Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Kalavun Jusuf-pasha (Kuršumljija) mosque with the graveyard and the fountain, the architectural ensemble

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Status of monument -> National monument

Published in the “Official Gazette of BiH” no. 53/08.

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 14 to 20 March 2006 the Commission adopted a






The architectural ensemble of the Kalavun Jusuf pasha (Kuršumlija) mosque with harem and fountain in Maglaj 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. 1879 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. no. 25/12 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 1434, cadastral municipality Maglaj, Maglaj Municipality, 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 for the protection, conservation, restoration and presentation 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 basic details of the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




To ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument on the site specified in Clause I, para. 2 of this Decision, the following protection measures are hereby stipulated:

-          all works are prohibited other than conservation and restoration works, including those 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;

-          the dumping of waste is prohibited.

The Government of the Federation shall be responsible in particular for providing the conditions for research works, conservation, repairs and drawing up a proposal for the restoration of the wall decorations inside the mosque; for drawing up a programme for the maintenance of the property; and for drawing up a study for the conservation, repair and landscaping of the harem.

A buffer zone is hereby stipulated, consisting of the area designated as c.p. nos. 1877, 1878, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883 and 1886. The following protection measures shall apply in this zone:

-          the construction of properties with a maximum of two storeys (ground + 1), a maximum footprint of 10 x 12 m, and a maximum height of 6.50 m to the base of the roof frame, shall be permitted;

-          the use of the properties shall not be detrimental to the religious character of the National Monument,

-          the dumping of waste 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 thereof.




The Government of the Federation, the Federation 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 Clauses 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 Article 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. 365.




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: 02-02-35/04-7

15 March 2006



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.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments issued a decision to add the Kalavun Jusuf pasha (Kuršumlija) mosque to the Provisional List of National Monuments of BiH under serial number 365.

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, Para 4 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 if any, 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 the condition of the property are as follows:


1. Details of the property


The National Monument is located on the right bank of the river Bosna, in the heart of the old urban centre of Maglaj, just below the fort. 

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 1879 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. no. 25/12 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 1434, cadastral municipality Maglaj, Maglaj Municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

In 1560(1), Ali pasha Kalavun built a mosque in Maglaj. It was also known to the locals as the Kuršumlija [from the Turkish kurşun, lead) on account of its lead roof. According to the Turkish historian Yusuf bey Maglayli, the Kuršumlija was founded by Jusuf pasha Maglajli, Yusuf bey's great grandfather(2), and the family later moved from its native Bosnia to Turkey. He does not agree that Jusuf pasha's surname was Kalauz (Kalavun), and claims that the State Archives in Istanbul contain all the necessary information on Jusuf pasha and his endowments.(3) Some documentation may have been taken to Vienna in 1697, and if so it could be in the Eugene of Savoy Museum in Vienna.(4)  

According to Mujezinović, the founder of the mosque was Kalavun Jusuf pasha Budimlija.

In 1697 the army of Prince Eugene of Savoy demolished the mosque and, as tradition has it, took away a gold plaque with an inscription, stripped off the gilding below the šerefe (minaret balcony) and removed the gold alem (finial) from the minaret.(5) They also damaged three marble pillars.(6) The mosque was probably later repaired. It was restored in 1867-68 at the expense of Sultan Abdul Aziz, as recorded by an inscription above the entrance on a stone plaque measuring 55 x 70 cm, carved in Arabic prose(7) in ordinary naskh script:

The founder of this property was the late Gazi Jusuf pasha, a native of Maglaj, may Allah bestow His mercy upon him. The property needed repair, for which Sultan Emperor Abdul Aziz khan, may his rule be eternal, provided funds from the imperial coffers. The restoration began and ended [in chronogram] 'g-r-f-d'(8), and good deeds erase evil deeds.

In 1902 the top of the minaret above the šerefe was blown over by high winds; it was rebuilt, and topped with an alem (finial).(9)  Still during the Austro-Hungarian period, before World War I, part of the roof on the south side was repaired.(10)  

In 1951, while a house was being built on the site of the old Terzimehić house very close to the Kuršumlija, the foundations of a hammam were found, with kurnas [stone troughs with a hemispherical hollow, without a drainage hole] and a ćulhan [furnace room], probably built by the benefactor of the Kuršumlija, Kalavun Jusuf pasha. During these works, 200 earthenware water pipes were dug up. H. Kreševljaković also refers to the hammam as probably built by Jusuf pasha.


2. Description of the property

The Kuršumlija mosque in Maglaj belongs to the type of single-space domed mosque with a triple-domed portico and stone minaret. It is one of the more representative examples of the architecture of the classical Ottoman style in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The square central prayer space, with sides of approx. 14.85 m, is domed. The apex of the dome is 22.00 m above floor level. The transition from the square plan to the circular dome is effected by trompes and spherical triangles (pendentives). All eight pendentives are decorated in colour and complete the transition to the drum ring. The octagonal drum is reinforced by pilasters on the outside corners. There is a lancet window on each side of the drum.

The open sofa area is about 4.00 m deep and is covered by three cupolas. The exterior sofas have four stone columns between them, and are joined to the front wall by pointed arches; pendentives form the transition to the three cupolas with octagonal drums. The mimber, mihrab and mahfil are of stone, and are in the classical Ottoman style.

Inside, there is a decorative cornice at a rather lower level than is the norm for this type of mosque, between the drum windows. The stone portal is arched, with door jambs.

The windows at ground-floor level consist of rectangular openings and plain glazed lunettes. The lunettes were probably originally fitted with transennas, possible glazed with small panes of stained glass.

The window sills, jambs and lintels are of carefully worked moulded stone. The other windows, including those on the drum, terminate in pointed arches.

The minaret has a fourteen-sided shaft tapering gradually towards the top, and is 42.50 m in height overall, with a diameter measured to the outside of 1.80 m.

The mosque was built of evenly hewn sandstone blocks. The walls are 115 cm thick where they were measured. The façades are unrendered, and the inside walls are plastered. The dome and minaret are clad with sheet lead.

The harmonious proportions of the main components and marked height of the volumes gives the impression of a pyramid ascending in steps to the central dome. The mosque is decorated in the classical style with stone stalactites in the trompes, below the šerefe of the minaret, in the mihrab, and on the capitals of the columns of the exterior sofas. Bas-relief geometric ornament is to be seen on the frame of the mihrab niche and the šerefe balustrade.

The Kuršumlija mosque is the heart of the historic centre of Maglaj.

The mosque harem surrounds it on all four sides, with extremely finely worked tombstones. The nišan tombstones in the burial ground attest to the presence of good calligraphers and stonemasons. They are of sandstone, which rapidly deteriorates under the effects of the elements, damaging the epitaphs. This may be the reason for the absence of any 15th or 16th century nišan tombstones.

Mujezinović recorded a total of 13 nišan tombstones with epitaphs, the oldest of which bearing a date was from 1180 AH (1766).

Nišan of Hajji Sulejman effendi

The headstone nišan, with an ulama turban, is incised with an epitaph in Turkish prose.

To the right of the entrance to the courtyard, on the street side of the courtyard wall, is a fountain – a simple metal pipe from which water flows into a stone trough. The fountain is flush with the wall.  It bears an incised inscription in Turkish, in fine bold ta'liq, reading:

He [God] is the Eternal Creator. The donor of this fountain is Hajji Mustafa, who hopes for the intercession of Mustafa [Muhammad] the Messenger of God. Year 1237 [1821-1822].


3. Legal status to date

By Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina no. 02-722-3/62, the propety was placed under state protection.

The Regional Plan for the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to 2002 lists the property as part of the urban ensemble of Maglaj as a Category I property, of national importance.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments issued a decision to add the Kalavun Jusuf pasha (Kuršumlija) mosque to the Provisional List of National Monuments under serial no. 365.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

Condition in 1996

The property suffered major damage during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina: the cupolas over the portico were holed, and the barrel of the minaret was almost completely destroyed. The situation was exacerbated by a long-term problem – the corner pillar of the portico, which no longer served its structural purpose as a result of damage. In 1985 this corner was made safe with a wooden underpinning structure to prevent the upper part of the portico construction from collapsing.

Project for repair, conservation and restoration works

The project for repair, conservation and restoration works on the Kuršumlija mosque was drawn up by a team from the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina(11), under the supervision of experts from the Swedish NGO Cultural Heritage without Borders. Since the property is of great value as a monument and in the townscape, the project was designed to make good the damage in such a way as to preserve the property's original historical authenticity by saving old structures and details and by using traditional materials and techniques.

During the works, reinforced concrete and cement were removed, on account of their incompatibility with the original materials. The investor was SIDA (Swedish International Development Agency), via the Swedish NGO Cultural Heritage without Borders (CHwB). The works contractor was Gradnji of Zenica.

The first stage of restoration works consisted of erecting scaffolding around the property and laying a protective cladding over the roof to allow the property to dry out.

Restoration works on the portico

The second stage of the project included making good the holes on the portico cupolas, which were filled with tufa blocks. Particular care was taken over the insertion of the endmost blocks and the join with the existing cupola.

Irregularities in the outer surface of the cupolas were evened out using the same material, over which a coat of clay plaster was applied. To enable it to bond more effectively, chopped straw was added. The upper surface was smoothed until it was absolutely even, and sheet metal was then laid over it. The sheet lead cladding was executed with specific detailing to make it as similar as possible to the original.

Repairs to the main dome

The first step in the process of repairing the main dome was the removal of the protective PVC sheet covering the finial and sheet lead cladding. The existing base coat of lime cement mortar was also removed, as was the existing, damaged reinforced concrete ring on the dome bearing. The damaged blocks of the dome cornice were removed.

On completion of the dismantling works, holes in the dome, measuring 2.00 x 2.00 m, were repaired, as were some radial cracks. The holes were filled with tufa blocks in lime mortar.  The size, finish and geometry of the blocks were a perfect match to those of the surviving blocks in the same course. The radial cracks on the dome were cleared of fallen material and washed out with water before being sealed with lime mortar inserted into the full depth of the cracks down to dome level.

For structural reasons, channels to take ties on the dome bearing were cut. The ties were made of reinforcing bars with serial tensioners, and were designed to serve the same purpose as the reinforced concrete ring that was removed. A coat of lime mortar was laid over the dome, including the closing off of the tie channels. A clay plaster base for cladding the dome with sheet lead was laid.

All the domes were clad with 2mm sheet lead. The strips of lead were cut to a specific size and shape, with the longitudinal and transverse joints executed with particular care. The transverse horizontal joins were formed by using a copper rod ring and are much less prominent than the longitudinal radial ribs, which are further accentuated by a capping along the entire join.  This cladding formed a total of seven horizontal rings of sheet lead on the dome, evoking the symbolism of the number 7.

Replacement of the corner column of the portico

In 1985 a wooden underpinning was added to the corner of the mosque portico, for safety reasons, taking over the structural function of the column, with its badly damaged capital and distorted shaft that meant it was of no longer of any structural use.

The replacement of the corner column was carried out with extreme care. An additional wooden underpinning structure was erected. A hydraulic lift was used and wooden beams were introduced to shore up and separate the upper part of the portico structure from the column itself, millimetre by millimetre, to create a gap of 9 mm, in such a way as to avoid any sudden give on the part of the longitudinal and transverse metal ties that were already in place on the portico.  After this structural separation, the ties were slackened with extreme caution, anchored in an iron casing at the top of the capital, and sealed with lead. Achieving molten lead with a burner was extremely difficult, since the lead being used was Turkish, which contains high levels of various alloys and admixtures of other elements, increasing its hardness.

The new column, which was made in a stonemason's yard to detailed drawings to match the original, was composed of three parts – the base, the shaft and the capital – joined by stainless steel spikes sealed with lead through specially made pipes. The joins between the various parts of the column were surrounded by metal rings. The base of the column was anchored to the plinth of the portico and sealed with lead. The capital, as the topmost component, was also made to match the original, with the same opening and casing into which the old metal ties were reintroduced and sealed with lead.

The upper part of the portico was gradually lowered, leaving in place the scaffolding, wooden shoring beams and hydraulics for safety reasons until the mortar bonding had been completed. The entire process of replacing the column was monitored by a surveyor and a structural engineer.

On completion of the process the old wooden underpinnings were dismantled, leaving the portico completely open.

Reconstruction of the barrel of the minaret

            The first two rings of the console cornice of the šerefe and under-šerefe were so badly damaged and dilapidated that they had to be completely replaced, as did some of the blocks in the lower two rings. The stone blocks, which weigh 250 to 300 kg, were marked, dismantled and laid in rings in the mosque harem. Following detailed drawings and original models, new sandstone blocks were cut in the stonemason's yard. These were again laid in rings on the ground, marked, lifted and laid in their original positions. On completion of this work, masonry work on the barrel of the minaret began by cutting sandstone blocks from a quarry on the slopes of Mt. Ozren. The blocks were laid in lime mortar, and all the stone blocks were joined by metal cramps and sealed with lead. All the surviving original blocks were rebuilt into the minaret.

All the edges of the polygonal barrel were finished by a stonemason in line with the shaft to create visual continuity. The barrel of the minaret terminates in two rings with shallow niches topped by shallow pointed arches. The cornice of the minaret wall has a simple moulding.

The minaret has a conical spire with a 15 m high wooden mast running up the centre.  The mast, which is set in a socket on a stone pivot level with the šerefe of the minaret, emerges above the spire and holds the alem (finial). The spire is clad with sheet lead with the same kinds of joins as on the domes.

The šerefe balustrade was reconstructed using the surviving pieces as models, with bas-relief geometric ornament on the outside. It was made of fine-grained standstone from a quarry in Mošćanica, as were the decorative stalactites on the under-šerefe. The slabs forming the balustrade were joined by metal cramps sealed with lead, and the šerefe with metal spikes also sealed with lead through special pipes.

In the autumn of 1999 the two-and-a-half year repair, conservation and restoration works on this outstanding cultural monument were completed.


5. Current condition of the property

The property is in good structural condition. The painted decoration on the inside walls and dome require conservation and restoration.



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

C.ii.      proportions

C.iv.      composition

D.         Clarity

D.ii.      evidence of historical change

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

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

I.          Completeness

I.i.         physical coherence

I.iii.       completeness


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-          Copy of cadastral plan;

-          Land Register entry, proof of title;

-          Photodocumentation: photographs of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of BiH;

-          Drawings:

-         Ground plan, scale 1:50,

-         Plan of dome, scale 1:50,

-         Longitudinal section, scale 1:50,

-         West façade, scale 1:50,

-         South façade, scale 1:50.



During the procedure to designate the architectural ensemble of the Kalavun Jusuf pasha (Kuršumlija) mosque in Maglaj as a national monument of BiH, the following works were consulted:


1951.    Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Prilozi povijesti bosanskih gradova pod turskom vladavinom (Contributions to the History of Bosnian Towns under Turkish Rule), Prilozi za orijentalnu filologiju i istoriju jugoslovenskih naroda pod turskom vladavinom, II/1951 (Contributions to Oriental Philology and the History of the Peoples of Yugoslavia under Turkish Rule, Sarajevo, II /1951), Sarajevo, 1951.


1965.    Bojanovski, Ivo, “Stari grad Maglaj: Istraživački i konzervatorski radovi 1962. i 1963. g.” (The Old Maglaj Fort: Research and Conservation Works, 1962 and 1963), in: Naše starine, Sarajevo – X (1965).


1977.    Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine II – Istočna i centralna Bosna (Islamic epigraphics of BiH, bk. II, Eastern and Central Bosnia), Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1977.


1980.    Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Kapetanije u Bosni i Hercegovini (Captaincies in Bosnia and Herzegovina), 2nd ed., Svjetlost, Sarajevo, 1980.


1984.    Andrejević, Andrej, Islamska monumentalna umetnost XVI veka u Jugoslaviji – kupolne džamije (16th century Islamic monumental art in Yugoslavia – domed mosques), Faculty of Philosophy of Belgrade, Institute of Art History, Belgrade, 1984.


1999.    Ljuca, Adin, Maglaj na tragovima prošlosti (Maglaj from the Evidence of the Past), Prague, 1999.


2005.    Hadžić, Azra, BSc. Arch, “Kalavun Jusuf-pašina ili Kuršumlija džamija u Maglaju” (The Kalavun Jusuf pasha or Kuršumlija Mosque in Maglaj), in: Moj dom, Sarajevo, 2005.


Documentation of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH. 

(1) Redžić, Husref, Islamska arhitektonska baština, Sarajevo, VM 1983, 124.

(2) Čičkušić, Ferid, “Kuršumlija džamija u Maglaju”, Preporod, Sarajevo, III, 1972, no. 43-44, 16-17.

(3) Ibidem.

(4) Ibidem.

(5) GVIS, Sarajevo, 1959, no. 1-3, 149.

(6) Mezilidžić, Mehmed, “Legenda o Maglaju” (A Legend About Maglaj), Preporod, Sarajevo, IV, 1973, no. 13(68), 15.

(7) Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika u BiH, knj II – Istočna i centralna Bosna, Sarajevo, VM, 1977, 236.

(8) g-1000; r-200; f-80; d-4; this means that the restoration took place in 1284 AH, or 1867/68.

(9) Glasnik Vrhovnog islamskog starješinstva (Herald of the Supreme Islamic Council), Sarajevo, 1959, no.1-3, 148.

(10) Ibidem.

(11) The principal designers of the project for the Institute were Aleksandar Ninković and Azra Hadžić; the project supervision and coordination was led for CHwB by Tuula Raula, Pal Anders Stensson and Tina Wik.

Maglaj - Kalavun Jusuf-pasha (Kuršumljija) mosqueKalavun Jusuf-pasha (Kuršumljija) mosqueSoutheast facadeNorthwest facade
Graveyard of the mosquePorchPorticoPorch, decoration
Nišan tombstones in the graveyardDecoration, stalactites MihrabMimber
Mahfil and portico   

BiH jezici 
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