Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Necropolis with stećak tombstones in Olovci, the historic site

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Status of monument -> National monument

Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 3 to 9 May 2005 the Commission adopted a






The historic site of the necropolis with stećak tombstones in Olovci near Kladanj is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of the necropolis with eighteen stećak tombstones.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 393/1 (old survey), Land Registry entry no. 61, cadastral municipality Mladovo-Olovci, Municipality Kladanj, 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 is hereby stipulated

Protection Zone I consists of the area defined in Clause 1 para . 3 of this Decision.  The following protection measures shall apply in this zone:

  • all works are prohibited other than research and conservation and restoration works and routine maintenance works, including those designed to display the monument, with the approval of the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning (hereinafter: the relevant ministry) and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority),
  • the site of the monument shall be open and accessible to the public, and may be used for educational and cultural purposes,
  • the dumping of waste is prohibited.

The Government of the Federation shall be responsible in particular for ensuring that the following measures are implemented:

  • restoring tombstones that have been displaced or sunken into the ground to their original positions wherever possible,
  • repairing the broken tombstone using the existing fragment identified on the site of the necropolis,
  • drawing up and implementing a programme for the presentation of the National Monument.

Protection Zone II consists of a protective strip with a width of 100 m from the boundaries of Protection Zone I.

In this protection zone the following measures shall apply:

  • all construction or works that could have the effect of altering the site or the landscape are prohibited,
  • all infrastructure works are prohibited unless with the approval of the relevant ministry and the expert opinion of the heritage protection authority,
  • the dumping of waste is prohibited.

Protection Zone III consists of a protective strip with a width of 2 km from the boundaries of the area comprising Protection Zones I and II.  In this zone the construction of industrial buildings and facilities and quarries and the siting of potential environmental polluters 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 relevant Ministry, the heritage protection authority, and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II to VI 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) 




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. 296 and 298.




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, Tina Wik.                                                                                                                   


No: 05.1-02-103/05-4

3 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 historic site of Kladanj – mediaeval necropolis in Olovci to the Provisional List of National Monuments of BiH under serial nos. 296 and 298.

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


            The river Drinjača basin constitutes a distinct geographical entity.  In terms of the present-day administrative division of the country, the area consists of Vlasenica and Srebrenica municipalities and most of Kladanj municipality.

The territory of Kladanj municipality contains 52 recorded necropolises with a total of 430 stećak tombstones, in the towns and villages of Kladanj, Kovačići, Konjevići, Starić, Gojsalić, Dopasci, Gojakovići, Prijanovići, Noćajevići, Brgule, Crijevčići, Tarevo, Stupari, Olovci, Suljići, Tuholj and Vranovići.

            Olovci is a village some 10 km to the north-west of Kladanj.  There are four sites with stećak tombstones in the vicinity of the village.  The most important necropolis is located beside the Olovci-Tuholj road, in the village of Donji Olovci.

Historical information

In the early days of feudalism, when the entire župa (county) system was functional, the Drinjača river valley, the original area of which belonged to Kladanj, constituted a single župa known as Birač.  Judging from the name Kladanj(1), the area became a feudal holding at a very early date, to which its relative distance from other entities was a contributory factor (P. Anđelić, 1977, p. 265).   Late mediaeval writtten sources provide no greater detail about Kladanj.  It is known to have been a caravan station in the hills and that it was on the borders (in metis) of Usora(2). 

The Kladanj stećak tombstones belong to one of the four stonemason's workshops operating in eastern Bosnia, which to judge from certain features common to the stećaks may be located between Kladanj, Olovo and Ilijaš (Š. Bešlagić, 1982, p. 468).  The decorative motifs, the epitaphs and the fact that upright stećak tombstones (pillars) feature here make it possible to date them roughly to the 14th to the 16th century.


2. Description of the property

Of the total of 430 recorded stećak tombstones in the Kladanj area, as many as 211 (49%) are ridge-shaped (gabled), though in other parts of the country this shape is less common than others.  Chest-shaped tombstones are the next most numerous, with 114 (27%), followed by pillars, with 79 examples (18%), and then slabs, with a total of 15 examples (3%).  There is a relatively large number of upright stećak tombstones in this area, but no cruciform ones at all.  The necropolises are located in prominent positions such as hillocks and spurs, beside roads and villages and close to quarries.  In some cases, the modern cemetery of nearby Orthodox or Muslim villages is located alongside the necropolis.  A total of 60 examples (14%) are decorated.  The predominant decorative motifs are twisted and plain bands, ribbing and rows of carved triangles.  The most common symbolic motifs are spirals and stylized trees, a motif original to this area.  Some of the stećak tombstones feature a crescent moon, star, cross, circle, arms and tools, or the design of a staff.  There are epitaphs on two sites.

The necropolis in Olovci is on ground that slopes gently down towards the road.  It covers an area of 24.5 x 14 m.  The necropolis consists of eighteen stećak tombstones: twelve ridge-shaped, five chest-shaped and one upright.  All are of good workmanship. They lie west-east, and are set in rows, with the exception of one ridge-shaped and two chest-shaped tombstones which lie north-south.  Some of the tombstones are slightly sunken into the ground.  Three of the ridge-shaped tombstones are decorated, and one bears an epitaph.

The face of the ridge-shaped tombstone at the centre of the necropolis is decorated with a double spiral.  The eastern part of the stećak is damaged and a fragment with part of the decoration lies several metres from the tombstone.

Another ridge-shaped tombstone, in the northern part of the necropolis, is decorated with a broad twisted band below the "roof".  A band of this type accentuates the vertical edges of the tombstone and the gable of the eastern face.  This side bears a cross with round-ended arms, a motif typical of the Olovo and Kladanj area.

A third ridge-shaped tombstone has a staff-like motif on the western face. The handle of the staff is curved, with the ends pointing downwards and inwards.  The sides of the tombstone each bear a crux commissa (T cross).

A fourth ridge-shaped tombstone is in the northern part of the necropolis, a little apart from the other stećak tombstones.  The eastern face has an incised six-line epitaph(3).




(Š. Bešlagić, 1959, p. 246; transcribed in full by M. Vego, 1970, p. 49).

The lettering of the epitaph is quite large, uniform and well-formed. The script is Bosnian Cyrillic.

Nothing is known of the feudal lord Radomir Jurisalić to whom the epitaph refers.  He no doubt belonged to the feudal family Jurisalić whose hereditament was in this region. The form of the letters suggests a date of the 14th or 15th century (Š. Bešlagić, 1959. 246.).


3. Legal status to date

The historic site of the necropolis with stećak tombstones in Olovci is on the Provisional List of National Monuments under the title Kladanj – mediaeval necropolis in Olovci, under serial no. 296.

The Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2000 lists it as a Category III monument.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works 

            In May 1958 the epitaph on the stećak tombstone in Olovci was recorded by an expert from the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments in Sarajevo, Zdravko Kajmaković.

Between 1963 and 1965 the stećak tombstones in the Kladanj area were systematically recorded by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of BiH.  The work was done by Šefik Bešlagić, conservator Zdravko Kajmaković, and photographer Ranko Rosić.


5. Current condition of the property

             An on-site visit conducted in April 2005 ascertained as follows:

            The necropolis is in good condition.  There is no building nearby with the exception of a small temporary timber building.

            The stećak tombstones are in relatively good condition, with the exception of the ridge-shaped tombstone decorated with spirals, which is damaged and a piece of which is lying 5 m to the east, by the next stećak.  Three of the stećaks have tilted slightly, and two are somewhat sunken into the ground.


6. Specific risks to which the property is exposed:

            There are no specific risks.




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.iv. composition

C.v. value of details

C.vi. value of construction

D. Clarity

D.ii. evidence of historical change

G. Authenticity

G.i. form and design

G.ii. material and content

G.v. location and setting

H. Rarity and representativity

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


            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 monument as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


1959.   Bešlagić, Šefik, Nekoliko novopronađenih natpisa na stećcima (Some newly-discovered epitaphs on stećak tombstones) Jnl of the National Museum in Sarajevo, Sarajevo, 1959, 245-246.


1969.   Bešlagić, Šefik, Stećci okoline Kladnja (Stećak tombstones in the environs of Kladanj) Naše starine XII, Sarajevo, 1969. 155-176.


1970.   Vego, Marko, Olovci kod Stupara (Olovci nr Stupar) Collected mediaeval epitaphs of Bosnia and Herzegovina IV, Sarajevo, 1970, 48 and 49.


1971.   Bešlagić, Šefik, Stećci, kataloško-topografski pregled (Stećak tombstones, a catalogue-cum-topographical survey) Sarajevo, 1971. 142-143.


1977.   Anđelić, dr Pavao, Ubikacija oblasti Trebotića i teritorijalno-politička organizacija bosanskog podrinja u srednjem vijeku (Location of the Trebotića district and the territorial and political organization of the Bosnian Drina valley region in the mediaeval period)  Jnl of the National Museum in Sarajevo, XXX/XXXI, Sarajevo, 1977,  243-268.


1982.   Bešlagić, Šefik, Stećci-kultura i umjetnost (Stećak tombstones – culture and art), Sarajevo, 1982, 49-50,116.


(1) The word is in the archaic adjectival form of the masculine (P. Anđelić, 1977. 259).

(2) N. Jorga, Notes et extraits pour servir à l'histoire des Croisades I, Paris, 1899,308, n. 4.

(3) The stećak was covered with earth and had to be dug out so the epitaph could be read (Š. Bešlagić, 1959, p. 245).

Necropolis with stećak tombstones in OlovciNecropolis with stećak tombstones, view from eastNecropolis with stećak tombstones, view from northwestView from southwest at necropolis
Group of stećak tombstonesStećak tombstone with inscription Decorated ridged stećak tombstone 

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