Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Clock tower of Mehmed-pasha Kukavica, the historic monument

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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 8 to 14 November 2005 the Commission adopted a






The  historic monument of the Clock Tower of Mehmed-pasha Kukavica in Foča 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. 1607, cadastral municipality Foča, Municipality Foča, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The provisions relating to protection and rehabilitation 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 Republika Srpska no. 9/02) shall apply to the National Monument.




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

The Government of Republika Srpska shall be responsible for providing the resources needed to draw up and implement the necessary technical documentation for the protection, conservation and restoration of 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.




All works on the National Monument are prohibited other than research, repair, conservation and restoration works, to a project approved by the Ministry responsible for regional planning in Republika Srpska and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Republika Srpska.

The National Monument shall be floodlit in line with an appropriate project, with lighting to ensure that its value as a monument is identifiable.

A protective strip shall consist of the area comprising all the cadastral plots bordering the protected site of the National Monument.

Within the protective strip, the only works permitted are interventions that conform to the existing proportions and local features.  Built structures shall be preserved, with restrictions to the number of storeys and dimensions of the buildings and with the use of materials similar to the indigenous ones and the traditional application of materials within the protected area.




            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 Republika Srpska, 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 Republika Srpska, the Ministry responsible for regional planning in Republika Srpska and the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska, 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 – 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: 07.1-02-280/05-4

10 November 2005



Chair of the Commission

Dubravko Lovrenović


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.

On 19 December 2003 the Medžlis (Council) of the Islamic Community of Foča submitted a request to designate the Mehmed Pasha Kukavica Ensemble (mosque, medresa, mejtef, courtyard, han, clock tower, tekke, shops etc.) as a national monument.

Pursuant to the provisions of the law, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching a final decision to designate the property of the Mehmed Pasha Kukavica Clock Tower 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.
  • Land register entry and details of ownership,
  • 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 historic monument of the Clock Tower of Mehmed-pasha Kukavica was built by this legator in Foča's Gornja Čaršija, beside his han and mosque. The structure stands on c.p. 1607, c.m. Foča, Municipality Foča.

Historical information

The inner Foča area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, while the urban settlement itself dates from the mediaeval period.

The origins and development of the mediaeval settlement of Hoča (Hotča)(1) were dictated above all by its geographical position on the two rivers, the Drina and the Ćehotina, and on the road that linked Dubrovnik(2)  with the Moravian and Vardar valley and the central regions of the Balkan peninsula. 

The route of the Dubrovnik road remained identifiable in the street network in Foča(3)  in the Prijeka čaršija, in the area tangential to Pazarišta (Trgovišta), where mediaeval Hoča (Hotča) came into being (Redžić, 1983, pp. 317-343).

For the first five years this part of the district that, until it came under Ottoman rule, had been governed by herceg Stjepan Vukčić Kosača and his heirs, formed part of the Bosnian sandžak. In February 1470 Herzegovina was removed from the authority of the Bosnian sandžakbeg to constitute a separate sandžak, governed from then on by its own sandžakbegs.  The first of these was Hamza-beg, to whom there is reference as early as the beginning of 1470, and who held the post until 1474.  During his governorship, Foča became the political and administrative centre of Herzegovina. Foča remained the headquarters of the Herzegovina sandžak until 1572, when they moved to Pljevlje, where they remained until 1763. (Bejtić, 1956, pp. 30-32).

Foča flourished to the full from the mid 15th to the end of the 16th century, when it was promoted from a kasaba or small town to a šeher or city, and a major administrative centre in Herzegovina (Redžić, 1983, p. 322).

In August 1493, the Dubrovnik Republic (the Republic of St Vlach) donated a clock to the Herzegovina frontiersman Dulejman-beg, who resided in Foča. This was probably the first clock to reach and operate in Bosnia (Kreševljaković, 1957, p. 17).

Mehmed-pasha Kukavica's Clock Tower stands in the immediate vicinity of his mosque and other endowments in Foča.  Since there is no written evidence of the erection of the structure, the assumption is that it was built after 1758, since it is not referred to in the Mehmed-pasha Kukavica's vakufnama (deed of endowment) of that year.  The Clock Tower was thus built after that date, but certainly prior to 1761 when Mehmed-pasha was banished from Bosnia and executed (Bejtić, 1957, p. 48).

There is information that in or around 1884 the clock on this Clock Tower broke down, and that in that same year a clockmaker was brought in to mend it.  In the 1890s a new clock was procured and the old one was transferred to the National Museum.  The bell, on which the year 1637 was inscribed, was also transferred at that time.

During World War II, in 1943, the Clock Tower was quite badly damaged; it was repaired in the summer of 1954 by GNO Foča. (Kreševljaković, 1957, p. 31).

Repair works on the Clock Tower were again carried out in 1988, and a new electric-powered clock mechanism was installed in 1991 to mark the 440th anniversary of the Aladža mosque (Muftić, 1997, p. 90).


2. Description of the property

The ground plan of the building forms  an irregular square measuring: 3.10 x 3.20 m, with a height of approx. 20 m.

Below the low hipped (polygonal) roof, clad with hollow tiles, is a string course, below which in turn are four window openings,on each side, terminating in pointed [triangular? – trans.] arches, in which the clock is mounted.  The clock mechanism is located between the apertures and linked to the bell.  It is not known exactly when the bell for this Clock Tower was purchased, but it is known that it was after 1878, and that it came from Vienna (Kreševljaković, 1957, p. 18).

Other apertures resembling loopholes are also to be seen on the Clock Tower, disposed on the main surfaces of the structure, faintly lighting the interior, through which a wooden staircase built against the walls with small landings at each inner corner leads to the clock.  The Clock Tower has an entrance door at ground level, measuring 0.64 x 0.95 m – the smallest of all clock-tower doors in BiH (Kreševljaković, 1957, p. 18).

The tower is built of cut stone without a finishing coat of plaster, while the quoins are of more finely-cut ashlar.


3. Legal status to date

The Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2002 listed the urban ensemble of Foča (the čaršija, 3 hans, the clock tower, two tombstones by the mosque, and a turbe) as a Category 1 monument.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

  • C. 1884, the clock on the Clock Tower was repaired;
  • In the summer of 1954, the Clock Tower was repaired by GNO Foča. (Kreševljaković, 1957, p. 31);
  • 1978 – works began on the programme to revitalize the Prijeka čaršija in Foča, which included a survey of the existing condition, determining the area to be covered, historical research, and gathering all available written documentation (various authors, 1983, p. 8).
  • 1988, repair works on the Clock Tower;
  • 1991, a new clock mechanism was installed (Muftić, 1997, p. 90).

5. Current condition of the property

An on site inspection in September 2005 ascertained that there is a risk of further deterioration of structure of the Clock Tower, as a result of the effects of time, weathering and neglect.




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.iii. proportions

C.iv. composition

D. Clarity

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

E. Symbolic value

E.iii. traditional value

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

F. Townscape/ Landscape value

F.i.  Relation to other elements of the site

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.iii. use and function

G.v. location and setting


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

  1. Drawings

-    protected zone of the historic monument of the Clock Tower in Foča

-    copy of cadastral plan

-    copy of proof of title

-    ground plan of the building at a height of 11.86, scale 1:20

-    excerpt from Programme for the Revitalization of the Prijeka čaršija in Foča

  1. Photographs

-    Photographs of the Clock Tower and surroundings taken prior to 1992

-    Photographs of the Clock Tower and surroundings taken in 2004-2005




1956.    Bejtić, Alija, Povijest i umjetnost Foče na Drini,(History and Art of Foča on the Drina) Naše starine III, Annual of the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of NR Bosnia and Herzegovina N.R. Bosne i Hercegovine, Sarajevo, 1956.


1956.-1957. Bejtić, Alija: Bosanski namjesnik Mehmed paša Kukavica i njegove zadužbine u Bosni (1752-1756 i 1757-1760), (Bosnian governor Mehmed pasha Kukavica and his endowments in Bosnia [1752-1756 and 1757-1760] Contributions to Oriental Philology, no. VI-VII, Sarajevo, 1956-1957.


1957.    Bejtić, Alija, Povijest i umjetnost Foče na Drini,(History and Art of Foča on the Drina), Naše starine IV, Annual of the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of NR Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 1957.


1957.    Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Sahat-kule u Bosni i Hercegovini (Clock towers in BiH), Naše starine IV, Annual of the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of NR Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, 1957.


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


1983.    Various authors (Academician Prof. Husref Redžić, Lecturer Nedžad Kurto MA, Ferid Isanović): Program revitalizacije i regeneracije istorijskog područja grada Foče. Urbanističko-arhitektonsko rješenje zone Prijeke čaršije, (Programme for the revitalization and regeneration of the historic area of the town of Foča: town planning and architectural treatment of the zone of the Prijeka čaršija) Municipal Assembly Foča, Foča, 1983.


1996.    Çelebi, Evliya, Putopis – odlomci o jugoslovenskim zemljama, (Travelogue: excerpts on Yugoslav lands) Sarajevo Publishing, Sarajevo, 1996.


1997.    Muftić, Faruk, Foča: 1470-1996, Sarajevo, 1997.


1998.    Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, (Islamic epigraphics of BiH) bk II, Sarajevo-Publishing,  Sarajevo, 1998.


2000.    Ayverdi Dr. Ekrem Hakki, Avrupa'da Osmanli Mimari Eserlera Yugoslavya II, 3. kitab, Istanbul, 2000.


(1) The earliest reference to Hoča as a marketplace (mercatum) dates from 1366.  There are references in Dubrovnik sources to a merchant, Nikola Prodešić, of Drina, while the Turks, after conquering central Bosnia, called the Foča kadiluk the Drina kadiluk (Kovačević-Kojić, 1978, p. 42). Since this document refers to Foča as a major trading post, it may be deduced that its history already reached well back into the past.

(2) This mediaeval road is also known as Via Ragusa, Via Ragusina, Via Drina or Via Bosna

(3) the earliest use of theh name Foča instead of the mediaeval name Hoče is in a defter dating from 1519 (Redžić, 1983, p. 324).

Clock tower of Mehmed-pasha KukavicaMosque, medresah, han and clock tower of Mehmed-pasha KukavicaEndowment of Mehmed-pasha Kukavica, photo from 2004Gornja čaršija with Clock tower
Gornja čaršija in FočaHan and Clock towerClock tower 

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