Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Franciscan monastery and church, the architectural ensemble

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Status of monument -> National monument

Published in the „Official Gazette of BiH“ no. 88/07

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 22 to 28 May 2007 the Commission adopted a






The architectural ensemble of the Franciscan monastery and church in Široki Brijeg is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of the church, monastery and movable heritage.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 1577, cadastral municipality Lištica, Municipality Široki Brijeg, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 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 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, 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:

Only works that will not be detrimental to the value as a monument of the National Monument shall be permitted, subject to the approval of the Federal ministry responsible for regional planning (hereinafter: the relevant ministry) and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority).

A buffer zone 150 m wide surrounding the National Monument is hereby stipulated.  In this buffer zone the following protection measures shall apply:

  • the erection of industrial buildings or facilities, facilities of which the use could be detrimental to the National monument, and the siting of environmental polluters are prohibited,
  • infrastructure works shall be permitted solely with the approval of the relevant ministry and subject to the conditions stipulated by the heritage protection authority.




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




The removal of the movable heritage items referred to in Clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision (hereinafter: the movable heritage) from Bosnia and Herzegovina is prohibited.

By way of exception to the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Clause, the temporary removal from Bosnia and Herzegovina of the movable heritage for the purposes of display or conservation shall be permitted if it is established that conservation works cannot be carried out in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Permission for temporary removal under the conditions stipulated in the preceding paragraph shall be issued by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, if it is determined beyond doubt that it will not jeopardize the movable heritage in any way. 

In granting permission for the temporary removal of the movable heritage, the Commission shall stipulate all the conditions under which the removal from Bosnia and Herzegovina may take place, the date by which the items shall be returned to the country, and the responsibility of individual authorities and institutions for ensuring that these conditions are met, and shall notify the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the relevant security service, the customs authority of  Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the general public accordingly.




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 Federal Ministry responsible for culture, the 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 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.




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. 613.




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: 06.2-02-210/06-5

23 May 2007



Chair of the Commission

Dubravko Lovrenović


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 to Preserve National Monuments issued a Decision to add the Franciscan monastery with church in Široki Brijeg to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, numbered as 613.

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
  • Details of legal protection of the property to date
  • 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
  • Details of the movable heritage forming part of the property
  • 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 property are as follows:


1. Details of the property


The position of the Široki Brijeg area, at the transition between inner Herzegovina and Dalmatia and western Bosnia and the Neretva, was of major importance for the origins of the first monastery (and later of the town). The area where the town centre is now located, by the river Lištica, belonged to the settlement of Lisce. A prominence south of the Ugrovača tributary, just before its confluence with the Lištica, was known as Široki Brig, and belonged to the settlement of Pribinovići(1)   (now the site where the monastery and church stand).

Three hills rise above the town, facing the river Lištica: Burića brig, Brig Stražnica and Široki brig(2). Široki Brijeg is the middle and widest hill, hence its name (lit. Wide Hill).

The name of the settlement has changed a number of times. After being known as Lisa, it acquired the name Lištica, after the river that rises in Borak, two kilometres to the north of the town centre. After the Franciscan monastery and church were built, it acquired the name Široki Brig. In 1953, Široki Brijeg again became known as Lištica, while the parish and monastery retained the name Široki Brijeg. In 1991 the name Široki Brijeg was restored to the town.

The architectural ensemble of the Franciscan monastery and church in Široki Brijeg is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 1577, cadastral municipality Lištica, Municipality Široki Brijeg, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

The first church to be built in the Široki Brijeg area was erected in the 5th or 6th century – the basilica in Mokro, above which was a fortified town, referred to by Emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus as Mokriskik. Later the region was known as Blato, as recorded in a deed of gift of King Ostoja to the brothers Radovanović in 1408 (Sergejevski, 1970. p. 11). During the Ottoman period, Blato was part of the Mostar nahija from 1466 until the second half of the 16th century, when it became a separate nahija (smallest administrative unit) by the name of Blato, within the Mostar kadiluk.

The origins of the town on the river Lištica are associated with the building of a Franciscan monastery and church in 1846. The town began to take shape around a mill on the river Lištica, and once the Mostar-Lištica-Posušje road was built, houses began to go up along the road  In 1868, a stone bridge was built over the river Ugrovača, by which time Široki Brijeg had not only a bridge but a primary school, a grammar school, the Franciscan monastery and church and a number of shops.  Široki Brijeg became the religious and cultural centre of western Herzegovina. The church in Široki Brijeg is a sacred site, the shrine of Our Lady(3), the principal Marian shrine in Herzegovina. Of late it has been linked with Međugorje to become an important place of pilgrimage for Catholics from all over the world, who gather there in particular for the feasts of the Assumption and the Nativity of the Virgin. Since 1975, the last Saturday in July has become the Catholic pilgrimage of Our Lady in Brijeg.

The church in Široki Brijeg was built at a time when the Ottoman Empire was in decline and Austro-Hungarian rule was introduced in BiH. Just before World War I, a post office was opened in the town, which acquired a telephone line in 1913, and later, in 1936, electricity supply from a hydro power plant. A tobacco purchasing station was opened in 1912, and in 1935 the extraction of bauxite began.

            The Franciscans have been in Bosnia since the 13th century(4). In 1514, after the establishment of Ottoman rule, the Bosnian vicariate was divided into Bosnia Argentina (in the region under Ottoman rule) and Bosnia-Croatia (the remaining area of the vicariate). In 1517 both vicariates were elevated to the rank of province. During Ottoman rule, there were no Franciscan monasteries in Herzegovina.  Franciscans from the monasteries in Kreševo, Fojnica and Kraljeva Sutjeska took care of the pastoral needs of the Catholic population of Herzegovina.

In 1832, Herzegovina became a separate pashaluk headed by Ali Pasha Rizvanbegović, who favoured and backed the independent community of Franciscans, since it suited him that they were independent of Bosnia.

In 1842 three Franciscans of Herzegovinan origins, Fr. Anđeo Kraljević, Fr. Ilija Skoko and Fr. Ilija Vidošević, sent a letter to the bishop asking to be treated as separate from the Bosnian province of Bosnia Argentina. In 1843 a letter was also sent to the Holy See, explaining the need to found a new monastery in Herzegovina and to detach the province and bishopric from Bosnia. In 1844 the Franciscans were granted permission by the Holy See to build a church and monastery in Herzegovina. In 1847 the independent bishopric of Herzegovina was founded, with Fr. Rafo Barišić as its first bishop, who also intended to become the first discretus in the Herzegovina Franciscan custodiate. The Franciscans did not accept this, and in 1852 were granted permission by the Franciscan General and Pope Pius IX for the Franciscan community of Herzegovina to declare itself as a separate custodiate, raised in 1892 to the rank of province.

In 1844 the Franciscans who originated from Herzegovina moved from Kreševo to Herzegovina and settled in Čerigaj. Failing to find a suitable place there to build a church and monastery, they moved again, this time to Široki Brijeg. They decided that Široki Brijeg should be the site of a new monastery and church, at the place where there was an old Catholic cemetery.  It was an area lacking in fertile land or forest, but it was on a hill, and the site was suitable for a monastery and church. The land was purchased from Ahmed-aga Kurto for 145 gold ducats. The first leader of the Široki Brijeg fraternity was Fr. Anđeo Kraljević, a guardian without a monastery.

There had been no church or monastery in Široki Brijeg prior to this, and the Ottoman authorities granted permits only if there previously had been a building of this type on the chosen site.  Legend has it that the friars used their guile, bringing stones from a nearby tower, which they buried and later indicated as the remains of a church.  At the request of the Franciscans, Ali Pasha wrote to the Sublime Porte in Istanbul asking that a firman (permit) be granted for a church and monastery to be built. This was approved by Sultan Abdul Mecid in a firman of 1845, and by the vizier of Herzegovina, Ali Pasha Rizvanbegović, by a bujruntija [decree issued by a pasha] in 1846.

After receiving both ecclesiastical and imperial approval to build a church and monastery in Široki Brijeg, the foundation stone was laid on 23 July 1846. The ceremony was attended by all the Franciscans of Herzegovina and the Catholic population, and Bishop Fr. Rafo Barišić blessed the start of building works on the church and monastery, which were dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The exact size of the church was stipulated by the firman. It was quite small, measuring approx. 20.00 m long and 10.20 m wide (44 ells x 25 ells – or more likely cubits(5)) on the outside. In 1870 work began on the erection of the belltower, completed in 1871. The tower was quite short, only ten cubits taller than the church.

The church was linked to the monastery. First to be built alongside the church were four rooms of the monastery as necessary accommodation. Unlike the church, the size of the monastery was not stipulated. The first part of the monastery, the west wing consisting of a few rooms, was built in 1848.  This housed a school for Franciscan pupils, where the four lower grades of grammar school were taught. In late 1849 the west wing of the monastery was completed, with fifteen living quarters. The south wing of the monastery was built the same year, and the east wing was completed in 1860. The west and east wings measured 32 x 9 m; the south wing is the longest, at 43 m. There was a 6 m high basement below this wing. Later an extension to the south wing was built in the form of a two-storey building measuring 25 x 10 m, housing the kitchen. A stone wall was built around the monastery and church, and a number of water cisterns were constructed. The monastery and church were both built of stone, with roofs clad with stone slabs. In 1853 the east wing of the monastery had 53 rooms. A school and a hostel for guests were also built, as were eight shops nearby, which the Franciscans rented to traders. Two outbuildings were also erected. In 1969 the old kitchen was demolished and a new building was erected housing the kitchen and living quarters for sisters. The west wing of the monastery was repaired in 1978.

A plaque was mounted at the entrance to the monastery, with the following inscription:







ON 23 JULY 1846



The community of Franciscan Capuchins in Italy helped the Franciscans in Herzegovina by sending an architect member of theirs, Fr. Matteo Lorenzoni, who lived in Herzegovina from 1863 to 1867, designing and building bridges over the Lištica and in Mladi. He also designed the new church in Široki Brijeg, conceived as a large three-aisled building in the Italian baroque style, with a dome intended to be over the altar, and two bell towers. The church was intended to measure 48.2 x 21.8 m. This design was not built, because the Franciscans did not have sufficient funds and there were no craftsmen able to erect such a building.

In 1892 the Franciscan Custodiate was given the title of Province of the Assumption of Mary.  At a session of the Seniority of the Province in Mostar that year, the Franciscans' request for permission to build a new church in Široki Brijeg was granted. As a result, the Seniority of the Franciscan Province applied to the District of Mostar to send them a civil engineer. In early 1904 they send a civil engineer named Škrobić, who drew up the blueprints for a new church. On the basis of this design, the Provincial Government in Sarajevo hired civil engineer Maximilian Max David(6), who produced two designs for the church in Široki Brijeg, one in 1904 and another in 1905.

David's first design was for a church as a triple-aisled basilica measuring 45 x 19.20 m, with a single bell tower over the main portal with one bifora and a clock in the gable, topped by a high pyramidal roof. The church narrowed to the east to the width of the main nave (9 m), where the altar area and sacristy were to be. The transept had two gabled triangles with two niches intended for sculptures.  The walls of the main nave were divided into five bays, each with two windows, providing ample lighting for the central nave.

With his second design, produced in 1905, Max David altered his 1904 design. This time the church was to be a triple-aisled basilica with a main nave 10.30 m in width and two side aisles 4.30 m wide. The extension of the main nave consisted of an apse about 14.5 m long. The church was 50 m long and 26 m wide, with two bell towers over the side aisles. The first storey of the bell tower had a bifora window, with a clock at second-storey level and a large bifora above it. The bell towers ended in half-storeys and high pyramidal wooden roofs with metal spires topped by crosses. This was altered somewhat during building since it was feared that this structure would not withstand high winds. The bell towers were thus finished at the second storey with a rosette and one rectangular lightwell, while the half-storeys were rather higher than in David's design and a trifora window, providing the bell towers with structural offload and an elegant appearance. The portals in this design are quite large, with a large rosette above the main portal. Instead of the five double windows, six panels were designed, with rosette openings, allowing light into the main nave. Now, instead of five piers, there are six pillars and six bays. The exterior surfaces are articulated by arcaded friezes, breaking up the surfaces and creating an interplay of lines. This design had two triangles on the transept gable, but during building one was built to the north and another to the south.

In March 1905 the Supreme Provincial Government issued building permit no.  40680/I  for the new church by the monastery in Široki Brijeg on the basis of Max's second design, with the rider that it could not subsidize the building since it was a monumental structure "exceeding actual needs."

The old church was demolished in 1905, and the foundation stone of the new church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary was laid on the same site on 20 June 1905 by Bishop Fr. Paškal Buconjić. Substantial funds needed to be raised to build the new church; the money was raised from various sources. The Franciscans had part of the funds allocated for the building, and part was raised from voluntary contributions and donations from various parts of the world.The Catholics of Herzegovina contributed by making donations in cash and working on the church.

The project leader was Fr. Didak Buntić(7), who deserves the greatest credit for building the new church. During building works Fr. Didak had Josip Vancaš(8),  Stjepan Podhorski(9) and Izidor Iso Kršnjavi as advisers.

The church was built of grey Herzegovina limestone, extracted from a quarry near the monastery.  In the early stages the craftsmen were masons from Italy and the Croatian coastal region, who trained local craftsmen as they worked, enabling them to master the stonemasonry techniques and to replace all the outsiders once they had done so.

The rate at which the building went up was dependent on the sums of money rainsed. By 1910 the masonry and roofing work on the church were complete. The north bell tower was added in 1927 and the south tower in 1969.

To complete the works on the church, a loan was obtained in August 1939 from the Royal Banate Authority of the Primorska Banate, in the sum of 10,000 dinars.

In Max David's design, the central nave of the church was to be coffered in timber, but instead a reinforced concrete cross-vault was built to blueprints by architect Stjepan Podhorski in 1939. The vaults of the side aisles were stone built.  That year too the interior of the church was plastered.

The church windows were made in Zagreb, with the work entrusted to Dr. Iso Kršnjavi. During World War I, work on the church was halted. In 1910 it was roofed with eternit, which was unsuitable for the north-easterly winds known as the bora, and in 1931 it was replaced by sheet copper brought in from the Czech Republic. In late 1944 and early 1945 the church was hit by cannonshells, damaging the roof and frontispiece of the church(10). Repairs began on the church in the autumn of 1959, and in 1960 the frontispiece was completely renovated, with 500 stone blocks being replaced. The following year a terrazzo floor was laid, the choir was cast, and two side altars made of Brač stone were installed. The designs were by Fr. Pio Nuić. The copper roof, damaged during the war, was replaced by salonit in 1965. The steps outside the main entrance were paid in 1965 to designs by Fr. Pio Nuić, who also designed the extension to the south bell tower. The south bell tower was made level with the north tower in October 1968, at 32 m. A new door was made in 1969 by Ante Brekalo of Konjic to a design by civil engineer Šemso Mulić. His father Smail executed the carved decoration. The rosettes on the frontispiece and the lunette above the central doorway are the work of Pavle Šušilović of Zagreb, and were installed in 1969. The wind screen in the antechamber was made a year later. The church was provided with improvised outside lighting in 1971. Ante Starčević, a sculpture from Zagreb, provided the design for the presbytery. Major renovations of the church were begun under the leadership of the guardian. Fr. Jozo Pejić. The courtyard was made in 1974/75 to designs by Starčević amended by Fr. Vendelin Karačić. In 1975, the church was provided with central heating.  The sacristy, and the chapel beside it, were completed in 1976. That year, too, outside lighting was installed to a solution by Smiljan Neumuller of Maribor, who also provided a solution for the inside lighting of the church, installed in 1977, along with a new sound system. In 1977/78 the plaster was stripped off the walls inside the church, apart from the consols and the ribs of the vault, and replaced by fresh plaster. The stone surfaces in the church and on the frontispiece were sanded down that same year. In late 1978 the vinyl and terrazzo tiles were removed from the floor, which was paved with stone flags from Posušje. The joints between the stone blocks on the outside walls were cleaned and repointed. A new copper roof cladding was laid. The high altar(11), made of stone, was installed in December 1978, as was the plinth for the tabernacle.


2. Description of the property

The present-day, new church in Široki Brijeg was built in the neo-Romanesque style. The long axis of the church runs east-west, with the high altar at the east end and an apse at the west end.  The church is approx. 50 m long with an overall width of approx. 21 m. It is a triple-aisled church with a main nave 10.30 m wide and two side aisles each 4.30 m wide. The extension of the main nave is an apse approx. 14.50 m long. The entrance to the church, with the choir gallery above, is structurally linked to the sides with two stone bell towers with flat roofs.

The interior is divided into three aisles by two colonnades consisting of six piers measuring 80 x 80 cm. The daylight width of the central nave is 9.0 m and of the side aisles 3.4 m. The piers are set 3.7 m apart longitudinally. The daylight height of the main nave is 7.2 m from floor level, and that of the side aisles is approx. 4.2 m.

The walls are of regular-cut limestone blocks approx. 80 to 90 cm wide. Lime mortar made from lime procured in the traditional manner from a village limepit was used as binder. The walls were built of stone blocks laid in two courses, and in some places in several courses. The blocks were dressed with ashlar outer faces and the other faces left rough. The core of the walls, between the exposed courses of stone blocks, was filled with smaller blocks or undressed stone set in lime mortar.  Of particularly high-quality workmanship are the stone columns of the church below the stone arcades of the side walls. The cylindrical stone blocks of which the columns are made have a diameter of approx. 1.2 m and a height of approx.60 cm. These blocks are composed into a homogeneous column with barely visible lime mortar pointing.

The cross vaults above the main nave are of reinforced concrete, while the vaults over the side aisles are of limestone. Ribs form the intersection of the barrel vaults. The vault over the apse is also of reinforced concrete. In 1911, a wooden roof truss was installed but no vaults were built. The load of the roof, the main bearers of which are queen post trusses, was very little. The wooden roof truss of the side aisles gave added horizontal rigidity to the church. The additional niches in the side walls served the same purpose.

Round windows (oculi) with a diameter of approx. 100 cm were set in the jamb walls of the central nave, which run parallel with the long axis of the church. The windows are set just below the roof pane, arranged symmetrically with six to the north and six tro the south. At ground floor level, set directly below the oculi, are round-arched rectangular windows measuring approx. 80 cm wide and 160 cm high.

Above the entrance is a choir gallery, reached via a staircase by the north wall of the church. The gallery is approx. 5.0 m deep. The reinforced concrete structure of the gallery ceiling is approx. 15 cm thick and rests on the side walls of the church and on two pilasters measuring 120 x 80 cm in section.

The massive bell towers are joined at the base by thick walls to the stone walls of the church, making it possible to build taller towers. The upper, freestanding sections of the towers are chest-shaped, with much thinner walls. The bell towers are finished with a rosette and a rectangular lightwell at second-storey level and a half-storey rather larger than the original design, with a trifora window.  Both bell towers have flat reinforced concrete roofs.

The west, entrance end of the church is articulated into four sections by three moulded string courses: the ground-floor, the gallery level, the third level with the jamb walls above the main nave, and fourth level with the tympanum of the roof above the central nave. There are six openings in all in the facade, positioned so as to form an equilateral triangle. At ground floor level is the main round-arched entrance doorway, approx. 4 m wide and 5.5 m high, with a prominent entrance portal. To the left and right of the main doorway are side doors, one on each side, also round-arched, approx. 2.0 m wide and 5.5 m high. At gallery level the entrance facade has two round-arched windows, while the third level has an oculus. All the door and window openings are accentuated by moulded stone cornices.

Monastery building

The Franciscan monastery in Široki Brijeg consists of three wings, interconnecting but built at different times. The south wing has a footprint of approx. 50 x 9.5 m and has a basement, ground floor and first floor. The west wing has a footprint of 32 x 9.5 m and consists of a ground and first floor. The east wing also consists of a ground and first floor, and has a footprint of approx. 30 x 12 m. The ends of the east and west wings abut onto the walls of the church. The monastery wings and church surround an open cloister measuring approx. 20 x 30 m, which is landscaped park-style.

All three wings are built of stone, with outside walls approx. 50 cm thick, and all have gabled roofs with wooden roof trusses, clad with tiles. The windows are round-arched, as are some of the older doors. All the walls are plastered and painted, mainly white, inside and out.

The west and south wings are oriented with their long sides, facing the cloister, containing a corridor leading into various rooms. Three double-flight staircases and one spiral staircase lead from one floor to another.

The basement beneath the south wing of the monastery houses a boiler-room and two classrooms. The ground floor houses the guardian's room, living room, refectory and kitchen, which interconnects with an adjoining two-storey building of more recent date, housing the nuns. This building measures approx. 14 x 10.5 m.  The first floor of the south wing contains a corridor and priests' rooms with bathrooms.

The ground floor of the east wing has not only a corridor but also the parish office, toilet block, library and two priests' rooms. The first floor contains a corridor, classrooms, bedrooms and toilet block.

The ground floor of the west wing houses the treasury, sacristy, a chapel and a hall. On the first floor is a central corridor with priests' rooms on either side. Between this wing and the building housing the nuns is another chapel with a sumptuous interior, recently built.

To the south of the monastery building, alongside the nuns' building, is the gallery, also of more recent date, with a basement, ground floor and first floor. It is a masonry structure measuring approx. 20 x 14 m. The basement and ground floor are modern in style and are used as a gallery; the first floor contains storerooms and classrooms.


3. Legal status to date

The Franciscan monastery with church in Široki Brijegis on the Provisional Lisst of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina under serial no. 613.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works

A detailed description of all such works is provided under the section headed Historical Information.


5. Current condition of the property                

The architectural ensemble of the Franciscan monastery and church is in good condition.




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

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.i.  relation to other elements of the site

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

G. Authenticity

G.iii. use and function

G.vi. spirit and feeling

G.vii. other internal and external factors


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

  • Copy of cadastral plan
  • Copy of land register entry and proof of title;
  • Photodocumentation;
  • Drawings
  • Photographs taken by a Commission staff member



During the procedure to designate the architectural ensemble of the Franciscan monastery and church in Široki Brijeg as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted: 


1980.    Institute for architecture, town planning and regional planning of the Faculty of Architecture in Sarajevo, Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina; Stage B - valorization of natural, cultural and historical monuments, Sarajevo, 1980.


1984.    Catalogue, various authors, Stari franjevački samostani BiH (Old Franciscan Monasteries of BiH, Sarajevo 1984.


1990.    Karamatić, Dr. Marko – Nikić, Dr. Andrija, Blago franjevačkih samostana Bosne i Hercegovine (Treasures of the Franciscan Monasteries of BiH), Business News, Tourist Information, Zagreb, 1990


1990.    Jelenić, Julijan, Kultura i bosanski franjevci I i II (Culture and the Bosnian Franciscans I and II), phototype of the 1912 edition, Svjetlost, Sarajevo, 1990


2003.    Lašvanin Nikola: Ljetopis (Chronicle); edited, translation of the Latin and Italian passages and noters by  Ignacije Gavran.- Sarajevo; Zagreb: Synopsis, 2003 (Čakovec: "Zrinski"). - (Library of Bosnia Argentina)


2006.    Sto godina nove crkve u Široki Brijeg 1905-2005. (100th anniversary of the new church in Široki Brijeg, Široki Brijeg, 20-6


(1) Pribinovići is now a village that preserves the memory of the old tribe of Pribinovići, after which it acquired its name.There is reference to Pribinovići in mediaeval times, as attested by written documents.

(2) Široki brig is in an area that has always been ikavski-speaking (one of the variants of the common language variously known [in alphabetical order] as Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian, formerly Serbo-Croatian – trans.] from the time Croats settled there until modern times. The dialect was originally čakavsko, and later štokavsko.  The Franciscans, too, spelled it thus for the first fifty years, from 1846 to the late 19th century, when they began to use the ijekavski form Široki Brijeg, although in the spoken form it still retains the ikavski pronunciation. (O nastanku grada Širokog Brijega, p 199)

(3) For an understanding of the origins and development of the shrine of Our Lady in Široki Brijeg, the author draws attention to the Marian features of Franciscan spirituality of which the source is the founder of the Order, St. Francis of Assisi. Jesus Christ was the main focus of St. Francis' life and piety, but Mary too holds a special place in Francis' spirituality. This Marian spirit was passed on to his followers, who are now foremost among those who extol and venerate the Virgin. St. Francis of Assisi fostered a special attitude to sites and churches dedicated to the Virgin Mary. He chose the Church of St. Mary of the Angels near Assisi, where he settled and died, and chose the mother of Jesus as the patron saint of his Order.

(4) Pope Nicholas IV (MASCI, Jeronim, Pope Nicholas IV; Ascoli Piceno, Rome, 4. IV. 1292) was the first Franciscan to be elected pope, in 1288. In 1291 he ordered the Provincial of Sclavoniae (Croatia) “to send to Bosnia two Franciscans of exemplary life and with a good knowledge of theology and of the local language to work permanently in those parts as "investigators of heresy". This year is taken as the beginning of the Bosnian Franciscans’ work.” (Jelenić: 1990, vol. II, p. 686)

(5) Translator’s note: every dictionary consulted gives ell as the translation of the now obsolete measurement lakat, the word used in the original text of this Decision, but the metric equivalents given  suggest that cubit would be a more accurate translation, the more so since cubit derives from the Latin cubitus, the direct equivalent of the Bosnian lakat = elbow, and cubit was an ancient measurement based on the forearm.

(6) Max Maximilian David was born in Moravia in 1859 and educated at the technical high school in Brno. He came to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1890. In Herzegovina, he designed the Episcopal Palace, District Court, Girls' school of the Sisters of Mercy in Mostar, an extension to the Catholic parish building in Nevesinje, the schools in Široki Brijeg and Ljuti Dotak, and churches in Čerino, Gradnići and Stolac. (Sto godina nove crkve na Široki Brijeg p. 101)

(7) Fr. Didak Buntić was born in 1871 in the village of Paoči. He was a teacher, professor and pedagogue, a grammar-school principal, builder of the Široki Brijeg church, and member of parliament. He died in 1922, and in 1938 his mortal remains were transferred to the church in Široki Brijeg. (Sto godina nove crkve na Široki Brijeg p. 145)

(8) Josip Vancaš, architect, was born in 1859. He studied at the Technical High School in Vienna. He came to Sarajevo in 1883, at the invitation of the government, and spent most of his life there. He was one of the most prominent architects of his time, building churches and residential properties, schools, banks, business premises, mansions and so on. In Sarajevo the Cathedral, Provincial Government building, Hotel Evropa and others were built to his designs. In Ljubljana the Hotel Union and City Savings Bank were built to his designs. He died in Zagreb in 1932.

(9) Stjepan Podhorski was born in Zagreb in 1875. He graduated from the School of Civil Engineering in Zagreb in 1896. In 1903 he went to Vienna for his higher education. He designed numerous buildings in Zagreb and throughout Croatia. He died in 1945.

(10) During World War II, the Communists killed 66 Franciscans in the Province of the Assumption of Mary in Herzegovina.  In the article, the writer notes that in 1945, when occupying Mostarski Gradac, the Partisans killed six Franciscans, followed by another twelve in the monastery in Široki Brijeg, while a third group of Franciscans were taken away to an unknown destination and killed. He suggests that steps be taken to declare "Široki Brijeg martyrs" saints. (Sto godina nove crkve na Široki Brijeg  p. 221)

(11) The designs on the pillars of the altar are taken from stećak tombstones: the central motif from Radimlja, and the two side ones from stećak tombstones in Ladinac. (Sto godina nove crkve na Široki Brijeg  p. 122)

Franciscan monastery and church in Široki BrijegThe aaccess to the churchFront façade of the church Monastery building
View from the courtyard to the church View at the churchChurch towers Entrance
Monastery courtyard Interior of the churchNave of the churchAltar
Choir GalleryOld Masters collection Movable heritage
Eugene Delacroix, Part of the Old books collection New gallery – Modern art collection  

BiH jezici 
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