Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Hasan pasha Predojević Mosque in Polje, Grabovica, 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 16 to 22 May 2006 the Commission adopted a






            The historic building of the mosque of Hasan pasha Predojević in Polje, Grabovica, Municipality 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. 525, Land Register entry no. 654, Municipality Bileća, Republika Srpska, 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 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:

  • all works are prohibited other than research and conservation and restoration works, and works designed to present the monument, 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,

In order to protect the property from further deterioration the following urgent protection measures are hereby stipulated:

  • clearing self-sown weeds,
  • conservation of the walls,
  • protection of the mosque, and in particular the walls, from the elements,
  • identification and classification of fragments and the protection thereof.



            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) 




On the date of adoption of this Decision, the National Monument shall be deleted from the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH no. 33/02, Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 79/02, Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH no. 59/02, and Official Gazette of Brčko District BiH no. 4/03), where it featured under serial no. 70.




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.: 06.2.2-95/06-5

17 May 2006


Chair of the Commission

Amra Hadžimuhamedović


E l u c i d a t i o n




Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina  and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of  BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a petition for the property in question has been submitted or not.

The Commission issued a decision to add the Predojević mosque, Bileća to the Provisional List of National Monuments under serial no. 79.

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 of the property
  • Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, details 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


            Bileća is in south-eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, not far from the source of the river Trebišnica, north of Trebinje on the route of the ancient road that led from Dubrovnik into the interior of the state.

The mosque is in the south-eastern, level area of the town, in the plain. It was built on a site known as Plitine, near the village of Grabovica.

            The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 525, Land Register entry no. 654, Municipality Bileća, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information     

            “The earliest documents refer to Bileća in 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, so they(1)  maintained it and built a number of towers and fortifications along it (Škarić, p. 59).  “Turkish troops made their first incursions into Bosnia in the autumn of 1386, reaching the Neretva river valley.  Two years later, commanded by one Şahin paşa, they penetrated deep into Hercegovina, reaching as far as Bileća (Jirečak, Radonić, 1952 p.324; Jirečak, 1879` p. 40).

            Bileća fell into Turkish hands prior to 1469, by which time the Turks had occupied all the major sites and fortifications in eastern Herzegovina. From the earliest days of Turkish rule Bileća was the centre of the nahija of Rudine, which was run by vojvodas (dukes)(2). Sources dating from 1566 to 1654 refer to the following vojvodas of this nahija: Derviš, Sulejman-aga Šabanović, Mustajbeg and Omer-beg (Naselja srpskih zemalja [Settlements in Serbian lands] p. 678)

            Omer Kočić, who had a tower in Trebinje, was vojvoda of the nahija of Rudine in 1657 (Samardžić, p. 140).

            Bileća was part of the Drina (Foča), Novi and Cernica kadiluks (areas under the jurisdiction of a qadi).  From 1865 onwards, it was the headquarters of a kadiluk and mudirluk (district), and from 1878 of a district or municipality. Evliya Çelebi recounts that the road from Dubrovnik to Istanbul ran through Bileća, but provides no information about Bileća itself, other than that, at the time he travelled through it, it was a place guarded by panduri (armed guards) who were paid out of the Dubrovnik harač (expenditure).  A bujrultija (command issued by a vali or pasha) on the last day of Dhu-l-Hijja 1037 (7 July 1663) ordered the officers of the panduras in Trebinje and Bileća to secure the road from Dubrovnik to Cernica and to maintain a permanent guard along the route at dangerous points and crossings (Šabanović, pp. 158, 167; Çelebi, pp. 437 and 438).

            “From the middle of the last century [19th] Bileća and its environs were subject to constant attack by the Montenegrins and insurrections from Herzegovina itself.  In 1862, for this reason, the Turkish authorities built a large keep here, in which they installed a garrison.  In 1872 the insurrectionists killed a prominent Muslim in Bileća, which led to a major revolt by the Muslim population there.” (Bracković, p. 18).

            According to a topographical document compiled by an Austrian spy, Bileća was fairly densely inhabited in 1862, and had a mosque, a field hospital and a range of towers and fortifications defending the village and its environs (Zelenika, p. 166). Two Kapidžić towers and a small tower near the carpet-makers still survive there. Since the mid 16th century, the following buildings have  been erected there: two mosques, a mekteb, a caravanserai, a number of wells or cisterns, a turbe (mausoleum) and several towers of strategic nature.

            In the plain below Bileća are the ruins of an old mosque which is said to be the legacy of Hasan pasha Predojević, by tradition the only known major vakif (legator) of Bileća and all its environs. Available sources make no mention of Hasan pasha as the vakif of this mosque, as a result of which Hasandedić, in his studies of its history, resorts to folk tradition, saying: “If the tradition is accurate, and to all appearances it is, this mosque would have been built prior to 1572, making it one of the oldest mosques in Herzegovina.“ (3)   

            It was built in Plitine, near the village of Grabovica. This type of mosque is known to have been built in eastern Herzegovina in the late 16th and early 17th century.

            In the summer of 1906 it was extensively repaired, and on 14 September 1906 juma (Friday) prayers were performed there (Bošnjak, Sarajevo, 1906, no. 39).  It was abandoned in 1928.

            Until 1940, the Gajret teferič (outdoor gathering) was held in Masleni do near the mosque. The gathering consisted of entertaining and lectures, and donations were collected for the Gajret cultural and educational society and for repairs to the mosque and walling around the harem in Bileća and environs. It was in good condition until 1941, when it was demolished.


2. Description of the property

The mosque in Bileća belongs to the type of single-space mosque with hipped roof and square stone minaret. According to the description provided by Mehmed Mujezinović, the mosque stood in grounds surrounded by a low drystone wall, but according to Hasandedić, there was an old burial ground containing nišan tombstones around the mosque, which was derelict at the time he conducted his investigations.

Prior to its demolition, the mosque had a hipped roof, with the north-western roof pane extended to cover the sofas. Remains of the roof, in the shape of the beds for the stone slabs, can be seen on the body of the minaret to the south-west.

The building is rectangular in ground plan, including the sofas, measuring 11.76 x 83.7 m on the outside. The central prayer space is square, with interior measurements of 6.97 x 7.06.  The walls of the mosque were built of rough-cut limestone with lime mortar as binder, and are approx.70 cm thick. The outside walls are for the most part pointed stone, but long-term lack of maintenance has led to the mortar crumbling away from the joints. The inside walls were probably plastered and whitewashed, but the only remaining traces of plaster now to be seen are on part of the minaret.  The height of the walls that are still standing, measured in the central prayer space, is approx.2.50 m.

The entrance area of the mosque consists of sofas measuring 3.30 x 8.37 m, with a central passageway about 1.15 m wide. The sofas measure 2.91 x 3.30 m. They are enclosed at the sides by 70 cm thick stone walls.  The floor of the sofas cannot be seen. But was probably made using paving stones

The entrance to the mosque is accentuated by a stone portal. It is buried in such a deep accumulation of soil and stone that it is impossible to determine its exact height. A heavy stone lintel lies across the stone doorjambs. No place can be identified above the lintel where a plaque inscribed with the date of construction or the builder of the mosque could have been mounted.

The windows are on the south-west and south-east sides of the mosque.Those to the south-east measure 1.04 x 1.30 m, and those to the north-west measure 0.80 x 1.30 m. On the inside the window lintels are in the form of a shallow arch composed of seven uneven arch segmental blocks.  In the north-east and south-west wall are square niches measuring 50 x 50 cm, with a depth of 30 cm. On the outside the window jambs and lintels are of cut stone blocks.  The inside is left plain, probably because the building was plastered. According to Mujezinović (Mujezinović, p. 354), all the exterior windows were fitted with wrought iron bars.

The mihrab of the mosque is approx. 0.90 m wide.  The inside of the mosque is buried in so much earth and stone that the height of the mihrab cannot be determined. The mihrab was built of cut limestone blocks and later plastered with lime plaster. The niche is a hemispherical recess with a depth of approx. 60 cm.

The minber of the mosque was stone-built, and its remains still lie inside the building.

The minaret of the mosque was roughly square in section(4), measuring approx. 1.83 x 2.00 m, and was built of rough-cut stone with lime mortar as binder. The entrance to the minaret was at the west corner, via stone steps approx. 80 cm wide.  The entrance was at a height of approx. 2.50 above the floor level of the mosque. The masonry section of the minaret was approx.7.12 m in height, measured on the outside. At the top of the minaret were four round-arched openings meausring approx. 30 x 80 cm. The masonry section of the minaret ended in a shallow moulded string course. The top of the minaret consisted of a shallow hipped roof clad with stone slabs.


3. Legal status to date

            By Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of SR BiH no. 584/52 dated 11 July 1952 the mosque was registered as a cultural monument.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

            The only known information is that the mosque was renovated in 1906.


5. Current condition of the property

During an on site inspection conducted on 13 April 2006 the following was ascertained:

  • since the property was demolished in 1941 and had been abandoned well before that (from certain information, back in 1928), long-term lack of maintenance has led to parts of the interior walls collapsing;
  • parts of the minber are still inside the building, and could be reconstructed;p
  • here are no visible remains of plaster on the walls apart from the interior of the minaret;
  • the stone cornice of the minaret is damaged in a number of places,
  • even though the building was abandoned 65 years ago, the quality of the masonry means that the remains of the property are in good structural condition.

6. Specific risks

  • lack of maintenance
  • self-sown vegetation



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.v. value of details

D. Clarity

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

E. Symbolic value

E. ii. religious value

E.iii. traditional value

E.iv. relation to rituals or ceremonies

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

F. Townscape/ Landscape value

F.iii. the building or group of buildings is part of a group or site

H. Rarity and representativity

H.i. unique or rare example of a certain type or style


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-     Copy of cadastral plan

-     Land register entry

-     Drawings by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of BiH, Mirzah Fočo, architect:

  • ground plan of mosque, scale 1:100

-     Drawings by the Institute for the Protection of Monuments of BiH

  • ground plan, ground floor
  • façade 1
  • façade 2

-     Photodocumentation of the Commission taken by Mirzah Fočo



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


1879,  Konstantin Jirečak, Die Handelstrassen und Bergwerke von Serbien und Bosnien wahrend des Mittelalters, Prag, 1879, p.40.


1903.  Naselja srpskih zemalja  (Settlements in Serbian Lands), bk.II, SAN, Beograd, 1903, p.678.


1906.  Bošnjak, Sarajevo, 1906, br. 39.   


1931. Vladislav Škarić, "Podaci za istoriju Hercegovine od 1566 do sredine 17 vijeka" (Information for the History of Herzegovina from 1566 to the mid 17th century, Jnl. Of the National Museum, Sarajevo, 1931, XLIII, p. 59.)


1952   Konstantin Jirečak, - Jovan Radonić, Istorija Srba (History of the Serbs), 2nd ed.. vol. I, Beograd, 1952, p.324;


1959.  Hazim Šabanović, Bosanski pašaluk (The Bosnian Pashaluk), Sarajevo, 1959, pp.158, 167;


1962.  Dr Radovan Samardžić, Veliki vek Dubrovnika (Dubrovnik’s Great Era), Beograd, 1962, p.140


1967.  Çelebi, Evliya, Putopis (Travelogue), trans. Hazim Šabanović, Sarajevo 1967, pp 437 and 438


         Husein Bracković, Tarihcei vuku'an Hersek ”Mala istorija dogadjaja u Hercegovini” (Brief history of events in Herzegovina) from 1831 to 1878, p.18.


1979.  Anđelko Zelenika MA, "Osvrt na zbirku karata bećkog ratnog arhiva"  (Overview of the map collectionof the Vienna War Archives) Tribuna, Trebinje, 1979, p.166.


1990   Hasandedić, Hivzija, Muslimanska baština u istočnoj Hercegovini (Muslim heritage in eastern Herzegovina), El-Kalem, Sarajevo, 1990


1998  Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine (Islamic epigraphics of BiH), Bk. II, 3rd ed., Cultural Heritage Series, Sarajevo Publishing, 1998.


(1) Meaning the Ottoman troops

(2) A Turk called Alica was vojvoda of Rudine in 1483

(3) Hasandedić says of the founder of this mosque. “The founder of this mosque, and perhaps too of the old mosque in the town, is  Gazi Deli Hasan pasha Predojević, a native of Rudine, Bileća. He was taken to Istanbul as acami oğlan [a foreign child], there to be brought up in the Imperial court, where he embraced Islam, adopted the name Hasan and advanced to the post of çakircibaşa (chief falconer and commander of falconers in the Sultan's court). During the reign of Murat III (1574-1595) he was appointed as sanjakbeg in Segedin, where he remained until 1591, when he was appointed beylerbey in Bosnia.  As soon as he arrived in Bosnia he led an army to Sisak, but failed to conquer it.  He followed this by attacking Bihać, which he conquered on 19 June 1592 along with several surrounding forts.  He then assembled his troops and cross the river Kupa into Croatia near Petrinje. During the battle of Sisak on 22 June 1593 he clashed with the superior forces of Nikola Zrinjski, and  met his death in the waters of the Kupa, with another three sanjakbeys and 7000 men.. Bašagic says of him that he was meritorious, and that he was a great and fearless hero.  He came to Istanbul with Derviš –pasha Bajezidagić of Mostar, with whom he was educated at the expense of the state and advanced to the rank of pasha. Evliya Çelebi calls Hasan pasha Dusen, Bašagic, following a Turkish record, Predojević, and Stojanović, following another record, Klobucarić, after the Klobuk fort in Herzegovina.  Turkish historians call him Hersekli (the Herzegovinian) and Deli Hasan-pasha..“

(4) Square stone minarets are to be found only accompanying mosques in Herzegovina.  Such were the  Telarević mosque in Bjeljani neare Stolac, the mosques around Bileća: the Avdić mosque in Plana, the mosques in Kljuni, Kružanj and Svinjarina; the mosques in the Nevesinje area: the Perkušić mosque in Nevesinje, the Čelebić mosque in Donja Bijenja, the mosque in Kruševljani; and the mosque in Glavatićevo near Konjic; and the Fatima kaduna in Mostar



Hasan pasha Predojević Mosque in PoljePredojević Mosque Entrance part Minaret
Interior of the mosqueInterior of the minaretNišan tombstones 

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