Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

Provisional List

About the Provisional List

List of Petitions for Designation of Properties as National Monuments

Heritage at Risk

60th session - Decisions

Pirija (Smailagić) tower, the historic building

gallery back

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 3 to 9 May 2005 the Commission adopted a






The historic building of the Pirija (Smailagić) tower in Livno is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot. no. 7/151, cadastral municipality Livno, Municipality Livno, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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




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

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




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

Protection Zone I consists of the area defined in Clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision.  In this zone:

  • all works are prohibited other than research and conservation and restoration works, i.e.works to repair, restore and present the National 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,
  • on the basis of the findings of the research works, a project shall be drawn up for the repair, revitalization and presentation of the building,
  • the property may be used for residential, educational and cultural purposes, in a way that shall not be detrimental to its value as a monument.


Protection Zone II consists of the area designated as c.p. nos. 7/144, 7/145, 7/146, 7/150, 7/152, c.m. Livno. The following measures shall apply in this zone:

  • all construction is prohibited other than of residential buildings of two storeys (ground and first floor), with a maximum height to the roof of 6.5 m,
  • the erection of outbuildings and advertising hoardings is prohibited.




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 and rehabilitation 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.




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: 02-02-132/04-5

4 May 2005



                 Chair of the Commission

Ljiljana Ševo


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.

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)
  • The current condition of the property
  • Data on the current 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


The Smailagić (Pirija) tower is in Livno, Balaguša mahala. It stands on c.p. no.. 7/151, c.m. Livno, Municipality Livno, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The entrance to the building is from the south.

Historical information

Ever since ancient times the fertile Livno plain has favoured the development of agriculture and animal husbandry.  It is surrounded by about forty Illyrian hillforts, all well defended and within the line of sight of other forts, which could be used as places of refuge in times of danger. 

Since the Late Copper and Early Bronze Ages, when the Cetina culture emerged in these parts, the Livno region has had an unbroken connection with the nearby Delmatae (Dalmatian) area. The Cetina culture had a considerable influence on the cultural development of the Illyrian tribes, and in its later stages, particularly in the early Iron Age, left its mark on the formation of the Delmatae community in this area.

In the Iron Age, the Delmatae tribe gained strength in the Livno plain and surrounding areas (B. Marijan, 1994, p. 32). The Livno and neighbouring plains of south-western Bosnia and Dalmatia formed the heartlands of the Delmatae, whence cultural and economic influences spread to parts of central Dalmatia. 

In 2 BCE the Delmatae clashed with the Roman army and were finally defeated following their revolt under Baton (6-9 BCE), when theh process of Romanization began. Many of the Delmatae's hillforts in the Livno region became Roman fortifications and settlements: Bariduum-Livno, Pelva-Lištani, Vašarovine, Lipa, Potočani and others (1994, p. 42). The Livno plain had always been of great importance as a link between the interior and the Adriatic and Mediterranean hinterland. The Roman waystation of Pelva (Lištani) on the road between Aequum (Čitluk near Sinj) and Salvium (Vrbo, the Glamoč plain) in Lištani and Bariduum, probably where the town of Livno now stands, was one of the links between these areas. The Roman road leading from Lištani over a distance of 4 km to Strupnići below Golija was accompanied by minor local roads between the various settlements. The main Roman road across the Livno plain linked Salon and Servitium (Bosanska Gradiška).

While retaining their Delmatian names, as evidenced by inscriptions and epitaphs on tombstones, the population adopted the practice of incineration(1), using urns shaped like houses or temples, only to reintroduce inhumation(2) from the mid 2nd century on (M. Zaninović, 1994, p. 47).  There is extensive material evidence dating from the time of Roman domination, much of which is housed in the Gorica Franciscan Museum and Gallery in Livno.

The invasion by the Huns in 375 and other barbarian peoples (the great migration of peoples) forced the inhabitants of the plain to seek refuge in hillforts such as Gradina at the source of the Bastašica, Grac in Potočani, Tabija and Podgradina, and Gradina in Grkovci. In about 380 the Roman limes on the Danube fell, and various barbarian tribes crossed the Danube into Pannonia, laying waste Dalmatia and the Livno and surrounding areas.

It was then that Christianity began to spread. The archbishopric of Salona (Split) covered the province of Dalmatia; until 533 the Livno and Glamoč area, the territory of the municipia of Salvia and Delminia, also came under its immediate jurisdiction. Evidence of the spread of Christianity to the Livno area is provided by archaeological finds from the sites so far investigated, the remains of a small early Christian church of the "Bosnian" or "Narotan" type were found at Rešetarica; fragments of the furnishings of an early Christian church were found at St John's in Livno (M. Petrinec, 1999, p. 30); the foundations of an early Christian complex with two basilicas (north and south) and a baptismal font (of importance for this period) have been found on the complex site of Lištani-Podvornice. Bastasi, Podgradina, Suhača, Donji Rujani and Potočani are some of the sites yet to be investigated that, individual finds suggest, belong to this period.

In the 9th century, the county of Livno probably covered not only the Livno plain but also the Duvno and Glamoč plains. The country town was Livno, which is first referred to in 892 by the name of Cleuna, in a charter of the Croatian prince Muncimir, which cites Želimir, lord of the county of Livno, in the capacity of witness (M. Petrinec, 1999, p. 32). The name of the town also appears in a census of inhabited forts in the mid 10th century work by the Byzantine Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Administrando Imperio, in which he describes Croatia and lists its counties, with Livno first on the list of eleven.  Livno county probably covered the Duvno and Glamoč plains as well as the Livno plain.  A charter of King Zvonimir dating from the last quarter of the 11th century refers to Dobrila, comes (count) of Livno.

Ecclesiastically speaking, in mediaeval times Livno was under the jurisdiction of the Split archbishopric, and its powers were confirmed by the Hungaro-Croatian kings Koloman (1103) and Andrija II (1207). Pope Celestine III also included the county of Livno within this bishopric. With the formation of the Bosnian vicariate in 1340, Livno formed part of the Duvno custodiate, which covered western Herzegovina, the Cetina region and Tropolje (Završje).

Croatian (Hungaro-Croatian) rulers governed the area until 1326, when it was conquered by Bosnia’s Ban Stjepan Kotromanić, who merged it with the mediaeval Bosnian state, where it remained until December 1400, when Bosnia’s King Stjepan Ostoja bestowed it by charter on Hrvoje Vukčić and his son Balša.

Livno remained part of the Bosnian state until 1469, when it was conquered by the Turks. In 1537, when they conquered Klis, they formed the Klis sandžak, the governors or sandžakbeys of which resided in Livno until the end of the 17th century. In 1691 there is reference in written sources to Livno having a kapetan, but it is not possible to ascertain when the kapetanija (captaincy) was founded in Livno.

Livno’s captains came from three Turkish feudal families. In the 17th century the captaincy was headed by the Atlagić family, in the first half of the 18th century by the Ljubunčić family, and following them the captains were from the Firdus family, the last captains of whom, Ibrahim-beg II, died in 1837.

As was customary in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Turkish period, feudal landholders or spahis built fortified manors consisting of a tower and a manor house known as an odžak or konak.  These are found in Livno too, where towers and odžaks were built by the kapetans of the families referred to as well as by other families. By the early 20th century, three of these towers remained: the Altagić, Firdus and Smailagić (Pirija) towers. The Altagić tower had four storeys and stood below the Altagić tabija (bastion), demolished in 1917. The Firdus tower was built in about 1750, with five storeys and a large odžak. It had a high hipped roof on a square building with machicolations and loopholes in the top storey. The courtyard was surrounded by a high wall. It was demolished in 1921, along with all its outbuildings.

The only tower still surviving is the Smailagić (Pirija) tower. Since the Smailagić’s were not kapetans, they were presumably landowners or military officers. Land Registry entry no. 837 lists the following as owners of the tower: Mustafa Smailagić, Smajo Smailagić, Alija Smailagić and Pašo Smailagić, sons of Derviš of Livno.

However, the title deed records show that the tower was in the possession of Bećir, Muharem, Pirija of Livno. Clearly the Smailagić’s sold the tower to the Pirijas, who were the local barber-surgeons. When the last owner died, his only heir was his adopted son, Kurtović Sabahudin, who is now regarded as the owner of the tower although no transfer of ownership has been effected in the Land Registry office of the Municipal Court in Livno.

In 1911 a major fire destroyed all the outbuildings. The tower was still being lived in even after World War II, but is now unfit for use and in derelict condition.


2. Description of the property

The tower is rectangular in ground plan, with the south and north sides 8.30 m in length and the east and west sides 7.20 m. The tower had a ground and three upper floors. The height of the roof cornice is 11.25 m to the south and 5.20 m to the north. The height to the roof ridge is 13.35 m. The walls are of stone, with the quoins consisting of larger and better quality blocks of varying heights and widths, the visible surfaces ashlar-finished and the other surfaces left rough. The other facade wall surfaces are of cut quarry stone. 

The quoins are of sandstone, known locally as mudstone or tenelija, and the wall surfaces of limestone from a local quarry. 

The inside face of the walls is of cut quarry stone as a double-faced wall set in lime mortar, plastered and whitewashed. The walls are 70-80 cm thick on the ground floor, 65-75 cm thick on the first floor, 60-70 cm thick on the second floor, and 55-65 cm thick on the third floor. The gable walls of the roof are 55 cm thick, and the gabled roof is clad with tiles.

A stone portal leads into the ground floor, which resembles a basement, since the tower is cut into solid rock to the north. As a result, apart from the entrance, there are two windows measuring 70 x 90 cm on the south facade, repeated on each of the upper floors. The security provided by the town ramparts meant that, unlike other similar towers in BiH, there was no need to provide the ground floor with loopholes. The floor of the ground floor is rammed earth, on two levels with a stone step between.  The ceiling joists are supported by three 12 x 14 cm wooden pillars on pyramidal stone bases 30 cm in height. Access to the first floor is via a single-flight wooden staircase with two handrails and steps consisting of 5-8 cm boards, 70 cm in width. Boards are fixed to the underside. The staircase is of recent date.

The ceiling structure above the ground floor is timber. The ground floor was used as a storeroom and is separated from the entrance by a wooden partition wall.

The first floor also resembles a basement, and is divided by a half-timbered (post-and-pan) partition wall into two rooms. The wide staircase landing measures 2.00 x 5.70 m, and the room 4.88 x 5.70 m. This room was used as a living room in winter, and was heated by a fireplace in the south wall. There is a door measuring 60 x 160 cm between the two rooms, and three windows in the south wall, measuring 70 x 90 cm. The floor is of trimmed boards up to 50 cm wide. The walls are plastered and whitewashed, and the šiše ceiling is of trimmed 20-30 cm boards with moulded decorative laths covering the joins. The room has two 12 x 14 cm wooden pillers supporting the timber ceiling structure. Major works have been carried out in this room, with the fireplace demolished, and wooden board partition walls erected dividing the storey into three rooms, two small and one large. The north wall has been faced with ceramic tiles. A single-flight wooden staircase 70 cm wide with handrails and hand-trimmed 3-5 cm board steps, now in poor condition, leads to the second floor.

The second storey was divided into four rooms by post-and-pan partition walls. The wide staircase landing measures 5.80 x 1.95 m, the landing 5.80 x 1.80 m, and the two rooms 2.60 x 3.00 and 3.00 x 3.00 respectively. These rooms were used as bedrooms, with a landing where there was probably a large musandera (built in cupboard) on the north wall, though this has not been preserved.  There are three windows in the south facade and two in the east. At the level of this storey, to the north of the tower, a single-storey building measuring 4.00 x 2.10 m was built on, which contained the halvat and to which access from the tower was through a 90 x 158 cm door on the landing. This was the only lavatory. There are three doors in the partition walls, measuring 70 x 163 cm and 80 x 178 cm, two of which are the original doors, of carved wood which is now coated with clear varnish. The floor was originally of trimmed boards 40-50 cm wide, and the šiše ceiling is of boards with moulded laths on the joins of the boards; the walls are plastered and whitewashed and the ceiling structure is timber. Access to the third floor was via a single-flight wooden staircase 70 cm wide with hand-trimmed handrails and steps of 3-5 cm boards, now in very poor condition.

The third floor was originally divided into three rooms. The wide landing measured 2.13 x 3.80 m, the smaller room 2.00 x 2.90 m and the larger 5.90 x 4.95 cm; this last was probably used as the living room in summer. There are two 70 x 165 cm doors of recent date in the post-and-pan partition walls. There are three windows in the south facade and two in the east. There are two small windows measuring 48 x 62 cm on the staircase landing. The floor was originally of trimmed boards 40-50 cm wide. There is a šiše ceiling in the larger room, but not trace of any in the staircase and the smaller room, where there probably never was one. The wooden ceiling beams in the larger room have decoratively finished edges and a groove into which boards are fitted and divided by semicircular beading into large hexagonal sections and smaller triangular and square sections. All these are painted in several different colours, now covered with soot. In the centre of the room there is a decorative eight-pointed rosette with painted decoration of the width of two sections of the ceiling beams. The entire ceiling is now in poor condition as a result of rain penetrating. The walls were plastered and whitewashed. There is no sign of there having been a stove, although there is a chimney in the east wall.

The roof structure was timber, and consists of the traditional sloped studs. The roof is gabled and clad with tiles instead of the original stone slabs. According to documentation dating from 1948 there was a chimney in the east wall but no fireplace chimney in the south wall, which was demolished when the fireplace was walled up.

The facade is unplastered, with the outside surface of stone with the joints pointed. The entrance portal and windows constitute specific decorative features on the facades.

The entrance portal has substantial doorjambs consisting of stone pillars with a pointed arched lintel. The threshold is stone. The portal is surrounded by a narrow stone frame with bas-relief decoration in imitation of wood carving. The area between the arch and the frame is finished as a stone plaque decorated with bas-relief designs. The carving has survived but has subsequently been painted over. The original doors, which were either timber or metal, now destroyed, had a mandal beam on the inside to close them. The present doors, of recent date, cannot be locked. The portal is of tenelija mudstone, which is suitable for such carved decoration. There is now a concrete canopy roof over the entrance.

The windows constitute another decorative feature of the facade. They are set in frames made of stone beams, with a pointed arch of the same width above the lintel. Between the lintel and the arch is a shallow niche treated as a stone slab with no particular finish. All these are of tenelija mudstone with smooth visible surfaces. On the inside the lintels are in the form of a semi-calotte with a pointed frontal arch level with the wall. The windows are single, with double casements, glazed, and of recent date. The wrought-iron window bars are original. The roof above the facade does not have pronounced eaves, and the projecting stone slabs serve merely as dripping edges.

With its relative height and harmony of proportions, the building is an important visual feature in the urban ensemble of the Balaguša mahala with the Balaguša mosque, the nearby Glavica mosque and clock tower, and the prominent Veis tower on the massif of Mt. Crvenica.


3. Legal protection to date

Pursuant to the law and by ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of the National Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo no. 02-769-3 dated 18 April 1962, the building was protected as a cultural monument.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

No conservation and restoration works have been carried out other than a detailed architectural survey and drawing up technical documentation in August 1958.


5. Current condition of the property

The building is currently in a badly dilapidated state. The outside walls, being solidly built, are undamaged apart from minor surface damage to the facades where the mortar has fallen away from the joints. The roof cladding is partly damaged. The fact that the entrance door cannot be locked means that anyone can enter the building. Rubbish has been dumped in the ground floor and the upper floors. The staircases, floors, and šiše ceilings are damaged, but the original carved wooden doors have survived. The joists and roof structure are not damaged and are not a risk of collapsing.  The building has retained its original residential use but is currently empty and used for dumping various types of waste and garbage.


6. Specific risks

  • The monument is at risk of deterioration as a result of lack of maintenance
  • Parts of the property are damaged, and if not restored the materials will deteriorate more rapidly
  • Rubbish inside the property and the absence of an outside door constitute a further threat to the property from the risk of theft, deliberate damage, decay and the collapse of the wooden structure
  • The property is not in use, and no one is looking after it or ensuring its routine maintenance.




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. i. quality of workmanship

C.ii. quality of materials

C.iii. proportions

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.iii. traditional value

F. Townscape/ Landscape value

F.i.  Relation to other elements of the site

F.ii. meaning in the townscape

G. Authenticity

G.i. form and design

G.ii. material and content

G.iii. use and function

G.iv. traditions and techniques

G.v. location and setting

H. Rarity and representativity

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


The photodocumentation and drawings listed below form an integral part of this Decision:

  1. Cadastral plan of the town of Livno in 1883, scale 1:3125
  2. Photograph of Livno taken in 1935
  3. Photographs of the property taken by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments in 2004
    • Drawings:
  1. Copy of cadastral plan with plan of protection zones
  2. Land Registry entry
  3. Proof of title
  4. Site plan of the building
  5. Technical survey of the property dating from August 1985 (ground plan, section, elevation)



During the procedure to designate the Smailagić (Pirija) tower in Livno as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the following works were consulted


1935     A. Kajić; “Livno i okolica od najstarijih vremena do danas” (Livno and environs from ancient times to the present) Calendar of St Anthony, Sarajevo 1935


1954     H. Kreševljaković; "Kule i odžaci u Bosni i Hercegovini" (Towers and manors in BiH), Naše starine Annual of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina no. II, Sarajevo, 1954


1991     H. Kreševljaković; Kapetanije u Bosni i Hercegovini (Captaincies in BiH), Selected Works I-IV, Sarajevo, 1991


1991     R. Orman; Blago pod kupolama – Livanjske podkupolne džamije (Domed treasure – Livno’s domed mosques), Tešanj 1999


2003     H. Kamberović; Begovski zemljišni posjedi u Bosni i Hercegovini od 1878 do 1918. godine (Bey families’ land holdings in BiH from1878 to 1918), Zagreb-Sarajevo, 2003


(1) Cremation of the deceased

(2) Burial


Pirija (Smailagić) tower in LivnoEntrance, south facadeEast facadeEntrance to the tower
Interior, second floorAuthentic doorCelling, detail 

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