Status of monument -> National monument
Published in the Official Gazette of BiH, no. 82/07.
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 22 to 28 May 2007 the Commission adopted a
D E C I S I O N
The site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Sejmen mosque in Zenica are hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).
The National Monument consists of the site and remains of the mosque, the minaret and the harem.
The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plots no. 1168, Land Register entry no. 176, cadastral municipality Zenica II, Zenica Municipality, 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 providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary for the protection, conservation and presentation of 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 basic details of 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:
- all works are prohibited other than conservation and restoration 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,
- on the adjoining plots, no new buildings of which the use, size or appearance could be detrimental to the National Monument shall be permitted.
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 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.
23 May 2007
Chair of the Commission
E l u c i d a t i o n
I – INTRODUCTION
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 (Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH nos. 2/02, 27/02 and 6/04), 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 6 June 2005 the Museum of the City of Zenica submitted to the Commission to Preserve National Monuments a proposal to designate the Sejmen mosque, Zenica Municipality, as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Pursuant to this proposal, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching a final decision to designate the Property as a National Monument, pursuant to Article V of Annex 8 and the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.
II – PROCEDURE
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.
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 Sejmen mosque with its harem is in the centre of Zenica, in Kulin ban street (Tito street). It is located on a site designated as cadastral plots no. 1168, cadastral municipality Zenica II, Zenica Municipality, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The mosque was built during the Ottoman period in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The exact year when it was built is not known, since there is no surviving chronogram referring to the builder, vakufnama (deed of pious endowment) or the like that could provide this information. The local people believe that it was built by a sejmen (member of the Janissary infantry corps) or Janissary in the 17th century, hence the name of the mosque.
During the 1950s, Mehmed Mujezinović found the following inscription at the base of the stone minaret: Date of renovation of the Čaršija mosque is in year 912 (1506/07)(2).
This inscription has not survived. Interestingly, it relates not to the Sejmen mosque but to the Sultan Ahmed (Čaršija) mosque(3).
In the mid 17th century, a report by Bishop Marijan states that the kasaba (small town) of Zenica had 300 Turkish households and four mosques. Only three buildings remained undamaged following the military campaign by Eugene of Savoy; both the Čarsija and the Sejmen mosque suffered damage.
In 1902 the roof was rebuilt. The roof frame and cladding were replaced, and the shingle cladding was replaced by tiles.
Other interventions to the property have caused it to lose all its original values, as follows:
- During the 1970s, the interior layout was altered (the three-sided mahfil was removed, and so on);
- Between 1972 and 1976 (according to the mutevelija [manager of the vakuf, the pious endowment, of the mosque]), the portico of the mosque was enclosed with glass and wood and covered by the same roof as the mosque itself;
- Between 1996 and 2002, two new prefabricated concrete structures were erected in the mosque courtyard – a men's and a women's abdesthana [for ritual ablutions], toilets, a kitchenette, a booth for the sale of brochures etc., and some outside benches;
- A new concrete šadrvan fountain was erected in the space outside the new building, and the area was paved with prefabricated concrete paving. The old stone šadrvan fountain was removed.
The harem surrounding the mosque contained some thirty nišan tombstones with turbans and elaborate decoration, cut from local stone from Mošćanica(4). One of these tombstones bears only the year 1024 (1615), and could well be the oldest dated tombstone. There are also a number of nišan tombstones dating from 1780/81 to 1855; the remainder date from after 1878.
2. Description of the property
In terms of layout and ground plan, the original Sejmen mosque belonged to the type of single-space mosque with portico stone minaret. The rectangular ground plan measured 11 x 10 m, with a closed portico 4 m deep. The mosque had a ground floor and first floor. There was a three-sided wooden mahfil in the interior of the mosque.
The minaret of the Sejmen mosque is entirely built of cut blocks of sandstone. The overall height of the minaret is about 25 m.
The base of the minaret is hexagonal, with sides measuring about 1.50 m, and is about 5 metres in height (28 courses). Seven courses below the top, the base of the minaret widens by 5 cm on each of the six sides. The transition above the base is in the form of a stone ring on which the eighteen-sided shaft of the minaret rests. The šerefe (balcony) is undecorated, and is reached by a spiral stone staircase lit by four stone window-slits facing south-east.
The stone parapet of the šerefe has two string courses, one at the base and one at the top. The minaret ends in a conical steeple topped by an alem (finial) with three orbs.
Harem of the Sejmen mosque
The harem of the Sejmen mosque now contains thirteen nišan tombstones of the more than thirty referred to by Mujezinović. The inscription recording the renovation of the Čaršija mosque, referred to above, which was said to be at the base of the minaret, is not now to be seen, either because the base of the minaret is now largely below ground or because of later interventions to the property during which the entire minaret was sanded down.
All the nišan tombstones in the harem were made of stone extracted from the bed of the river Moščanica. Since this type of stone is dark grey in colour, all the tombstones have subsequently received several coats of whitewash, making it harder to decipher the epitaphs.
1. Woman's nišan in the shape of a stele, rectangular in section 26 x 7 cm with a height of 114 cm, on a grave with by a narrow stone surround.
The epitaph is in Arabic, in naskh script.
هو الحي الباقي المرحومه و المغفوره لها حديجه بنت الحاج محمد خوجيج روحنه فاتحة سنة 1303
He is the Living, the Eternal. Deceased Hatidža, rest her soul, daughter of hajji Muhamed Hodžić. [Recite] Fatiha for her soul. Year 1303 (1855/56).
2. Broken nišan, rectangular in section 26 x 7 cm, on a grave with by a narrow stone surround on a grave with by a narrow stone surround. Only the end of the epitaph can be seen on the nišan.
.....Year 1319 (1901/02).
3. Nišan with a woman's cap, rectangular in section 21 x 14 cm with a height of 93 cm, with an eight-line epitaph in Arabic in thuluth script.
هو الحي الباقي مقام مرحومه و مغفوره شمسه بنت عمر اغا سلايجي زاده روحنه الفاتحة سنة 1311
He is the Living, the Eternal. Site of the deceased Šemsa, rest her soul, daughter of Omer-aga Silajdžić. [Recite] Fatiha for her soul. Year 1311 (1893/94).
4. Nišan with a woman's cap, rectangular in section 23 x 16 cm with a height of 106 cm, with an epitaph in Arabic, made partly illegible by several coats of whitewash.
..... درويشه بنت عمر اغا سلايجي زاده روحنه الفاتحة سنة 1315 صفر الخير 15
.....Derviša, daughter of Omer-aga Silajdžić. [Recite] Fatiha for her soul. 25 Safar 1315 (27 July 1897).
5. Man's nišan with turban, rectangular in section 20 x 14 cm with a height of 132 cm, with an epitaph in Arabic.
هو الحي الباقي مقام مرحوم حجي عمر اغا بن ابراهيم اغا سلايجي لله الفاتحة سنة الرحلت عمر اغا سلايجي 1320 رمضان 17
He is the Living, the Eternal. Site of the deceased Omer-aga, son of Ibrahim-aga Silajdžić. [Recite] Fatiha for his soul. Omer-aga passed away on 17 Ramadan 1320 (19 December 1902).
6. Man's nišan with turban, rectangular in section 17 x 16 cm with a height of 125 cm, with an epitaph in Arabic. A sword is carved on the right-hand side of the nišan, which may indicate that the deceased died as a shahid (martyr).
لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله مرقد حسن اغا بن بك زاده روحنه الفاتحة سنة 1197
There is no god but God, Muhammad is the prophet of God. Grave of Hasan-aga, son of Begić. [Recite] Fatiha for his soul. Year 1197 (1782/83).
7. Man's nišan with a dervish's turban, square in section 17 x 17 cm with a height of 136 cm, with a hajji's zigzag line and an epitaph combining Arabic and Turkish.
لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله هو الخلاق الباقي المرحوم و مغفور درويش عثمان ابن فضليك روحيجون الفاتحة سنة 1194
There is no god but God, Muhammad is the prophet of God. He is the Eternal Creator. Deceased dervish Osman, rest his soul, son of Fazlić. [Recite] Fatiha for his soul. Year 1194 (1780/81).
8. Woman's nišan in the shape of a stele, rectangular in section 23 x 8 cm with a height of 102 cm, with an epitaph in Arabic.
هو الحي الباقي يا واقفا بقبري متفكرا بامري بالمس كنت مثلك غدا تثير مثلي انا الفقيره فاتمه بنت الحاج ابراهيم لروحنه الفاتحة سنة 1266
He is the Living, the Eternal. You who stand at my grave, reflect on my condition, yesterday I was as you are and tomorrow you will be as I am. I am the humble Fatima, daughter of hajji Ibrahim. [Recite] Fatiha for her soul.
Year 1266 (1849/50).
9. Man's nišan with turban, sunk into the ground, measuring 17 x 12 cm in section with a height of 48 cm.
10. Man's nišan with pleated turban, rectangular in section 16 x 13 cm with a height of 129 cm, without epitaph, with an incised zigzag line.
11. Man's nišan with turban, rectangular in section 17x 13 cm with a height of 117 cm, with a minute epitaph of which only the year is legible: 1298 (1980/81).
12. Man's nišan with turban of recent date, rectangular in section, 25 x 11 cm with a height of 130 cm, with an epitaph in Arabic and the local language.
انا لله المرحوم المغفور له الحاج محمد بن الحاج احمد شه ستيج روحنه الفاتحة
We are all Allah's. Deceased hajji Mehmed, rest his soul, son of hajji Ahmed Šestić. [Recite] Fatiha for his soul.
Šestić h. Mehmed 1865-1930, from his granddaughter Fikreta
13. Man's nišan with čatal turban, rectangular in section 17 x 15 cm with a height of 91 cm, without epitaph, with an incised hajji's line.
Of the six nišan tombstones referred to specifically by M. Mujezinović, only two are now in the mosque harem. The other tombstones have disappeared.
3. Legal status to date
Pursuant to the law, and by Ruling no. 578/53 of 1953 issued by the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of NR Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, the Sejmen mosque in Zenica was placed under state protection.
4. Research and conservation and restoration works
No conservation or restoration works have ever been carried out on the property apart from recording war damage, which was carried out in late 1996 by the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH.
5. Current condition of the property.
The mosque has completely lost its original form. The minaret is in good structural condition. Many nišan tombstones are missing from the mosque harem.
III – CONCLUSION
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.iv. relation to rituals or ceremonies
E.v. significance for the identity of a group of people
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
The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:
- Copy of cadastral plan;
- Copy of land register entry and proof of title;
- Photodocumentation – photographs of the property taken by Mirzah Fočo;
- Photodocumentation of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of BiH.
During the procedure to designate the monument as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:
1977. Mujezinović, M. Islamska epigrafika u BIH (Islamic Epigraphics in BiH), bk. 2. Sarajevo: 1977.
1987. Babić, I. Zaboravljeni zenički Al-Azhar (Zenica's Forgotten Al-Azhar). Zenica: 2004, 1987.
1980. Ahmić, A. “Zeničke džamije” (Zenica's Mosques), Preporod no.18. Sarajevo: 1980.
1996. Jalimam, S. Prošlost Zenice do 1941. (Zenica's Past to 1941). Zenica: 1996.
2006. Sarić, M. Zenička čaršija i mahale (Zenica's čaršija and mahalas). Zenica: 2006.
Part of the above information has been taken from www.zenica.ba, www.turizam-zdk.net
(1) For more on the history of Zenica, see the decision designating the architectural ensemble of the Sultan Ahmed mosque and medresa in Zenica.
(2) M. Mujezinović, Islamska epigrafika u BIH (Islamic epigraphics in BiH), bk. II, Sarajevo: 1977, 433.
(3) Since the text could have been written at a later date, it clearly cannot be regarded as a sound basis for arriving at a precise date for the construction of the Sejmen mosque.
(4) A type of sandstone, very soft and easy to work, allied to Mostar tenelija (an oolitic limestone) and bihacite (a soft, light limestone). It is ideal for making nišan tombstones, window frames and the like.