Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Šantića villa in Borci, the site and remains of the historic building

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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 14 to 20 March 2006 the Commission adopted a






The site and remains of the historic building of the Šantić villa in Borci near Konjic 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 nos. 2275 and 2276, (new survey), title sheet no. 322; cadastral municipality Borci; Konjic Municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 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 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 Government of the Federation shall be responsible for providing the resources needed to draw up and implement the necessary technical documentation for the protection and conservation 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.




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:

  • the property shall be restored by reconstruction to its original condition in line with the technical documentation forming an integral part of this Decision, with  approval of the Federation ministry responsible for regional planning and with the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority),
  • before reconstruction works are begun the surviving parts of the property shall be conserved;
  • the original appearance of the building shall be retained during reconstruction and restoration works,
  • missing parts shall be reconstructed in their original form, of the same size and of the same or similar materials, based on documentation on their original appearance,
  • the building may be used for residential, health-care, educational and cultural purposes.

In order to protect and provide the conditions for the reconstruction and restoration of the building, the following protection measures are hereby stipulated:

  • the interior of the building shall be cleared of fallen material,
  • the structural components of the building shall be examined and a structural analysis conducted,
  • the building shall be protected from harmful exterior influences.



            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 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.




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: 06.2-02-738/03-4        

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.

On 7 April 2003 the Commission received a petition from Konjic Municipality. 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 town of Konjic is in the Herzegovina-Neretva canton, on the road leading from Sarajevo to Mostar and beyond, to the Adriatic Sea. Located 60 km from Sarajevo, it lies in a valley by the river Neretva, surrounded by high mountains: Prenj (2102 m), Bjelašnica (2067 m) and Bitovinja (1744 m). In addition to these features of natural beauty, Konjic Municipality contains the Jablanica and Borac lakes.

The Borac lake lies in the foothills to the north-easet of Mt. Prenj, at an altitude of 405 m above sea level. It is one of the most beautiful natural lakes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and famous as a place for outings or summer residence.  It is 21 km from Konjic. The lake is reached via a winding asphalt road through picturesque mountain scenery. The Borac lake is elliptical in shape, 786 m long and 502 m wide, with a depth of up to 14 metres.

It is surrounded by thick evergreen and deciduous forest. The Šantić Villa is located in the village of Borci, in a clearing in thick evergreen forest, with a view of the Borac lake.

The Šantić Villa is located on a site designated as cadastral plot nos. 2275 and 2276, (new survey) cadastral municipality Borci; title sheet no. 322; Konjic Municipality.

The main entrance to the building is from the west, from the road leading to the village of Borci.

Historical information

In 1902, the head of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Baron Benko, built a villa in Borci. Baron Benko often spent time in the villa, coming to Prenj with company for the shooting. Eight years later, in 1910, he sold the villa to the Šantić family. The famous poet Aleksa Šantić(1) took up residence in the villa in Borci in 1913, when he was banished from Mostar by the Austro-Hungarian authorities on account of his patriotic poems.

As a good friend and relation of the Šantić's, the writer Svetozar Ćorović also stayed in the villa in Borci on one occasion.

After World War I, Aleksa Šantić sold the villa to the Institute of Public Health in Mostar.

During World War II, there was a partisans’ hospital in the villa in Borci for a  while, and the building came under enemy attack.

After World War II the Forestry Ministry of Bosnia and Herzegovina restored the villa, turning into a forest lodge which it used for its own purposes.

The academic painter Lazar Drljača(2)  lived in the Šantića villa in Borci from 1931, dying there on 13 July 1970. At his own wish, he was buried in the glade by the Šantić villa (Milić, 1985, p. 312).

            During the 1992-1995 war the Šantić villa was left in ruins as a result of war action, with only parts of the stone walls surviving.


2. Description of the property

            During the Austro-Hungarian period a new type of residential building appeared in Bosnia and Herzegovina, known as a villa. This was a free-standing building in a garden, with tall trees and flowers. Villas dating from the Austro-Hungarian period are characterized by their richness of appearance, itself reflecting the owner's wealth. In most of these villas with several rooms, one was furnished as a drawing-room or salon, with a luxurious carpet, highly-polished mirrors, and gilded furniture with satin upholstery (Spasojević, 1999, p. 25).

            The Šantić villa corresponds typologically to the  Austro-Hungarian villa.

It is a free-standing building, with the main entrance to the west. Later another entrance was made to the east. The ground plan is rectangular, with exterior dimensions of approx. 11.65 long (west side) and 12.15 m (east side), and a width of approx. 10.15 m.

The building had a ground floor, first floor, and attic in part of the building (the western part).

The basic structural elements are stone walls, with a thickness of 55 cm. The walls were plastered and painted on the inside.

The facade was of stone in parts (the south-eastern room on the ground floor), with the rooms above this, on the first floor, had a wooden facing on the outside.  The other walls of the facade were faced with grey eternite tiles.

The steep hipped roof had a classic timber structure, and was clad with grey salonite tiles. On part of the attic (the western side of the building) the roof extended beyond the height of the attic and was clad with salonite tiles.

Based on an on-site inspection in February 2006, a survey of the building, and the measurements taken of the ground floor of the building, the Šantić villa consisted of the following rooms:

  1. entrance hall
  2. kitchen
  3. larder
  4. WC
  5. bathroom
  6. south-west room
  7. south-east room
  8. north-east room

The main entrance was to the west, roughly midway along the west façade wall.  The main entrance led into an entrance hall measuring approx. 4.40 x 2.15 m. The building had an interior double-flight staircase leading from this entrance hall to the first floor. To the right of the door, the entrance hall led into the south-west room, which measured approx. 4.40 x 4.10 m. To the left of the door, the hall led into a room which was probably the kitchen, on the north-west side of the building. This room measured approx. 3.30 x 3.20 m. There was a small room beside the kitchen which was used as a larder, measuring 2.00 x 1.30 m. The WC was next to the larder, and measured approx. 1.30 x 1.30 m.

The entrance hall led directly into a small anteroom, which led from the left into the north-west room, measuring approx. 4.00 x 4.00 m.  Beside the anteroom was a room probably used as a bathroom, which measured approx. 2.60 x 1.85 m.

In the room on the south-east side of the building, the south wall projected outwards by some 50 cm from the rest of the façade, and was executed in the form of a trapezoid.  The size of this room is approx. 5.0 x 4.0 m.  There were three large windows in the south wall of this room, and one of the same size in the east wall. These windows were round-arched, and measured approx. 170 cm high and approx. 75-100 cm wide.  This room led directly to the outside, through the door that was a later addition.

The layout of the first floor and attic can be deduced from the layout of the ground floor.  The first floor probably had the same layout as the ground floor.  There were four rooms on the first floor, entered – like the other rooms – entered from the corridor.  The bathroom was by the staircase.

The attic probably consisted of two rooms.

            In addition to the main building of the Šantić villa, there was a single-storey outbuilding close by on the same site. This building no longer exists. It measured 14.20 x 5.10 m (dimensions taken from design dated 1927 obtained from the Archives of BiH).


3. Legal status to date

The Šantić villa was not on the register of protected monuments.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

Conservation and restoration works were carried out at some time, but we have no precise information on who carried them out or when.

According to the blueprints obtained from the Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, dating from 1925-27, the layout of the Šantić villa was different from that surveyed on site; the building obviously had an extension built on.

Originally, the ground floor had three rooms, as did the first floor, and the present-day south-east room was a terrace. This was later walled to provide an additional room on each of the ground and first floors.


5. Current condition of the property

            The Šantić villa is in very poor structural condition. During the 1992-1995 war the building was badly damaged, and all that now survives is part of the stone walls. The roof and woodwork were completely destroyed, and the interior of the building fell in, making it impossible to gain access to some parts of the building.

            The failure to take preventive protection measures, and the penetration of precipitation into the building, as well as other adverse weather conditions, has led to serious structural damage which could lead to further collapse:

  • since the building has no roof, the walls have no protection from the elements and are thus at risk of further deterioration;
  • the eternite tiles have fallen away from almost the entire façade, so that the stone walls are exposed to the elements over the entire building;
  • the woodwork is missing or wholly destroyed, with merely the frames visible here and there;
  • the plaster has fallen away from almost all the inside walls of the building;
  • in the interior, parts of the stone walls have collapsed, making it impossible to enter the building;
  • there is damage to almost all the partition walls.

The place where Lazar Drljača's grave was is now concreted over, and beside it is a tree-stump which formerly bore a metal plaque with Drljača's name.


6. Specific risks

  • penetration of atmospheric water in the walls,
  • rising damp in the lower reaches of the walls,
  • large quantities of fallen material inside the building.



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.iii. proportions

C.vi. value of construction

D. Clarity

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

G. Authenticity

G.v. location and setting


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-                      Copy of cadastral plan and details of ownership,

-                      Photodocumentation (photographs taken by the Commission),

-                     Technical documentation dating from 1925-1927, obtained from the Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina.



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


1927    Karanović, Milan, O tipovima kuća u Bosni (Types of houses in Bosnia) Jnl of the National Museum, Vol. for history and ethnography, Sarajevo 1927.


1953.   Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Stari hercegovački gradovi, (Old Herzegovinian towns) Naše starine I, 1953, 1-45


1967.   Kadić, Muhamed, Starinska seoska kuća u BiH (Old rural houses in BiH), Cultural Heritage Series, Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo 1967


1985.   Milić, Dr. Ljubo, Neretva, Prenj, Čvrsnica, Čabulja, Vran, Ljubuša, Raduša, Makljen, Crvanj; Priroda, čovjek, istorija (Nature, man, history); Mostar, 1985


1990    Konjic i njegova okolina u vrijeme austrougarske vladavine (1878.-1918.) (Konjic and environs during Austro-Hungarian rule [1878-1918]), Konjic, 1990


1991.   Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Izabrana djela II, (Selected Works II) Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1991.


1999.   Spasojević, Borislav, Arhitektura stambenih palata austrougarskog perioda u Sarajevu (Architecture of residential palaces of the Austro-Hungarian period in Sarajevo), Rabic, Sarajevo, 1999.


(1) Aleksa Šantić is one of Bosnia and Herzegovina's best-known poets. He was born in 1868 in Mostar, where he spent most of his life. He was born to a merchant family, studied at commercial school in Trieste and Ljubljana, and returned to Mostar on completion of his education.

Šantić reached his greatest poetic maturity between 1905 and 1910, when he wrote his finest poems.  Šantić's poetry is imbued with powerful emotions, the sorrows of love, pain and defiance on behalf of his nationally disempowered people. He wrote patriotic poetry in his book "Moja otadžbina" (My Homeland).  In some of his most moving poems, Šantić writes about the suffering of those who leave their homeland for ever to live in foreign lands, «Ostajte ovdje» and «Hljeb».  Šantić's love poetry evolved under the powerful influence of the Bosnian sevdalink. The setting of his love poems is that of the garden and of blossom, of the hammam, of šadrvan fountains... One such poem is "Emina". The most frequent mofit in his love poems is yearning that grows into the sorrow caused by unrequited love.

As well as writing poems, Šantić was involved in other cultural and political work.  In 1896, he and Svetozar Ćorović founded the Serbian national news-sheet "Zora" .

He died on 2 February 1924 in his native Mostar of tuberculosis, then an incurable disease.

(2) Lazar Drljača was a great painter from Bosnia and Herzegovina, famous for his paintings and his unusual lifestyle, an individualist and man of nature. He was born in 1882 in the village of Blatna near Bosanska Krupa.  He trained in the trade of locksmith and graduated from technical school in Sarajevo. He studied architecture and at the Art Academy in Vienna, and also lived and worked in Paris. He exhibited throughout Europe. In 1931 he decided to live by Borac lake, and from then on until his death he lived in the Šantić villa in Borci, with a break during World War II. Lazar Drljača died on 13 July 1970, and was buried, at his own wish, in the glade by the Šantić villa, in the remote areas of Mt. Prenj.


Šantića villa in Borci, the site and remains of the historic buildingŠantića villa, archival photographRemains of the Šantić villaRemains of the Šantić villa
Remains of the Šantić villaView from the siteSurrounding of the Šantić villaRemains of the Šantić villa - detail
Interior of the villa   

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