Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Old Mosque in Gornja Mahala, Seonica, the historic building

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Status of monument -> National monument

Pursuant to Article V, para 4 of 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 Old Mosque in Gornja Mahala, Seonica, Municipality Konjic, is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument is located on cadastral plot no. 67, Land Registry no. 351/01, cadastral municipality Seonica,Municipality Konjic, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The provisions relating to protection and rehabilitation measures set forth by the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH nos. 2/02, 27/02 and 6/04) shall apply to the National Monument.





            The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Government of the Federation) shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect 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 measures are hereby stipulated, which shall apply to the area defined in Clause I para. 2 of this Decision:

  • all works are prohibited other than conservation and research works, including those designed to display the monument, with the approval of the Federation Ministry responsible for regional planning and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The works shall be carried out in two stages:       

 Stage 1 – Urgent protection measures:

  • conduct a survey and structural analysis of the structural parts of the building;
  • undertaken the structural consolidation of the building and repair of the structural elements using traditional materials and traditional building techniques wherever possible;
  • protect the building from damaging external effects.

Stage 2  consists of conservation and restoration works:

  • during conservation and restoration works on the building, its original appearance must be retained;
  • during restoration and conservation works, original materials and methods of treatment of the materials and their reintegration shall be used wherever possible.

A protective strip is hereby stipulated, to includes all plots contiguous with the protected site of the National Monument. The only construction permitted within this strip shall be of buildings not exceeding a height of two storeys (ground floor and one upper floor), i.e. a maximum height of 6.50 m to the base of the roof frame, with maximum horizontal dimensions of 10 x 10 metres.




All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are hereby revoked.




            Everyone, and in particular the competent authorities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Canton, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the preservation thereof.




The Government of the Federation, the Federation Ministry responsible for regional planning, the Federation heritage protection authority, and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II to V of this Decision, and the Authorized Municipal Court shall be notified for the purposes of registration in the Land Register.




The elucidation and accompanying documentation form an integral part of this Decision, which may be viewed by interested parties on the premises or by accessing the website of the Commission (http://www.aneks8komisija.com.ba) 




Pursuant to Article V, Para 4 of 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: 07.2-02-614/03-3

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 received a petition by the Centre for Islamic Architecture of Sarajevo on 17 March 2003, and proceeded to carry out the procedure to designate the property as a national monument, pursuant to Article V para. 4 of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.

            Pursuant to the provisions of the law, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching a final decision to designate the Property as a National Monument, pursuant to Article V para. 4 of Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.




In the procedure preceding the adoption of a final decision to proclaim the property a national monument, the following documentation was inspected:

  • Data on the current condition and use of the property, including description and photographs, details of war damage, data on restoration or other works on the property if any, etc.,
  • Data on 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 settlement of Seonica is situated on the right-hand side of the Jablanica Lake, 30 km southwest of Konjic, and 12 km north of Ostrožac, in the gorge of the small river Seončica, and consists of the following mahalas (neighbourhoods): Donja mahala, Gornja mahala and Poredak(1).

The National Monument is located on cadastral plot no. 67, Land Registry no. 351/01, cadastral municipality Seonica,Municipality Konjic, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information (2)  

According to Truhelka, the settlement of Seonica was a residence of members of the Bogumil hierarchy known as gost(3) (visitor). Here, he says, lived a gost by the name of Radin Butković in 1422, whose will is housed in the historical archives of Dubrovnik, under the terms of which he left to his heirs extensive movable property in Seonica and its environs. Prominent among his successors is gost Radin Seničanin, who lived to see the end of Bosnian independence and the coming of the Turks (Truhelka, p. 374)(4). 

There are two mosques in Seonica, one of which is in Donja and another one in Gornja Mahala.There were also a mekteb (Islamic primary school) and a tekke of the Naqshbandiyya order. The mekteb was located at the top of Donja mahala. It is not known precisely when it was built and when it was abandoned. The tekke was built around 1833, and remained in use until 1912. It was endowed by Shaikh Osman Nuri Begeta(5).The tekke consisted of two premises, of which the larger one had a mihrab.

„Every eve of Friday and Monday the džematile jacija [‘isha prayer, the ritual night-time prayer] was recited in the tekke, after which came dhikr, a ritual attended by women too“. (Bajić, p. 41)

Esad Bajić, who assembled information on the history and condition of religious buildings and other monuments of Islamic culture in area of jurisdiction of the Majlis (Council) of the Islamic Community of Konjic for the Monograph on Konjic, writes about Seonica: 

„When the old mosque in Donja mahala was demolished in the summer of 1936, a large plaque was found in the wall  above the entrance door, with the following inscription : “Ya fattah sene 1073”, which means: Oh great conquerer 1073 AH (1662/63).This small mosque was built of stećak tombstones and quarry stone, with a hipped roof clad with slabs, and had a large wooden minaret. In 1936, the members of the congregation built a new, larger mosque on its foundations, with a minaret 15 m high built of stone to the roof of the mosque and of wood from that point up to the alem (finial). All that remained of the old mosque was the front wall; the other three walls were pulled down. In 1961, the congregation against demolished the old minaret and built a new minaret, made of stone. Part of the new minaret was built using stone from the Ostrožac minaret, which has been underwater since the Jablanica reservoir (lake) was created. People say that the old mosque was built by Šaban Numan ef. Malkoč, with the assistance of the locals, and that they were the first Muslim family to settle here after these parts were Islamized. “

He also says: „Derviš Buturović, a native of Seonica, wrote several works about Seonica and its families based on Turkish sources. He learned from a berata (decree) issued by Sultan Mehmed IV, dated 7 Muharrem 1066 (6 November 1655) that the mosque of Donja mahala was built by members of the Malkočević family. The decree was issued on the occasion of the death of Mehmed, imam and hatib of the mosque, and the appointment of Ahmed, his son, to replace him. Another berat relates that the mosque was built by one Ferhat hojja Buturović, known as Malkočević, and that he was the first imam there. (6)   

Unlike the Donjomahalska mosque, there is no written information about the date the Old mosque in Seonica was built. According to Hivzija Hasandedić, it was built around 1880 and was the endowment of one Bega (Begajeta) Begeta, daughter of Omer bey, widow of Muharem Buturović. She endowed the Bjelovčine čiftluk (a type of feudal holding) near Konjic and Podine in Seonica to provide for the maintenance of the mosque. To this end she composed a vakufnama (deed of perpetual) endowment, which has not survived.The first mutevelli (endowment administrator) of her endowment was her brother Osman Nuri, and the first imam of the mosque was a nephew of Muhammed effendi. The imams who succeed him were Osman bey Buturović and his son shaikh Ahmed bey.

The mosque was closed in 1920, and is now derelict.


2. Description of the property

The mosque in Seonica belongs to the type of mosque with hipped roof and wooden minaret. It consists of a single-space prayer area of rectangular ground plan, measuring  9.37 x 6.50 metres, with a portico on the northwest side. The mosque was built on very steep ground, so that the difference in height between the southeast and northwest sides exceeds 3 metres. The masonry part of the building and portico are under the same roof structure, clad with stone slabs. The locality from which the slabs were quarried is very close to Buturović Polje (Gorica), about 3 km south of Seonica.

The portico with sofas measures 6.63 x 2.25 metres, with a central passageway 1.51 metres wide. The roof structure of the building rests on a wooden purlin and four rectangular wooden pillars measuring, on average, 18 x 16 cm in section. The pillars stand on simple four-sided stone bases. There is so much material piled up that the sofas are now at ground level, and it is  not known whether they were formerly paved, and if so with what. The timber used to build the mosque was mainly oak (for the tie beams) and sweet chestnut (for the pillars), taken from the nearby forests.

The entrance to the mosque is on the northwest side, and is 1.25 m wide and 2.50 m high. It terminates in a flat oak beam, with no decoration.There is no tarih (chronogram) on the mosque, nor any other inscription that might reveal the date it was built or the name of the builder.

The interior prayer space, which is roughly square in ground plan, measures as follows: southwest wall – 5.75 m; northwest wall – 5.56 m, northeast wall – 5.78 m and southeast wall – 5.42 m. It has a flat wooden ceiling with exposed beams. There is no wooden šiše (slatted) ceiling. The usable height of the interior, from the floor of the mosque to the beams, is around 5.50 m. The load-bearing structure of the roof stands on the outer southwest and northeast walls. Many rafters of different sections and sizes were used as a result of the heavy weight of the roof cladding of stone slabs.

The entire inside of the mosque is plastered and painted. The probes which were used to examine the type and quality of binder revealed a very small proportion of vegetable fibre.The sand that was used when plastering the mosque is fine-grained and composed of different minerals.The floor of the mosque consists of wooden boards, and much of it has collapsed as a result of high moisture levels.

The wooden mahfil stands along the northwest wall of the mosque, and is reached via a wooden staircase in the north corner of the mosque.The stairs are 75 cm wide.The wooden mahfil measures 5.56 x 2.30 m, and has a total area of approx. 13 m2. The structure of the mahfil, made of 8 x 8 cm beams, is supported on the wooden tie beam in the northwest outside wall and a wooden purlin, 28 x 18 cm in cross section, laid southwest-northeast (parallel to the northwest wall), resting on the outside walls – the southwest and northeast walls. There are no internal pillars supporting the structure. A low wooden railing with an infill of chestnut planks 1.25 cm thick runs along the entire mahfil. The upper and lower edge of the railing have very simple moulding. There were stairs on the side of the mahfil, by the southwest wall, which led to the minaret of the mosque. In the same corner of the mosque is a wooden pillar with the cross section dimensions 20x20 cm, which supports the horizontal structure of the wooden minaret.

The mihrab is made of tufa, plastered on the inside. It is 0.87 metre wide at the base. The sides of the mihrab curve inwards at a height of approximately 2.00, terminating in the form of a segmental arch. The frame of the mihrab is 10 cm wide and projects outwards from the wall face by about 5 cm.

The mimber is of simple craftsmanship, made entirely of wood, without any particular decorative elements. It was made by a local craftsman, and is 60-70 cm wide.

The southwest and northeast walls of the mosque are 0.50 m thick, and the southeast and northwest wall 0.61 m thick. The walls of the mosque were made of red and blue-green stone, with lime mortar as binder. The red stone is probably one of the many subtypes of conglomerate, with a visibly fine-grained structure, while the blue-green stone is of homogenous structure and glossy section. The local people say it comes from Budišnja Ravan. Another feature is that the local people used to remove the stone from older buildings and re-use it when building new ones, since, they say, the entire village was once surrounded by a stone wall.

Tufa from the quarry nearby the village was used on the corners of the building. The walls are plastered and painted white on the outside. There are two rows of windows, except on the southeast mihrab wall, where there is one row only, the upper row. The lower windows are semi-domed on the inside, whereas the upper windows are flat-topped. The window openings of the northwest wall of the building measure 0.70 x 1.22 m, those the northeast wall 0. 79 x 1.20 m, and those of the southwest wall 0.80 x 1.22 metres.

The minaret of the mosque is octagonal. It was originally plastered. It has a wooden substructure, revetted with boards to which wooden slats were attached to serve as a base for the lime plaster. Following years without maintenance, the plaster has completely fallen away. The minaret has a polygonal roof clad with sheet metal.


3. Legal status to date

The building was not legally protected.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

No conservation and restoration works have been carried out on the building.


5. Current condition of the property            

An on-site inspection carried out on 13 April 2006 ascertained the following:

  • the building was abandoned in the 1930s and has not been kept maintained, as a result of which parts of the walls have fallen inwards.
  • despite the long years without maintenance, the structure of the walls is in good condition;
  • there is major structural damage to the southeast wall – the south corner of the mosque, in the upper area (window opening);
  • since it is constantly exposed to precipitation, the wooden roof structure is rotting;
  • the lime plaster in the interior of the building has fallen away;
  • the strucutre of mahfil is in poor condition,
  • the structure of the minber is in poor condition;
  • there is no woodwork  – doors and windows  - on the building;
  • the wooden minaret is badly damaged and has begun to rot, being constantly exposed to precipitation;
  • lack of maintenance has left all the woodwork has been exposed to the adverse effects of precipitation;
  • almost all of the wooden floor has disappeared as a result of the leaking roof;
  • the level of the sofas has not been defined because of the large accumulations of soil;
  • parts of the northwest facade are damaged, leaving the wooden tiebeams exposed;
  • the binder has fallen away from the joints on the other facades;
  • the building is at risk from both low-growing and tall self-sown vegetation;
  • although it has been neglected for many years, the building is in much better condition than some buildings on which certain conservation works have been carried out.

6. Specific risks

  • failure to take steps to protect the property;
  • self-sown vegetation.



Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision to proclaim an item of property a national monument (Official Gazette of BiH nos. 33/02 and 15/03), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above.

The Decision is based on the following criteria:

A.      Time frame

B.      Historical value

C.      Artistic and aesthetic value

C. iv. composition,

E.      Symbolic value

E. iii.  traditional value,

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

F.      Landscape/townscape value

F.i.    relation to other elements of the site,

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 a cadastral plan,

-     Proof of title,

-     Photodocumentation,

-     Drawings:

      • site plan scale 1:100 – Mirzah Fočo
      • ground plan of the building scale 1:100 – Mirzah Fočo
      • façades of the building scale 1:100 – Mirzah Fočo.
      • photographs from the Municipality of Konjic
      • photographs taken the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of BiH


During the procedure to designate the property as national monument, the following works were consulted:


1911 and 1913, Dr. Ćiro Truhelka, Testament gosta Radina Butkovića, i još nešto o gostu Radinu (The Will  of Guest Radin Butković and More about Guest Radin), Journal of the National Museum, Sarajevo 1911 and 1913, page 374;


1952,  Buturović, Derviš, Povodom jedne vakufname (Concerning a vakufnama), VIS Journal Sarajevo 1952, no. 1-4, page 57;


1975.   Anđelić, Pavao, Historijski spomenici Konjica i okoline I (Historic Monuments of Konjic and its Surroundings I), Municipal Assembly of Konjic, Konjic, 1975;


1978.  Kovačević-Kojić, Desanka, Gradska naselja srednjevjekovne bosanske države (Urban Settlements of the Mediaeval Bosnian State), IP Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1978;


1982.   Vego, Marko, Postanak srednjevjekovne bosanske države (Origins of the Mediaeval Bosnian State), Svjetlost, Sarajevo, 1982;


1996.   Çelebi, Evliya, Putopis (Travelogue), Sarajevo Publishing, Sarajevo, 1996;


1998.   Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine III (Islamic Epigraphics of Bosnia and Herzegovina III),  Sarajevo Publishing, Sarajevo, 1998;


1999.   Bajić, Esad, Vjerski objekti i drugi spomenici islamske kulture na području medžlisa Islamske zajednice Konjic sa kratkim osvrtom na istoriju pojedinih mjesta (Religious Buildings and other Monuments of Islamic Culture within the area of jurisdiction of the Council of the Islamic Community of Konjic, with a Short Review of the History of Some Sites), Majlis (Council) of the Islamic Community of Konjic;


2001.   Mulić, Jusuf, Konjic i njegova okolina u vrijeme osmanske vladavine (1464-1878), (Konjic and Its Surroundings during the Ottoman period [1464-1878]) (Municipality of Konjic, Konjic, 2001;


          Čelić, Džemal, Urbana struktura i arhitektura Konjica (Urban Structure and Architecture of Konjic) – article.


(1) Until 1945 the neighbourhood of Šašić was a part of Seonica.

(2) For historical information on the Municipality of Konjic, see the Decision designating the Čaršija Mosque in Konjic as a national monument.

(3) Memories of the Bogumils remained very vivid in Seonica until 70 years ago. People say that in mediaeval times a Bogumil church stood on the site of the mosque of Donja Mahala, with a bell that was allegedly buried somewhere in the graveyard around the mosque. People also say that the Bogumils were the first to begin to plant chestnut trees in this area. Many necropolises with stećak tombstones, the names of villages (Gostovići, Dobrigošće and Ugošće), localities (Gostovljak) and surnames (Potur, Goastevčić and Pataronović) preserve the memory of the Bogumils.

(4) Dr Ćiro Truhelka, The Will of Guest Radin Butković, and More about Guest Radin, Journal of the National Museum, Sarajevo 1911 and  1913, page 374.

(5) Shaikh Osman Nuri Begeta was born in Seonica, in the first half of the 19th century, where he was tutored by his father, Omer bey, thus acquiring his basic education. Subsequently he studied in maddrasah in Fojnica for some years, where his tutor was muderis Arif Sidki effendi Kurdom, the famous Naqshbandiyya leader. About the middle of the 19th century he went to Istanbul where he received an ijazet (diploma) permitting him to perform the duties of a shaikh. Shaikh Osman Nuri was the first shaikh of this tekke, holding the post until his death. He died around 1890 and was buried in a small graveyard in the entrance courtyard of the tekke. This shaikh also performed duties of imam and mualim (religious scholar) in Seonica. People used to say that he spoke Persian and knew a great deal about Persian literature and philosophy. He also spoke Arabic and Turkish. He had three sons: Numan, Mohammad and Abdullah. Numan and  Mohammad studied in Sarajevo and left to live in Turkey on the eve of the First World War, where they died. Abdullah died in 1937 at the age of 83, and was buried in the graveyard outside the tekke. After the death of Shaikh Osman Nuri, Shaikh Ahmed bey Buturović was appointed shaikh of this tekke, holding the post until the tekke was closed in 1912. After the death of his father Osman bey, he was the imam of the Mosque of Gornja Mahala until it was closed in 1920. Beside his house, about two hundred metres west of the tekke, Shaikh Ahmed bey had a spacious konack (guest house) consisting of a ground floor and one upper floor. Horses were stabled on the ground floor, and the upper floor consisted of three rooms and a big divanhana (wide upper corridor or antechamber), where travellers would come.

(6) Derviš Buturović, A Story of a vakufnama, VIS Journal Sarajevo ,1952, number 1-4, page 57.

Old Mosque in Gornja Mahala, SeonicaOld Mosque in SeonicaPorch of the mosqueSoutheast facade
North-east facadeMinaretEntrance of the mosqueinterior of the mosque - mihrab
Interior of the mosque - window   

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