Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Officers’ Casino (Federation Army Centre, Army Centre), the historic monument

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Status of monument -> National monument

Published in the „Official Gazette of BiH“ no. 97/07.

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 historic monument of the Officers’ Casino (Federation Army Centre, Army Centre) in Sarajevo is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of the Officers' Casino building and movable heritage – four paitnings by Ismet Mujezinović.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 2057 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. no. 91 (old survey), Land Register entry No. XXXVIII/1, cadastral municipality Sarajevo XI, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovine, 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 protection zones are hereby stipulated.

Protection Zone I consists of the area defined in Clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision. The following measures shall apply in this zone:

-          all works are prohibited other than conservation and restoration works, works designed to display the monument, and routine maintenance works, together with the additional of such installations as are essential for this type of public edifice, 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,

-          all damage shall be repaired,

-          the interior premises of the building shall be restored and adapted for cultural use in such a way as shall not be detrimental to the value of the building as a monument,

-          the building shall be floodlit.




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 removal of the movable heritage items referred to in Clause 1 of this Decision (hereinafter: the movable heritage) from Bosnia and Herzegovina is prohibited.

By way of exception to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Clause, the temporary removal from Bosnia and Herzegovina of the movable heritage for the purposes of display or conservation shall be permitted if it is established that conservation works cannot be carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Permission for temporary removal under the conditions stipulated in the preceding paragraph shall be issued by the Commission, if it is determined beyond doubt that it will not jeopardize the items in any way. 

In granting permission for the temporary removal of the items, the Commission shall stipulate all the conditions under which the removal may take place, the date by which the items shall be returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the responsibility of individual authorities and institutions for ensuring that these conditions are met, and shall notify the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the relevant security service, the customs authority of  Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the general public accordingly.




The Government of the Federation, the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning, the Federal Ministry responsible for culture, 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 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) 




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.



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 30 November 2005 the Commission received a petition from the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport, Sarajevo, and began to carry out the procedure for the designation of the property 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 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.
  • An inspection of the current condition of the property
  • Copy of cadastral plan
  • 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 Officers’ Casino(1) (Federation Army Centre, Dom ljiljana(2), Army Centre) is in Zelenih beretki (Green berets) street (formerly Franjo Josif street and JNA street) in Sarajevo, forming part of the more extensive architectural ensemble terminated to the west by the building of the Realna gymnazija (General Programme Grammar School, now Grammar School I) by architect Karlo Pařik dating from 1890 and built to a design by Carl Panek in 1893, the Preparandija and Mala realka (Preparatory School and Junior Grammar School) dating from 1906, the Savings Bank building, and to the east by the trading house of Ješua and Mojce D. Salome dating from 1912 (now the Art Gallerey of BiH) and the Orthodox Cathedral. To the north this ensemble terminates in the spacious square (formerly Trg Oslobođenja or Liberation Square, now A. Izetbegović Square).

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 2057 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. no. 91 (old survey), cadastral municipality Sarajevo XI, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovine, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

In the early years of the Austro-Hungarian occupation, building and architectural activity in Bosnia and Herzegovina began in very specific conditions, dictated by the circumstances of the day on the one hand, and the needs of the new authorities on the other. The imbalance between the existing conditions and the needs dictated the extent and pace of building in those early years (Krzović, p. 13). At  first, existing buildings were adaptped.

A decisive step was taken in the 1880s, and in particular after the great fire that swept through Sarajevo in 1879, speeding up the process of regulating the street layout, in particularly the stretch between Ferhadija and Franc Josef street (now Zelenih beretki street)(3).

The first buildings to go up during the Austro-Hungarian period were intended solely for the army. The military command of General Baron Filipović was housed in the Konak building, around which the necessary services were set up in neighbouring buildings: the telegraph office, Provincial Government, cavalry barracks, prison, sergeants’ mess, magistrates’ court, the Perić lodging house and, across the street on the north corner of former Ajanović and N. Pozderac streets, an officers' mess that no longer exists(4).

In his Arhitektura Bosne i Hercegovine, Nedžad Kurto observes: “Architectural activity in Bosnia and Herzegovina had been stagnating ever since the end of the 16th century, and then in gradual decline. By that time, all the major buildings in the spirit of the Ottoman architectural tradition had already been built. This was why the expected conflict between the former oriental and the newly-arrived European ideals was not reflected in any drastic manner in the architecture of the 19th century.  A further contributory factor was that one does not find here, as might be reasonably expected, solutions of the kind that would represent a link between the improvisatory spirit of vernacular builders and academically trained architects. The reason for that is that all the major buildings dating from after the 1860s were the work of foreign builders.

There is no classicist period in the architecture of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and its influence on building is rare and barely discernible, and then only indirectly, since it can be detected only on fragments of architectural ensembles. The romantic spirit of the new age was closer to a more free improvisation of forms and a more complex and dynamic composition of façade structures, as opposed to the classicist vertical and horizontal divisions of strictly geometrical cuboid masses. The features of the romantic spirit, expressed in the aspiration to ease and a state of unstable equilibrium, and the application of rarely used motifs to underline continual rhythmizations, appear not only on the few buildings of Europeanized architecture of the Turkish period, but also after the occupation. The impression of romantic abundance is usually achieved through a tripartite plan, in fact by the elimination of the third projection. However, this is not the expression of the structuralist logic of academism, since there are major differences in ornamentation.“

In the 1880s, on the orders of the Duke of Wurttenberg, work began on the erection of an officers’ casino (Kreševljaković, p. 27) on the site between Franc Josef street, as it was then, and the river Miljacka, which was not built up at the time, together with a small cemetery that had been bought in the 1870s by the Austro-Hungarian Consulate General to build a Catholic church(5) (T. Kruševac, p. 50). The following year the building was formally opened, and until the erection of the Social Club (National Theatre), was the centre of social life in Sarajevo(6). This was a gift from the contractors laying the Brod-Sarajevo railway line to the officers and Civil Service of Sarajevo.

An article entitled “Nova zgrada vojničkog naučnog društva u Sarajevu” (New building of the military scientific society in Sarajevo) in the Mali viesnik for 30 March 1881 notes: “the construction contractor Mr. Bacher had a fine great building built at his own expense in Franjo Josif street, and in gratitude to the state gtifted it to the military society here. The building was already largely completed by autumn. Work is now actively in hand on the interior decoration with magnificent decoration and furnishings. . . A handsome, sizeable garden planted with various fine trees and flowers.(7)

This building was the headquarters of the “Militarwissenschaftliches Verein”, and also had a large library. The handsomely landscaped park that extended as far as the river Miljacka, with a large wooden pavilion, was later used as a building site on which a branch office of the Austro-Hungarian Bank was built in 1912.

From the very outset, this building played a very important part in Sarajevo’s cultural life, as it does to this day(8). In October 1880 an exhibition of ethnographic pictures by Mr. Arsenović was opened in the building. “A very interesting and instructive collection of folk costumes and jewellery in drawings and paintings from various regions high and low was on display in [the building].(9) 

The Officers’ Casino was also used for lectures. Under the heading “Public Lectures“ the press wrote that “the board of the military scientific society and casino is preparing a series of interesting scientific lectures for this winter.(10)

The first public concerts were also held in the Great Hall of the Casino. The first concert  “of the combined military bands of the [country's] infantry regiments“ was held on 11 December 1881. The press reported on this as a first-rate event for the city of Sarajevo. “The magnificent audience was headed by His Excellency Vice-Marshal Baron Dahlen and Stransky and senior civil servants and military officials, with a large number of members of the casino . . . “  “Both select programmes“ were held “in the splendid hall where chairs were arranged in rows. “  “The bands of infantry regiments no. 1 and no. 75 played works by Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Delibes and Halevy.(11)

The second concert was held on 17 January 1882, and featured piano and violin soloists, as well as vocal soloists accompanied by the orchestra(12). Philharmonic and other concerts by the military bands were to be held on a regular basis in the Casino Hall. Between 1891 and 1894 the press recorded a number of concerts conducted by Franz Lehar(13).

It was in this building that the first opera was performed, by the Heinrich Spier Theatre. In 1885 the non-confessional Men’s Choral Society was founded, followed later by local choral societies: Trebević, Lira, Sloga...  Many exhibitions and public lectures were held in the Casino.

After  World War II the building was given the name Dom Jugoslavenske narodne armije (Yugoslav National Army Club), and after the 1992-1995 war in BiH it was renamed Dom Ljiljana, or Federation of BiH Army Club.


2. Description of the property

The Officers' Casino – Army Club is a typical example of late 19th/early 20th century architecture. It was the first major building conceived along romantic lines in Sarajevo, where the impression of motility and fragile equilibrium is achieved by stepping the architectural elements (portico, central projection, wings of the building. . .) and reducing ornamentation to a minimum or merely underlining them (N. Kurto)

The original Officers' Casino building was a single-storey building consisting of a central block and side wings. The central section measured 16.50 x 20 metres, and the side wings 10.50 x 13 m.  There was a small Muslim burial ground in front of the building, and a garden with wooden pavilions and arbours on the Miljacka side. There was an octagonal wooden music pavilion about 8 m wide at the centre of the garden, with steps leading into it from the east and west. According to drawings dating from 1911 found in the Archives of BiH in Sarajevo, the park measured 80 x 50 m.

The present appearance and size of the building date from 1912, when it was extended and given an additional storey with a large formal hall (Krzović, p. 14). According to Jela Božić, the design project for the extension was by Karlo Pařik.(14) (Božić, p. 122). In 1912 the Austro-Hungarian Bank building was erected on the southern part of the garden, on a plot 40.50 m long. The rest of the garden was used to build a concert hall with open stage (now the atrium of the Army Club). The area where the burial ground had been was turned into a parking space.

The entire composition of the present-day building was executed on the principle of strict symmetry, with particular emphasis on the north façade and a prominent central projection, with the side wings rather less accentuated.

The central section of the building measures 16.50 x 31 metres, and the side wings 10.50 x 27 metres. To the south of the building is an atrium measuring 26 x 13 m, in which there is now an open stage.

The main façade, where the main entrance to the building is located, is further accentuated by a balcony with a balustrade. The balcony is supported by four pillars linked by round arches, and four pilasters projecting out from the wall face by 30 cm. The pillars measure 60 x 60 cm, and are set 2.30 m apart. The overall length of the terrace is 9.15 m and its width about 4 metres.

The basement, to the north-east of the building, consists of a storeroom and rooms housing various equipment. The central section of the ground floor contains a false space – a wind screen and a small staircase – and a reception area, a central hall measuring 15 x 6 m with the main staircase, a cloakroom, and a restaurant measuring 15 x 16 m. The side wings contain two halls, that in the west wing measuring 9.50 x 26 m, while the hall in the east wing is smaller. There were major alterations to the east wing, departing to a great extent from the project designs of 1912 and 1948, which were carried out by the Yugoslav National Army’s construction service, when adapting the space to its own needs. This entailed primarily installing a toilet block in the north-east corner of the building, where the original intention was to have a small conference room, and subdividing the upper halls into offices for the commanding officers of the building and the army.

The central section of the first floor contains the building’s main feature, the formal concert hall, which is still the concert hall with the best acoustics in Sarajevo. This hall, which was built on in 1912, measures 20 x 15 m. The decoration of the hall is somewhat more emphatic than that of the façades of the building, but in the same spirit. In his Arhitektura secesije u Bosni i Hercegovini, Ibrahim Krzović writes: “The tall planes of the walls of the hall are divided by pilasters, string courses and decorative cornices, bands and gilding. It is not known who carried out the alterations to the Casino, but judging from the stylistic features, it was probably in Vancaš's study, since it is in his manner of blending classicist and new secessionist forms. Furthermore, Vancaš already had a considerable reputation for building the cinema hall of the Union Hotel in Ljubljana. The dimensions and acoustics of the hall in the Offiicers’ Casino indicate that it was the work of an experienced architect.“ (p. 114). The stage of the concern hall is on the south side, and the main entrance to the hall on the north.  There is a balcony above the main entrance. There are four large canvases by the academic painter Ismet Mujezinović on display in this hall.

The basic structural system of the building consists of a load-bearing wall structure built of Austrian-format brick, plastered with lime cement mortar. The walls vary in thickness: the exterior walls are 0.60 m thick, and the partition walls usually 0.30 or 0.45 m thick. The flange walls of the roof are also brick-built and plastered on both sides with lime cement mortar. The entire roof structure is timber-built. Following the 1912 alterations, the roof was altered to a mansard roof. The roof cladding is galvanized sheet metal. The 1912 works altered the façades, which were given secessionist decoration with shallow, densely channelled pilaster strips, the forms of which do not extend beyond the height of the rustication, or plaster, forming segments of the walls linked into groups giving the façade its rhythm. The pilaster strips terminate in masks.

The horizontal articulation of the façade makes it possible to use horizontal string courses, which feature in two bands: a string course above the ground floor, extending over the entire length of the building, and the roof cornice. The rectangular windows are large in size.


There are four large canvases by the academic painter Ismet Mujezinović on display in the concert hall of the Army Club.

Ismet Mujezinović was born in Tuzla on 2 December 1907. He studied at the Art Academy in Zagreb(15)(1926 to 1931), continuing his studies in Paris(16), where he came into contact with the new so-called social art, which evolved after surrealism at a time of growing social disintegration, economic crisis and new political ideologies. His time in Paris aroused considerable interest in drawing, which was to become the fundamental and most effective medium of artistic expression (Krzović, 1985, 21).

After Paris, he spent a short time in Zagreb at the Academy of Fine Arts and in Split, with Grga Antunac and Ivo Lozica. At this time he began to compose major, large-size figural ensembles. In 1936 he returned to Sarajevo, where he continued his artistic evolution, making no significant stylistic shift in his work, but rather developing on the knowledge and experience he had gained in Paris. This stage of his work was to last for the next decade or so(17) (Krzović, 1985, 21-24). In late 1937 and early 1938 he painted a number of canvases that marked a new, independent line(18). Prior to this he had worked in line with familiar, established formulae, but his paintings representing village gatherings, picnics, and places where people meet to enjoy themselves in the open air for the day, can be linked with similar social forms of life in France at this same time (Front Populaire(19)).

Guided by such progressive ideas, painters, musicians, writers and workers came together in Sarajevo with the intention of working collectively, combining their forces and using a single expression, appropriate to their ideological struggle, to create a unique synthesis of art aimed at the wider public. The Sintetičko pozorište (Synthetic Theatre) was first to be created, followed by the Collegium Artisticum, of which Ismet Mujezinović was one of the principal founders (Krzović, 1985, 26). In October 1940, a thematic exhibition was mounted in the Collegium Artisticum entitled The Bosnian Village, in an attempt to represent the forgotten village and rural life and its appearance in the context of socially committed artistic ideas, in a “stage of social movements,” as has recently been said of his works on show. However, in addition to the social theme, clearly visible for example in the painting “Lunch at school,”, the colour palette of his works is also of note(20).

It can be said that between his return from Paris and the outbreak of World War II, two groups can be observed in Mujezinović's work: drawings of marked quality and topicality(21), and paintings in which, on the one hand, he strove to satisfy his patrons(22), clientele, milieu and his own material nature and, on the other, in which poetic realism, intimism and colourism that simply dissolve the social ideational content are present, leading to pure colouristic painting (Krzović, 1985, 30).

Mujezinović took part in the War of National Liberation from 1941 on, during which time he produced a large number of drawings and sketches (pencil, ink, prints) that he later reworked into separate major compositions. In these he recorded columns on the march, couriers, bomb-throwers, the wounded, people suffering from typhus, refugees en masse, mothers, old people, and livestock.

In the early post-war years he was mainly engaged in producing posters, illustrating books, display panel painting and setting up exhibitions.

From 1947, he dedicated himself solely to painting, focusing on a single major theme, a cycle, to which he would dedicated the next few years. This was the composition of paintings with the War of National Liberation as their subject, for the JNA Club in Sarajevo, to the order of Moše Pijada. The first of these cycles was a painting entitled Uprising, followed by one called Crossing the Neretva.

Mujezinović left Sarajevo in 1953 to return to his native Tuzla, although he finally moved there for good only some ten years later. During his early years back in Tuzla he painted motifs and figures from the the markets of Tuzla, miners, workers and fields in the stage known as his Tuzla étude and pastoral(23).

In general terms, the 1950s were Mujezinović's most productive post-war years, after which, in the early 1960s, he began his second great cycle for the JNA Club in Sarajevo, under the title In Honour of the Combatants of Sutjeska.

During the course of his life Mujezinović received many awards and prizes(24). He taught painting in a number of secondary school, in 1960 became a corresponding member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and the Arts in Zagreb, represented Yugoslavia at the first UNESCO congress in Vienna in 1953, painted the walls of many public premises(25), was founder of the present-day Gallery of Yugoslav Portraiture in Tuzla, was one of the initiators of the foundation of the University of Tuzla, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Tuzla in 1977, founded a prize for drawing in 1979 from the Ismet Mujezinović Fund(26), and illustrated many magazines and books.

In 1982, under the auspices of the Gallery of Yugoslav Portraiture in Tuzla, the Artists' Gallery was founded – a museum gallery establishment of special type. The first permanent exhibition of the Ismet Mujezinović Gallery in Tuzla had 167 exhibits – drawings, graphics, watercolours and oils. The gallery is a critical cross-section of his artistic opus from his earliest student works to works dating from the 1980s.

He died in Tuzla on 7 January 1984.


            The JNA Centre in Sarajevo, which commissioned the paintings, asked the artist to produce four large-scale compositions on the subject of the War of National Liberation. The paintings hang to the left and right of the main entrance to the hall, as shown on the drawing:




1.                                                  2.




4.                                                     3.




  1. The Uprising of 1941
  2. Crossing the Neretva
  3. In honour of the combatants of Sutjeska
  4. The liberation of Jajce in 1943

1. Ismet Mujezinović (Tuzla, 2.12.1907 – Tuzla, 7.1.1984). The Uprising of 1941, 1947-1949, oil on canvas, approx. 375 x 452 cm, Sarajevo, BiH Army Centre, in situ

Bibliography: Krzović, Ibrahim, Ismet Mujezinović, Yugoslav Portrait Gallery, Tuzla, Tuzla, 1985

The painting is of landscape format, and of large size (375 x 452 cm).

The composition is broad, encompassing hills and sky and developing around a swirling mass of human bodies shown in whole. These bodies, occupying the middle of the composition, create the compositional balance. This is also achieved by the deliberately diagonal treatment of the entire composition, unfolding from the top right-hand corner and descending abruptly over the heads of the heroes of the event in the bottom left-hand corner. The diagonal ends with the scene of a family – father and mother embracing, and a child tugging at her clothing. Viewed in this way, following the diagonal, the composition may be read in two ways. The lower right-hand side is dominated by people – combatants and the wounded – heartened by the fluttering red flag calling them to rise up. The opposite, top left-hand side is an empty, desolate landscape, its stillness broken only by outstretched hands – the hands of a woman – also diagonal, calling for rebellion, seeking an explanation, praying. The woman's hands are also symbolically diagonal with pitchforks, indicating that the uprising will be by the people as a whole. The presence of other farm implements, which can also be used as weapons – axes and scythes – indicate that the uprising will be for the people and by the people.

Contemplating this painting, one sees a similarity, whether accidental or deliberate, to compositions on similar subjects of much earlier date, during the French Romantic period. It is as if the artist himself was inspired by the powerful, inspirational story of the composition Liberty Leading the People (Eugène Delacroix, oil on canvas, Paris, Musée du Louvre). However, this composition marks the end of a great political turning-point, while in Mujezinović's painting the event is yet to come. Nonetheless, the scenography of the event irresistibly reminds one of Delacroix's treatment – a dominant female figure, leading the enthralled crowd to bring their idea into reality, the mainly red flag, and the people – combatants and the wounded.

The composition is clear thanks to the diagonals that divide it. These four diagonals extend gradually to cover the entire area of the composition, which remains whole and clear. The first diagonal is formed from the hands of the man on a rock in the bottom right-hand corner of the composition. Horsemen on the hill beyond the main event form the second diagonal, while the third runs from the woman's hands and the pitchfort to the left of the composition to the head of the leader of the uprising on the right-hand side. The fourth diagonal extends from the clouds and ends in the flag. To prevent the diagonals from overpowering the composition, the artist created a vertical running from the top of the red flag down to the blood around the head of a dead combatant.

The artist began painting the foreground with the head of a confused child, followed by an axe, and finally the bloody head of the dead man. The sequence of the composition is well thought out in terms of meaning – the child (innocence), the axe (separation, war) and finally the head of the dead man (death). The middle ground, on the other hand, with a group of revolutionaries, centres on the leader of the uprising, who is portrayed in profile, his face distinguishable only in rough detail. Only his tightly clenched fist indicates his powerful resistance. The background begins with the horsemen on the opposite site from the revolutionary's clenched fist, and recedes further into the landscape.

Light is merely a secondary tool in the shaping of this composition. The source of light, probably the sun, is from the top right, so discreetly and unemphatically highlighting the heroes of the uprising that it is almost imperceptible.

Ismet Mujezinović conducts a dialogue with colour, and is a skilled colourist, familiar with all its qualities and potential. He uses a warm and cool palette to shape forms, sometimes skilfully breaking them up with touches of white. The compositions he paints thus become full of colour effects.  Harmony between the different forms is achieved, while the composition remains clear colouristically. Reflecting on the role of colour in Mujezinović's art, Azra Begić writes (Azra Begić in Ismet Mujezinović, 1985, p. 12): “When the discipline breaks down, the pigment flows in liquid coats over the entire canvas, building up and breaking down forms, while its rich ramifying courses reveal all the dynamics of the pictural process and broad gesturality.”

Mujezinović planned and worked out his large-scale compositions in detail, as his numerous sketches and studies attest. The motifs of the wounded, the soldiers, the refugees, the sick whom the artist painted during the war would become a perpetual source for the later works on the War of National Liberation. Recalling how this composition was generated, the artist himself noted: “The most beautiful thing, and hence our greatest good fortune, is freedom. It is a prerequisite for living a life of dignity.  It is a fine thing to fight against everything that violates it, that is an assault on it... When I made the sketches for the composition Uprising, I thought about a stormy sea. I composed the figures in the shape of waves that rise and swell, that advance, that rise to a crest...  For Sutjeska, I took the line of a wounded falcon, trying to soar aloft with its last shreds of strength – and which achieves its victory flight, even though it is wounded...  That is how I painted, that is what guided me as I produced these canvases..”  (Ibrahim Krzović, op.cit., 1985, p. 267).

Mujezinović's brush strokes are discreet and fluid, clearly visible in some places and covered by other artistic media in others.

2. Ismet Mujezinović (Tuzla, 2.12.1907 – Tuzla, 7.1.1984). Crossing the Neretva, 1952-1953, oil on canvas, approx. 375 x 452 cm. Sarajevo, BiH Army Centre, in situ.

Bibliography: Krzović, Ibrahim, Ismet Mujezinović, Yugoslav Portrait Gallery, Tuzla, Tuzla, 1985.

Like the other paintings commissioned for the concert hall of the BiH Army Centre in Sarajevo, this one is of the same size, and of landscape format.

Given the position of the central motif – carrying the wounded – the painting covers a wide frame with a landscape. The human bodies filling the frame are shown as a whole, with the artist portraying the most diverse movements and poses the human body can achieve. Mujezinović did not reject the achievements of earlier times; on the contrary, he found in them new possibilities for achieving his monumental compositions. The painting Crossing the Neretva is evidence of this, with its pyramidal composition. Diagonals run from both left and right, leaving the centre of the composition full of the principal motif of carrying the wounded. To achieve compositional balance, the artist counters the pyramidal treatment of the composition with another two verticals, to left and right. This planned design renders the composition symmetrical and unencumbered.

The composition gives the impression of perfect symmetry. The three verticals, representing the three columns of people on the move, rest on the horizontal line of the ground. However, the domination of the verticals is fully evident. This relationship between horizontal and vertical lines contributes to the dynamism and drama of the composition itself.

The surroundings in which the event is taking place are wholly unpredictable. Raw nature, tumbling down the gorge, challenges human capacities. The people wending their exhausted way through the landscape pay no attention the destroyed bridge. The bridge is an ideogram rather than a clear image, remaining in the distant background. The artist may have been inspired here by the Old Testament story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

The area rhythmically covered by the planes is insufficiently clear and legible, yet the figures that surround it create it as a whole. The middle ground, running horizontally along the river, develops inwards, while the foreground begins with the scene of lifeless hands. Whether women's hands or men's, combatants' hands or the hands of the elderly, hands play an important part in Mujezinović's paintings. Their significance in both early and late works was recognized by Ibrahim Krzović, who writes: “Later these hands were 'accused' of having gone too far, for often being too lively, too carried away, accused of virtuosity and mannerism. Ismet Mujezinović's hands, whether they are holding a gun or carrying the wounded (cat. 137 and 139), or holding a pencil, a pen, a brush or a cigarette, talk to one another, caress one another, work together, and are never missing from the conversation or Ismet's narrative – these hands, with their sensibility, their cultivated quality, their wondrous coordination of eye and thought, have made numerous self-portraits of themselves and of Ismet.” (Krzović, op.cit., 1985, p. 38).

The light that imperceptibly falls on the people and the landscape is of low intensity. There are almost no shadows – here they are visible, there merely hinted at. It is the end of the day, therefore, as the exhausted faces of the people involved in the events also reveal. The baroque, almost Caravaggio-esque gleams of light adhere to the forms.

Using a sombre palette, the artist created harmony with the other artistic media and, in particular, with the subject of the composition. There are no abrupt transitions, no strong contrasts, no bright colours – everything is in alternating cool tones, with only the occasional, entirely deliberate, predominance of warm earth and blood tones (the central part of the composition, cf. the composition of Crossing the Neretva, 1948, Ibrahim Krzović,op.cit., 1985, cat. 137.)

Despite the powerful narrative impression, form is not detailed. The artist felt free to soften the outlines of the landscape and the people into graceful mounds. Mujezinović was to present his early treatments of this composition in 1947, in a number of sketches and studies (cf. Krzović, op.cit., cat. 129 and 130). His fascination with this subject would impel Mujezinović to return to it again and again.  Noting this, Krzović wrote: “In dealing for so long with this subject [Crossing the Neretva], in the final paintings of this cycle Mujezinović succeeded in achieving a highly concise expression, a form that remained true to the attributes of his manner, but also in achieving a denudation and raw drama, in making the figure an essential artistic component, in making of the figurative composition and subject of the War of National Liberation a new iconographic image, and in turning the bearing of the wounded into a kind of Pietà (cat. 131).” (Krzović, op.cit. 1985, 35).

Mujezinović hired two of his pupils, Ljubo Lah and Mario Mikulić, to assist him with this monumental composition and that of the 1941 Uprising, as well as being his models.

3. Ismet Mujezinović (Tuzla, 2.12.1907 – Tuzla, 7.1.1984). The Liberation of Jajce in 1943, 1972-1975, oil on canvas, approx. 375 x 452 cm. Sarajevo, BiH Army Centre, in situ.

Bibliography: Krzović, Ibrahim, Ismet Mujezinović, Yugoslav Portrait Gallery, Tuzla, Tuzla, 1985.

The monumental composition of The Liberation of Jajce in 1943, with its rich palette and wealth of narrative, is of landscape format.

A great many figures shown in their entirety compose a frame that also takes in parts of the landscape. The narrative content of the composition develops alolng a vertical line dividing the composition into two equal halves. The symmetry of the composition achieved a balance between the artistic elements as well as of the composition as a whole. There is a markedly harmonious agreement between the vertical and horizontal lines, giving the composition a certain quality of stillness. This harmony also made it impossible for either horizontals or verticals to dominate. For instance, the horizontal lines of the foreground and middle ground are intersected by the vertical line of the line of people moving from the top left-hand corner of the composition. In painting the royal city of Jajce, the artist sought to create a certain visual historical reminder of the continuity and importance of the place. A painting on the same subject, The Liberation of Jajce in 1943, had already been produced in 1961 for the Zagorac villa in Zagreb. As in his earlier monumental composition, Mujezinović embarked on his conceptualization of the subject by producing numerous sketches and studies. Of particular importance were the studies of figures, ranging from children and young people to the elderly. This thorough study of material assembled by Mujezinović would be a constant contribution to the wealth of illustrative material. The diversity of the illustrative material consists of individual human figures treated almost as portraits – portraits, people's individual stories and destinies, narrated in a harmonious language of artistic elements and spatial relations. Each of the figures is thus a painting in itself – unique, colouristically pure and elegant in contrast, whether one is observing a girl offering a jug of water to a soldier, a mother embracing her son, or women and children bearing a banquet.

Opening up the central part of the composition made it possible to perceive the spatial relations.  The space that develops gradually from the foreground to the background follows the clear relationship between the vertical and horizontal lines. The horizontal line of the ground is echoed by a number of motifs: a mother embracing her son, a mother greeting her son with arms outstretched, dancers in a kolo (round dance), and finally the old Jajce fort. On the other hand, the vertical lines develop around the line of women and children to the left and that of the horsemen and wounded to the right. The careful opposition of vertical and horizontal lines achieves spatial clarity.

As in his previous composition, Mujezinović pays little attention to the treatment of light. The effect of the pigments is to create a clear, transparent light, as a result of which the barely perceptible shadows flow through colour into new relationships of light.

The water that ran over the canvas of this monument composition has not “erased” its beauty and wealth of colour(27). When considering the chromatic features of the composition, it is worth examining the role of white pigment, both as an artistic element, and in its symbolic nature. The individual intensity of every colour is countered by the mass of white areas, particularly in the left-hand part of the composition. The centre of the composition too is full of opposing coats of white pigment. The emotion with which this scene is imbued suggests that it is a mother greeting her son – who is symbolically entering the scene on a white horse.

When painting the cycle on the War of National Liberation for the concert hall of the Army Centre, Mujezinović noted: “It will be an artistic chronicle of turbulent times, a glorification of our combatants, boys, couriers, women, mothers who passed through those uncertain times, suffering but believing that we would triumph. In a word, it is a kind of hymn of praise to a people that had nothing but its bare hands, which I have tried to convey visually on these large canvases.” (Ibrahim Krzović, op.cit., 1985, p. 267).

4. Ismet Mujezinović (Tuzla, 2.12.1907 – Tuzla, 7.1.1984). In Honour of the Combatants of Sutjeska, 1956-1960, oil on canvas, approx. 375 x 452 cm, Sarajevo, BiH Army Centre, in situ

Bibliography: Krzović, Ibrahim, Ismet Mujezinović, Yugoslav Portrait Gallery, Tuzla, Tuzla, 1985.

Synthesizing his experience of the earlier compositions on subjects from the War of National Liberation (cf. Krzović, op.cit., 1985, cat. 140 and 143), Mujezinović created in this composition a work of overt glorification of war and the zeal of the combatant. The large painting (375 x 452 cm) is in landscape format. In Honour of the Combatants of Sutjeska is the only one of the four monumental compositions painted for the concert hall of the BiH Army Centre that is directly associated with the events of the war and death on the battle field (cf. The 1941 Uprising, Crossing the Neretva, and The Liberation of Jajce in 1943).

The frame of the composition is filled in equal proportions with soldiers and the landscape. The landscape is reducd to a bare, brown, derelict landscape – nothing but the bare, brown earth.

The slightly asymmetrical composition opens up into a landscape of diagonals that merge beyond the point of vision into a V for victory. Here, as in the composition of Crossing the Neretva, Mujezinović studies the human body, its physiognomy, its musculature, its anatomy. He is not afraid to show the body in mental and physical stress, exhausted bodies, injured bodies. The two columns of soldiers, alternately fighting and falling, refer to Vanitas. The transitory nature of life and this world is shown through the figures of the soldiers who fell when storming the enemy and those whose fate is as yet uncertain. The alternation of life and death, of denuded nature and the bare bodies of the soldiers making their way in horizontal columns across the composition, render it dynamic and tense. Yet the figure portrayed in the centre of the composition, slightly to the left, is completely baffling. In treatment, the care with which it is formed and the subtlety of execution (unlike the “rough” treatment of the bodies of the soldiers) suggests that it is a boy or a woman.  Even there we are left guessing, for the artist skilfully concealed the figure's face with hasty brush-strokes.

A study of the space where the figures of the soldiers are placed and their inter-relationships suggests that it is a completely unclear, unreadable space. The foreground and background of the composition merge on account of the presence and effect of the same rhythmically repeated motif, that of the soldier.

Both in the treatment of the composition as a whole and in the treatment of light, the artist strove for monodimensionality, so as to avoid anything that might disrupt the balance of the entire composition. The presence of light can be identified by the presence of shadows. However, shadows are hard to make out on this composition.  Even when we are sure that there should be a shadow, it is left out, only to appear here and there as a pale stain on the canvas (for instance, the soldier in the right foreground). A study of the position and shape of the shadows reveals that the source of light is high in the top left-hand corner of the painting.

None of the freshness of colour with which Mujezinović expressed the planes of his paintings is to be seen in this composition. All is dry, almost monochromatic harmony. This static chromatic treatment is countered by faint dashes of red, featuring as mere hints on the clothing, hands and rifles of the soldiers.

A study of the figures of the soldiers in this composition makes it clear that they were executed using earlier solutions. The line is treated graphically rather than tonally. Without the use of firm black outlines to form the line, the bodies of the soldiers would merge into the landscape. And yet, with sharp, incisive brush-strokes, Mujezinović enhances the expressivity of the composition.


3. Legal status to date

The building itself has not been under legal protection.

The Grammar School street in which the building is located has the status of an ensemble of high townscape value.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

The first intervention on the building was carried out in 1912, when an extra floor was added with a large formal hall.

After World War II, alteration works on the interior were carried out on several occasions. The kitchen and the accommodation for soldiers on the ground floor were enlarged, and on the first floor one of the halls in the east wing was converted into premises for the officer in charge and his staff. The project for these alterations was designed by the JNA Civil Engineering Service. Up to 1992 the projects were housed in the Service’s archives of plans, but all trace of them was lost in 1992.

In the 1980s (before the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo), works on cladding the roof and on the facades were carried out.


5. Current condition of the property

The exterior facades are somewhat damaged by the elements and long-term lack of maintenance, and the absence of a proper system of guttering and downpipes. The damage takes the form of flaking of the paint and plaster. The windows are largely in dilapidated condition as a result of long-term lack of maintenance. During the war the roof was damaged in a number of places, as a result of which it was repaired and clad with galvanized sheet metal to prevent rain and snow penetrating.


6. Specific risks

Lack of maintenance.



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

D. Clarity

D.ii. evidence of historical change

D.iii. work of a major artist or builder

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


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-          Copy of cadastral plan

-          Copy of land register entry and proof of title;

-          Photodocumentation;

-         photograph from dissertation by Dimitrijević Branka, Architekt Karlo Pařik, Faculty of Architecture of the University of Zagreb, 1989.

-         photographs from book by Krzović Ibrahim, Arhitektura secesije u  BiH (Secession architecture in BiH), Cultural Heritage Series, Sarajevo 1987

-         photodocumentation of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of BiH

-          Drawings


-         Site plan dating from 1911

-         Site plan dating from 1912

-         Ground plan of basement dating from 1912

-         Ground plan of ground floor dating from 1912

-         Ground plan of first floor dating from 1912

-         Plan of roof frame dating from 1912

-         Cross-sections dating from 1912


-         Geodetic map dating from 1882

-         Plan of the city of Sarajevo dating from the Austro-Hungarian period

-         Cadastral plan

-         Ground plan of basement scale 1:200, dating from 1948, by T. Handžić

-         Ground plan of ground floor scale 1:200, dating from 1948, by T. Handžić

-         Ground plan of first floor scale 1:200, dating from 1948, by T. Handžić

-         Ground plan of first floor – alternative, scale 1:200, dating from 1948, by T. Handžić

-         West façade scale 1:200, dating from 1948, by T. Handžić

-         East façade scale 1:200, dating from 1948, by T. Handžić



During the procedure to designate the historic monument of the Federation Army Club (Army Club, Officers' Casino) in Sarajevo as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


1964.    Smail Tihić, Ismet Mujezinović. Enciklopedija likovnih umjetnosti (Encyclopaedia of Fine Arts) vol. 3, Zagreb, 1964, 508.


T. Kruševac, Sarajevo pod Austrougarskom upravom (Sarajevo under Austro-Hungarian administration)


Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Sarajevo za vrijeme Austrougarske uprave (Sarajevo during the Austro-Hungarian administration)


1973.    Lešić,  Josip, Pozorišni život Sarajeva (1878 – 1918.) (Theatre life of Sarajevo 1878-1918) , Svjetlost, Sarajevo, 1973


1985.    Skarić, Vladislav, Izabrana djela, knjiga II, „Prilozi za istoriju Sarajeva“ (Selected Works, bk. II, Contributions to the history of Sarajevo), 64-65., Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1985.


1985.    Krzović, Ibrahim, Ismet Mujezinović, Sarajevo, 1985.


1987.    Krzović, Ibrahim, Arhitektura BiH 1878 – 1918 (Architecture of BiH 1878-1918), Sarajevo, 1987


1989.  Dimitrijević, Branka, Arhitekt Karlo Pařik (Architect Karlo Pařik), dissertation, Faculty of Architecture of the University of Zagreb, 1989.


1989.  Božić, Jela, Arhitekt Josip pl. Vancaš, Značaj i doprinos arhitekturi Sarajeva u periodu Austrougarske uprave (Architect Josip Vancaš, Importance and contribution to the architecture of Sarajevo in the Austro-Hungarian period), doctoral dissertation, Faculty of Architecture of the University of Sarajevo, 1989.


2004.  Krzović, Ibrahim, Arhitektura secesije u BiH (Secession architecture in BiH), Cultural Heritage Series, Sarajevo 1987


Documentation of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport


(1) The word casino here having the meaning of a “public room used for social meetings” (Shorter OED)[trans.]

(2) Ljiljanfleur de lis, the symbol of the Bosnian state, also used after 1992 by the newly-recognized state on its flag until replaced by the present flag after the war [trans.]

(3) There are numerous accounts and travellers’ chronicles concerning new building in Bosnia and Herzegovina, such as that of the travel writer Heinrich Renner – Durch Bosnien und die Herzegovina kreuz und quer – published in Berlin in 1896, in which certain details of the more representative buildings, such as the High Court, Grammar School, hotels, the military barracks and so on, may be foundn.

(4) Plan von Sarajevo, 1879, GLH 621-13, Ostere. Staatsarchiv, Kriegsarchiv, Wien; BHN, no. 29, 1878. 8 December, Viesti sarajevske

(5) This site was intended for a church to replace the previous church, dedicated to St. Anthony of Padua, which was burned down in the great fire that swept through Sarajevo in 1879. Đuro Basler notes that Heinrich Ferstel suggested building a Romanesque-style church on this site. However, the project was too ambitious and expensive for Sarajevo’s circumstances. In the meantime, the site was taken over by the army to build its Officers’ Casino, and the idea of the church came to nothing.

(6) Before the National Theatre was built, the Casino was a focal point for prominent Sarajevans with the „Herren club“ and other events.

(7) Bhn, no. 49, 1881, Mali vj. Sarajevo, 18 June

(8) In 2000 alone, Sarajevo’s Army Club hosted 76 concerts of serious music, organized by the Sarajevo Winter Festival, the Music Academy, Sarajevo Art, the Sarajevo Philharmonic, etc. During the same period, 5 art exhibitions and exhibits of art photography were mounted, 8 symposia and congresses each lasting several days were held, 15 round tables from various scientific disciplines were hosted, and more than 100 public lectures were held.

(9) Bhn, no. 87, 28. 10. 1880, Mali vj. Sarajevo, p. 3.

(10) SL, no. 112, 27. 11. 1881. p. 3.

(11) SL, no. 117, 9. 12. 1881. p. 2.

(12) SL, no. 6, 13. 1. 1882. p. 2.

(13) SL, no. 7, 19. 1. 1894. p. 1.

(14) Karlo Pařik was one of the most important architects in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the late 19th/early 20th century. He graduated from the Fine Arts Academy, Architectural Department, in Vienna in 1882. He came to BiH in 1885 as an associate of  the other great architect of the period in BiH, Josip Vancaš. He worked for the state from 1886 until his retirement in 1916, in the Civil Engineering Department of the Provincial Government, Sector for High-Level Building. He taught at the State Technical High School in Sarajevo. At first, Pařik declared himself to be a disciple of the Neorenaissance, to which he remained true until the 1890s (Krzović, 1987, pp. 20, 251).

(15) By his second year of studies, in October 1926, he had already had his first solo exhibition in Sarajevo.

(16) He lived in Paris from 1931 to 1933. He did not paint much at this time, but expanded his interesets to take in literature, theatre and film, and in fact studied the history of art (Krzović, 1985, 21).

(17) He was still dogged by financial difficulties, which compelled him to paint many commissioned portraits.

(18) While still following his own views in art and his attitude to people and life, he suddenly introduced a personal, poetic view and feeling, with which he painted the same subjects in a more inspired, artistic manner. When these were shown at the exhibitions of Uranak pod hrastovima and Pehlivani, they were accepted as works on which it was not possible to observe previous critical assessments of virtuosity, lightness of touch and a routine approach. (Krzović, 1985, 25)

(19) Once the after-effects of the 1933 global economic crisis had eased, social life, prompted by the struggle of progressive forces, once again erupted onto the streets, coffee houses and nature.

(20) For example Procession, dating from 1938, and Portrait of Marija, from 1939 (Krzović, 1985, 29)

(21) Krzović says of his drawings from this period that in their quality they secure for Mujezinović one of the most prominent places in a much wider artistic region than just Bosna, since they express all the «characteristic and essential forms of social and artistic life of the fourth decade, while on the other hand they demonstrate a marked individuality of line, which came into being at birth and by vocation». (Krzović, 1985, 29)

(22) Ismet Mujezinović is known as an outstanding portrait-painter.

(23) It was at this time, for instance, that he painted At the Market, Husinka, Peasant Woman and so on.

(24) In 1949 he received the first prize for painting from the Federal Government of FNRY for his painting Crossing the Neretva; the same painting earned him the Government of FNRY Award in 1950; in 1960/61 he was granted the 27 July award of SR BiH for the fine arts, in 1966 he received the October Prize of the City of Tuzla and the AVNOJ award for the fine arts in Belgrade, in 1972 he was decorated with the Order of the Republic with gold coronet, in 1973 he received the ZAVNOBiH award, in 1976 he received the 4 July SUBNOR of Yugoslavia and the Kurirček awards, in 1977 he was decorated with the Order of the Yugoslav Flag with sash, the Gold Plaque of the University of Tuzla was awarded to him in 1981, followed in 1982 by the Gold Plaque of the Yugoslav Air Force and Anti-Aircraft Defence, in 1983 he was recipient of the annual award for painting on the 40th anniversary of the newspaper Oslobođenje, etc.

(25) The first such work was in Tuzla, in the milk bar of the Beograd Hotel, with a large wall painting entitled Women at the Market (3x8 m)

(26) The award was allocated at future exhibitions of Yugoslav portraiture, and at the International Festival of Portrait drawings and graphics

(27) An on site inspection and a study of photographs showing some whitish stripes running down the entire composition from the top led me to conclude that the composition had been exposed to the effects of water.

Officers’ Casino (Federation Army Centre, Army Centre)Officers’ Casino, old postcard Officers’ Casino, old postcard Northern facade
InteriorIsmet Mujezinović, <i>The liberation of Jajce in 1943</i>Ismet Mujezinović, <i>The Uprising of 1941</i>Ismet Mujezinović, <i>Crossing the Neretva</i>
Ismet Mujezinović, <i>In honour of the combatants of Sutjeska</i>   

BiH jezici 
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