Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

Provisional List

About the Provisional List

List of Petitions for Designation of Properties as National Monuments

Heritage at Risk

60th session - Decisions

Necropolis with stećak tombstones in the hamlet of Moconje (in Gornje [Upper] Šljivno and the Orthodox cemetery in Stražbenica, village of Šljivno in Dobrinja, the historic site

gallery back

Status of monument -> National monument

Published in the “Official Gazette of BiH” no. 75/08.

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 6 to 9 March 2007 the Commission adopted a






The historic site of the necropolis with stećak tombstones in the hamlet of Moconje (in Gornje [Upper] Šljivno and the Orthodox cemetery in Stražbenica, village of Šljivno in Dobrinja, city of Banja Luka, is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of a mediaeval necropolis with 7 stećak tombstones and an old Orthodox cemetery to the south of the necropolis.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 4/1 490 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 89, cadastral municipality Šljivno, city of Banja Luka, 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 for the investigation, protection, conservation and presentation 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. 3 of this Decision, and also including the area to a distance of 50 metres each way to the east, north and west of the cemetery, and extending to the local road to the south.

-          all works are prohibited other than conservation and restoration works, including the routine maintenance and presentation of 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 (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority),

-          the site of the National Monument shall be open and accessible to the public, and may be used for educational and cultural purposes.





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 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 – VI of this Decision, and the Authorized Municipal Court shall be notified for the purposes of registration in the Land Register.




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





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




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


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


No: 05.2-2-37/95-3

7 March 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 4 February 2005 the president of the Society of Former Manjača Residents, Mr. Živko Moconja of Banja Luka, submitted a petition/proposal to designate the Orthodox cemetery in Stražbenica in the hamlet of Moconje in the village of Gornje Šljivno, city of Banja Luka, 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:

-          Documentation on the location and current owner and user of the property (copy of cadastral plan and copy of land register entry);

-          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.;

-          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 cemetery is in the area to the south-west of the Republika Srpska army barracks around the old asphalt road from Banja Luka to Mrkonjić Grad via Dobrinja andi Manjača, in the inner area of the village of Gornje Šljivno. One turns west from the barracks to the old macadam road leading along the river Šljivanska, and the site is about 2.5 km from this crossroads, and about 150 m south of the river and the macadam road. To the north of the site is Stražbenica hill, and to the north-west the chain of Rudača and Krst hills. On Vlaščić peak is a measuring device used for target practice. Between the river Šljivanjska and the cemetery, among bushes, is a necropolis with seven stećak tombstones.

Historical information

The mountainous region between Banja Luka and Mrkonjić Grad where the village of Šljivno is located belonged to the mediaeval župa (county) of Zemljanik, which is referred to in a charter of the Bosnian ban (governor) Prijezda II dating from 1287 (Klaić, 1994, 131-133, Karanović, 1936, 27-36; ibidem, 1937, 105-107; Skarić, 1937, 37-53, Vasić, 1962, 244-245, with note 51). Stećak tombstones numbering 70 to 180 have been recorded in a number of necropolises of stećak tombstones in this area, such as those in Pervan, Goleši, Pavići, Lusići, Han Kola and Dujakovci. These are the large necropolises of rural communities or clans. There were small family necropolises with up to ten tombstones scattered through numerous villages (Bešlagić, 1971, 98-99). The county had fortified towns in Vilusi, Bočac and Krupa on the Vrbas.

Zmijanje came under Ottoman rule with the fall of the towns in the Vrbas valley from Jajce to the north in 1527/28. At first, until 1540, the area was merged with the nahija (smallest administrative unit) of Vrhovina in the kadiluk of Brod. Between 1535 and 1540, when the Ottomans cross the Sava, the nahija of Zmijanje belonged to the kadiluk of Kobaš in the Bosnian sandžak (Šabanović, 1982, 150). As things settled down, Zmijanje became a separate nahija. The earliest reference to it is in a 1541 defter, as part of the Kobaš kadiluk. From 1592 on, it was in the Banja Luka kadiluk (Šabanović, 1982, 177-178). In  the early years of Ottoman rule the nahija of Zmijanje covered the entire area between the Vrbas and Sana rivers and Mts. Kozara and Dimitor and Lisine above Mrkonjić Grad to the south. Later the nahija of Trijebovo, in the area around Mrkonjić Grad, was divided off (Vasić, 1962, 244).

Ottoman censuses of 1541 and 1563/64 reveal the stability of settlements and the natural population growth in the Zmijanje nahija. In the meantime, the Zalužje monastery had been established, with two monks. The name of this nahija remains unchanged to this day. The 1541 census also refers to the village of Šljivno. Similarly, family names mentioned in these census from the mid 16th century were to be met with until modern times, evidence that this area was later spared any major changes. Islamization proceeded slowly in this region. These censuses refer to only four cases, but the village of Crljani has retained its Muslim character to this day (Vasić, 1962. 244-246). It is "hard to say anything more definite" about the distant past and origins of the mediaeval population in Zmijanje, but an analysis of various historical facts provides "a basis for the claim that they were there when the Turks came." For all that, it remains an open question whether they were incomers from pre-Turkish times or the indigenous population (Vasić, 1962, 246-247).      

Throughout the Ottoman period the inhabitants of Zmijanje were filuridžije (persons required to pay the filurija or ducat tax), led by village headmen (knez and primićur). This was the only district in Bosnia and Herzegovina where the inhabitants retained this status even after the abolition of the filurija in other areas, "and it is known that such privileges were not preserved in areas with a younger population" (Vasić, 1962, 246-247). According to Vasić, the inhabitants in the mid 16th century censuses were Orthodox Vlachs, meaning Serbs (Vasić, 1962, 248, n. 67).


2. Desription of the property

The Orthodox cemetery below Straževica in the hamlet of Moconje is on a slope covering an area of more than 15 hectares, which falls away gently from north to south, towards the Šljivanjska river. The cemetery lies west-east, with a length of about 150 m, and a width of about 40 m to the west and 19 m to the east, covering an area of about 4000 sq.m.). The graves are not distributed with equal density through the cemetery, nor is the distribution of older and newer graves even. The graves lie west-east. Crosses are set at the west (head) end of the grave. The crosses are decorated on the east face, and the more recent tombstones also bear epitaphs.

There are three basic types of tombstones. The oldest are crosses of various sizes, cut  from tufa and the local porous grey stone. The basic features of these crosses are that they have a wider upper arm with carved ends, and proportionately rather short cross arms. Some have a carved pommel on the sides of the arms. The decoration on the east face of these crosses is either in bas relief or simply lightly incised. The design is always a cross. On the tufa crosses, it is in bas relief or incised, and the form of the decorative cross echoes the shape of the cross itself. These decorative crosses are usually on the top half of the tombstone, so that the centre of the two crosses coincide. In some cases the lower arm is extended down to the lower third of the cross. On the stone crosses there may be a simple incised cross, but in most cases the entire east face is edged by a thin incised line echoing the shape of the tombstone. The tufa crosses include the tallest in the cemetery, at 2.7 m, with the span of the side arms at 0.95 m and a thickness of 0.3 m. The oldest tombstones include a number of simple tall stone slabs, rectangular in shape and barely dressed. A small cross is incised on one of them. There are no epitaphs on these tombstones. It is impossible to give an accurate date for these tombstones, but they probably belong to the 17th to 19th century inhabitants. Most of the these older tombstones have tilted over.

The second type consists of slab-shaped tombstones, dated by their epitaphs to before World War II. These are stone slabs imitating stylized crosses, of mass manufacture. They are about a metre in height, thinner than the older hand-cut crosses, and with only slightly accentuated stylized cross arms. Above the cross arms the slab narrows at an angle, terminating in a cross. The arms of the cross are chamfered at the edges.

The third type of tombstone dates mainly from the 1940s and 1950s. These are smaller standard-design crosses with three arms of equal length and a somewhat longer, wider lower arm. The epitaphs are level with the cross arms. Three arms end in semicircular protuberances.

The cemetery also includes a number of larger, thin stone crosses, also mass produced, and one recent, quite large family tomb. All the epitaphs are in Cyrillic script.

Many of the tombstones have suffered the ravages of time, and on some the cross arms are broken off. Many are leaning, and some are overturned. In some places the ground is rutted, and a number of human bones have been scattered around the surface by one of the oldest tombstones.

            Although there is a mixture of all the different types of tombstone in many places in this large cemetery, there is a concentration of the oldest type at the west and east ends of the cemetery. The remainder are intermingled throughout the cemetery.

            To the south of the Orthodox cemetery is a slight elevation overgrown with shrubs, on which is a small necropolis with seven chest-shaped stećak tombstones. These are of good workmanship, with an average height of up to 0.85m, a length of 1.8 m, and a width of 1.2 to 0.90 m. They lie west-east, and are undecorated. Some of them have sunk into the ground.


3. Legal status to date

The property has not been subject to legal protection.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works



5. Current condition of the property

In the 1950s the wider Dobrinja area, which included the village of Gornje Šljivno, was depopulated. The residents were moved out to allow for the Yugoslav National Army’s artillery range to be built. Even since then, the cemeteries have become more and more neglected.  Between 1996 and 2001, the barracks in Šljivno housed SFOR troops, followed by the RS army.  The measuring device used for target practice can be seen on Vlaščić peak. The target was about 10 m from the north-west edge of the cemetery, close to the northern corner. The cemetery has been fenced off by the RS army, the Orthodox Church and the Society of Former Residents of Manjača, which is based in Banja Luka. Subject to permission from the RS army, for security reasons, individual or group visits to the cemetery can be arranged, particularly on saints’ days relevant to paying respect to the dead, or on religious holidays.


6. Specific risks

If the cemetery continues to be neglected, without conservation works and regular maintenance of the cemeteries in this uninhabited region, the old tombstones will continue to deteriorate.



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. v.      value of details

D.         Clarity (documentary, scientific and educational value)

D.i.       material evidence of a lesser known historical era

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

E.         Symbolic 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

G.         Authenticity

G.vi.      spirit and feeling

I.          Completeness

I.iii.       completeness


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-          Copy of cadastral plan;

-          Copy of land register entry, Municipal Court in Banja Luka;

-          Photodocumentation (photographs taken on site on 13 February 2007);

-          7 photographs ffrom Mr. Živko Moconja.



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


1936.    Karanović, Milan, “Granice srednjovjekovne župe Zemljanik” (Borders of the Mediaeval County of Zemljanik), Jnl of the National Museum in Sarajevo XLVIII, 1936, vol. 1, Sarajevo, 1936, 27-36.


1937.    Skarić, Vladimir, “Župa Zemljanik i stara nahija Zmijanje” (the County of Zemljanik and the Old Nahija of Zmijanje), Jnl of the National Museum in Sarajevo XLIX, vol. 1, Sarajevo, 1937, 37-53.


1937.    Karanović, Milan, “Još koju o župi Zemljanik” (More on the County of Zemljanik), Jnl of the National Museum in Sarajevo XLIX, vol. 1, Sarajevo, 1937, 105-107.


1962.    Vasić, Milan, “Etničke promjene u Bosanskoj krajini u XVI vijeku” (Ethnic Changes in the Bosnian Frontier Region in the 16th Century), Annual of the Society of Historians of Bosnia and Herzegovina, yr. III /1962. Sarajevo, 1963, 233-250


1971.    Bešlagić, Šefik, Stećci, kataloško-topografski pregled (Stećak tombstones, a catalogue and topographical survey), Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1971. 142-143.


1982.    Šabanović, Hazim, Bosanski pašaluk (Bosnian Pashaluk), Svjetlost, Sarajevo, 1982


1994.    Klaić, Nada, Srednjovjekovna Bosna, politički položaj bosanskih vladara do Tvrtkove krunidbe (1377.g.) (Mediaeval Bosnia, the Political Position of Bosnian Rulers to the Coronation of Tvrtko in 1377), Zagreb, 1994.

Orthodox graveyard on StražbenicaTombstonesOne of the oldest tombstone Damages

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