Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Hastahana (Vakuf Hospital building), the architectural ensemble

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Status of monument -> National monument

Published in the „Official Gazette of BiH“ no. 3/08.

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 23 January 2007 the Commission adopted a






The architectural ensemble of the Hastahana (Vakuf Hospital building) in Sarajevo is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of the Hastahana (Vakuf Hospital building), the building in the courtyard (formerly part of the Vakuf Hospital), outbuildings and courtyard.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot nos. 180 and 181 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. no. 80 (old survey), cadastral municipality Sarajevo I, Land Register entry no. XCVII/69, state property with occupancy rights enjoyed by Stari grad Municipality, Sarajevo, originally owned by the Gazi Husrev-beg vakuf, Municipality Stari grad Sarajevo, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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




The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Government of the Federation) shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, conserve, display 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.




To ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument, the following protection measures are hereby stipulated, which shall apply to the area defined in Clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision.

-          all works are prohibited other than research, conservation and rehabilitation works, including those designed to display the monument, 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 (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority),

-          during restoration and conservation works on the property its original appearance must be retained,

-          the courtyard shall be landscaped,

-          the buildings constituting the architectural ensemble may be used for health-care, educational, cultural and residential purposes, in a manner that will not jeopardize the integrity of the buildings, the authenticity of the façade, or the meaning of the property in the townscape.

-          In order to protect the property and ensure the conditions for its conservation and restoration, the following urgent protection measures are hereby stipulated:

-          the interior of the property shall be cleared of self-sown vegetation, waste deposits and rubble,

-          the surviving doors and windows shall be dismantled and stored in a safe place until they are rebuilt into the property,

-          an examination and structural analysis of the structural elements of the property shall be conducted,

-          the building shall be structurally consolidated and structural elements made good using traditional materials and the same building techniques wherever possible,

-          the property shall be protected from the elements and other adverse external influences.


On the plots bordering the plots on which the National Monument is located, the only construction permitted is of two-storey buildings (ground floor and one upper floor) with a maximum height of 6.50 m. to the base of the roof structure and maximum dimensions of 10 x 10 metres, with hipped roofs and roof cladding of traditional materials.




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




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




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




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




Pursuant to Art. V para 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, decisions of the Commission are final.




This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption and shall be published in the Official Gazette of BiH.


This Decision has been adopted by the following members of the Commission: Zeynep Ahunbay, Amra Hadžimuhamedović, Dubravko Lovrenović, Ljiljana Ševo and Tina Wik.


No.:  07.1-2-73/06-11                                                                      

18 January 2007



Chair of the Commission

Ljiljana Ševo


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 29 April 2003, Toromanović Adaleta of Sarajevo submitted a petition to designate the residential property in Nadmlini st. no. 11 in Sarajevo as a national monument. On 4 December 2006 the Accident and Emergency Public Institute of Sarajevo Canton submitted a petition to designate the Hastahana (Vakuf Hospital) in Sarajevo 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 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 a description and photographs, data of war damage, data on restoration or other works on the property, etc.

-          Ownership details

-          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 architectural ensemble of the Hastahana (Vakuf Hospital building) is located in eastern Sarajevo, in the old part of the city, within the Baščaršija quarter, at the crossroads between Halilbašić and Nadmlini streets (Halilbašić street 16 and Nadmlini 11), on cadastral plots 180 and 181 (new survey); 80 (old survey), c.m. Sarajevo I, Municipality Stari grad Sarajevo, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

The Vakuf (Ar. waqf, permanent religious endowment) Hospital was purpose-built in 1866 as a hospital with funds from the Gazi Husrev-beg vakuf, and was the first hospital in Bosnia and Herzegovina. With its 32 beds, it was in its day a state-of-the-art health-care facility. The Vakuf Hospital in Sarajevo remained the only hospital facility in the city of Sarajevo until the start of the Austro-Hungarian administration. 

After Gazi Husrev-beg's death, during the time of mutevelli (waqf manager: from Ar. wali, governor) hajji Asim-beg Mutevelić (1855-1885), the muvekkithana (from Ar. waqt, time and Pers. khana, house, dwelling: premises where the mechanisms for determining prayer times were housed), the Gazi's library and the Vakuf Hospital were built, the hospital began receiving patients, and the post of mudžellit [book-binder] of the Beg's mosque was introduced.

It was mutevelli Hajji Asim-beg who persuaded the wali of Bosnia, Topal Osman-pasha (1861-1869), to establish the first hospital in Bosnia and Herzegovina with funds from the Gazi Husrev-beg waqf, encouraged by the wali's personal physician and biographer Dr. Jozef Kečet.

The waqf allocated 8,000 groschen to purchase the site, and 30,000 groschen for the construction works. At the suggestion of the vilayet government, the Sublime Port approved the sum of 42,000 groschen annually for the maintenance of the first Bosnian hospital.

It did not take long to build the hospital, which was formally opened on 8 October 1866. It had 32 beds. A year later an extension for women was built, giving the hospital a total of 40 beds. The opening was a grand formal event (Mehmedović, 2005, p. 118).

The plague was raging through Sarajevo at the time, so that hospital admitted its first patients on the very day it was opened. Patients were admitted without regard for their religious or nationality.  The medical care was completely free of charge for all patients until 1879, when the first charges for medical treatment were introduced, but only for those with the means to pay. “On admittance to the hospital each patient received clean underwear and a decorated copper cup. The rooms were lit by candlelight or glass bowls containing a wick and oil. Every morning the patients received oil and soup, prepared for them by an aščija [cook].“ (Mehmedović, 2005, p. 118).

The Gazi Husrev-beg waqf maintained the hospital, the first official hospital in Bosnia and Herzegovina, until 1879. In early 1882 the running of the Vakuf Hospital was taken over by the Provincial Government, but the waqf continued to provide a subsidy of 8,000 crowns a year until 1894.

The staff of the Vakuf Hospital consisted of a doctor, a pharmacist, a manager and several servants. From the outset, the chief doctor was Dr. Kečet, and the pharmacists were Jako Sarajlija and a certain Sumbul. When necessary, doctors from the Military Hospital built at the same time (but opened two years later) would also attend. Military doctors known to have worked in the hospital are Dr. Džemal efendi and a surgeon, Dr. Nuri efendi, as well as Dr. Zarif Skender for a short time.  Around this time, Topal-pasha sent two Bosniacs to Istanbul to study medicine, Mehmed Šerbić and Zarif Skender, who completed their studies in 1874 and returned to Bosnia. Skender was sent to Novi Pazar, where he died after a short time in service, while Mehmed efendi Šerbić worked as a doctor in Tuzla for more than 40 years. A ten-bed hospital was opened for him in Tuzla (Mehmedović, 2005, p. 119).

In 1970 Gavro Vučković described the Vakuf Hospital in which he himself had been treated: “At the entrance to the hospital through the first great double doors there are two rectangular gardens with water and a stone trough, both walled, one for male and one for female patients.

“When a patient wants to go to the hospital he must first obtain a referral from his doctor. In the hospital, street clothing is replaced by hospital wear: a shirt, underpants, long robe, cotton cap, belt and slippers, and then socks. All the beds have oat-straw mattresses, a sheet, a pillow and a duvet. Everyone received a copper cup engraved with the name of the hospital. Nightlights are kept burning all night in every room. Each morning the doctor would come, examine the patients, and order food for certain cases of illness. The hospital has a pharmacy and a clinic used by many of the townspeople who do not need to remain in the hospital all the time.“ (Mehmedović, 2005, p. 119).

In 1879, Dr. Kečet and Dr. Makanec launched an initiative to enlarge the Vakuf Hospital by building an extension. It was decided that “voluntary contributions should be collected around Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Austro-Hungarian Empire and that concerts and theatre [performances] could be held for that purpose.“ (Mehmedović, 2005, p. 119).

At that time the hospital manager was Esad ef. Uzunić. The waqf gave 3,000 florins a year for the maintenance of the hospital, and provided 2,000 florins for the extension. In 1882 the waqf and the Provincial Government refurbished the Vakuf Hospital, with the Provincial Government allocating 9,000 crowns and the waqf increasing its annual subsidy to 8,000 florins. After the refurbishment, the post of chief medical consultant was introduced, and the hospital acquired the status of public hospital in 1884.

When the growing population of Sarajevo and its environs meant that the hospital was too small to admit every patient, an initiative was launched to build a National Hospital, now the Clinical Centre in Koševo, which was duly built and formally opened on 9 June 1894, after which the Vakuf Hospital lost its status as a public hospital.

At that time Dr. Kečet proposed that the Vakuf Hospital be converted into a hospital for the poor. In his study he set out his idea of establishing an Institute for the poor and elderly, the first initiative for an old and indigent persons' home in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Mehmedović, 2005, p. 119).

However, in 1894, after the National Hospital in Koševo was founded, the Vakuf Hospital was turned into a Mental Patients' Institute (until then, mental patients had been sent to Pešt or to Stenjevac near Zagreb for treatment), which it remained until a separate mental patients' wing was built for the Koševo Hospital, in 1909. From then on the Vakuf Hospital building was converted into a residential building until 1920, and from 1920 to 1941 it was used as the Gajret boarding school. After World War II the building was occupied by the Commercial College, and later turned into a purely residential property for some of the city's poor (ten tenants in all).

In 1970, at the initiative of the Society of Physicians of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and on the proposal of a special Commission for the Protection and Refurbishment of Monuments, the Vakuf Hospital building was placed under state protection as a cultural monument.

During the 1992-1995 war the Gazi Husrev-beg waqf hospital building was hit several times by shells and badly damaged (the roof structure and cladding, the walls, facades and windows), though even before the war the property was in a fairly derelict state as a result of lack of maintenance and care. (Koštović, 1995, p. 275).

The building at Nadmlini 11 was damaged by shelling during the war, with most of the damage to the roof.

The Accident and Emergency Public Institute of Sarajevo Canton, as the investor stakeholder, has begun fund-raising to enable it to reconstruct and refurbish the first Bosnian hospital, the Hastahana, in Sarajevo, which would entail the following:

-          opening an A&E centre in the Hastahana for the area of which Stari grad Municipality is the centre of gravity, fully equipped with a state-of-the-art clinic for initial examination and polyvalent care to therapy treatment and intensive reanimation, an out-patients' clinic offering a wide range of health-care services, and including a Memorial Museum associated with the first Bosnian hospital, a state-of-the-art regional educational A&E centre, a pharmacy and a dentist's surgery;

-          the rest of the premises would be used as a tourist attraction for educational, cultural and historical purposes;

-          the revitalization of the Hastahana complex, which would mean retaining the original architecture of the first edifice, retaining the original health-care function of the restored building, ensuring that the restored facility is self-sustaining, adding value to the locality and the site by maximizing capacity and ensuring that the building is multi-functional, optimizing infrastructure connections and, in particular, ensuring appropriate traffic and street links for the  facility (material obtained from the A&E Public Institute of Sarajevo Canton, 2006).


2. Description of the property

The National Monument consists of the Hastahana (Vakuf Hospital building), the building in the courtyard (formerly part of the Vakuf Hospital), outbuildings and courtyard.

The Hastahana is a two-storey building (ground floor and first floor), measuring 23.50 x 19.90 m on the outside, and with a total net usable area of 748 m2 (2x374 m2). The entrance to the building is from nearby Halilbašić street.

The building was designed and built as a detached property with solid structural walls of unbaked and baked 40 x 60 x 80 mm brick. The floor joists are of sawn timber. The basic structural system is a framework structure of unbaked and baked brick (the load-bearing walls) and sawn timber (the floor/ceiling joists). The roof frame is timber and the roof is clad with rebated tiles.

Architecturally, the building has retained its basic original exterior form and appearance, but the interior layout, which was simple and function with four hospital wards and the doctors', pharmacists' and staff premises on both the ground and the first floor, has been somewhat altered by the addition of partition walls. It is now a residential building, and greatly damaged.

The Vakuf Hospital was divided functionally into men's and women's sections. It had a reception area, an operating theatre, a pharmacy, an out-patients' clinic and a laboratory where some of the medicines were made. It had a separate changing room for patients, and a kitchen with a long room where the food and utensils were kept. There was a separate toilet block in a large room with square brick tiles on the floor and toilets to the side.

There was a large, spacious room with a wooden floor on the first floor of the hospital, where patients who were not confined to bed could sit on benches and look out at the city. There were four wards, each with eight beds, at the corners of this room; each ward had a small side room for the nurses. Each room had a good quality earthenware stove.

The hospital also had separate premises such as a laundry and a morgue. It had no baths, but outside the entrance there were two small rectangular gardens with running water and a stone trough, separated by a partition and used one by female patients and the other by male patients. In the courtyard outside the hospital was a small house with a bathroom for the manager (hojja) and his family.

As time went by the number of patients being admitted to the hospital increased and it became necessary to increase its capacity, so another eight-bed room was added, bringing its total capacity to 40 beds. In 1884 the hospital was reorganized, the building was restored and it was recognized as a public institute. Two smaller buildings were erected next to the original main building, one used as an isolation ward for syphilis patients, and another housing baths, a laundry and a morgue. In addition, a private house close to the hospital was rented and converted into a women's war. The hospital's capacity could thus be increased if needed to 90 beds, although it normally had 50 to 70.

War damage (the building was set on fire) and lack of maintenance (both routine and major) has left the building derelict, with most of it in ruins and the facades badly damaged. The guttering and downpipes and the flashings are damaged, the roof and roof frame are damaged and dilapidated, and the right wing of the property has collapsed entirely, so that the property requires complete repair and reconstruction (rehabilitation, revitalization).

The residential building at Nadmlini st. 11, part of the Hastahana complex, is a two-storey building (ground and first floor) measuring 13.50 x 11.00 m on the outside, with a total net usable area of 238 m2 (2x119 m2). The building can be entered from Nadmlini and Halilbašić streets, the latter used by traffic.

The building was designed and built as a detached, solidly-built property with massive structural walls of unbaked brick, 60-70 cm thick, and 40 x 60 cm baked brick. The foundations and foundation walls are stone-built. The floor/ceiling joists are of timber. The roof is three-paned, with a wooden frame and a cladding of corrugated salonit (a recent addition). The facades are rendered. To the south, the building is "open-fronted" by having a wooden verandah along almost the entire facade, in which there is an open wooden staircase leading to the first floor. The interior of the building has some fairly large, deep pointed-arched niches. The interior walls and ceilings are plastered.

Over the years the building has undergone a number of interventions that have not been professionally carried out on some of the window openings, especially on the ground floor, where their shape and form are inappropriate to the traditional architecture of the building and its surroundings; the same is true of the roof cladding and roof structure.

War damage and lack of maintenance (deterioration) has left the building somewhat damaged and dilapidated. About 30% of the facades are damaged, the roof and roof structure are dilapidated to 20%, the structure of the wooden staircase and the verandah and its balustrade are damaged, and the outbuildings in the courtyard – the laundry with outside tap, the outside wc and shed – are in a ruinous state.


3. Legal status to date

Pursuant to Ruling no. 327/72 of 1972, the City Institute for the Protection and Refurbishment of Cultural Monuments in Sarajevo accorded the Vakuf Hospital building (residential building) and all its ancillary facilities in Halilbašić street no. 16 the status of a cultural monument, and placed it under protection.

In the opinion of the Cantonal institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Sarajevo, ref. 900/01 of 6 July 2001, the residential property in Nadmlini street 11 is of the nature of a monument.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

-          The Hastahana was most recently repaired in 1975;

-          The property in Nadmlini street. no 11 was repaired in 1980,

-          By Ruling no. UPI/06-23-3-42/03 of 2 June 2003 the Federal Ministry of Regional Planning and the Environment ordered the owner, Municipality Stari grad Sarajevo, to remedy these shortcomings on the residential property and outbuildings in Nadmlini street 11, Sarajevo. As a result, in the first half of 2006 the roof structure and cladding were completely renewed, as was the structure of the entrance portico and staircase. In addition to these works, however, it is essential that repairs continue to the remaining parts of the main building and the outbuildings.

-          In 2006 the entire roof structure and cladding and part of the entrance portico and staircase of the property in Nadmlini street no. 11 were replaced.


5. Current condition of the property

During an on-site inspection, the following was ascertained:

-          the Hastahana is in a ruinous state, the courtyard walls are in ruins and the entire property is in very poor structural condition;

-          the right wing of the building, the front entrance, and the left wing (rear of the building) are in total ruins;

-          these parts of the building are entirely lacking any roof structure; the roof structure on the rest of the building is in very poor condition, with serious damage, presenting no protection from the elements for the interior and structure of the property;

-          damage to the roof cladding was observed – about half the total roof cladding is missing;

-          the plaster has fallen away from almost the entire facade, leaving the wall structure exposed to the elements over much of the wall surface; the only part of the building where there is a rather larger expanse of surviving plaster is the front facade, to the left of the entrance, though here too major damage can be seen, caused by damp in the walls;

-          some of the structural elements – uprights, beams, rafters and floor/ceiling joists – are damaged and at risk from the effects of the elements, which are accelerating the rotting process;

-          the woodwork of the windows and doors is damaged by damp and exposure to the elements;

-          all the glass is broken, except on the ground floor, to the left of the entrance, in a room currently used as living quarters;

-          failure to take preventive protection measures, the penetration of precipitation water, and other adverse climatic influences have led to major structural damage inside the building, which could result in its complete collapse;

-          the only exception is part of the ground floor of the building to the left of the entrance, in which repairs and alterations were carried out to enable it to be used as living quarters.  However, despite these works, the overall poor structural condition of the property means it is at risk of collapse;

-          the residential building in Nadmlini street no. 11 is in rather better structural condition; following the most recent works the property is in no immediate danger of collapse, although further repairs are required: the first floor and parts of the facade, and particularly the west facade facing the courtyard abutting onto the Hastahana building.  The shortcomings caused by the inappropriate works carried out to date on the property (the verandah, the roof cladding) also need to be remedied;

-          the remaining outbuildings of the architectural ensemble are in poor structural condition and must be repaired;

-          the courtyard is currently full of garbage and rubble, and overgrown with self-sown weeds, and must be cleared and tidied, as must the approach to the building from Halilbašić street.


6. Specific risks

-          penetration of precipitation waters through the damage to the roof and into the structure of the walls;

-          damp penetration into the structural timbers and woodwork;

-          rising damp in the lower reaches of the walls;

-          large quantities of litter and garbage inside the property;

-          self-sown vegetation in and around the property.



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.iii. proportions

C.iv. composition

D. Clarity (documentary, scientific and educational value)

D.ii. evidence of historical change

D. v. evidence of a typical way of life at a specific period

E. Symbolic value

E.iii. traditional value

F. Townscape/ Landscape value

F.ii. meaning in the townscape

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

G. Authenticity

G.i. form and design

G.v. location and setting

H. Rarity and representativity

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

I. Completeness

I.i. physical coherence

I.ii. homogeneity

I.iii. completeness


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-          Copy of cadastral plan

-          Plans of the complex dating from the Austro-Hungarian period (ground plan of ground and first floor)

-          Documentation supplied to the Accident and Emergency Public Institute of Sarajevo Canton by the Islamic Community, Gazi Husrev-beg vakuf (communication ref. 132/06 of 22 March 2006 and report by court expert on the condition of the property of 26 August 2006)




1995.    Koštović, Nijazija, Sarajevo između dobrotvorstva i zla (Sarajevo between Charity and Evil), Rijaset of the Islamic Community, El-kalem Publishing, and Muslim Charitable Society Merhamet, Sarajevo, 1995.


2005.    Mehmedović, Ahmed, Gazi Husrev-beg i njegove zadužbine (Gazi Husrev-beg and his Legacies), Ahmed Mehmedović, Sarajevo, 2005.


2006.    Documentation of the Cantonal Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage Sarajevo

View at the Hospital complexs from the Austro-hungarian periodView at the Hospital complexs from the Austro-hungarian periodThe main Hospital building , 2006.Courtyard of the main Hospital building
Building at Nadmlini st. 11Building at Nadmlini st. 11Interior of the building at Nadmlini st. 11The main Hospital building in 2006.

BiH jezici 
Commision to preserve national monuments © 2003. Design & Dev.: