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Husejnija 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 9 November 2004 the Commission adopted a






The architectural ensemble of the Husejnija mosque in Gradačac (the mosque of Husejin-kapetan Gradaščević) is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of the mosque, abdesthana, library. harem with nišan tombstones, and entrance gates.

The National Monument is located on cadastral plot nos. 1192 and 1193 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. 9/86, 9/87 and 9/244 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 725 adastral municipality Gradačac, Municipality Gradačac, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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




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

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments (hereinafter: the Commission) shall determine the technical requirements and secure the funds for preparing and setting up signboards with the basic data on the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




To ensure the on-going protection of the site defined in Clause 1 para. 3 of this Decision, the following protection measures are hereby stipulated:

  • all works are prohibited other than conservation and restoration works, the reconstruction of missing parts, routine maintenance works, and works designed to display the monument, with the approval of the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority),
  • the Government of the Federation is required to provide the resources needed to draw up a project for the restoration of the National Monument designed to restore its original appearance.

The restoration project must conform to the following guidelines:

-          all elements that are markedly detrimental to its authenticity and that were not executed in accordance with the principles of conservation and restoration shall be removed (cement mortar on wall surfaces, acrylic paint used on exterior and interior walls, lighting around the mihrab, and inappropriate roof cladding on the library building);

-          the new coat of paint on the mihrab of the mosque shall be carefully removed for the purpose of uncovering the remains of the original coat of paint and the restoration thereof;

-          the damage to the portal of the mosque shall be analyzed and a project drawn up for its repair and restoration;

-          the degree of preservation and structural bearing capacity of the original slabs composing the šerefe balustrade shall be analyzed for the purpose of their being built in once again if possible.  If their condition is found to be unsuitable for reintegration, they shall be preserved and presented in appropriate manner within the architectural ensemble;

-          all missing parts of the interior shall be remade on the basis of existing technical documentation on their original appearance.




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




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




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




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




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




On the date of adoption of this Decision, the National Monument shall be deleted from the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH no. 33/02, Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 79/02, Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH no. 59/02, and Official Gazette of Brčko District BiH no. 4/03), where it featured under serial no. 261.




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.: 07.2-2-255/04-5                                                                                               

2. 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 adopted a decision to add the Husejnija mosque (the mosque of Husejin-kapetan Gradaščević) in Gradačac to the Provisional; List of National Monuments under serial no. 261.

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




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

  • Documentation on the location and current owner and user of the property (copy of cadastral plan and copy of land registry entry)
  • Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data of war damage, data on restoration or other works on the property, etc.
  • Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision.

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


1. Details of the property


Gradačac is a small town located on the river Gradišnica (northern peri-Pannonian Bosnia), among the spurs of Bosnia’s hill-encircled valleys and the Posavina (Sava riverbasin) plain. The settlement developed on the crossroads leading to Bosanski Šamac, Tuzla and Gračanica.

The Husejnija mosque (the mosque of Husejin-kapetan Gradaščević) is located in the centre of the town of Gradačac. The object is situated next to the town ramparts, 2 metres from the main town gate. It stands on c.p. no. 1192 and 1193, old survey 9/86, 9/87 and 9/244, Land Register entry no. 725, c.m. Gradačac, Municipality Gradačac, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

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

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

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

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

            It was not until the 18th century, when the border of the Ottoman Empire was definitely set at the Sava river (by the provisions of the Belgrade peace treaty of 1739), that Gradačac became an important strategic place in the frontier regions of the Empire. Around 1710, and certainly before 1730, the agaluk grew into captaincy with 300 soldiers of various ranks on the payroll. The fortresses of Soko near Gračanica and Srebrenik also belonged to this captaincy.

            The first properly documented captain was Muhamed, around 1730. One of his successors was Mehmed-captain (known from documents dating from 1749-1781). It was in his time, in 1756, that the construction of fortress began, as well as the entire complex of the Old Town, and the forts of Soko and Srebrenik were repaired. Sergeant Božić of the Brod border regiment described Gradačac fortress in his report of 1785 as well organised and well fortified. It was already a stronghold with a moat and 15 heavy guns. This description revealed the existence of the Lower Fort with entrances to the northeast and south. A square tower, solid enough to have cannon positioned it, was built next to the northeast entrance. According to Božić, "the Captain's headquarters were surrounded with a palisade and a moat. The headquarters and hillfort dominate the area", which means that the Upper Fort was already within the fortress, and that there was a tower there. Božić also correctly described two polygonal bastions in the Lower Fort and one in the Upper Fort, as some 12 feet high with ramparts around them 18 feet in height (Husedžinović, 1999, 15). Mehmed-bey was succeeded by his son Osman-captain before 1795. The fortress in Gradačac was significantly extended during his time. According to the inscription over the north gate (next to the Husejnija mosque), the extension works were completed in 1808. Two gate towers were built (next to Husejnija and at the upper (south) entrance to the fort). Osman died at the end of 1812, and was succeeded by his oldest son Murat-captain (1813 – 1821) who finished the construction of the fort. Most of the information on repairs and reconstructions of the fortress that were carried out upon the order of the valija (provincial administrator), came from his time. Murat-captain was one of the most powerful Bosnian captains and a highly educated man. It was probably his order to build water supply system in Gradačac, primarily because of the needs of the fortress. The water supply system had a fountain and three drains close to the Husejnija mosque (Kreševljaković, 1991, 183). His successor was Husein-captain Gradaščević, nicknamed the Dragon of Bosnia, the last of the Gradačac captains (1821 – 1832). He was a son of Osman-pasha, Murat's younger brother. His captaincy was the best-managed captaincy in Bosnia. He reconstructed both the tower and the fortress. Besides stone, bricks were used for construction, which was initially transported from Slavonia (Austria) and later on probably manufactured in a brickyard in Orašje. He built a clock tower in Gradačac (1824) and the Husejnija mosque (1826)(1) (Kreševljaković, 1991, 185). Father Martin Nedić described the town in the mid 19th century and wrote about its inner fort (Upper Fort) built by the Gradaščević’s "of brick", which could be entered via a drawbridge over the fortified moat. The captains' headquarters were in the "inner fortress" surrounded with solid walls and moats with bridges on three sides.

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


2. Description of the property

The architectuural ensemble of the Husejnija mosque (the mosque of Husein-kapetan Gradaščević) consists of: the entrance gates, harem with nišans (Muslim burial ground with tombstones), the mosque building, abdesthana (for performing ritual ablutions before prayer) and library.

The mosque is of the central domed type of mosque with a porch covered with three small domes, which is a very common type of mosque in the Ottoman Empire. In structure, the building is of the type in which the transition from the square form to the dome is executed by means of tromps. 

The exterior dimensions of the mosque (including the sofas) are 18.59 x 13.90 metres. The masonry of the mosque is of limestone, and according to data from the building’s record card from the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of BiH, the thickness of the walls on some places (these are not identified precisely) is as much as 1.80 metres. However, according to the blueprint of the condition of the building by the same Institute in 1989, the thickness of the walls is as follows: south-east mihrab wall at an elevation of +1,00 metre is 1.34 metres, and that of of the south-west and north-east wall 1.35 metres.   The north-west wall is 1.35 metres thick.

The central dome, which forms a perfect hemisphere, is constructed over the roughly square ground plan measuring approx. 11.20 x 11.23 metres.  The inside of the apex of the dome is at a height of 14.70 m above floor level, while on the outside it is 15.25 m in height.  According to the 1989 survey, he thickness of the dome at the thinnest point, in the centre, is 0.55 m.

The transition from the square ground plan of the body of the mosque to the circular drum is effected by means of corner trompes, in the zones below the central sections, accentuated by stalatites without any decorations.  The height of the octagonal drum, measured on the outside, is approx. 4.24 metres.  The drum is accentuated by a moulded cornice 40 cm in height, at the horizontal plane where it terminates.  In the interior, it is also accentuated by a simplestring course approx. 7 cm height at a height of approx. + 9.00 m above floor level.  The inside radius of the dome as measured in the drum is approx. 5.60 m.  The height of the dome, measured on the outside from the top of the drum to the apex, is 3.57 m.

The drum terminates in a simple moulded cornice 43 cm high.  In the upper zone of the drum, at a height of 9.13 m, are eight rectangular windows terminating in pointed arches.  These windows are approx. 60 cm wide and approx. 1.08 m in height. On the northeast and southwest sides of the drum are another two windows each, of the same shape terminating in similar arches.  The arches of the windows are noticeably different in shape, which some authorities associate with the quality of the craftsman(2).

The exterior sofas to the northeast of the building measure 4.67 x 5.64 metres, and those to the southwest measure 4.65 x 5.86.  The floor of the sofasis raised by approx. 50 cm in relation to the level of the central passageway, which is 2.61 m wide at the entrance to the porch and 2.78 m by the door to the mosque.  The sofas are stone-floored.

The structure of the porch is supported by four stone pillars of octagonal cross-section, the width of which is approx. 50 cm.  The pillrs of the portico are set on moulded stone bases, with the transition from the square base to the octagonal section at a height of approx. 70 cm.  The pillars terminate in richly decorated capitals with stalactite decorations.  Damage to the capitals can be seen in places, mainly the result of various repairs.

The pillars are interconnected and joined to the northwest mosque wall by round arches below which steel ties were installed.   It is for this reason that this wall of the mosque has four pilasters with capitals, on which the arch structures rest. This produces three squares supporting the structure of the domes of the portico, which measure as follows: left, 3.84 x 4.03 m, centre, 4.02 x 4.00 m, and right, 3.97 x 3.88 m. The arches are 51 cm deep.

The main body of the mosque has a total of 14 windows arranged in two horizontal rows.  The lower row has a total of eight windows (measuring approx. 1.02 to 1.05 x approx. 1.55 m).  The windows in this row terminate in round arches and further accentuated by a moulded decoration executed in plaster, probably dating from some later intervention.  The upper row consists of two windows each on the northeaast, southeast and southwest sides, measuring 0.78 x 1.60 m. These windows terminate in pointed arches. These too ae further accentuated by a frame, which is set back from the wall face by 5 cm. The northwest wall of the mosque, instead of windows, has niches measuring 1.78 x 1.60 m, with a depth of 60cm.  The lower row of windows are fitted with wrought iron bars on the outside.

All the interior wall surfaces are plastered and painted.

The portal of the mosque is one of its most representative parts.   It consists of a stone frame projecting outwards from the wall face.  The top of the portal does not form a straight light, but rises in a wavy line towards the centre.  Some scholars associate this and the decoration of the portal with the influence of the baroque on the builders of this mosque.  The stone portal is 3.46 m wide and 5.50 m high.

To the left and right of the entrance door, which measures approx. 1.59 x 2.09 m, are stone doorjambs of the same type of stone, terminating in simply decorated capitals.  The lintel is in the form of a round arch, with the outer side terminating in the form of a pointed arch.

The portal was decorated with floral motifs – designs of vases of flowers (tulips, carnations) and an abundance of bunches, ribbons and, in particular, cypresses, along with stylized celestial bodies.  There is a stylized six-pointed star at the very top.  Above the door to the mosque is a stone plaque measuring 72 x 64 cm, with an incised inscription(3) and tye year of construction, 1242 AH (1826).  The following words are to be seen below the text  on the right: “This is the text of the Zvornik Mufti Muhibija.”  There is also an additional signature on the inscription, probably that of the calligrapher.

The Mihrab is made of stone and, together with portal, is the most representative part of the mosque. It is of octagonal ground plan, with the radius of the wall niche approx. 54 cm. The overall height of the mihrab is 5.30 metres. The height to the apex of the mihrab niche is approx. 3.85 metres. The projecting part stands out from the wall face by approx. 15 cm.

The upper zone of the mihrab is divided into seven bands offset by 5 cm each. The 1957 survey by the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of BiH reveals that the mihrab was richly decorated with vases of flowers and interwined circles linked by tendrils.  Each of the bands was decorated differently.  The circles were filled with an abundance of geometric forms.

During unprofessional interventions conducted in1996 the entire mihrab was painted over. To the right of the mihrab is a wooden mimbar.

The Mahfil of the Husejnija mosque belongs to the type known as front wooden mahfils, and measures 2.56 x 11.15 metres. It extends along the entire north-west wall.  At the front is a semicircular projection for the muezzin, with a diameter of approx. 2.0 m.  To the left of the entrance to the mosque, against the outside walls, is a double-flight wooden staircase leading to the mahfil gallery.  The staircase is 90 cm in width.  The mahfil structure is supported by richly decorated wooden pillars of various sizes (approx. 14 to 16 cm) set at different distances apart.  The mahfil is 2.40 m in width.

By the southwest wall of the mosque is the part of the mahfil that was used for the Gradačac captains to perform their prayers.  The entire length of the mahfil is fitted with a decorated wooden railing 58 cm in height, except on the semicircular projection for the muezzin, where it is 44 cm high.  The entrance to the minaret of the mosque is from the mahfil, where a small entrance door 67 cm wide is located in the southwest wall of the mosque.

The Minaret of the Husejnija mosque has a stone pedestal and a brick-built shaft, and appears at first sight it to have been built at two different times. 

The pedestal of the minaret is fourteen-sided, and is made of regular cut limestone blocks laid on roughly square foundations measuring 4.05 x 3.91 metres.  The sides of the pedestal of the minaret are approx. 1.10 m long.  The height of the pedestal is approx. 7.50 m in height, and has a string course 15 cm high at the top.  The transition from the fourteen sided to the twentyfour-sided, almost circular section is effected via a “waist” with a height of 2.25 m.  This “waist” consists of nine horizontal courses of limestone blocks gradually offset to achieve the required taper.  The next string course, also 15 cm in height, is at a height of approx. 10.00 metres.  The šerefe (balcony, gallery) of the minaret is at a height of 24.30 m; it is richly decorated in the form of ropetwists and other geometric bodies forming relief ornaments in space.  The šerefe ends in a balustrade approx. 1.00 m in height, which had richly decorated sides.

The barrel of the minaret is approx.4.40 m in height (as measured from the top of the balustrate).  The steeple is 5.19 m high and terminates in an alem (finial).  Spiral stairs, 68 cm in width, lead through a round-arched door to the southeast onto the šerefe.


The architectural complex of the Husejnija mosque includes not only the mosque itself but also the entrance gates, the library building, the abdesthana building and the harem with nišan tombstones.


Two gates lead into the Husejnija mosque courtyard: 

  • the main gate to the north-west. and
  • a secondary gate to the north-east of the mosque, presumed to have been used by Husein-captain.

The northwest gate is made of limestone, as is the minaret of the mosque. To the left and right of the gate are stone jambs without decorations, terminating in capitals. The lintel of the gate is in the shape of a round arch, at the centre of which, on the upper side, is a vertical projecting resembling in shape the finial of the mosque. The arch is richly decorated with a total of 13 medallions with carved flowers and vases, between which are alternating circles filled with geometrical motifs of celestial bodies. The central medallion hasa stylized six-point star. On the underside of the arch, the entire composition is framed by a band.  The gate is approx. 2.30 metres wide and approx. 2,40 metres high. The stone jambs are 35 cm wide and approx. 1,.0 metres high, including the capital. The height of the arch is approx. 45 cm.

The northeast gate is also made of limestone.  Access to this gate is via a double flight of steps from the adjacent park. A crescent moon and sabre are incised on the lefthand stone jamb.  The jambs terminate in capitals without any decorations. The lintel is a richly decorated segmented round arch.  The decorations are very similar to those on the north-west gate. Here again, the whole composition is framed with a band on the underside. The width of the gate is approx. 1.50 metres, and its height is approx. 2.00 metres. The stone jambs are 25 cm wide and approx. 1.40 metre high including the capital. The height of the arch is approx. 0.55 metre.


The construction of many buildings, especially those of a cultural and educational nature, enables one to trace the development of the written word in Gradačac. The first medrese in Gradačac was founded by the great Bosnian endower Osman kapetan. It is certain that this institution had its own library where, in addition to the textbooks and manuals, there were books from various fields.  This medrese remained in use until 1947. 

The library was built close to Husein-kapetan’smosque in 1255 AH (1839-1840). The endower was ther renowned poet and statesman Sejjid Fadil-pasha Šerifović (1803-1882). Above the entrance door was a plaque with an incised tarih (chronogram) written in prose in Arabic(4).  The plaque with its tarih is now mounted above the entrance door of the National Library in Gradačac.

The Library is located in the north corner of the mosque yard. The building is a single-storey building measuring approx. 6.00 x 6.00 metres. The entrance is to the south-east. To the northeast and northwest side are two rectangular window openings on each side. Originally, it was domed, but now has a hipped roof clad with bituminized shingles.  The Library remained in use until 1883, when it ceased operating, since there was nobody to take care of it.  (Mujezinović, p. 177)

It cannot be said what exactly happened to the books from this library, or what its book holdings consisted of (Hadžiosmanović).


The blueprint of the current state made in 1957 by the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of BiH does not show the Abdesthana building. The Abdesthana with its six water taps was built in 1963 by the successors of the family Arnautalić. The building has an octagonal ground plan and is roofed with a dome. The window openings of the Abdesthana were built to the pattern of the lower windows of the mosque.


Only nine tombstones have beendiscovered in the harem of the Husejnija mosque; among these, two smaller nišans have no epitaph, while the remaining seven bear epitaphs, so they can be dated. The undated nišans are small in size, with turbans, with small rifles incised onthem. The oldest dated nišan originates from 1854, and the last nišan bears the year 1918. 

A stone sarcophagus surrounded by an iron railing are two round nišan tombstones with a smaller tasselled fez on the headstone. The epitaph is in jali naskh script. The nišan belongs to Bileli Mahmud-beg, son of Osman kapetan, who died on the fourth day of the month of Safar 1289 AH (1872 CE). Other dated tombstones belong to:

  • Hajji  Mehmed, son of Husein kapetan, died in 1271 AH (1854/55),
  • Hajji Mehmed Izet-beg, son of Esad Ahmed-beg, died in 1275 AH (1858/59),
  • Hajji Murat, son of Bekir-beg, died in 1278 AH (1861/62). On the right side of the headstone nišan is a small incised sabre.
  • Adile-hanuma, daughter of Ahmed Esad-beg, died in 1278 AH (1861/62),
  • Ahmed-beg, son of Ahmed-beg effendi, died in 1285 AH (1865),
  • Šerife-hanuma, wife of  Hasan-beg Osmanpašić, daughter of Mehmed Izet-beg, died in 1302 AH (1884),
  • Hafiz Mustafa effendi Imamović, who died in 1918. On the main nišan is a text in Bosnian written in Arabic letters;

The nišan tombstones from the harem behind the mosque, which was turned into a park after World War II, were moved to the harem of the Husejnija mosque. These nišans also bore epitaphs, and marked the tombs of:

  • Mehmed-kapetan, son of Osman-kapetan from Gradačac, died in 1169 AH (1755/56);
  • Hajji Mustafa, son of Mehmed-kapetan, 1218 AH (1803/04),
  • Hasan-aga, son of Osman-aga, died in 1286 AH (1869),
  • Hajji Akif, son of Mustafa, died in 1289 AH (1872),
  • Husein effendi Čaršimamović, son of Hajji Hasan, died in 1289 AH (1872),
  • Husein-beg Jašarević, died 1290 AH (1873),
  • Hajji Alija effendi, son of  Ali Riza, died  in 1291 AH (1874),
  • Ali Riza, son of Mehmed Nurija, died in 1293 AH (1876).

3. Legal status to date

By Ruling of the National institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of NR BiH of Sarajevo, no. 88/51, dated 20 January 1951, the building was placed under state protection, and by Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of NR BiH of Sarajevo no. 02-881-3 dated 18 April 1962, the mosque was placed under state protection and entered on the Register of immovable cultural monuments.  This Ruling took effect on24 October 1962.

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

The property is on the Provisional List of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the name Husejnija mosque in Gradačac, serial no. 261.


4. Research and conservation and restoration Works

The earliest information on works carried out or that should have been carried out on the Husejnija mosque were found out in the Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These are in the form of a letter of application requesting the Provincial Government to provide funds for repairs to damage to the mosque walls. It is not known whether the funds for these works were ever allocated. 

The second item of information is on the Husejnija mosque’s record card held by the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of BiH, which states that the mosque was thoroughly repaired and painted in 1943 and 1944, without giving any precise information on the type and extent of the works. 

The third item of information is in an article by hafiz Džemal Hodžić published in the the Herald of the Islamic Religious Community in 1963. The article says that during World War II the mosque was extensively damaged, especially the walls and roof structure and the minaret. On this occasion, a construction committee was formed, which forwarded an application to the municipal authorities and the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments, but received no funds. The money to finance the works was thus raised from voluntary contributions.

  1. In July 1962 work began on the repair of minaret and walls of the building.
  2. In June 1963, painting and decorating works were carried out, which were completed in August 1963.

In 1989, the Institute for Protection of Monuments of BiH made a detailed technical survey of the buildings. The entire project is held in on file by the institution. 

After the end of the 1992-1995 war, the Husejnija mosque was rehabilitated, but without an approved project or the supervision of the heritage protection service. Interventions were carried out on the minaret, the roof of the building – the domes – and the walls were painting, causing some damage to the mihrab and the entrance portal of the mosque.


5. Current condition of the property

Some rehabilitation works have been carried out since the recent war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, so that the structural condition of the building is satisfactory.

Although, accordeing to members of the Islamic religious community, the works were carried out under the supervision of experts from Tuzla, many shortcomings can be seen, revealing that the building was restored without a project or approval, that is without the involvement of experts qualified in the protection of the architectural heritage.

The main defects concern the use of inappropriate methods.  On the decorated portal of the mosque portico, the later coats of paint were removed by mechanical sanding with the intention of revealing the original condition.  However, this removed not only the later coats of paint but also the original one, and even the surface of the stone.  A similar defect was noted on the mihrab, where the stone elements have been completely painted over with white oil paint.  It is not known how well preserved the original layer of paint may be.

The šerefe balustrade on the minaret of the mosque, which was only partly damaged, has been entirely replaced by a new one, although this was unnecessary.  The new balustrade is entirely plain, although it would have been possible to reconstruct the original appearance on the basis of the surviving fragments of the old balustrade.

Damage caused by adverse weather conditions and the choice of unsuitable materials can be seen on the façades of the building. In the portico of the mosque on the west corner of the building, a layer of acrylic paint has become detached and fallen away as a result of capillary moisture being trapped within the wall structure.

The rehabilitation of the library in the harem of the mosque was carried out using unsuitable materials – above all, the roof cladding (bituminized shingles).




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

The Decision was based on the following criteria:

A.  Time frame

B.  Historical value

C.  Artistic and aesthetic value

C. v. value of details

D. Clarity

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

D. v. evidence of a typical way of life at a specific period

E. Symbolic value

E.ii. religious value

E.iii. traditional value

E.iv. relation to rituals or ceremonies

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

F. Townscape/ Landscape value

G. Authenticity

G.iv. traditions and techniques

G.v. location and setting

G.vi. spirit and feeling


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

o        Copy of cadastral plan

o        Copy of land register entry and proof of title;

o        Photodocumentation;

o        Drawings



During the procedure to designate the architectural ensemble of the Husejnija Mosque (The mosque of Husejin-kapetan Gradaščević) in Gradačac as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


1908.    Bodenstein, Gustav, Povijest naselja u Posavini 1718 -1739 (History of Settlements in Posavina 1718-1739),  Jnl. of the National Museum in Sarajevo, XX, Sarajevo, 1908, pp. 95-112


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


1952.    Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Prilozi  povijesti bosanskih gradova pod turskom upravom (Contributions to the History of Bosnian Towns under Turkish Administration),  Prilozi za orijentalnu filologiju i istoriju jugoslovenskih naroda pod turskom vladavinom, II  (Contributions for oriental philology and history of the Yugoslav peoples under Turkish administration), II, 1951, Oriental Institute in, Sarajevo, 1952,119-184.


1953.    Kreševljaković, Hamdija: Stari bosanski gradovi (Old Bosnian Towns), Naše starine I (Our Antiquities I), 1953;


1954.    Čelić,  Džemal. Arhitektura Gradačca i Restauratorski zahvat na Kuli Husein-Kapetana Gradaščevića. Architecture of Gradačac and Restoration Works on the Tower of Husein-Kapetan Gradaščević - Naše Starine 2 (Our Antiquities II), 1954: pp. 167-74.


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


1960.    Hadžijahić, Muhamed, Imamović Tevfik: Nacrt za monografiju Gradačca (Draft for the Monograph of Gradačac), Gradačac 1960.


1963.    Hodžić, Džemal, Svečano otvorenje obnovljene Husejnije džamije u Gradačcu (Ceremony of Opening of the Renovated Husejnija Mosque  in Gradačac),  Bulletin of the Islamic Religious Community XXXVI/1963., No. 11-12., pp. 563-567.


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


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


1983.     Redžić, Husref: Studije o islamskoj arhitektonskoj baštini (Studies on Islamic Architectural Heritage), Sarajevo 1983.


1988.     Mujezinović, Mehmed: Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine (Islamic Epigraphics of BiH), Book II –, Sarajevo, 1988.


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


1989.     Nametak, Fehim: Pregled stvaranja BiH muslimana na turskom jeziku (Survey of works by BiH Muslims in Turkish language) Starješinstvo IVZ – Riyaset of IVZ, Sarajevo, 1989.


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


1992.     Destruction of Religious buildings, State Commission for Gathering Facts on War Crimes in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulletin no. 1, Sarajevo,  October 1992


1997.     Ninković, Aleksandar, Radni materijal R/F Zavoda za zaštitu kulturno-historijskog i prirodnog naslijeđa, "Destrukcija gradova Bosne i Hercegovine u ratu 92/95" (Working material R/F of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage “Destruction of Towns of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the War 92/95”)


1999.     Husedžinović, Sabira, Hećimović-Kamberović,Zahida and Kamberović, Husnija, Stari grad u Gradačcu i kula Husein-kapetana Gradaščevića, vrijednosti i stanje poslije rata 1992./1995 (Old Town in Gradačac and the Tower of Husein-kapetan Gradaščević, values and the state after the war 1992/1995), Publisher: Bošnjačka zajednica kulture Preporod Gradačac, Bosniac Community of Culture Preporod Gradačac, Sarajevo 1999.


2000.    Kamberović, Husnija, Sudbina džamije u gradačačkoj tvrđavi i pokušaj njene obnove 1891.-1909. godine  (Fate of the Mosque in the Gradačac fortress and the Attempt to Renovate it 1891-1909); Contributions for Oriental Philology no. 49/1999,  Oriental Institute in Sarajevo, Sarajevo 2000, pp. 253-264.


            Dr Lamija Hadžiosmanović, Knjiga i biblioteka Bošnjaka u Sarajevu i drugim mjestima Bosne i Hercegovine u vrijeme osmanske vladavine / Book and Library of Bosniacs in Sarajevo and other places of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Period of the Ottoman Rule   http://www.iis.unsa.ba/posebna/sarajevo/lamija_hadziosmanovic AHtm


            RIJASET IZ BiH, Uništavanje islamskih objekata / RIYASET of IZ (ISLAMIC COMMUNITY) of BIH, Destruction of Islamic Objects, http://www.rijaset.net/CIA/galery/pages/64-Gradacac-Husejnija%20dzamija_jpg AHtm

            Documents of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina 

            Documents of the Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina

            Documents of the Gazi Husref-bey’s Library

            Documents and Library of the Bosniac Institute in Sarajevo


(1) Local tradition has it that there was another mosque, a little lower down that the site of the Husejnija, which was burned down in one of the fires.  After that, Husein captain decided to build the present-day mosque.  The assumption is that when the new mosque and the tower were built the old mosque inside the fort was pulled down, and that Husein captain built his mosque to replace the demolished one (Mujezinović, 1977, pp. 173,174)

(2) According to the  views of the architect Džemal Čelić, published in Naše starine 2 (Our Antiquities 2), the builders of this mosque were not particularly skilled masters of their craft, either in constructionor in the composition they executed. In his view, they were not familiar with the structure of the Turkish pointed arch; their arch is a caricature of a model they saw somewhere.

(3) The text of the inscription reads:

”How fine are the mihrab and minber of the mosque

Of sincere believers,

The marvellous dome of which can be compared with ”Beiti mamur” (Arranged house),

Praiseworthy are places of worship, wherever

They are,

And especially places with domes, where

One prostrates oneself,

Every day, abundant grace is poured

On places of worship,

Since these are the places and houses of the pious,

It must be admitted that for building such a

House of God

One needs instruction from God and his help.

The efforts of contemporaries remain fruitless,

Since nothing like this has been seen even by he who

Has travelled much.

The fortunate emir captain of the fortress of Gradačac,

Was instructed and helped by God for such a building,

In joining our congratulations on its completion,

Here is a chronogram

Forty men said: ”This is a beautiful mosque and a house of believers.”

(4) What Allah wishes is happening. The endower of this Library is Sejjid Fadil-pasha Šerifović. May Allah increase his reputation and honour in both worlds. We seek refuge in Allah. Amin! Year 1255 AH. (1839 -1840)”


Old fort and Husejnija mosque in Gradačac Husejnija mosqueHusejnija mosque, view from the TowerHusejnija mosque and Husejn-captain Gradaščević tower
Library Detail of the entrance gate and porch MinaretPortal
Interior of the mosqueInterior - mihrab and mimberMahfilSituation and plan
Cross section and facadesMihrab, drawing  

BiH jezici 
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