home    
 
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

Mir Muhamed mosque (Mehmed and Mustajbey mosque), the site and remains of the architectural ensemble

gallery back

Status of monument -> National monument

Published in the “Official Gazette of BiH” no. 100/08.

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 15 to 17 July 2008 the Commission adopted a

 

D E C I S I O N

 

I

 

The site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Mir Muhamed mosque (Mehmed and Mustajbey mosque) in Čajniče are hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 394, title deed no. 139, and c.p. no. 393, 393/1 and 393/3, title deed no. 139/1, cadastral municipality Čajniče, 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, 70/06 and 64/08) shall apply to the National Monument.

 

II

 

The Government of Republika Srpska shall be responsible for providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary for the protection, conservation, presentation and rehabilitation 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.

 

III

 

The following protection measures are hereby stipulated for the site defined in clause 1 para. 2 of this Decision:

-          the Mir Muhamed mosque in Čajniče shall be rehabilitated on its original site, in its original form, using the original or same type of materials and original building methods wherever possible, based on documentation on its previous appearance, 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;

-          all original fragments of the mosque found and assembled on the site or at the site to which they were removed after the destruction of the property shall be recorded, catalogued and reintegrated into the reconstructed building. Until such time as they are so reintegrated they shall be suitably protected;

-          fragments that are too badly damaged to be reused shall be suitably conserved and presented in situ;

-          all tombstones found on the site or at the site to which they were removed after the destruction of the property shall be conserved and returned to their original position wherever possible, on the basis of available documentation. Tombstones of which the previous position cannot be accurately determined shall be conserved and suitably presented within the harem of the mosque.

 

The following measures are hereby stipulated in order to provide the conditions for the rehabilitation of the National Monument:

-          the mosque harem shall be fully fenced off;

-          rubbish and waste shall be removed and the harem area cleared;

-          the harem wall shall be conserved and restored;

-          the surface layers of soil shall be removed in order to find remains of the building, nišan tombstones or other buildings, if any;

-          the original parts of the walls shall be made good and consolidated.

 

On the plots bordering the protected site of the National Monument, all construction is prohibited apart from properties the use of which shall not be detrimental to the meaning of the National Monument, with a maximum height of 6.50 m to the start of the roof frame, i.e. two storeys (ground + 1) and a maximum footprint of 10 x 10 m.

 

IV

 

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

 

V

 

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.

 

VI

 

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

 

VII

 

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) 

 

VIII

 

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.

 

IX

 

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.: 02-02-879/03-13

17 July 2008

Sarajevo

 

Chair of the Commission

Ljiljana Ševo

 

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, 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 22 May 2003 the Centre for Islamic Architecture of Sarajevo submitted to the Commission to Preserve National Monuments a petition to designate the Mir Muhamed mosque in Čajniče as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Pursuant to the 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 para. 4 of Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.

 

II – PROCEDURE PRIOR TO DECISION

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;

-          On 21 April 2008, Čajniče Municipality was asked to provide a written opinion on the designation of the property as a national monument, as was the owner of the property, the Goražde Mufti’s Office, on 8 July 2008. The owners were invited to a presentation of the decision, which was held on 16 July 2008, but replied in writing that they were unable to attend.

 

The findings based on the review of the above documentation and the condition of the property are as follows:

 

1. Details of the property

Location

The site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Mir Muhamed mosque with harem are located 100 metres from the čaršija (trades and crafts zone) of the town of Čajniče, with a road above the mosque and houses below, between the mosque and the Čaršija.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 394, title deed no. 139, and c.p. no. 393, 393/1 and 393/3, title deed no. 139/1, cadastral municipality Čajniče, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

Čajniče is a town in south-eastern Bosnia, on the border with Montenegro, in the valley of the river Janjina, a left tributary of the Drina. The earliest reference to the town as a market dates from 1477.(1)  

The name Čajniče is of Persian origin, and means good, cold water.(2)   

According to official Turkish tefters (tax census records), of which the originals are still housed in Istanbul, in 1477, fourteen years after the fall of Bosnia, the market town of Čajniče had 190 families (households) and five bachelor households.(3) In 1492 an Orthodox church was built in Čajniče.(4)  

Ottoman sources give an idea of the development of urban settlements in eastern Bosnia and their connections in mediaeval times, based on Dubrovnik archive material. Only Čajniče, of which there is meagre information in the 1468/69 defter, is not known in any detail from mediaeval sources.(5) These sources indicate that the rapid development experienced by Čajniče was not based in its mediaeval past.(6)  

The defter reveals that when the Turks arrived, Čajniče had six forges and 415 iron-smelting furnaces(7), suggesting that the settlement already had some commercial facilities in mediaeval times.

The greatest contribution to the development of the town was made by Sinan bey, who erected various buildings, including his well-known mosque(8), in 1570.

Until 1572, Čajniče was in the Herzegovina Sandžak. It is not until 1582 that it is referred to as an independent kadiluk (area under the jurisdiction of a qadi) of the same Sandžak.(9) It was at this time that the sandžakbey (governor) of Herzegovina, Sinan bey Boljanić, established his endowment and built a mosque, and that the town began to flourish.(10)  

In the Ottoman period, the road from Bosnia to Istanbul ran through Čajniče.

In the early Austro-Hungarian period, in 1879, Čajniče had 212 houses and 1066 residents.

In 1910 Čajniče was one of 25 towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina in which less than 50% of the residents were engaged in agriculture (36.8%). The town had a police station, primary school, madrasa (Islamic high school), reformed maktab (Islamic primary school), a six-room hotel, an Orthodox church, a Catholic chapel, three mosques, a customs and excise post, a casino [presumably meaning club rather than gambling premises, by analogy with the Officers’ Casino in Sarajevo: trans.] and a reading room.(11)

The locals call the Mir Muhamed mosque the Muhamed Mustaj bey mosque(12) or Maiden’s mosque. It is also known in reference works by the names of the Mehmed-by or Mir Mehmed-bey mosque.(13) Its exact date of origin is not known, but judging from the way it was built, it dates from the time when Ottoman architecture was at its height, at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries.(14) The oldest surviving inscriptions in the mosque date from 1618, which suggests that the mosque was indeed built during this period.

There is only the most meagre of historical data on this mosque. None of the original documentation on the property has survived, and nor are there any plans or drawings dating from before World War II, apart from old postcards where the building can be seen. Reference works state that the mosque had a wooden minaret.(15) Given the paucity of information, it is very hard to find proof of this, but old postcards of Čajniče dating from the Austro-Hungarian period and the period between the two world wars show that at that time the Mir Muhamed mosque had a stone minaret.

The mosque was badly damaged in World War II, and was rebuilt in 1967.

In 1992, at the beginning of the war in BiH, the mosque was again badly damaged.

 

2. Description of the property

In layout the Mir Muhamed mosque in Čajniče was of the single-space type of mosque with a hipped roof, stone minaret and open sofas roofed by a portico. The total area of the mosque was 115 m2.

The mosque was rectangular in plan, with sides of 9.80 x 11.70 m, and a height of about 5.50 m to the roof eaves. The roof ridge was at a height of about 10.00 m, the roof frame was of timber, and the eaves were 60 cm deep.

The mosque portico, which was 9.80 metres long, was covered by the same roof as the main body of the building, and rested on wooden pillars with stone bases. On either side of the entrance were open sofas each 5.00 m long and 3.65 m wide, made of stone blocks laid in mortar and held with iron cramps.

The central part of the portico is occupied by the arched entrance portal, which is set back 10 cm from the wall face. The portal measures 1.10 x 2.00 m overall, and has a 30 cm wide stone frame.

Above the portal are stepped stalactites projecting 20 cm out from the wall plane. The portal and stepped stalactite projection are framed by a rectangular stone projection measuring 2.50 x 3.70 m overall, which stands out by 25 cm from the wall plane.

Above the entrance to the mosque was a stone plaque measuring 60 x 40 cm, with an inscription dating from 1297 AH (1880). The inscription was in white on a black ground, on lime mortar, in regular naskh script(16). It reads:

“The pure-minded benefactor Mir Muhamed

Erected this handsome, tall mosque.

Nedžatlija, find a chronogram for its restoration:

This is the house of the Lord, to whom you pray, so enter”.

1297 AH (1880)(17)

The mosque portal bore several inscriptions by visitors to the building, but most of them had suffered the ravages of time and become illegible. They included the following verses:

“Our greetings to the visitor to this attractive place,

May he prayer to our Lord for us

…[two damaged distiches]

As long as the benefactor of this place lies in his grave

May Muhammad intercede for him with the Creator.” (18)

There is no signature or date below these verses, but the year 1028 AH (1618/1619) is to be seen below another inscription, which reads “Khajalna min unubina” (we are ashamed of our sins), while another, which is damaged and illegible, bears the date 1039 AH (1629/1630).(19)  

The central prayer hall of the mosque measures 8.40 x 10.30 m. The mihrab, on the south-east wall, consisted of a semicircular mihrab niche, while to the south of the mihrab, in the corner, was a tufa-built mimber with a width of 70 cm. These components of the mosque were of very accurate workmanship.(20)  

The mihrab niche is 1.10 m in diameter, and 3.05 m in height to the top of the mihrab crown. The opening of the niche is topped by five stepped rows of stalactite decorations terminating in the mihrab crown.  The niche is surrounded by a stone frame projecting out from the mosque wall by 20 cm. The frame is 3.70 m in height and 20 cm thick. The mihrab is badly damaged, but the chromatic finish can still be clearly seen. To the west of the entrance, on the inside south-west wall, is the entrance to the minaret, measuring 70 x 205 cm, topped by a pointed arch. Above is another opening, measuring 55 x 200 cm, suggesting that there was once a wooden mahfil (gallery) in the mosque, though there is now no trace of it.

The south corner of the same wall contains a rectangular niche measuring 70 x 100 cm with a depth of 25 cm.

The north and west corners of the north-west frontispiece, set symmetrically on either side of the entrance portal, contain pointed-arched rectangular windows measuring 90 x 200 cm overall, their sills level with the exterior sofas, i.e. 62 cm above ground level.

The rectangular part of the windows was fitted on the outside with black metal grilles.  Directly above these windows was another pair, also with pointed arches, but smaller in size at 60 x 120 cm.

The north-east façade of the mosque has four windows, two upper and two lower, arranged symmetrically, identical to those on the north-west frontispiece, with the same pointed arches, and with their sills at the same level.

The south-west façade is identical to the north-east façade except that the bottom left-hand window has been walled up, but the outline of the pointed-arched opening can clearly be seen. At the west end of this façade is the base of the massive stone minaret.

The rear or south-east façade matches the north-east façade.

The mosque had a wooden floor, and stone walls 70 cm thick, rendered inside and out with lime plaster and whitewashed.

To the south-west of the building was the stone minaret, with a diameter of the inscribed circle 1.70 m at the base. This too was plastered on the outside. The spire was clad with sheet metal and topped by an alem(21).

The harem of the Mir Muhamed mosque has an overall area of 659 m2(22). There was a number of nišan tombstones without epitaphs in the northern part of the harem, outside the mosque.(23) About 1.50 m to the north-east of the mosque are four nišans, also without epitaphs.

The north side of the harem is intersected by the access path, which is 2.50 m wide.

The harem is separated from the north access street by an iron fence, dating from the latter half of the 20th century. The harem has no fence or wall on the other sides, so that direct access is possible.

 

3. Legal status to date

According to the available documentation, the Mir Muhamed mosque was not listed or entered in the register of cultural monuments at any level.

 

4. Research and conservation and restoration works

The earliest information on conservation and restoration works on the mosque dates from 1880, when an inscription was mounted over the entrance door to record these works.

The mosque was badly damaged during World War II, and was reconstructed in 1967, when a new roof frame, cladding and portico were installed and the interior was refurbished.

As of July 2008, no research or conservation and restoration works of any kind have been carried out on the property, apart from clearing the mosque and part of the harem.

In June 2008 the site and the mosque itself were again cleared, the fragments were relocated, and the damaged stone minaret was removed.

According to the information obtained from the Majlis (council) of the Islamic Commnity of Čajniče, a project to restore the mosque has been drawn up, but at the time of drafting this decision not all the documentation was available.

 

5. Current condition of the property

The Mir-Muhamed mosque was badly damaged in 1992. The minaret was knocked down, and all that remained of the building was the walls to a height of about 5.00 m. The roof and roof structure were completely destroyed.

Almost nothing survived inside the mosque apart from the damaged mihrab, the stone structure of the mimber, which was removed in June 2008, and some remains of the plastered areas.

The portal, with its historic inscriptions by visitors, was completely destroyed, as was the exterior woodwork. The metal window grille on the north-west front of the mosque has survived.

The position of the stone plaque above the portal can clearly be seen, but the historic inscription itself, which was already damaged prior to 1992, has now been completely destroyed.

The stone structure of the façades has survived, but is badly damage and at risk of total collapse in the foreseeable future.

The remains of the rendering can be seen on the outside walls, particularly in the lower reaches of the walls.

The mosque harem is in a state of neglect, but contains some nišan tombstones to the north-east. The stone blocks, fragments of the minaret and the massive walls of the building were largely removed in June 2008.

The north-western stone sofa is damaged.

 

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:

C.         Artistic and aesthetic value

C. i.      quality of workmanship

C.iv.      composition

C.v.       value of details

C.vi.      value of construction

E.         Symbolic value

E.ii.      religious value

E.iii.      traditional value

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

F.         Townscape/ Landscape value

F.ii.       meaning in the townscape

 

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.

 

Bibliography

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

 

1953.    Bejtić, Alija, Spomenici osmanlijske arhitekture u Bosni i Hercegovini (Monuments of Ottoman architecture in Bosnia and Herzegovina), offprint – Contributions to oriental philology and the history of the Yugoslav peoples under Turkish rule, volume. III-IV, Oriental Institute, Sarajevo, 1953.

 

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

 

1982.    Redžić, Husref, Umetnost na tlu Jugoslavije, Islamska umjetnost (Art in Yugoslavia: Islamic Art),  Publishing Institute of Yugoslavia, Belgrade, 1982.

 

1984.    Andrejević, Andrej, Islamska monumentalna umetnost XVI veka u Jugoslaviji – kupolne džamije (16th century Islamic monumental art in Yugoslavia – domed mosques), Faculty of Philosophy of Belgrade, Institute of Art History, Belgrade, 1984.

 

1998.    Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine (Islamic epigraphics of Bosnia and Herzegovina), bk. II, Sarajevo-Publishing, 1998

 

2000.    Dr. Ekrem Hakki Ayverdi, Avrup' da osmanli mimari eserleri Yugoslavya, II (3. kitap), Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti'nin, Istanbul, 2000. 

 


(1) Huseinović I. and Babić Dž, Svjetlost Evrope u BiH (The Light of Europe in BiH), 23, Buybook, Sarajevo, 2004.

(2) Čajniče web site, bs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Čajniče, 23 April 2008. The site was last updated on 19 July 2008

(3) Čajniče web site, bs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Čajniče, 23 April 2008. The site was last updated on 19 July 2008

(4) The decision designating the architectural ensemble of the church of the Ascension of Christ and the church of the Dormition of the Virgin in Čajniče was adtoped at a session of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments held from 11 to 17 September 2007 in Sarajevo.

(5) Desanka Kovačević – Kojić, Gradska naselja srednjevjekovne bosanske države, 109, Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1978.

(6) Desanka Kovačević – Kojić, Gradska naselja srednjevjekovne bosanske države, 226, Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1978

(7) Desanka Kovačević – Kojić, Gradska naselja srednjevjekovne bosanske države, 152, Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1978

(8) The decision designating the site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Sinan-bey mosque (mosque of Sinan-bey Boljanić) in Čajniče was adopted at a session of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments held from 11 to 17 September 2004 in Sarajevo

(9) Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, bk. II, 66, Sarajevo Publishing,  Sarajevo, 1998.

(10) Huseinović I. and Babić Dž, Svjetlost Evrope u BiH, 277, Buybook, Sarajevo, 2004.

(11) Huseinović I. and Babić Dž, Svjetlost Evrope u BiH, 23, Buybook, Sarajevo, 2004.

(12) Mehmed bey was the son of Mustaj bey. Dr. Ekrem Hakki Ayverdi, Avrup' da osmanli mimari eserleri Yugoslavya, II (3. kitap), 98, Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti'nin, Istanbul, 2000

(13) Dr. Ekrem Hakki Ayverdi, Avrup' da osmanli mimari eserleri Yugoslavya, II (3. kitap), 98, Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti'nin, Istanbul, 2000

(14) Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, bk. II, 80, Sarajevo Publishing,  Sarajevo, 1998.

(15) Dr. Ekrem Hakki Ayverdi, Avrup' da osmanli mimari eserleri Yugoslavya, II (3. kitap), 98, Istanbul Fetih Cemiyeti'nin, Istanbul, 2000. The primary sources referred to and cited as a source contain no detailed information relating to this mosque.  According to the sons of the historian Muhamed Kreševljaković, their father gathered information for Ayverdi, and often travelled to Istanbul for that purpose, so that these were probably the personal notes he made, which his sons are now looking for in his own library. At the time this decision was being drafted the data was not yet available.

(16) Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, bk. II, 80, Sarajevo Publishing,  Sarajevo, 1998.

(17) Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, bk. II, 80, Sarajevo Publishing,  Sarajevo, 1998.

(18) Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, bk. II, 81, Sarajevo Publishing,  Sarajevo, 1998.

(19) Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, bk. II, 81, Sarajevo Publishing,  Sarajevo, 1998.

(20) Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, bk. II, 80, Sarajevo Publishing,  Sarajevo, 1998.

(21) Nothing is reliably known of the exact height of the mosque. Judging from a photograph of the mosque taken in the mid 20th century, it was about 18.00 m in height not counting the alem (finial).

(22) Including the area of the building itself, which is about 114 m2, the total area of the plot is 773m2

(23) Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, bk. II, 81, Sarajevo Publishing,  Sarajevo, 1998.



Mir Muhamed mosque Northwest facadeSoutheast facadeSouthest facade
Work on clearing the mosqueInterior of the mosqueInterior of the mosque, northwest wallPortico
MihrabWindow  


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