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 16 to 22 May 2006 the Commission adopted a
D E C I S I O N
The historic building of the Careva (Imperial) mosque (Central or Obradović mosque) in Bileća 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. 229/10 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 652, cadastral municipality Bileća, Municipality Bileća, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The provisions relating to protection and rehabilitation measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 9/02) shall apply to the National Monument.
The Government of Republika Srpska shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, and rehabilitate 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.
The following protection measures are hereby stipulated pertaining to the National Monument:
- the Careva mosque shall be reconstructed in its original form, using original or the same type of materials and original building methods, based on details of its previous appearance, with the approval of the Ministry responsible for regional planning in Republika Srpska and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska,
- all original fragments of the destroyed building found and collected up on the site of the mosque or any other place shall be registered, recorded, and reincorporated into the reconstructed building. Until such time as they are so reincorporated they shall be properly protected,
- the site of the mosque shall be cleared of self-sown weeds and rubbish,
The following urgent protection measures are hereby stipulated pertaining to the National Monument:
- the surviving walls of the mosque shall be made good, consolidated and technically surveyed in order to prevent their further collapse,
- the plot on which the building stands shall be suitably fenced off,
- on the plots adjacent to c.p. no. 299/10, the only construction permitted is of residential buildings with a maximum height of 6.50 m to the base of the roof frame, ground floor + one upper floor, and maximum dimensions of 10 x 10 m
- all fragments not on the plot itself shall be gathered and transferred to the site of the mosque.
All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are hereby revoked.
Everyone, and in particular the competent authorities of Republika Srpska, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the preservation and restoration thereof.
The Government of Republika Srpska, the Ministry responsible for regional planning in Republika Srpska and the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska, and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II – V of this Decision, and the Authorized Municipal Court shall be notified for the purposes of registration in the Land Register.
The elucidation and accompanying documentation form an integral part of this Decision, which may be viewed by interested parties on the premises or by accessing the website of the Commission (http://www.aneks8komisija.com.ba)
Pursuant to Art. V para 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, decisions of the Commission are final.
This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption and shall be published in the Official Gazette of BiH.
This Decision has been adopted by the following members of the Commission: Zeynep Ahunbay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović, Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.
17 May 2006
Chair of the Commission
E l u c i d a t i o n
I – INTRODUCTION
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 17 March 2003 the Commission received from the Centre for Islamic Architecture of Bosnia and Herzegovina a petition to designate the Careva mosque (Central mosque) in Bileća 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.
II – PROCEDURE PRIOR TO DECISION
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 of the property
- Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs,
- Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision,
- Data of war damage, data on restoration or other works on the property, etc..
The findings based on the review of the above documentation and the condition of the site are as follows:
1. Details of the property
The historic building of the Careva (Imperial) mosque (Central or Obradović mosque) in Bileća is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 229/10 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 652, cadastral municipality Bileća, Municipality Bileća, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Bileća is in eastern Herzegovina, on the Trebinje – Gacko road, not far from the source of the river Trebišnica.
The Careva mosque is in the centre of Bileća.
Bileća can be traced back to the 14th century; the major trade route linking Dubrovnik with Serbia and beyond, with Istanbul, via Trebinje, Bileća, Gacko and Sarajevo, ran through it in the mediaeval period. The road was also of major importance during the Ottoman period, when a number of towers and fortifications were built along it (Hasandedić, 1990, p. 163).
There was a small mosque with no minaret(1) on the site of the present-day Careva mosque in Bileća. It is not known when this was built or who endowed it. In the summer of 1875 the Montenegrins torched all the public buildings in Bileća, and it was probably then that the old mosque, too, was destroyed (Hasandedić, 1990, p. 164) .
By decision of the 1878 Berlin Congress, Bileća became part of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. It was at this time that the barracks was built in Bileća.
During the Austro-Hungarian period, several edifices were built in Bileća, such as the church of St Sava, dating from 1896, along with the barracks, urban townscapes, the Careva mosque and other buildings.
Work began on the Careva mosque in 1889 and was completed in 1895. The new mosque in the town was built on the foundations of the old one. It was built with funds donated by the Provincial Government of BiH and the local population. The Provincial Government of BiH gave 40,000 crowns for the mosque.
In 1896, at the same time as the mosque was built in Bileća, the Orthodox church was built in its immediate vicinity. The Provincial Government provided the necessary funds to build the church as well.
When work began on building the mosque using undressed stone, the Muslims of Bileća appealed to the Emperor Franz Joseph in Vienna with the request that the mosque in Bileća be built of cut stone, like the church. Their request was granted.
The lower part or barrel of the minaret of the Careva mosque was damaged by lightning in 1925, and was later restored.
During World War II the mosque was damaged in several places, including the roof and walls. In 1965 all the damage was made good. It was then that the gasulhana (premises for washing and laying out the dead) was built and the harem of the mosque was walled (Hasandedić, 1990, p. 166).
The Careva mosque was dynamited in 1992, completely destroying the roof, minaret and interior and causing extensive damage to the walls.
At the same time as the mosque was built, a large cistern was built in the courtyard outside the mosque, fed by water collected from the roof of the mosque. Since the erection of the gasulhana outside the mosque, which is provided with mains water, the cistern is no longer in use (Hasandedić, 1990, p. 167).
Until 1941 the mekteb building, erected at the beginning of the century, stood opposite the mosque. The building had a ground floor and an upper floor, with the classrooms on the ground floor and a flat for the imam on the first floor. During World War II the mekteb building was badly damaged, and was demolished after 1950 (Hasandedić, 1990, p 166)
2. Description of the property
In spatial layout the Careva mosque (Central or Obradović mosque) in Bileća belongs to the type of single-space mosque with stone minaret.
The interior enclosed space is square in ground plan, approx. 10 x 10 m, while the exterior dimensions(2) are approx. 11.4 x 11.4 m. The mosque has solid stone walls approx. 70 cm thick, made of regular cut stone blocks with pointing, the structure of which is left visible on the outside; on the inside, the walls were plastered and painted.
The central space of the mosque was covered by an interior dome with its crown at a height of approx. 11 m above floor level. On the outside, the mosque was covered by a six-sided polygonal roof clad with sheet metal. The roof frame was of timber. The polygonal roof rested on an octagonal drum. The transition from the square ground plan to the drum was executed by means of four trompes.
The upper part of the drum has a moulded stone stringcourse on both the outside and the inside. The drum is separated from the main body of the building by the same moulded stone string course, and the roof cornice on the projecting segments of the main body of the mosque was also moulded.
The minaret was built against the right-hand outside wall of the mosque. The base of the mosque is octagonal in form, and is approx. 3.00 m wide at the bottom, while the width of the minaret above the šerefe (balcony) was approx. 2.30 m. The height of the stone minaret was approx. 23.00 m, with the height to the šerefe 15 m. The minaret was built of regular cut stone blocks with pointing. The minaret was entered from the right-hand corner of the prayer space of the mosque, with a small spiral staircase leading to the top. Above the stone balustrade of the šerefe, at a height of approx. 3.00 m, was the roof of the minaret, which was conical in shape and clad with stone slabs.
Light entered the mosque through 28 windows. The windows on the facades of the mosque were set in four horizontal rows, with five on each facade; the remaining eight windows were on the octagonal drum.
The first horizontal row has two large rectangular windows measuring approx. 70 x 170 cm on each facade. These windows are set quite low, approx. 80 cm above ground level. The windows had moulded stone frames. All the windows of the first row were fitted with wrought iron bars.
The windows of the second horizontal row were set directly above those of the first row, and terminate in pointed arches. These windows measure approx. 70 x 110 cm.
The windows of the third row were set in the upper zone of the mosque, one at the central axis of each wall. These windows, like those of the second row, terminate in pointed arches, and measure approx. 70 x 110 cm.
The fourth row of windows are set centrally on each side of the drum. These windows too terminate in pointed arches, and measure approx. 50 x 90 cm.
The portal is rectangular, and measures approx. 130 cm wide and 200 cm high. The door was made of good-quality solid wood. The portal has a moulded stone frame and terminates in a crown, which is made of a combination of grey limestone and green andesite tufa. The crown area formerly had a plaque with an inscription in Arabic script.
There is no detailed information concerning the interior of the Careva mosque(3), except that it contained an undecorated mihrab, a stone mimber and a wooden mahfil (Hasandedić, 1990, p. 164)
3. Legal status to date
We have no information on whether the Careva mosque (Central or Obradović mosque) in Bileća was on the register of protected monuments.
4. Research and conservation and restoration works
The lower part or barrel of the minaret of the Careva mosque was damaged by lightning in 1925, and was later restored.
During World War II the mosque was damaged in several places, including the roof and walls. In 1965 all the damage was made good and the building was restored to its original condition. It was then that the gasulhana (premises for washing and laying out the dead) was built and the harem of the mosque was walled (Hasandedić, 1990, p. 166).
5. Current condition of the property
The Careva mosque (Central mosque) in Bileća was dynamited in 1992, completely destroying the roof, minaret and interior and causing extensive damage to the walls. The building lacks all its doors and windows and the whole of the interior is missing.
An on site inspection conducted in April 2006 revealed that the mosque walls are in ruinous condition and at risk of further deterioration.
The mosque area is completely impassable, filled as it is with rubbish and self-sown vegetation.
There are a number of heaps of stone with fragments of the destroyed building on the site of the mosque.
6. Specific risks
Since the remains of the walls of the mosque are unprotected, there is a risk of further collapse of the walls as a result of the effects of atmospheric precipitation.
III – CONCLUSION
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
E. Symbolic value
E. ii. religious value
E.iii. traditional value
E.v. significance for the identity of a group of people
F. Townscape/ Landscape value
F.ii. meaning in the townscape
G.i. form and design
G.ii. material and content
G.iii. use and function
G.iv. traditions and techniques
G.v. location and setting
G.vi. spirit and feeling
The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:
o Copy of cadastral plan
o Photographs of the design of the north-west facade and minaret, located in the Archives of BiH,
o Photodocumentation of the Commission taken in April 2006
During the procedure to designate the historic building of the Careva mosque in Bileća as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:
1980. Institute for architecture, town planning and regional planning of the Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo, Regionial Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina; Stage «B» - valorization of natural, cultural and historical monuments, Sarajevo, 1980.
1996. Çelebi, Evliya, Putopis (Travelogue), Sarajevo Publishing, Sarajevo, 1996
1998 Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine (Islamic epigraphics of BiH), Bk. II, 3rd ed., Cultural Heritage Series, Sarajevo Publishing, 1998.
1990 Hasandedić, Hivzija, Muslimanska baština u istočnoj Hercegovini (Muslim heritage in eastern Herzegovina), El-Kalem, Sarajevo, 1990
(1) According to a topographical document by an Austrian spy, in 1862 Bileća was quite densely populated, with a mosque, field hospital and several towers and fortifications (Hasandedić, fn, p. 164)
(2) The measurements of the building are approximate, having been obtained from a photograph found in the catalogue of the Archives of BiH. The photograph shows the north-west (entrance) facade and a cross-section of the minaret, but the measurements are illegible.
(3) We have been unable to find any photographs of the interior of the Careva mosque in Bileća.