Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Necropolis with stećak tombstones in the village of Kosače, 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 30 August to 5 September 2005 the Commission adopted a






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

            The National Monument consists of a necropolis with 26 stećak tombstones.

The National Monument is located on cadastral plots nos. 1635, 1636, 1105/2, 1105/3, 1107, title deeds nos. 375, 636, 147, 815 and 153, cadastral municipality Vranići, Municipality Goražde, 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 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 provide funds for preparing and setting up signboards with the basic information of the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




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

Protection Zone I comprises the area defined in Clause I 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, 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 site of the National Monument shall be open and accessible to the public, and may be used for educational and cultural purposes,
  • no new burials are permitted within a distance of less than 5 metres from the stećak tombstones,
  • the relocation or moving of the stećak tombstones is prohibited,
  • the dumping of waste is prohibited.

Protection Zone II consists of a strip with a width of 100 metres around Protection Zone I.

The following measures shall apply in this zone:

  • works of any kind to the infrastructure are prohibited unless with the approval of the relevant ministry and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority,
  • the dumping of waste is prohibited.

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

  • clearing the site of self-sown vegetation;
  • providing access to the site by making good the road and paths to all areas of the site
  • drawing up and implementing a programme for the presentation of the National Monument.



            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 planning 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 relevant Ministry, the heritage protection authority and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II to V 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. 253.




Pursuant to Article 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: 05.1-2-770/03-6

1 September 2005


Chair of the Commission

Ljiljana Ševo


E l u c i d a t i o n




Pursuant to the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Article 2, Para. 1 of 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 a property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches the final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a request 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 the Necropolis with stećak tombstones in the village of Kosače near Goražde to the Provisional List of National Monuments of BiH under serial no. 253.

            Pursuant to the provisions of the law, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching the 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 the 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 register entry),
  • Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data on war damage, data on restoration or other works on the property if any, etc.,
  • Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property.

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


1. Information on the property


            The village of Kosače is located on high ground above the left bank of the Osanica River, a left tributary of the Drina River. The stećak tombstones previously composed four groups. Two groups are located on the prehistoric tumuli next to private houses and the other two on the locality of Križevac (Ledine), next to a modern Muslim graveyard.

Historical information

The Upper Drina district (Gornje Podrinje) was referred to by the Doclean Priest (Pop Dukljanin) in the mid 12th century. Its exceptional importance can be traced from that time, regardless of whether it was a part of the Serbian or the Bosnian State. In 1373, when Tvrtko I, in agreement with Prince Lazar, won over and divided the property of the Serbian aristocrat, the district prefect Nikola Altomanovic, this area fell to Bosnia (D. Kojić-Kovačević, 1981, 109).

Goražde was a well-known mediaeval market town owned by the Hranić-Kosača family.  The earliest reference to it in written sources dates from 1376.

The Drina district consisted of the župas (counties) of Bistrica, Govza, Osanica, Goražde, Pribud and Pivo.  The county of Osanica included the village of Kosače, where some scholars seek the native village of this powerful feudal family (D. Kojić Kovačević, 1981, 109).

The rise of the Kosača family had already begun at the time of Vlatko Vuković, an army commander of King Tvrtko, and continued during the reign of his successor, Sandalj Hranić (1392-1435). The area under Sandalj Hranić extended from the mouth of the Neretva river to the river Lim and from the Rama valley to Kotor. He resided in his palace of Samobor near Goražde, on the right bank of the Drina river. After his death in 1435 he was succeeded by Stjepan-Vukčić Kosača(1),  who ruled these areas independently from 1437 until his death in 1466. In 1448 he gained the title of duke (Herzog – herceg), after which later the entire area, including Hum and Primorje, was named Hercegovina. In 1454 Duke Stjepan erected an Orthodox church in Sopotnica, dedicated to St. George(2). 


2. Description of the property

The necropolis is located on a slope running from north to south. It is composed of four groups with a total of twenty six stećak tombstones. In the first group, the only surviving tombstone is an undecorated chest-shaped stećak, now in the courtyard of a private house. The second group, consisting of four stećak tombstones(3), lies 40 m to the south of the first. One undecorated tombstone has sunk into the ground, and three are covered with vegetation. They lie west-east. In this second group, one chest-shaped tombstone stands out on account of its shape. The top edge of the vertical sides is slightly thickened, giving the impression of a lid. One side is double-slanted and the other single-slanted.  The front and end faces are also slightly slanted. The stećak tombstones are of average size, chipped and damaged and partly sunk into the ground.

Both groups are located on levelled prehistoric tumuli.

The third group, comprising six stećak tombstones(4), is 80 m from the second one. They lie west-east. One chest-shaped tombstone, measuring 210 x 87 cm, is ornamented, with an 85 cm long and 55 cm wide carved double cross on the upper surface. The arms of the cross widen towards the ends.

10 m southwest of the third group is the fourth group consisting of fifteen stećak tombstones. They lie northwest-southeast. They are distinguished by shape into eleven chest-shaped and four slabs.  One stećak tombstone, measuring 163 x 70 x 15 cm, is located at the northern edge of the group. There is a carved motif on the upper horizontal surface. The motif resembles a double cross, but with a rounded head, rounded shoulders and lowered arms at the west end. At the very end the waist bifurcates, giving the impression of an anthropomorphic cross.

Some fifteen metres southeast of the necropolis, Š. Bešlagić found remnants of a small building, probably a graveyard chapel(5). The site where the third and the fourth groups stand is overgrown with oak trees. It slopes slightly towards the south and abruptly towards the west.


3. Legal status to date

The historic site of the Necropolis with stećak tombstones of Kosače is on the Provisional List of National Monuments under the name Goražde – Srednjevjekovna nekropola Kosače (mediaeval necropolis of Kosače) under the number 253.

            The Regional Plan for BiH to 2000 lists it as a Category III monument.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

In May 1958 Š. Bešlagić carried out a systematic survey and recording of the stećak tombstones of the necropolis in Kosače and nearby Dijakovići.


5. Current condition of the property

On the basis of an on-site inspection carried out in July 2005, the following has been ascertained:

The stećak tombstones at the locality of Ledine are covered with moss and self-sown vegetation. Two groups of stećak tombstones have been preserved of the four that were registered by Š. Bešlagić. The other two groups of stećak tombstones were destroyed during the construction of private houses on two occasions(6).  One chest-shaped stećak tombstone one (of the former four) has survived in the first group and four (of the former nine) in the second group. In the second group one stećak has sunk, one is covered with moss and two are overgrown with ivy(7). 

Very close to the third and fourth groups, from which it is separated by a fence, is a modern Muslim graveyard. There is one grave between the third and the fourth group of the stećak tombstones.


6. Specific risks to which the monument is exposed

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 is based on the following criteria:

A) Time frame

B) Historical value

C) Artistic and aesthetic value

iv. composition

v. value of details

G) Authenticity

i. form and design

ii. material and content

v. location and setting


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

o    Copy of cadastral plan,

o    Transcript of title deed,

o    Photo documentation: groups of stećak tombstones 1, 2, 3 and 4 (July 2005); old photographs (S. Bešlagić, 1959),

o    Graphics:plan of the necropolis (S. Bešlagić, 1959)



During the procedure to designate the property as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


1941.    Mazalić, Đoko, Hercegova crkva kod Goražda i okolne starine (Herceg’s Church near Goražde and Surrounding Antiquities), Journal of the National Museum of the Independent State of Croatia in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 1941, 27- 44.


1959.   Bešlagić, Šefik, Nekoliko novopronađenih natpisa na stećcima (Several Newly Discovered Inscriptions on Stećak Tombstones), Journal of the National Museum in Sarajevo, Sarajevo, 1959, 245-246.


1959.   Bešlagić, Šefik, Selo Kosače i njegovi spomenici (Village of Kosače and its Monuments), Naše starine VI (Our Antiquities VI), Sarajevo, 1959, 243-246.


1964.   Živojević, Rasim, Goražde u prošlosti i danas (Goražde in the Past and Today), Geographic Association of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo 1964.


1964.   Ćirković, Sima, Herceg Stefan Vukčić-Kosača i njegovo doba (Herceg Stefan Vukčić-Kosača and His Time), Beograd, 1964.


1971.   Bešlagić, Šefik, Stećci, kataloško-topografski pregled (Stećak Tombstones, Catalogue and Topographical Overview), Sarajevo, 1971, 142-143.


1978.   Dinić, Mihajlo, Zemlje Hercega Svetoga Save (Lands of Herceg Saint Sava) in: Srpske zemlje u srednjem veku (Serbian Countries in Mediaeval Times), Beograd, 1978, 178-269.


1981.   Kojić-Kovačević, Desanka, Arhivsko-istorijska istraživanja Gornjeg Podrinja (Archive and Historical Research of Gornje Podrinje), Naše starine XIV-XV, (Our Antiquities XIV-XV), Sarajevo, 1981, 109-127.


1982.   Vego, Marko, Postanak srednjovjekovne bosanske države (Origin of the Mediaeval Bosnian State), Sarajevo, 1982, 51-54.


1982.   Bešlagić, Šefik, Stećci-kultura i umjetnost (Stećak Tombstones – Culture and Art), Sarajevo, 1982, 49-50,116.


1998.   Various authors, Bosna i Hercegovina od najstarijih vremena do kraja Drugog svjetskog rata (Bosnia and Herzegovina from Ancient Times to the End of World War II), Sarajevo, 1998.


2000.   Various authors: Kosače - osnivači Hercegovine (Kosača Family – Founders of Herzegovina) in: Zbornik sa Naučnog skupa historičara u Gacku od 20.-22. septembra 2000. (Proceedings of a seminar of historians held in Gacko between 20 and 22 September 2000).


(1) Born in 1404 or 1405, Vukac Hranić, his father, lived and worked overshadowed by his powerful brother Sandalj. His mother Katarina, also of unknown origin, died at the beginning of 1456.

(2) The Kosača family's church-building activities began with Sandalj Hranić. (D. Kovačević-Kojić, 1978, 298)

(3) Š. Bešlagić recorded nine stećak tombstones.

(4) Š. Bešlagić also recorded five recesses in which surely stećak tombstones stood once.

(5) No information is available on what the building once looked like.

(6) Š. Bešlagić claims that a number of stećak tombstones, belonging to the first and second group,  were destroyed when private houses were built. During the visit by the Commission in July 2005 the owner of the building said that the first houses were built at the beginning of the 20th century. Newer houses were built on their foundations, a number of them immediately after World War II and the rest later.

(7) Š. Bešlagić mentions a stećak tombstone that is distinctive for its unusual shape. ( Š. Bešlagić, 1959, 244). Today this chest-shaped tombstone is completely overgrown with ivy, so that it is impossible to define its current appearance without removing the vegetation. 

Plan of the necropolis, Šefik BešlagićStećak tombstone from the second group Decorated stećak tombstoneSecond group of stećak tombstones, covered by vegetation
Fourth group of stećak tombstonesNecropolis - fourth group and cemeteryGroup of stećak tombstones 

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