Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Balagija (Balaguša) mosque with burial ground and courtyard, 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 3 to 9 May 2005 the Commission adopted a






The architectural ensemble of the Balagija (Balaguša) mosque with harem 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 plots nos. 7/77, 7/78 and 7/79, cadastral municipality Livno, corresponding to c.p. nos. 55 and 56, c.m. Livno III, 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, which shall apply to the area defined in Clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision.

Protection Zone I consists of the area designated as c.p. nos. 7/77, 7/78 and 7/79. In this zone the following measures shall apply:

  • all works are prohibited other than research and conservation and restoration works, including those designed to present 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,
  • a project for the repair, revitalization and presentation of the National Monument shal be drawn up on the basis of the findings of the investigative works, which shall cover the repair of the boundary walls of the harem, repairs to the grave with sarcophagus, repairing the courtyard area, and the renovation of the mural paintings and interior of the mosque.

Protection Zone II consists of the cadastral plots associated with the road surrounding c.p. nos. 7/77, 7/78 and 7/79.   In this buffer zone the following shall be permitted:

  • the reconstruction of existing two-storey (ground and first floor) residential buildings,
  • the construction of two-storey (ground and first floor) residential buildings with a maximum height to the roof of 6.5 m, with gabled or hipped roofs clad with tiles, but not with sheet metal or asbestos-cement cladding,
  • the façades facing the road must consist of a wall of pointed stone or be plastered and painted white using façade paint,
  • no outbuildings or advertising hoardings shall be erected by the road.




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 337.




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. 02-02-1040/03-5

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.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments issued a decision to add the architectural ensemble of the Balagija (Balaguša) mosque to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina under serial no. 377.

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,
  • Data on restoration or other works on the property, etc.
  • Copy of cadastral plan and copy of land registry entry
  • 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 architectural ensemble of the Balagija (Balaguša) mosque with harem is located in Stara čaršija street in the former Balaguša mahala, on cadastral plots nos. 7/77, 7/78 and 7/79, cadastral municipality Livno, corresponding to c.p. nos. 55 and 56, c.m. Livno III, Municipality Livno, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The entrance to the architectural ensemble is from the side street formerly known as Starca Vujadina street, north of the above cadastral plots and Stara Čaršija street.

Historical information (1)

Ever since ancient times, the fertile Livno plain has been conducive to the development of agriculture and livestock-raising. It is surrounded by some forty Illyrian hillforts, all well defended and within line of sight of each other, which could be used as refuges in times of danger. 

In the Iron Age, the Delmatae tribe gained strength in the Livno plain and its surroundings (B. Marijan, 1994, p. 32). The Livno plain and the neighbouring plains of south-western Bosnia and Dalmatia formed the heartland of the Delmatae, whence their cultural and economic influence spread to other 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 the 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).

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 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 Ottomans.  The town experienced its greatest development in the 16th and part of the 17th century.

            The most important buildings erected in the town were mosques, of which domed mosques were typical examples of the supreme achievements of Ottoman architecture in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There were 14 mosques in all in Livno, four of them domed. Livno has the second largest number of domed mosques in BiH, after Sarajevo. The following mosques have survived to the present: Perkuša (Muhamed Spahija), Begluk (Lala-pasha), Balagija (Balaguša), Dukatara (Glavica), Zaova and Milošnik.

The Starogradska, Pašina (Atlagića), Tepet, Baruša, Firdusova, Džumanuša (Sinan-čauševa), and Čurčića (Čurčinica) mosques, known from historical sources, no longer exist.

The vakufnama or deed of endowment of the benefactor who built the Balagija (Balaguša) mosque has not survived, nor can the time when it was built be determined with certaintz on the basis of the time when its founder lived. According to tradition the benefactor was called Balagija, was a wealthy aga and was buried in the sarcophagus by the mosque, the nišan tombstone of which has no epitaph.

            The chronogram - tarih above the mosque entrance has survived, but there is no reference to the benefactor. As for the date of construction, epigraphs have deciphered the chronogram in different ways. According to A. Aličić, it is not possible to ascertain the date from the chronogram, and he adopts the folk tradition that the Balagija (Balaguša) mosque was built a year before the Dukatar (Glavica) mosque, in 995 AH (1586/1586), since his interpretation of the chronogram would give a date for the erection of the mosque prior to the arrival of the Turks in the region, which he regards as impossible.

However, M. Mujezinović deciphers the chronogram-tarih to give a date of 920 AH, or 1514/1515. This would make the Balagija (Balaguša) mosque one of the oldest domed mosques in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


2. Description of the property

The Balagija (Balaguša) mosque belongs to the type of single-space domed mosque with a portico with three small domes. Livno’s mosques are characterized by a high dome, low drum and short minaret with a short steeple (ćillah), in consequence of the area’s strong winds and severe winters. The mosque measures 8.47 x 8.53 m on the inside, and 13.86 x 10.73 m on the outside, of which the depth of the portico accounts for 3.29 m. The dome is 14.00 m high, the minaret 20.60 m high, the height to the drum of the dome is 7.97 m, and to the cornice of the dome 9.54 m. The masonry walls of the mosque are of cut quarry limestone faced with lime plaster. The entrance portico consists of two circular columns with bases and capitals of fine-grained limestone, executed to a very high standard of workmanship. Between the pillars and the side walls of the portico are pointed arches in tenelija limestone, with the same arches between the pillars and the walls of the mosque. The walls over the front arches are of cut stone blocks of poor workmanship. The portico is covered by three small tufa domes resting on squinches (spherical triangles). The portal is decorated with carved stone mouldings and painted decoration. The entrance doorway is of recent date, with a pronounced stone threshold and doorjambs and a segmentally-arched lintel. The original tarih-chronogram above the entrance door is still in place, measuring 55 x 93 cm. The portal is surrounded by a broad moulded stone frame decorated with floral and geometric designs. Within the frame above the door are graduated stalactite decorations. The remains of painted decoration survive on the small domes and the walls. Between each of the pillars of the portico and between the pillars and the walls are wooden tie beams. The door leading to the šerefe of the minaret is in the portico.

            The interior of the mosque is richly decorated, with all the interior fixtures executed in tenelija limestone to a very high standard of workmanship. The paving stones of the floor have been concealed by the later addition of a wooden floor on a timber structure with a height of 20 cm. To the right of the entrance is a short mahfil, measuring 3.40 x 2.30 m, with four stone twelve-sided pillars with stone bases and capitals, approx. 28 x 28 cm in section, on which rests a moulded stone beam approx. 30 cm high supporting a 55 cm high moulded stone balustrade, 5 cm deep, topped by a moulded rail.  Wooden steps, probably original, lead to the mahfil, which has a floor of hand-trimmed boards 8 cm thick, with sawn 3 cm boards on the underside, laid on 15 x 15 cm joists. 

All the stonemasonry work is in tenelija limestone, executed to a very high standard, and later painted with oil paint.

The mimber stands on a raised stone pedestal. It is entirely of tenelija limestone, and is of superb workmanship. The mimber is 80 cm wide, 2.90 m long, and approx. 4.00 high, with a pyramidal canopy of approx. 2.90 m. 

The surfaces of the stone mouldings on the mimber were honed, but entirely covered with the later addition of a coat of oil paint.

The mihrab is also of tenelija stone and of superb workmanship. The mihrab is approx. 1.90 m wide and approx. 3.50 m high, or 4.50 m including the terminal round-arched section. The mihrab niche is 1.10 m high, with a polygonal lower section, and 1.80 m high, with a graduated upper section and stalactite decorations with a height of 1.20 m. The mihrab has a moulded frame of approx. 40 cm.  All the surfaces of the stone mouldings were honed but later covered with a coat of oil paint.

The window openings are treated in a variety of ways. The windows facing the portico have wooden frames on the inside consisting of 10/15 cm section, as does the lintel, and stone frames on the outside, with metal bars. The windows facing the burial ground have stone frames inside and out with pointed stone arches. The lintels of these windows consist of stone beams, and the windows are fitted with metal bars on the outside. The windows in the mihrab wall have wooden frames on the inside and stone frames on the outside with metal bars. The lintels consist of wooden beams and the outside stone frame is fitted with metal bars. The upper windows are arched. The remains of a stone transenna can be seen on the window facing the burial ground. The next row consists of the smaller arched windows in the drum; again, the remains of a stone transenna in a wooden frame, with circular apertures, can be seen on one of these windows.  

Of particular value in the interior is the masonry and domed surfaces, with their carved stone stalactite decorations in the angles of the mosque trompes, the triangular supports of the broken arches of the trompes, and the circular semicylindrical cornice of the drum. All the walls and domes of the mosque were originally decorated with painted floral designs, which were later covered with several coats of paint. There is a decorative rosette in the crown of the dome. Only detailed examinations by a painter-conservator will make it possible to determine exactly what the original painted floral designs consisted of.

The façades of hewn quarry stone have visible pointing and terminal string courses on the walls and drum of tenelija limestone with concave and convex half-round moulding. The small domes and the large dome alike are clad with sheet lead.

The minaret of the mosque is of porous cut stone. The base of the minaret is square and projects forward from the wall surface by approx. 1.50 m. The transition from the square base to the sixteen-sided minaret is via triangular surfaces. The šerefe is executed console-style, with convex and concave rings and a stone parapet.  Above the šerefe is a short barrel topped by a low polygonal roof clad with sheet lead. An unusual feature is that apart from the lower and upper edges of the parapet, there is no short string course on the minaret nor the usual shallow niches below it.

The harem by the mosque is small and contains only a sarcophagus without an epitaph, which local tradition ascribes to the builder of the mosque.

The Balagija (Balaguša) mosque, the nearby Glavica (Dukatarova) mosque and the clock tower together constitute an outstandingly valuable architectural and townscape composition forming the principal accent of the silhouette of the old town of Livno.


3. Research and conservation and restoration works

According to written sources, in or around 1890 the mosque lead sheet was stripped from the mosque and replaced by galvanized iron. It is not known who carried out these works.

In 1953, under the auspices of the National Committee of Livno, which funded the works, the dilapidated galvanized iron was removed and the mosque re-clad with new galvanized iron.

In 1987 the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina provided the funds and organized the execution of works on the structural repair of the three small domes of the portico and reinforcing the tie beams in the portico. The works continued in 1989 with the cladding of the small domes and portico surface, and cladding the roof of the minaret with 3 mm thick lead sheet. In 1990 works were planned on the structural repair of the large dome and cladding it with 3 mm thick lead sheet, which had been procured in 1986. However, funding shortfalls meant that the works were not carried out, and the outbreak of war made it impossible to carry on with the works.

In 2003 the Government of the Federation of BiH provided the funds for the works to continue. The Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH engaged H. Hadžović, MSc Civil Engineering, to draw up a project for the repairs to the large dome and cladding it with lead sheet. The works were not carried out in 2003, but in the first half of 2004. The large dome and other roof surfaces were repaired and clad with sheet lead.


4. Legal status to date

At the time the Decision was being drafted no details of prior protection were available.


5. Current condition of the property

The works carried out to date on the Balagija (Balaguša) mosque mean that it is protected from the elements and the penetration of rain and ensure that the cracks in the dome and walls will not widen. However, the šerefa of the minaret has yet to be repaired after the parapet was damaged in two sections by war action.

In the interior of the mosque, the floral decorations are badly damaged and inexpert interventions have been observed on the stone surfaces of the mihrab, mimber and mahfil. The windows and transennas are in a poor state and need restoration. Rewiring for electricity and other essential conservation and restoration works on the Balagija (Balaguša) mosque would enable it to be used once again as a place of worship, which is currently not possible.


6. Specific risks

  • Damage to parts of the property as the result of lack of maintenance and the war, and incomplete restoration and conservation works, which could aggravate the level of damage;
  • The fact that the interior painted decoration and the damage thereto have not been investigated, which could lead to a situation in which restoration would become impossible;
  • Inexpert and inappropriate interventions detrimental to the integrity of the property and accelerating its deterioration;
  • Risks of earthquake, given that this is a seismic zone.




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

C.iv. composition

C.v. value of details

C.vi. value of construction

D. Clarity

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

E. Symbolic value

E.ii. religious value

E.iv. relation to rituals or ceremonies

F. Townscape/ Landscape value

F.ii. meaning in the townscape

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

G. 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

I. Completeness

I.i. physical coherence

I.iv. Undamaged condition


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

  1. Original tarih-chronogram
  2. Land Registry entry no. 800 of 1893
  3. Photodocumentation of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments dating from 2004

-          Drawings:

  1. Cadastral plan of the town of Livno in 1883, scale 1:3125
  2. Copy of cadastral plan with Protection Zone I, scale 1:1562,5
  3. Site plan of the building with Protection Zones I and II, scale 1:1000
  4. Technical documentation of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  5. Balaguša mosque, Livno, repairs, Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mostar 2003.



During the procedure to designate the Balagija (Balaguša) mosque 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


1941     A. Aličić: “Livanjske džamije – Prilog povijesti Livna” (Livno’s mosques – contribution to the history of Livno), Herald of the Supreme Islamic Council IX, Sarajevo 1941


1965     H. Redžić: “Restauratorsko-konzervatorski radovi na Glavici džamiji u Livnu” (Restoration and conservation works on Glavica mosque in Livno), Naše starine no X, Sarajevo 1965


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


1998     M. Mujezinović: Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine (Islamic epigraphics of BiH) bk III, Sarajevo 1998


(1) For further information on Livno see the Decision designating the Pirija (Smailagić) tower as a national monument of BiH


Balagija (Balaguša) mosque in LivnoBalagija (Balaguša) mosque and Bistrica fortPorticoGrave
MahfilInterior of the mosque - painted decorationInterior of the mosqueMihrab and mimbar
Entrance facade   

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