and Stara Varoš. (ibid. pp. 39), presumably interpreting the text as referring to two locales: Gornja Varoš and Varoš on the Miljacka. In Elezović’s more recent translation, the section reads: “and further ... called ‘atiq located in the spot called Varoš to Miljacka.” And note 10 associated with the word ‘atiq states: “Something has been left out here. Perhaps varoš instead of ‘atiq” (p.31 and n.10). The two translations are essentially the same. However, from the text of the vakufnama – even if something indeed were left out there – it cannot possibly be inferred that there existed some “Varoš to Miljacka.”

It is obvious that the text here refers to the land which is being endowed, which extended from Stara Varoš to the river Miljacka, so that no mention is made of a “Varoš to the river Miljacka.” Similarly, I do not think that anything has been left out here, otherwise it would not be possible for the word al-’atiq to have associated with it the preposition bi or the definite article al, which instead would have to be associated with the noun modified by the adjective ‘atiq (=old). Apart from the fact that the vakufnama contains a number of grammatical and stylistic mistakes – as has been shown in the critical commentary of the text – it is still difficult to presume that the person who composed it would have left out the noun and at the same time associated its preposition and the definite article with its attributive modifier. Besides, the only word that could have possibly been dropped here is varoš, but to assume that this word was dropped seems unjustified since this al-’atiq is immediately said to have been located in a “place called Varoš”, and  therefore it would not appear to make sense to have something like “Old Varoš located in the place called Varoš.

Places like these do not, in my opinion, warrant any definite conclusions that would have to be based exclusively on the rules of syntax, and it is my position that in this case we do not have a mechanical omission due to text stylization, but rather a logical contraction of the expression varoš al-’atiq into al-’atiq.

(58) In the original: Zagorniče; cannot be located at present.

(59) In the original: ‘atiq varoš. This locale is still widely known in Sarajevo.

(60) In the original: Meduputnica, at present it cannot be located.

(61) In the original: Nisputnica; again, impossible to locate at present.. Škarić, (ibid. . p. 40) believes that these sections were on the left side of Miljacke.

(62) The manuscripts states that Bilavica was probably located somewhere around the present-day Bjelavica street in Gornji Bistrik. In 1565 a mention was made of Velija Bjelavica, a resident of Terzibaša's mahala, which is in the same section as the Bjelavica street. (Cf.Škarić, ibid. p.40 and n.2.)

(63) Here, Elezović has: “... and a mill on the Koševo river.” (p. 30). This would be a correct translation only if the original expression was just degirmen (mill, water mill), and not degirmen ocagi. Degirmen ocagi, however, denotes a mill shaft or axis, depending on the area, which is not the same as mill alone. A synonym of the expression degirmen ocagi is degirmen gözü (Cf. H. Šabanović, Turski dokumenti, Istorijsko-pravni zbornik 2 [A Selection of Historical and Legal Turkish Documents, Vol 2], 1946, No.3  p. 186 i No.8 p. 196.)

(64) The estate of Balaban son of Bobčin was located at the outfall of the Koševo Creek into the Miljacka river. Balaban is an old Turkish name, born by Muslims and Christians alike. In Turkish this word denotes a kind of a falcon, and also denotes something large in the vernacular. In the Crnač graveyard of Gornji Kotarac an epitaph was found on the grave of Bogčin, son of Stipko who, according to Škarić, was the father of our Balaban. (Cf., Jnl of the National Museum VIII, 1890, 218; Lj. Stojanović, Stari srpski zapisi i inscriptioni [Old Serbian Records and Inscriptions], III br. 4780: Vl. Skarić, Sarajevo od najstarijeg vremena do danas [Sarajevo from ancient times to the present], Sarajevo 1935. pp. 34, nap. 2.)

(65) Here, Elezović has: “on the side of qibla towards the borders of the estate of Balaban son of Bobčin, to the infidels’ graveyard on the west,” while in note 16 he states that in this section the original source has “ila maqabir-il-kufar”. However, this is not what the original contains, nor has it been properly translated. In his first rendition of this vakufnama Elezović himself states that the original texts reads ila qubur al-kufar (GSND p. 43, line 22 from top). And there he quite correctly translated the text as “to the Christian graves  (p. 40, line 7 from top), and I don’t know how he can claim that the original contains something that he perfectly well knows it doesn’t, or how he could incorrectly translate something that he himself correctly translated before.

(66) The village Bolna is referred to as one of the villages of the Bosnian diocese in Ninoslav's famous Charter of the 13th century, but there is no mention of it today. We know that it stood by a brook and that a family called Kasatići lived there,  which is the name borne today by a mahala in the Žunovnica village near Hadžići, in Sarajevo Canton.  The name Bolna also appears in 16th century Turkish documents, and it may have been renamed as Kasatići after the family who lived there.

(67) Here, Elezović has: “below one mezra and above two mezras which border with ...” What lies below one mezra and above two mezras cannot be determined from this translation.

(68) Elezović's new translation also renders this section as “from east to the Muslim graveyard” (p.31), and in the associated note he correctly states that the original text is: “ila maqabir il-muslimin.”

(69) In the original: al hajar al-kabir, meaning a great rock, and it is unclear whether this refers to a locale or not.

(70) Here, the original text is: ila maqabiri Kas’atiqler. Therefore, the above expression al-maqabir refers to a graveyard throughout this document,  in contrast to  al-qubur (pl. of  qabr) – graves.  Today, Kasatići is the name of a mahala in the Žunovnica village of the municipality Hadžići.

(71) In the original:  sirti sira – mountain range, spur.

(72) In the original: al-band.

(73) Here, the manuscript has Blažuj; Elezović’s translation gives Blažotu, which can only be a misprint.

(74) In Elezović, this section reads: "and a few mills" (p.31) although the original text is wa jamiat tawahin = and all mills...

(75) In the original: Železnica. This refers to the present-day river Fojnica, which was known in 1530 and later as the Željeznica. It is also characteristic that Jukić (Slavoljub Bošnjak), in his Zemljovid Bosne [Map  of Bosnia] (1851) does not indicate Fojnica either, but only Željeznica.

(76) In the original: nahiyati Visoka. This indicates that in 1462, when this vakufnama was written,  Turks already controlled some parts of the Visoko county in the river basin of Fojnica.

(77) In the original: Luka.

(78) In the original: Lubogošta, which is the village Lubogošta lying eastward of Sarajevo, on the left side of the road to Pale.  A record exists from 1565 of a timar of Einehan-aga, the dizdar (commander) of the fort of Hodidjed,  in this area. (Cf. Kadić, Kronika II, 21.)

(79) In the original: Brus. Today there is a village in Trebević with that name.

(80) In the original: Iskaklik. The present-day Skaknići, a village in  Dovlići under Trebević.

(81) In the original Čirni Virh, i.e.  Crni Vrh. Cannot be located.

(82) In the original Kozarevik,  the present day village Kozarevići, south of Trebević.

(83) In the original Sivri Tepe, which could be translated as Šiljata Glava (Pointed Head), Oštra Glava (Sharp Head), etc. Although there are several locales with similar names in Trebević, it was not possible to determine its precise location.

(84) The transcript here has qullat-i Tebrevik, meaning kula Trebević (Trebević Tower). Elezović’s rendition of the Arabic text gives qal ati Tebrevik, which he translated as the fort of Trebević, which is the only correct translation of such a text. However, as I was not able to find any mention or trace of a Trebević fort, I suspect that this section in the Elezović’s rendition of the Arabic text will also turn out to contain errors, particularly since the earlier Turkish translation of the vakufnama already referred to here reads: kulle-i Tebrevik, i.e. kula Trebević (Trebević Tower). Even today there is a section in the old Petrovići village in Trebević called Kula. Perhaps this kula (tower) in Petrovići and the Trebević Tower mentioned in this document are one and the same. At some point there was a customs house in Petrovići, which is referred to as Bac Petrovići, i.e. Petrovići Customs, in Turkish documents from mid-16th century. It may be noteworthy that other Turkish documents also refer to Trebević as Trebevik.

(85) In the original: Radman Zavradilo. Elezović has: “... and on the west along the mountain crest to  Radmana Zavidadlu”, and notes: “As written. Perhaps instead of Zavid-oglu.” (p. 31). Here the translation of the word čayir = meadow has been left out, while the fact that its owner’s name has been incorrectly rendered can probably be attributed to the text that that the publisher had.

(86) In the original: Radava. A locale by the name of Radova exists to the north-west of Sarajevo, but it is rather far away from the complex of Isa-bey’s property in Trebević.

(87) In the original: Vagan. Today there is a village in Trebević by that name. 

(88) In the original: Videž. Could not be located.

(89) In the original: as-sijn, meaning  a prison and nothing else.

(90) In Elezovići's translation, this section reads: “And in the vicinity of the jailhouse the spot that he traded with Rajko, revenues from which have been put aside to serve the needs of the estate.” (p. 31). Based on the other available transcripts of the document, it appears that this and many sections of the original text are unclear. In such places, including the one at hand, I could do no more than give my own interpretation of the text.

(91) Dirham denotes silver money in the old Arabic monetary system.  There is no doubt that here the term is used synonymously with akča, aspra, jaspra, as in the rest of our vakufnamas. Later on, some vakfiye explicitly mention the dirhams of sultan Sulejman, which certainly referred to his akce.

(92) In Elezovići's translation, these two paragraphs read: “ First and foremost, whatever is collected from the revenues and used from the waqf should be set aside for the imaret, the renovation and improvement (of the endowment). For the maintenance and servicing of the most basic needs of the imaret, he put aside eight dirhams per day.” (p. 32). This is undoubtedly one of the more serious mistakes in Elezović’s translation. The word imarat, which here has a general lexical meaning of a building, construction, etc., has been interpreted by Elezović as a term (in which case it translates as a public kitchen), even though the vakufnama does not mention here either an imarat or a hospice, which is Elezović’s mistaken term for Isa-bey’s tekke; istead, what is being referred to here is a tekke which, of course, like other large tekkes, had an imarat.

(93) In Elezović, this last sentence has been completely set apart from the main body of the text, and was translated as: “He specified that the meal was to be prepared in the morning and evening of each day, along with ½ dirham for  bread.” Elezović did not understand for whom the meal was intended, so he had to embellish that “the meal” (soup) needed to be “prepared”, although this does not appear in the original. It is also unclear from his translation who the intended recipient of the “½ dirham for bread” was. 

(94) In Elezović, the last two sentences read: “He also specified that enough wheat was to be provided to the hospice, which would then be given to small orphan children living in this town.” (Something must be missing here, as it makes little sense.)

Elezović therefore also noted that something was left out here, but he didn’t say what it was, which, I think, can be inferred from the earlier section in which infirm orphans are mentioned.

(95) This has also been incorrectly translated by Elezović: “He then specified that another servant, whose duty would be to open and close the door every day and to keep the mats, hanging lights and other things in order, and who would be involved in the preparation of the meal was to receive 2 dirhams a day and morning and evening meals, along with 1/2 dirhams for bread” (p. 32, lines 19-23). The original text does not state that the servant would be opening and closing the door every day, but that he would get paid every day for that service. etc. Nor does it say that the servant would be “involved in the preparation of the meals,” but he would in fact be taking care of “what was necessary for the preparation of meals.”

(96) Here, Elezović has: “... For salt and whatever else is necessary for dining in the said hospice”. Instead, the section should read: “For salt and whatever else is necessary for the preparation of food.”

(97) In the original: hakim

(98) In the original: nazir.

(99) In the original: buq'a.

(100) In the original: mutawalli.

(101) The original uses the term wazifa, meaning wages, perquisites, but also service.

(102) Here, Elezović has: “And that no servant's post in this hospice would be obtained by means of a berat, and anyone who obtains anything through berat will not be forgiven and will be treated as a zulumćar (oppressor).”

(103) Here, Elezović has: “and whatever is due to the mutawalli’s agent, and to the scrivener, and the head , was prescribed to be at the discretion of the mutawalli” while in the note for the word “head” (Ar: sheikh) he claims, inter alia, that this term is used among Muslims to refer to the person in charge of a tekke which is, of course, correct, but it is not correct to say that the word sheikh “in our case, means the person in charge of the hospice.” Besides, I think that the word “due” (i.e. sledovanje) in this and the following sentence of his translation is not properly used when we are dealing with wages and perquisites. This is also confirmed by the next sentence which states that, in addition to these perquisites, they were also entitled to meals. 

(104) In Elezović, this sentence reads: “They were also to receive 112 dirhams for the morning and evening bread." The translation is deficient in having left out almost half of the sentence, and does  mention the soup at all. 

(105) In Elezović, this whole paragraph is missing. The paragraph is also missing in the transcript that he had before him, so this would not be a problem if it were not for his claim that a transcript of the vakufnama from Sarajevo, which he had not even seen, could not be better than the one from Istanbul that he was working with.

(106) The original uses the term mutamad,  meaning confidant, or generally a commissioner. Here it is presumably denotes a warehouse guard..

(107) This section has been rather freely and inadequately translated by Elezović as: “And the mutawalli would erect buildings in the said waqf at any location, cultivated or not, where the need should arise.”

If by “cultivated or not,” he means farmed or not, which these words mean, than his translation is incorrect, and if he means “inhabited or not”, which would be correct in this context, then his translation does not correspond to his interpretation.

(108) This section is, again, neither complete nor adequately rendered in Elezović's translation: “In addition, he stipulated that his freed slaves and the children thereof, if destitute and unable to provide for themselves due to old age or sickness, were to be given in this hospice a due amount of soup and bread.” Here, then, no mention is made of the freed slaves’ more distant posterity, while those that are mentioned would, according to this translation, be getting food only if they were both poor and incapacitated

(109) The Arabic term kayl (in Turkish documents typically kile) is a unit of volume in the Oriental system of measures. For an overview of how the value of kayl varied with location and time, see: Prilozi za književnost I, 253; Bratstvo XXI, 80; Glasnik Istorijskog društva u Novom Sadu V, 350, nap. 31; Južni pregled za juni-juli 1933  Elezović n.d. 33, nap. 4. [Literary supplements I, 253; Bratstvo XXI; Newsletter of the Historical Society of Novi Sad V, 350, n.31; Southern report for June-July 1933, Elezović, ibid., n4]. 

(110) This sentence has not been correctly translated by Elezović, where it reads:»On each of the two Bayrams, three kiles of rice were to be cooked with butter and enough bread to go round, with two  wethers of meat, and was to be given as prodovoljstvo  to those who on other days also get their meals.» The original does not say that rice is to be cooked with butter. Nor does it say that the bread is to be “cooked”. The equivalent of prodovoljstvo does not appear anywhere in the text, and the “meals” is in fact the soup. The last sentence that “the leftovers were to be given to those to whom they were due” has been completely left out.

(111) Here the Sarajevo transcript  gives Brus, while Elezović has Bruz.

(112) In the original: Milko (M-l-ko).

(113) This section was translated by Elezović as: “and a spacious site that is at present in the hands of his freed slave, Miljko the gardener, and all the areas on the lea that the he had cleared and cultivated, should remain with him and his children for as long as they keep paying the tithe.” This could all be correct but for the failure of the translator to at least mention Brus which in the section of the original text of his rendition appears twice.

(114) Elezović’s translation of this section is again unsatisfactory. It reads: “He stipulated that whatever remained after the expenses [were met] was to be spent on the minaret which the said endower built in the victors’ area in Skopje – may Good keep him out of harm’s way! –  If it gets devastated then as much should be spent as is deemed necessary, and  if it  does not get ruined and no need should arise, it should be spent.” (pp. 34).

His  as much as necessary” and “no need should arise” do not appear in the Arabic text. And if his terms “devastated” and “ruined” refer to Skopje, which is the closest and the only neutral-gender noun in the translation, than he is totally off the mark. Instead of: “it should be spent”, he certainly wanted to say “it should not be spent”, i.e. the negation must have been accidentally dropped here. However, even with this correction the translation is still inadequate, since instead of “it should (not) be spent” we ought to have “it should not be sent there.”

(115) In the original: ‘utaqa. Elezović claims that this is the plural form of itaq (ibid., p.32, n2). The truth, however, is that it is the plural of ‘atiq, meaning old, noble, liberated, old freed slave, crafty, sly. With personal names this expression always means freed slave, and not old. Therefore, all other translations of this word that appear at various points in Gliša Elezović’s Turkish Monuments, i.e. when the word is used  attributively with a personal name, are incorrect.

(116) This provision is rendered incorrectly in Elezović, where it reads: “Tutorship and management of this endowment he kept to himself, for life. After his death it was to be transferred to his dearest son Muhamed Sagir, then to the waqif’s pious sons, and then to his children’s children, from generation to generation, by seniority, in both the male and female lines. After that it was to be transferred to his freed slaves and the pious children of his freed slaves, from generation to generation (p. 34).”

Thus, the expressions “and goes to face his Maker ” and “these sites” have been completely left out.  The waqif does not refer to his son Mehmed es’-Sagir as “dearest”; instead, the word used here is al-muhtar, meaning chosen. That Muhamed Sagir is the waqif’s son is mentioned at one other point in the text. The text then says: “and then to those of waqif’s children that stand out for their piety and godliness,” which conveys a different meaning from Elezović’s  then to the waqif’s pious sons.”, particularly in view of the waqif’s provision immediately following this one, that these may be his descendants “in both the male and female lines.”  Also, the term “seniority” is out of place here because it does not correspond to “maturity.” Finally, the text does not just refer to some “pious children” of his freed slaves, but to their children in general. In 1565, the mutawalli of Isa-bey’s waqfs was one Husein Čelebija, who was represented in Sarajevo by his brother Sinan, since at that time the waqf’s mutawalli, who also had an agent in Sarajevo,  was spending all his time in Skopje. (Cf. several mentions in the Court records  No.2 in GHB).

(117) In Elezović’s translation, this reads: “Thus the said blagočestivi relinquished all this from his power at the time when there were no legal obstacles for the transfer and exempted himself from all that, and all this property he sat apart and removed from his possession.”

However, whether the waqif was “blagočestiv” cannot be determined from the text. Actually, the translation would pass muster if it were not for the expression “exempted himself.”

(118) The word ayan (pl. of ‘ayn), meaning a notable, respectable person, a leader, etc.; In the Ottoman Empire of the 16th century, and probably earlier as well, the word denotes a representative of a provincial town, delegated by people to act as intermediaries between them and the authorities. In the text, I think, the word is used in its lexical meaning.

(119) This khoja Sinanuddin el Karamani had a waqf in Sarajevu. (see. GHB lib. Court rec. No.2.)

(120) Elezović translated this section as: “This was done before hajji-Sinanudin Karamanac, the pride of all ayans whom, because of his piety, he appointed as administrator and entrusted with the business of managing and implementing these conditions in  accordance with the Prophet’s honorable law and in the aim of processing and registering all the aforementioned waqfs with the qadi.”

Obviously, this strikes one as  a paraphrase rather than a true translation of the Arabic text.. More confusing could be the fact that Sinanuddin Karamanija is being referred to here as a hajji rather than khoja that is given in the original. 

(121) The note associated with this word in Elezović’s translation says: “written: fahr-ulfawaris, an unusual use of the Persian word feres, a horse, here probably denoting a landowner, a knight.” (ibid., p.35. n.1). Elezović thought the use was unusual because he was not aware that the word fawaris is not a plural of feres but of faris; both are Arabic, and not Persian words, faris meaning not a horse, but a cavalryman, a knight.

(122) Dukes (vojvodas) were representatives of political and police authorities in the districts (nahijas). Their were subordinated to musallims (district administrators) or mutasallims, but were superiors to subashas. A duke also had a place in the governor’s palace, as did Isa-bey’s duke Hoš Kadem.

(123) I.e. Numan ibn Sabit Abu Hanifa (699-767) the founder of the Hanafi law school, one of the four major law schools for orthodox Muslims.

(124) This was translated by Elezović as: "At this point, Duke Hoškadem, the representative of the said tutor and  the pride of the knights and peers, having verified his representative status, as dictated by Sharia, requested before the qadi – May his greatness and glory rise forever! – and in the presence of the mutwalli, that this waqf be restored to its earlier status, claiming that the said endower, having effected his deed in the above described manner, subsequently decided to revoke his decision, citing in support of his decision the opinion of the imam – May God be merciful to him!

There are some major mistakes in this translation, the most serious being that the Duke Hoškadem, referred to as “the representative of the said tutor,” i.e. of the khoja (and not hajji)  Sinanuddin Karamanc, “requested” in the presence of the said muteveli, that the  ... said waqf be restored to its earlier status...” Perhaps the word tutor here was substituted for ktitor (benefactor, endowment founder) by a misprint. In his first edition, Elezović had a different, though again inadequate, translation: “Against the said endower, there appeared his representative – the pride of all knights – Duke Hoškadem...” Perhaps the most serious mistake here is the claim that the representative appeared against the endower whom he was representing. The only correct interpretation here is that mutawalli acted against the request made by Duke Hoškadem as a representative of the mentioned endower.

Furthermore, the expression: lada al-hakimi al-muwak'u a'alahu has been half left out in the first edition, and mistranslated in the new edition as: “before the highly ranked qadi” instead of “the qadi whose signature appears at the head of the document, etc”.

(125) This sentence has been translated by Elezović as: “the mutawalli set out to prove that the endowment should not be returned to his possession, resorting to the opinion of a subsequently accepted ulama – may God be satisfied with them all!” (p. 35, lines 182 -5). Here, then, the text has not been fully translated, and what has been translated is not entirely adequate.

(126) Here, Elezović has: “So the two of them brought their cases before the said qadi, who decided in favor of the validity and necessity of the said waqf, as per decisive opinion of imam-mujtahidi – may God Almighty be pleased with them all!

Here, again, some important parts are missing, and what was translated could have been adequate had the phrase “necessity of the waqf” been replaced with “effectiveness of the waqf”, and if the opinion of imam-mujtahidi whereby the deed was characterized as perfect had not been rendered as “decisive teaching of imam-mujtahidi.”

(127) This whole passage is rendered in Gliša Elezović's translation as: “and had it processed and registered, as is customary and as was required by the said mutawalli.” (35, 189-190).

(128) This whole section has been replaced in Elezović's translation with this short sentence: “Thus the said waqf was rendered necessary by decision of the said qadi, with the provision that it was not to be altered, modified, or subsequently relinquished.” Here the mistranslated and omitted parts are so obvious that any comment would be superfluous.

(129) Elezović translated this part as: “No one who believes in God and the Judgment Day will modify any of its parts or amend any of its provisions.”

(130) The term “heir” does not appear in Elezović’s translation.

(131) Here, Elezović has: “In God we trust. He is a wonderful representative.”

(132) Between 1 February and 3  March  1462.

(133) Maulana literally means our gentleman. It is an honorary title for qadis of larger, and sometimes also smaller, areas, but it does not have the meaning of mullah (molla) in the sense of a higher rank, as was sometimes taken to be the case or translated in our parts. Here we see that this title was given to our qadis in the 15th century, whereas the first and the only mullaluk (mullah office) was established in Sarajevo in 1578, after the Sarajevo qadi was promoted and given the rank of Bosnian mulla.

(134) In the original: Selac; it cannot be located. There is a village by that name in the area of Pljevlja, but it is too small and is only mentioned in the 16th century. (See: F. Bajraktarević, Spomenik SAN LXXIX, raz. 2, br. 5, 11, 39, 43, 65, i 82.).

(135) Faqih means a scholar, and later an expert in the Sharia jurisprudence (fiqh). I am not sure what the exact meaning of the expression as used here may be, but I suppose that it could be synonymous with the late much more common expression effendi, so that it refers to a learned, or rather a literate man. 

(136) Ćehaja, or, more precisely, kethuda, denotes a representative of viziers, defterdars, and other noblemen, while in the context of guilds it denotes a master of a guild, a secretary, etc.

(137) It may be noted here that many of these witnesses are also among the witnesses to Isa-bey’s second vakufnama.

(138) Kreševljaković, Hamdija: Saraji ili dvori bosanskih namjesnika 1463-1878 [Serai or Palaces of Bosnian Governors],  Naše starine III, Sarajevo 1956

(139) Kemura, Sejfudin Fehmija: Javne muslimanske građevine u Sarajevu [Public Muslim Buildings in Sarajevo, in Jnl. of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, XX, Sarajevo, 1908;

(140) Šabanović, Hazim: Postanak i razvoj Sarajeva, Radovi Naučnog društva BiH [The Origin and Development of Sarajevo, Publications of the Scientific Society of BiH],  Vol. XIII, Sarajevo, 1960, 71-115

(141) Handžić, Adem: O formiranju nekih gradskih naselja u Bosni i Hercegovini u XVI stoljeću. Uloga države i vakfa, Prilozi za orijentalnu filologiju XXV [On the development of some urban settlements in 16th Century Bosnia and Herzegovin]a. The role of the state and waqfs, Sarajevo, Contributions to Oriental Philology, Vol XXV, 1977, 135-138

(142) Matthias Corvinus (1458-1490), Croatian-Hungarian King, son of Janko Hunyadi.

(143) Šabanović, 1960: pp. 93

(144) Šabanović, 1960: pp. 94

(145) Akinci (Tur.): irregular members of the cavalry of the Ottoman caliphate, who engaged in guerilla tactics and were paid by the booty they seized.

(146) vojnuk – Christian soldier. The term used in the Turkish Empire for Christian border-guards  (t=Tur. voynuk).

(147) čifluk – a private estate rented from landowners.

(148) “… The hatib, imam, and muezzin of the mentioned mosque own timars and perform the service. Their timars are registered with the relevant body. The expenses for kaijim, the mosque and lighting were collected from harač (tax). Five prayers are held… “… (Zlatar, Behija: Popis vakufa u Bosni u XVI stoljeću, Prilozi za orijentalnu filologiju XX-XXI [A catalogue of Bosnian Waqfs in the XVI century, Contributions to Oriental Philology, Vol. XX-XXI], Sarajevo, 1974, 113)

(149) Kemura, Sejfudin Fehmija: Javne muslimanske građevine u Sarajevu, [Public Muslim Buildings in Sarajevo], Jnl. of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vol. XX, Sarajevo, 1908;

(150) Kemura, 1908: pp. 476-477

(151) Kreševljaković, Hamdija,  Esnafi i obrti u Bosni i Hercegovini (1464-1878) [Guilds and Trades in Bosnia and Herzegovina,1464-1878]. Zagreb, 1935, p. 179

(152) Skarić, Vladislav: Sarajevo i njegova okolina od najstarijih vremena do austrougarske okupacije [Sarajevo and Environs from ancient times until the Austro-Hungarian Occupation], Sarajevo 1937. p. 63

(153) Kemura, 1908: p. 477

(154) Mujezinović, Mehmed: Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, [Islamic Epigraphics in BiH] Vol. I – Sarajevo, 1988, 2nd edition. 1988].

(155) Evliya Çelebi: Putopis, Odlomci o jugoslovenskim zemljama [Travelogue, Excerpts on South Slavic Countries], Sarajevo, 1996, p. 110

(156) Kemura, 1908: p. 478

(157) Spaho, Fehim: Gazi Husrevbegova knjižnica [The Gazi Husrev-bey Library] Novi Behar, Year IV, Nos. 2 and 3, Sarajevo, June 1, 1930., p.31.

(158) H. Kreševljaković, Vodovodi i gradnje na vodi u starom Sarajevu [Water Supply Systems And Water-Related Structures In Old Sarajevo], Sarajevo, 1930, p. 59

(159) Mujezinović, Mehmed: Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine [Islamic Epigraphics in BiH, Volume I – Sarajevo, 1988, pp.18-19

(160) Kemura, 1908: p. 478

(161) Mula Mustafa Ševki Bašeskija: Ljetopis 1746-1804 [Annals 1746-1804], Sarajevo, 1968, p. 463

(162) “One of our most prolific epigraphists and important poets in the Turkish language, Fadil-pasha Šerifović (1802-1882), was a genuine chronicler of Sarajevo in the 19th century. (2) He chronicled all the construction works as well as appointments of valis and other notables, including dervish priests – sheikhs. He also recorded events taking place outside Sarajevo, and even those in the Instanbul court, which in fact is quite understandable in view of his close connections with some of the top officials in the Empire. Almost half of his otherwise extensive divan is taken up by tarihs (chronograms), many of which are congratulation notes sent to numerous dignitaries of the kingdom on the occasion of their appointment. Fadil-pasha Šerifović was also a  builder of numerous endowments in Sarajevo. He rebuilt the dilapidated Čoban Hasan’s Mosque Nanovo, a muvektihana near the Emperor’s Mosque in 1270 (1853-4), a medresa which was also close to the Emperor’s Mosque in 1274 (1857-58). He pulled down the old Pešiman Hajji-Husein masjid and built a new one in its place in 1292 (1874-5). He built a tekke in Vogošća, restored the Ajni-bey mekteb near the Emperor’s Mosque in 1267 (1850), repaired the fountain in the Zeleni mejdan [Green open area/marketplace] near the Ojandži-zada hajji-Ibrahim Mosque in 1279 (1862-63).” (Nametak, Fehim: Sarajevo i Sarajlije u epigrafici 18. i 19. Stoljeća, Prilozi historiji Sarajeva [Sarajevo and Sarajevans in 18th and 19th Century Epigraphics; Contributions to the History of Sarajevo], pp.151-156

(163) Kemura, 1908: p. 479

(164) Nametak, Fehim: Fadil-paša Šerifović, pjesnik i epigrafičar Bosne [Fadil-pasha Šerifović, Bosnia's poet and epigraphist], Sarajevo, 1980, 158

(165) Mujezinović, Mehmed: Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, [Islamic Epigraphics in BiH, Volume I – Sarajevo, 1988, pp.18-19

(166) Kemura, 1908: pp. 485.

(167) Kemura, 1908: pp. 481

(168) Mujezinović, 1988: p. 47

(169)Kreševljaković, Hamdija: Mudževvidi, Spomenica Gazi Husrevbegove četiristogodišnjice  [Mudževidi, The Quadricentenary of Gazi Husrev-bey Sarajevo, 1932, 153]

(170) Under Art. 2 of the Novi Pazar convention of 21 June 1879, persons of the Islamic faith in Bosnia and Herzegovina were guaranteed the right to enjoy religious freedom and maintain spiritual connections with the khilafet in Istanbul. However, as was the case with other religious confessions, Islam too came under the control of Austro-Hungarian authorities. As a result, on 17 October 1882, a supreme religious authority was set up under the Emperor’s orders for the adherents of Islam in Sarajevo It was thus that the new institution of the Ulema majlis, headed by  the Reis-ul-ulema, was created. (Pelidija, Enes: Uloga i mjesto vjere u povijesti bosanske države [The Role and Place of Religion in the history of the Bosnian State, a study published in Takvim BiH, 1997])

(171) (New palace for Ulema-majlis, Sarajevski List, Sarajevo, 18 Apri 1910, No.92)

(172) Andrejević, Andrej: Arhitektura i zidno slikarstvo XVI veka sarajevske Careve džamije, [The Architecture and Mural Painings in the 16th century Emperor's Mosque in Sarajevo, Report No. XVIII, Belgrade, 1986, pp 141]

(173) Tihić, Smail: Sarajevo, turistički vodič [Sarajevo, A Tourist Guide], Belgrade, 1966, 45

(174) (H. Kreševljaković, 1958, 183; M. M.Š. Bašeskija, 463, 1968)

(175) The original decoration was discovered in 1985.

(176) Mušeta-Ašćerić, Vesna and Arnautović, Amira: Smjernice za sanaciju Careve džamije, Stanje objekta,  Propozicije za izradu projekta sanacije i restauracije Careve džamije u Sarajevu [Guidelines for the restoration of the Emperor's Mosque, Current Condition of the Site, Propositions for the development of the Emperor’s Mosque preservation and restoration project, City Institute for the Protection and Utilization of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage, Sarajevo, 1994]

(177) Installation of the floor heating was done by the Sarajevo-based company Ergas.

(178) (Kreševljaković, Hamdija: Banje u Bosni i Hercegovini 1462-1916 [Bath-houses in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1462-1916, Sarajevo, 1952, p. 14])

(179) This name also appears in the Travelogue by Evliya Çelebi (Evliya Çelebi: Putopis, Odlomci o jugoslovenskim zemljama [Travelogue: Excerpts on South Slavic Countries], Sarajevo, 1996, p. 113)

(180) (Kreševljaković, Hamdija: Banje u Bosni i Hercegovini 1462-1916 [Bath-houses in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1462-1916], Sarajevo, 1952, pp. 73-74)

(181) In 1890,  the Vakuf Committee decided that a modern steam bath-house was needed in Sarajevo,  as the new age required. “This new steam bath, though smaller in size, will be built on the example of the similar projects in Vienna and Budapest,  and its functionality and comfort  will be guaranteed to satisfy the demands of the public in Sarajevo.” (Parna banja u Sarajevu, Sarajevski list, Sarajevo, srijeda, 9. april 1890., broj 42 [The Steam bath-house in Sarajevo, Sarejevo Newspaper, Wednesday, April 9, 1890, No.42])

(182) (Kreševljaković, Hamdija: Banje u Bosni i Hercegovini 1462-1916 [Bath-houses in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 1462-1916], Sarajevo, 1952, pp. 74-75)

(183) Viesti društva inžinira i arhitekata Hrvatske i Slavonije [Newsletter of the Engineering and Architectural Society of Croatia and Slavonia], Zagreb, 1897, No.5., pp-55-57

(184) (Gazi Isa-begova banja, Večernji sarajevski list, Sarajevo, ponedjeljak, 3. jula 1911., God. XXXIV, broj 141 [Gazi Isa-bey's bath-house,  Sarajevo's Evening Paper, Monday 3 July 1991, Year XXXIV, No.141])

(185) (Otvorenje Gazi Isa-begove banje, Večernji sarajevski list, Sarajevo, ponedjeljak, 21. august 1911., God. XXXIV, broj 178 [Gazi Isa-bey Bath-house Opens, Sarajevo's Evening paper, Monday 21 August, Year XXXIV, No.178] )

(186) Copy of Cadastral Plan, scale 1:1000, cad. plan sheet Polyg. VI, c.m. Sarajevo, Mahala CXVIII, Copy No.161, Location on the survey layout J-5, Vakuf Directorate in Sarajevo, Vakuf Properties in the City of Sarajevo, Property Register. The cadastral register prepared by Ferhat Kapetanović, surveyor, in Sarajevo, May 1940.

(187) The parapets of the mosque windows nearest to the entrance door at ground level were dismantled to make room for the two openings of the door.

(188) Andrejević, Andrej: Arhitektura i zidno slikarstvo XVI veka sarajevske Careve džamije, Saopštenja br. XVIII, Beograd [Architecture and Mural Paintings in the 16th Century Emperor’s Mosque in Sarajevo, Report No.XVIII] , 1986, p. 142

(189)Bećirbegović, Madžida:Džamije sa drvenom munarom u Bosni i Hercegovini [Mosques with Wooden Minarets in Bosnia and Herzegovina], Sarajevo, 1999, pp.40-42

(190) All measurements given in the text refer to those included in the current blueprint of the mosque (Current condition of the Emperor's Mosque, Institute for the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 1986)

(191) Domed mosques typically have domed sofas as well; however, this was not found to be the case with the Emperor's Mosque, nor did the investigative and restoration works of the 1980s produce anything that would indicate an earlier existence of portico domes.

(192) ( the doorway is 330 cm wide)

(193) This observation is confirmed by the correspondence between the Emperor’s mosque muteveli Fadil-pasha Šerifović and the National Vakuf Authority from 1507-1509 about the provision of floor covers for the Emperor’s Mosque in Sarajevo. A sketch drawing indicating the measurements of the carpet was found along with the correspondence, according to which the mahfil was 13.5m wide and 2.15m deep, with a 2.07m wide and 90cm deep elliptical platform for the muezzin and a 230cm long stairway along the north wall of the mosque, in the corner between the east and north exit stairs (from  the Archives of  B&H)

(194) The height of the walls as measured from the floor of the mosque to the base of the drum.

(195)Trompes are the funnel-shaped arched niches located above the corners of the central section. (Werner Mueller, Gunther Vogel: Atlas arhitekture, Knjiga 1 [Atlas of Architecture], Zagreb, 2000, pp. 48-49)

(196) The reference point +/-0.00 in the sectional drawing represents the height of the threshold of the entrance door to the mosque. (Current condition of the Emperor's Mosque, Institute for the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 1986)

(197) Andrejević, Andrej: Arhitektura i zidno slikarstvo XVI veka sarajevske Careve džamije, Saopštenja br. XVIII [Architecture and Mural Paintings of the 16th century in the Emperor’s Mosque in Sarajevo, Report No.XVIII], Beograd, 1986, str. 144

(198) Kemura, Sejfudin Fehmija: Javne muslimanske građevine u Sarajevu, (Public buildings in Sarajevo, Jnl. of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina),  XX, Sarajevo, 1908; p.478

(199) Andrejević, Andrej: Arhitektura i zidno slikarstvo XVI veka sarajevske Careve džamije, Saopštenja br. XVIII [Architecture and Mural Paintings of the 16th century Emperor’s Mosque in Sarajevo, Report No. XVIII], Beograd, 1986, p. 144

(200) The painted rosette which still exists was created after the discovery of the original painting. Today’s rosette was created with reference to the original decorations discovered in the Emperor's Mosque in Sarajevo and the use of the decorative system in other mosques of Bosnia and Herzegovina and elsewhere in the Balkan peninsula at the time. This served as a basis for all  the painted decorations inside the Emperor's Mosque. The painting was carried out by reproducing the motifs discovered in the sections which were presumed to have been painted originally. The painting was done in 1980 after the investigation revealed the existence of the original layer. All the subsequent layers (apart from the one created on the north-western wall during the Austro-Hungarian rule) were removed and replaced by the presumed original patterns. The painting was done by the Sarajevan painter-conservator Nihad Bahtijarević.

The dome rosette includes three concentric circles and an outside rim. The widest, outer frame is decorated with motifs similar to those found in the drum between the windows. The central circle contains a calligraphic inscription, and the inner circle contains ornaments similar to those on the minbar.  The outer rim of the rosette is adorned with flower bud motifs identical to those in the initial zone.  Eight garlands radiate outwards from the rosette, composed of medallions filled alternately with blue and green, identical to those found in the spherical triangles. The medallions are interlinked into a chainlike design.

(201) The geometrical pattern on which each of the medallions in the Emperor’s mosque was based is quite similar to that discovered and reconstructed by Jusuf Začinović in the calotte of the Ferhadija Mosque in Sarajevo.

(202)Begova Mosque in Sarajevo (1531/32), Aladža Mosque in Foča (1551), Ferhadija Mosque in Sarajevo (1561/62), Dukatarova Mosque in  Livno (1587/88) (Andrejević, 1986., 153)

(203) The following painters were mentioned: Kasim – 1545., Mehmed – 1545. and 1557., Husein – 1545. and 1557., Pervane – 1557., Iskender – 1557., Ferhad – 1557., Ali – 1557., Hajdar – 1557. and Husrev – 1557. (Andrejević, 1986., 156)

(204) Inscriptions read and translated by Hazim Numanagić

(205) The inscriptions are in gold lettering on a dark red background.

(206) The inscription was damaged in the 1992-1995 war, and was later wrongly repaired.

(207) The inscription is in yellow lettering on a white background.

(208) The inscription in is black lettering on a white background.

(209) The inscription is in black lettering on a white background

(210) Sheikh Ibrahim-efendi Bistrigija was born in Sarajevo. Upon completion of his education in his home town and Istanbul, he was appointed to the post of Sarajevo mufti. He then joined a Halwatiyya dervish order as he became closer to sheikh Muslihudin Užičanin, from whom he obtained an ijazet (diploma) on irshad (instruction). In that capacity, he built a haniqah in Sarajevo alongside the Mehmed-bey mosque in Bistrik. Bistrigija was held in high esteem among the people and was considered clairvoyant, to which a number of legends that have been kept alive in Sarajevo bear witness. His popularity is also obvious from the large number of chronograms made to him by his former students and admirers. (Mujezinović, 1998, pp. 19-24)

(211) Legend has it that the tallest nišan (measuring 200x35x35 cm), which is located behind the mihrab of the mosque and which has a roughly sculpted creased turban and elongated neck, represents in fact the grave of Sarajevo's founder, Isa-bey Ishaković.

(212) Hajji-Omer's last name was Žilica. He was a merchant, he died in 1197 (1782/83), and was buried by the mosque in Piruša. (Mujezinović, 1998., 43).

(213) The founder of the library was Osman Šehdi, son of Mehmed-effendi Bjelopoljac who came to Sarajevo as secretary to the Bosnian governor Hekim-oglu Ali-pasha. The books for the library were brought from Istanbul. Before the building was demolished the collection was transferred to the Gazi Husrev-bey library. (Mujezinović, 1998, 44-45).

(214) The text of the inscription states that Ajni-bey's mekteb was renovated by Ćemila-hanum, the mother of Fadil-pasha Šerifović who is the author of the chronogram. Kemura notes that the mekteb was located to the left of the Emperor's Mosque, where it was originally built by Ajni-bey. (Mujezinović, 1998, 45-46).

(215) According to Kemura, the medresa was located above the Ajni-bey mekteb, and had 12 rooms for students and a dershana.

(216) Božić, Jela: Arhitekt Josip pl. Vancaš, Značaj i doprinos arhitekturi Sarajeva u periodu austrougarske uprave [Architect Josip. Pl. Vancaš – his significance and contributions to the Architecture of Sarajevo in the Period of Austro-Hungarian Rule (doctoral dissertation), University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo Faculty of Architecture, Sarajevo, 1989, p.92]

(217) All measurements are taken from the copies of Pařik’s drawings for the Design of the Ulema-majlis in Sarajevo, Sarajevo, February 1910 (copies of the drawings are held in the Gazi Husrev-bey library in Sarajevo) .

(218) In the subsequent sections of this text, the names of the premises and their functions are those used in Pařik’s design. The current (2004) function of the premises is slightly different, but all the premises are still being used by the Ulema-majlis.

(219) Here the height of the passageway/pavement has been taken as the +/- 0.00 reference point. (op. E. Softić)

(220) The tops of the domes have been set at the same height as those of the two side porticos with pillar colonnades which connect the mosque to the Ulema-majlis building.

(221) The same form of the chimney was used in the Gazi Husrev-bey medresa in Sarajevo.

(222) Kurto, Nedžad: Arhitektura Bosne i Hecegovine, Razvoj bosanskog stila, [Architecture of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Development of Bosnian style], 1988, p.37

(223) More precisely, the circular base of the cylindrical part of the chimney has a diameter of approx 1.80m, which than rises conically  towards the top part, reducing the diameter to approx 1.50m.

(224) Copy of the Cadastral Plan, scale1:1000, see c.p. 16.  cad. plan. sheet Polyg. VI, c.m. Sarajevo, Mahala CXVIII, Copy No.161, Location on the survey layout J-5, Vakuf Directorate in Sarajevo, Vakuf Properties in the City of Sarajevo, Property Register. Cadastral register prepared by Ferhat Kapetanović, surveyor, in Sarajevo, May 1940. 

(225) From left to right, respectively, seen from Isa-beg Ishaković street. (op. E. Softić)

(226) In Vancaš’s design, the oculi were spaced at approx. 100 from the baseline of the attic. In the building itself the windows have been raised to a somewhat higher level and are spaced at approx. 50 from the line.

(227) Annex Study for the protection of the cultural-historical, urban-architectural, and environmental values of the “Lijeva Obala Miljacke” [Left Bank of the Miljacka River]

Careva (Emperor’s) mosque, the architectural ensemble Careva (Emperor’s) mosqueHarem(graveyard) of the Careva (Emperor’s) mosqueInterior of the Careva (Emperor’s) mosque
MahvilMimberCareva (Emperor’s) mosque with haremPorch of the Careva (Emperor’s) mosque
Detail of the pillarCareva (Emperor’s) mosque, an old photoLocation before 1908Osman-šehdijia library
Plan and cross-section of the mosquePlan and cross-sections of the mosque with new porchHamamPlan and cross-section of the hamam

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