Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Mosque in Slapovići, the historic building

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Status of monument -> National monument

Published in the Official Gazette of BiH no. 38/10.

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 9 to 12 February 2010 the Commission adopted a






The historic building of the mosque in Slapovići, Municipality Srebrenica is 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 358/3 (old survey), title deed no. 53/0, Land Register entry no. 57, cadastral municipality Viogor, Municipality Srebrenica, 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.




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.




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

-          all works are prohibited other than investigative and conservation-restoration works and routine maintenance works, including works designed to display the monument and those required to maintain the building in use, including interior works, with the approval of the ministry responsible for regional planning in Republika Srpska (hereinafter: the relevant ministry) and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority);

-          all original fragments of the mosque found on the site or on other sites to which they were removed after its destruction shall be registered, catalogued, suitably conserved and presented in situ.




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




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 – 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.kons.gov.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 day following its publication in the Official Gazette of BiH.


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


No: 07.3-02.3-71/10-10

10 February 2010



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 Anne x  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 10 February 2003 the Centre for Islamic Architecture of Sarajevo submitted to the Commission to Preserve National Monuments a petition/proposal to designate the mosque in Slapovići, Municipality Srebrenica, as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Pursuant to the petition, 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 Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.


Statement of Significance

The mosque in Slapovići near Srebrenica was built in 1936 and deliberately badly damaged in 1995, during the war.

In addition to building the mosque, Mula Selim Alemić endowed land and built a bridge, water mill and mejtef (mekteb, Qur’an school), thereby supporting the economic and social development of the area. The rehabilitated mosque is an important monument of cultural memory, a memento not only the tragic events of 1995 but also of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s rich cultural diversity.



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 registry 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;

-          A letter ref. 07.3-35.2-23/2009-231 of 7 December 2009, requesting the written opinion of representatives of Srebrenica Municipality, the Council of the Islamic Community in Srebrenica, the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage of Republika Srpska and the Archives of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the proposal to designate the mosque in Slapovići near Srebrenica as a national monument.


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 mosque in Slapovići is in the inhabited area of Slapovići – Bučje, about 4.5 km to the south-west of Srebrenica. Slapovići is on the Zeleni Jadar river, which is fed by the Duboko brook, on the north bank of which the mosque stands, about 140 m north-east of the point where the brook joins the river.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot 358/3 (old survey), title deed no. 53/0, cadastral municipality Viogor, Land Register entry no. 57, Municipality Srebrenica, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

The Srebrenica area has been known for its silver mining since Antiquity. The remains of the sizeable Roman and late Antique municipium of Domavia, which was also the location of the mining authority for the provinces of Pannonia and Dalmatia, have been found at Gradina in nearby Sase(1).

The mining industry in Bosnia experienced a boom during the 14th century, coinciding with the development of Srebrenica, one of the Balkans’ largest mines in mediaeval times(2). The earliest reference to Srebrenica in written sources dates from 1352, when it is described as a township on the outskirts of Srebrenik fort, where it became an urban settlement with well developed crafts and a busy silver-mining centre, with Saxon miners and a colony of Dubrovnik merchants(3). Even before the fall of the Bosnian state, the Ottoman army was attempting to take Srebrenica, as a major mining centre, in which it had some success before finally conquering it in mid 1462. The kadiluk included the nahijas [minor administrative entities] of Srebrenica itself, Šubin, Kušlat and Zvornik on the left bank of the Drina, and Sokol, Radevina, Bohorina, Krupanj, Jadar and Ptičar on the right bank. In 1660 Evliya Çelebi describes Srebrenica as having eight hundred single- and two-storey, solidly-built and handsome houses, six mahalas and six mosques with mihrabs, one tekke, three mektebs, one small caravanserai and seventy artisans’ workshops, as well as a hammam. The only mosque he mentions by name is the Bajezid Veli mosque(4).

The mosque in Slapovići near Srebrenica was built in 1936(5) by Mula Selim Alemić, who also endowed 110 dunums of meadow and forest land the following year. At that time the Slapovići congregation consisted of eight villages: Slapovići, Bučje, Kutuzero, Bjelo Polje, Lipovac, Kasapići, Strane and Sarači. Between the two world wars a water mill, stone bridge and mejtef [Qur’an school] where the imam lived were built.

Following Mula Selim Alemić’s death in 1938, effendi Jusuf Begić served as imam(6), succeeded after his death, after World War II, by Mehmed (Selman) Delić, who performed the office of imam until the fall of Srebrenica on 11 July 1995. He has been listed as a missing person since then.

Very little is known about the Slapovići area, where the mosque was built, prior to 1936.  During the Ottoman period Slapovići was a busy area, located as it was on the road that linked the major towns of eastern Bosnia with Sarajevo. The road linking Slapovići and Srebrenica with Sarajevo was a branch of one of the major roads of the time, running from Sarajevo to Nova Varoš in Serbia, via Hreša, Podromanija, Rogatica and Višegrad(7). A fork in the road after Rogatica led via Žepa to Slapovići and beyond it to Srebrenica. Han (caravanserai) Jadar was near Slapovići in the Srebrenica area, with several other caravanserais in the wider region(8). 

During the Austro-Hungarian period, Srebrenica came under the Tuzla or Lower Tuzla district, and became a county (srez, kotar) town(9). During this period, no particular changes of lifestyle or new buildings are recorded in Slapovići, and it was not until the interwar period that a stone mosque with a minaret was built there.

No alterations were carried out on the mosque between its construction in 1936 and the outbreak of World War II in 1941. It suffered no particular damage in World War II, and during the latter half of the 20th century, routine maintenance works were carried out.  In the 1960s the old stone mejtef building was demolished and a new one built of reinforced concrete and brick blocks, with a flat upstairs for the imam(10).

At the beginning of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina a large refugee camp was built in Slapovići, with about 500 wooden prefabricated houses, where displaced persons from eastern Bosnia found accommodation. The old road linking Srebrenica, Goražde and Žepa, which ran through Slapovići, was reopened(11). At that time the mosque in Slapovići was used for worship, and regular classes were held in the mejtef school building.

The mosque continued to be used for worship until July 1995(12), when Srebrenica fell; the mosque was set on fire, leaving only the damaged outside walls and the minaret. The imam’s flat and mejtef were also badly damaged, and other facilities in the wider Slapovići area – the stone bridge over the river Zeleni Jadar, the water mill and houses – were completely destroyed.

After the war ended in late 1995, the surviving residents of the Slapovići area began returning, a process that was completed in early 2008. By June 2008, the number of returnees in the villages of the Slapovići area had reached 450(13). The rise in numbers of the congregation led to the need to reconstruct the mosque, since the nearest mosque was in the distant urban area of Srebrenica. It was reconstructed in June 2008, when the hipped roof was raised. It has been in use since then by all members of the congregation in the Slapovići area.


2. Description of the property

In terms of layout, the mosque in Slapovići belongs to the type of single-space mosque with a hipped roof and stone minaret.

The mosque is rectangular in plan, with sides of 6.05 x 7.95 m, and a height to the eaves of 4.50 m and to the roof ridge of 7.10 m. The minaret is 11.15 m in height over all, with a base that is rectangular in plan, at 1.60 x 2.12 m. 

The entrance portico on the north-east side of the mosque is 1.80 m wide, and covered by a pent roof resting on square reinforced concrete pillars of 20 x 20 cm in section. It is set into the slope, from which it is separated by a massive reinforced concrete retaining wall. Here, in the middle of the wall, is the entrance(14), a wooden door measuring 100 x 210 cm. Inside, the mosque measures 6.90 x 5.00 m, with a height to the plasterboard ceiling of 4.50 m. It has a cement screed floor and roughly plastered stone walls(15), on which the electricity cables are exposed. The mihrab in the middle of the south-west(16) wall is elliptical in plan, 85 cm wide and 35 cm deep, with a height to the top of the crown of 240 cm. There are no traces of decoration on the mihrab, which is finished in the same way as the inside walls. Light enters the building through 60 x 90 cm rectangular windows in the south-east, south-west and north-west walls.

The arched entrance to the minaret, measuring 55 x 120 cm, is on the inside of the north-west wall, at a height of 3.00 above floor level, with a wooden stepladder(17) as the only means of reaching it from the inside of the mosque. The spiral steps leading to the top of the minaret are 55 cm wide, and open onto an octagonal area(18) inscribed within a circle with a diameter of 2.50 m, finished with cement screed and fitted with a metal railing. The top section of the minaret, which is circular in section, with a diameter of 130 cm and a height of 4.00 m to the top of the roof, stands on this octagonal base. The minaret is surmounted by an alem (finial) with a height of 50 cm.

In outward appearance, the mosque in Slapovići is a simple structure of roughly rendered rubble stone with two ranks of windows. To the north-west is the minaret, which is faced with tufa, and is rectangular in section to a height of 2.60 m, from there to a height of 6.00 becoming an octagon inscribed in a circle with a diameter of 2.10 m, gradually widening to the balcony platform at a height of 7.00 until the diameter of the circle is 2.50 m. The circular top section of the minaret, with an opening of 50 x 190 cm, rises from the platform. The remainder of the north-west façade is a roughly rendered stone wall with two wooden windows of 60 x 90 cm, one above and one below.  The south-west and south-east façades match the north-west façade except that they each have two ranks of two windows, of the same size and shape. The north-east façade is the entrance front, with no windows, which cannot be seen like the other façades, being cut back into the steep hillside.

The outside walls of the mosque are of rubble stone, and the base of the minaret is faced with slabs of tufa. The floor of the mosque and entrance area is of cement screed, and the hipped roof and the pent roof over the entrance area are of timber, clad with tiles. The minaret is clad with copper. The outside windows are wooden.

The walls of the mosque are 55 cm thick, and the ceiling height is 4.50.

There is no fenced or walled harem around the mosque, but about 4.00 away on the north-east slope are three graves with headstone and footstone nišans. From north to south, these are:

-          Grave of Mula Selim Alemić (1860 – 1938), of concrete, measuring 110cm x 220cm, with an epitaph on the headstone nišan: “Mehrum mula Selim Alemić, 1860 – 1938, El Fatiha”. The older headstone and footstone nišan with no epitaph are lying on the ground in the middle of the grave. The remains of the headstone nišan with a turban is 60 cm long, and the turban has a circumference of 45 cm. The length of the surviving part of the footstone nišan is 25 cm(19).

-          Grave of Alemić Ibro (1958-1987), of concrete, of the same size as the preceding grave, with an epitaph on the headstone nišan: “Alemić Ibro (1958-1987), nišans erected by his father Ibrahim, mother Salkuna, sister Ibrima, wife Ramiza, son Nihad, and daughters Nihada and Mirsada.”

-          Grave of Alemić Šaban (1971-1992), of concrete, of the same size as the first grave, with an epitaph on the headstone nišan: “Alemić Šaban (1971-1992), NP. mother Medija, brother Mušan, sister Medina with her sons Admir and Sajib”.

-          Higher up to the north are another two graves of recent date.

To the west of the mosque is a damaged trough and fountain, which is in working order, made of a mixture of concrete and coarse river gravel. To the south of the plot where the mosque stands, on the other side of Duboko brook, are the ruins of the building formerly occupied by the mejtef, of reinforced concrete and brick. 


3. Legal status to date

According to the available documentation, the mosque in Slapovići has not previously been listed or entered in the register of cultural monuments at any level.


4. Research and conservation-restoration work

Nothing is known of any conservation-restoration works on the mosque in Slapovići between its construction and the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Though set on fire in 1995, the mosque was not razed to the foundations. The massive outer walls of rubble stone survived, as did the minaret. In 2008 works were carried out on the mosque, when the hipped roof was raised, with a pent roof over the entrance to the north-east, the exterior woodwork was installed, a cement screed floor was laid, the first-fix electricity installations were put in place, and the walls were plastered inside and out. A reinforced concrete retaining wall was also built on the north slope, to underpin the entrance portico.


5. Current condition of the property

The mosque in Slapovići is in very good structural condition. The surviving stone walls show no signs of structural weakness, and since the roof has been reconstructed, there is no risk of the penetration of atmospheric damp into the building. It is in use for worship, though the interior works have yet to be completed.


6. Specific risks




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

E.         Symbolic value

E.ii.      religious value

E.iii.      traditional value

E.iv.      relation to rituals or ceremonies

G.         Authenticity

G.iii.     use and function

G.v.      location and setting

G.vi.      spirit and feeling

I.          Completeness

I.iii.       completeness


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-          Ownership documentation:

-         Copy of cadastral plan 358/3, c.m. Viogor (old survey), title deed 53/0, plan no 2141/952-1-3-127/09; scale 1:6250, issued on 8.12.2009 by the Department of Geodetic Affairs, Srebrenica branch,

-         Land Register entry for plot no. 358/3, c.m. Viogor, Land Register entry no. 57 (old survey), order no. 1554/0 of 17.12.2009, issued by the Land Registry Office of the Court of First Instance in Srebrenica, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina;

-          Photodocumentation:

-         Photographs of the mosque in Slapovići near Srebrenica taken on 23 November. 2009 by architect Adi Ćorović, using Sony DSC – H10 digital camera;

-          Technical documentation:

-         Technical drawings of the mosque in Slapovići near Srebrenica by final-year architecture student Nermina Katkić, November 2009.



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


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


1991.    Kreševljaković, Hamdija. Izabrana djela III – banje, vodovodi, hanovi i karavansaraji (Selected Works III – baths, water mains, hans and caravanserais). Sarajevo: Veselin Masleša, 1991.


1998.    Mujezinović, Mehmed. Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine (Islamic Epigraphics of Bosnia and Herzegovina), vol. II. Sarajevo: Sarajevo Publishing, 1998.


2002.    Salimović, Sadik. Knjiga o Srebrenici (A book about Srebrenica). Srebrenica: Srebrenica Council, 2002.


2006.    Decision of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments designating the historic site of the lower fort in Srebrenica as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina at a session held from 7 to 10 November 2006 in Sarajevo


2008.    http://www.slapovici.blogspot.com/, 28.06.2008.

(1) For more on the history of the area, see the decision of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments designating the historic site of the lower fort in Srebrenica as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina at a session held from 7 to 10 November 2006 in Sarajevo.

(2) Desanka Kovačević Kojić, Gradska naselja srednjevjekovne Bosanske države, Sarajevo: Veselin Masleša, 1978, 18.

(3) The tradition of mining in Srebrenica goes right back to Roman times. There is material evidence that the Romans were heavily involved in mining and metallurgy in the area. Rajko Dukić, Tri uspješne priče, Belgrade: Narodna knjiga, 2009, 50

(4) Mehmed Mujezinović, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, knjiga II, Sarajevo: Sarajevo Publishing, 1998, 135

(5) From the stone plaque found by the mosque, erected in 1982 by the Islamic Community of Srebrenica, and letter from the Board of the Islamic Community of Srebrenica ref. IO- /05, of 18.02.2005. Information from the Islamic Community dating from 2008 states that the mosque was built in 1923, but without documentary evidence:  http://www.slapovici.blogspot.com/, 28.06.2008.

(6) Account by Dr. Sabit Begić, son of Jusuf Begić, Sarajevo 23.12.2009.

(7) This road, known as the Stambolska džada (Stambol Road), joined the Dubrovnik road at Nova Varoš. Even during the time of the independent Bosnian state, there was a road linking Dubrovnik with Vrhbosna, which also joined another road from the mouth of the Neretva. -  Hamdija Kreševljaković, Izabrana djela, III dio, Hanovi i karavansaraji u Bosni i Hercegovini, Sarajevo: Veselin Masleša, 1991, 313.

(8) There is reference to the following caravanserais in the wider Srebrenica area: Gođević han, Han Nesmotar, Han Polom, Mavrakin han and Milošev han, with the observation that it was not possible to cover all the caravanserais built during the Ottoman period in BiH - Hamdija Kreševljaković, 1991, 306. In addition, there were the remains of another two stone-built caravanserais in the Slapovići area, which were finally demolished in the 1960s. One, which was to the south of Duboko brook, opposite the mosque in Slapovići, was used as a hayloft until it was demolished, and the other, Vukojin han, was on the Slapovići to Žepa road: account by Hamdija Hasanović, a native of Slapovići, Slapovići, 23.11.2009. The information about these two caravanserais is not corroborated by written sources or material evidence.

The simplest caravanserais resembled large stables – single-storey buildings, rectangular in plan with walls 2-2.50 m in height, built of logs, stone and unbaked brick, with hipped roof clad with shingles. - Hamdija Kreševljaković, 1991, 255. – According to Hamdija Hasanović, in layout the two caravanserais in Slapovići fell into this group of the simplest caravanserais.

(9) Sadik Salimović, Knjiga o Srebrenici, Srebrenica: Srebrenica Municipal Council, 2002, 42

(10) Account by Hamdija Hasanović, a native of Slapovići, Slapovići, 23. 11. 2009.

(11) Traces of the road survive in places between Srebrenica and Dubrovnik, paved with cobbles, which are still in very good condition.  The road was used prior to the advent of the Ottomans in the Srebrenica area. - Rajko Dukić, Belgrade: Narodna knjiga, 2009, 51

(12) By June 1995 Serb forces had already taken the EKO observation point in the south-east of the enclave, near Zeleni Jadar and the village of  Slapovići. – Sadik Salimović, 2002, 207

(13) http://www.slapovici.blogspot.com/, 28.06.2008.

(14) Until 1995 there was a stone plaque over the entrance giving details of the erection of the mosque. The plaque has survived, and is now leaning against the outside wall of the mosque.

(15) According to Hamdija Hasanović, a native of Slapovići, the mosque had a wooden floor, and the walls were plastered and painted white inside and out.

(16) Translator’s note: the orientation as described is puzzling, since the mihrab should indicate the direction of Mecca, to the south-east, not south-west. If this is dictated by the slope, it is not made clear where the worshippers face when at prayer.

(17) Until 1995 there was a wooden mahfil here, reached via wooden steps. There was also a wooden mimber in the mosque. All the woodwork was destroyed by fire in 1995. Account by Hamdija Hasanović, a native of Slapovići, Slapovići, 23.11.2009

(18) At 7.00 m above the mosque floor

(19) To the north of this grave, the remains of stone can be seen on the ground, suggesting that there was an older grave there

Mosque in SlapovićiMosque in Slapovići, between 1956 and 1959Mosque in Slapovići, southwest viewMosque before 2008
Reconstruction worksReconstruction worksPorch - entranceMinaret
InteriorMihrabNišan tombstone 

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