Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Mišćina (Kebkebir hajji Ahmed) Mosque, the historic building

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Status of monument -> National monument

Pursuant to Article V para. 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 39 para. 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, at a session held from 6 to 8 November 2012 the Commission adopted a






The historic building of the Mišćina (Kebkebir hajji Ahmed) Mosque in Sarajevo 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 no. 1583 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. no.1 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 141, cadastral municipality SP Sarajevo Mahala XCVI, and c.p. 2401/2 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. 230 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 143, c.m. SP Sarajevo Mahala XCVI, 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, 6/04 and 51/07) 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 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 on the area defined in Clause 1 para. 3 of this Decision, the following protection measures are hereby stipulated.

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

-       the reconstruction of all parts for which there is no reliable documentation shall be effected as part of the project in such a way as to ensure that their interpolation is legible;

-       works that could be detrimental to the national monument are prohibited, as is the erection of temporary facilities or permanent structures not designed solely for the protection and presentation of the National Monument;

-       the dumping of waste is prohibited.


The following measures are hereby prescribed for the urgent protection of the National Monument:

-       the structural repair and consolidation of the walls;

-       investigative works with a view to identifying the original pigments of the existing decorative elements on the mimber, mahfil and walls of the mosque, and the production and implementation of a conservation project;

-       the removal of all unsatisfactory installations visible on the façades and interior of the building.


The following protection measures are hereby prescribed for the wall paintings:

-       all works on the wall paintings shall be carried out by a qualified person subject to a project approved by the federal ministry responsible for culture and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority;

-       supervision of the protection measures taken to protect the wall paintings shall be carried out by the ministry responsible for culture.




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 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 protection thereof.



The Government of the Federation, the federal ministry responsible for regional planning, the federal ministry responsible for culture, 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.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: 06.3-2.3-73/12-36                                                                                        

7 November 2012



Chair of the Commission

Ljiljana Ševo


E l u c i d a t i o n



Pursuant to Article 2, paragraph 1 of the Law on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments, established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a “National Monument” is an item of public property proclaimed by the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to be a National Monument pursuant to Articles V and VI of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and property entered on the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH no. 33/02) until the Commission reaches a final decision on its status, as to which there is no time limit and regardless of whether a petition for the property in question has been submitted or not.

On 29 February 2012 Esad Zejnilagić of Sarajevo submitted a petition/proposal to the Commission to Preserve National Monuments to designate the Mišćina (Kebkebir hajji Ahmed) Mosque in Sarajevo 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.


Statement of Significance

The Mišćina (Kebkebir hajji Ahmed) Mosque was built in 1557. It was burned down in the fire caused by Prince Eugene of Savoy's invasion of Sarajevo in 1697, and rebuilt in 1700.

It is one of the larger mosques with a hipped roof and stone minaret in Sarajevo. Unlike the majority of other mosques, in this case the stone minaret is flush with the wall. Another feature of the mosque is the wall paintings with scenes of Mecca and Medina, the work of Sarajevo's most famous 19th-century nakaš (artist), hajji Mustafa Faginović.

The mosque and mahala are known locally as the Mišćina mosque and mahala, after the well-loved 18th-century muezzin Mišćo, whose grave, marked by modest nišan gravestones, is in the nearby Kovači burial ground.



In the procedure preceding the adoption of a final decision to proclaim the property a national monument, the following documentation was inspected:

-       details of the current condition and use of the property, including a description, architectural survey and photographs

-       an inspection of the current state of the property

-       a copy of the cadastral plan

-       a copy of the Land Register entry

-       historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision


Pursuant to Article V para. 2 of Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Article 37 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission, before rendering a final decision designating a property as a national monument, the Commission is required to provide the owner of the proposed monument, the person submitting the petition, the institutions responsible for heritage, professional and academic institutions, experts and scholars, as well as other interested parties, to express their views.

Accordingly, the Commission sent letters ref. 06.3-35.2-5/12-37 of 29 February 2012, 06.3-36.1-11/12-135 of 21 November 2012, 06.3-36.1-11/12-142 of 27 November 2012 and 06.3-36.1-19/13-23 of 27 February 2013 requesting documentation and views on the designation of the Kebkebir hajji Ahmed (Mišćina) Mosque in Sarajevo as a national monument to the Board of the Islamic Community of Sarajevo, Stari Grad Municipality, the Federal Ministry of Regional Planning and the Institute for the Protection of Monuments under the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport.


In response, the Commission has received the following documentation:

-       letter ref. 03-23-2-269/12 dated 5 March 2012 from the Federal Ministry of Regional Planning notifying the Commission to Preserve National Monuments that it has no details or documentation on the property in question;

-       letter ref. 07-40-4-1670-1/12 dated 5 March 2012 from the Institute for the Protection of Monuments under the Federal Ministry of Culture and Sport notifying the Commission to Preserve National Monuments that according to the Institute’s records the property was listed and protected by the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the name Mišćina Mosque in Sarajevo;

-       letter ref. 06-31-sl. of 21 November 2012 from Stari Grad Municipality, Department of Proprietary Rights, Geodetics and Cadastral Affairs supplying the documentation requested;

-       the documentation requested, supplied on 27 February 2013 by Stari Grad Municipality, Department of Proprietary Rights, Geodetics and Cadastral Affairs;

-       letter ref. 065-0-Rz-13-976 of 5 March 2013 from the Municipal Court in Sarajevo, Land Registry office, supplying the documentation requested.


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 Mišćina (Kebkebir hajji Ahmed) Mosque is in Mišćina St., in the residential quarter known as Kovači, in the northern part of Stari Grad Municipality.

From the introduction of Austro-Hungarian rule to 1948 the street was known as Zildžića St., after one hajji Avdaga Zildžić, who had a house in the street and was highly regarded by his neighbours and throughout the city.

In 1948 the street was renamed after Alija Alijagić, a social activist and member of the Crvena pravda (“Red Justice”) organization. It was named Mišćina in 1993, after the mahala as a whole.

The National Monument is located on a site designated as cadastral plot no. 1583 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. no.1 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 141, cadastral municipality SP Sarajevo Mahala XCVI, and c.p. 2401/2 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. 230 (old survey), Land Register entry no. 143, c.m. SP Sarajevo Mahala XCVI, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical background

The historic centre of Sarajevo consisted of two separate urban zones, the public business quarter or čaršija and the residential zone, subdivided into numerous residential quarters known as mahalas. Each mahala had thirty or forty houses, a mosque with a mekteb (Qur’an school), a bakery, a greengrocer and a barber’s shop. In 1477 Sarajevo consisted of just three mahalas, increasing to fifteen by 1516. Mula Mustafa Bašeskija recorded that in the latter half of the 18th century Sarajevo had about a hundred mahalas with some 4,500 houses and 23,000 inhabitants.

The earliest reference to the mahala of Kebkebir hajji Ahmed, son of Oruč, dates from 1528, when it was detached from the Skender-pasha mahala to become a mahala in its own right(1).

The Kebkebir hajji Ahmed Mosque was built in the first half of the 16th century (1543-1557)(2). Over the portal, where the tarih (chronogram) is mounted, is a levha in a wooden frame with an inscription in Arabic:

صاحب الخير و الحستنا

كبكبير الحاج احمد

1543 (سنة ۹٦۳, 963)

Owner of property and a hastahana [Turkish: hospital]

Kebkebir Hajj Ahmed

Year 1543, 963 AH

The popular names given to mosques were usually based on one of the following features:

-       a description (the White Mosque, the Painted Mosque, the Girls’ Mosque)

-       the materials they were made of (the Kuršumlija Mosque – from the word for lead)

-       a toponym – the location where they were built (the Dolnjačka Mosque, the Gornjačka Mosque – names deriving from the words for lower and upper – the Čaršija Mosque)

-       some natural feature beside which they were built (the Mosque under the Lime, the Cave Mosque).

They were rarely called after their founder or other individual associated with the mosque in the past whose memory had been preserved (an imam, a muezzin, a mutevelija etc.). When one was destroyed or became dilapidated, as happened to the Kebkebir hajji Ahmed Mosque after Eugene of Savoy’s 1697 campaign, another public-spirited citizen would come forward to restore it in full or in part. In such cases the mosque retained the name of its original founder, though sometimes a mosque and mahala would become known after the person who rebuilt it.

This mosque and mahala were known as Mišćina after the muezzin, whose contemporary, the chronicler Bašeskija, recorded the following observation: “At dawn he would sing the paeon, his voice filling the city.”(3) Vlajko Palevestra(4) writes that one Mehmed, son of Jusuf, nicknamed Mišćija or Mišćo, a belukčija making women’s clothes, jelek [heavily embroidered waistcoats], fermen [open-fronted, braided waistcoats] and so on, lived in a mahala at Ploča, above Kovači. This Mišćo was the muezzin of the Kebkebir hajji Ahmed Mosque, who would ascend the minaret every day at dawn to wake the city with his voice. He became famous in old Sarajevo for this, as is clear from the fact that the kebkebir hajji Ahmed Mosque, of which Mišćo was the muezzin until well into old age, was named after him, as was the mahala – Mišćina (Mišćo’s) mosque and mahala. He died in Sarajevo in 1786/87, and was buried in the Kovači graveyard across the way from the Mišćina Mosque. His property, amounting to 77,736 akças, was listed in a sidžil (court record) on 21 Shabaan 1201 (9 June 1787)(5).

Sidžils and other sources include several documents and deeds of gifts by which local residents endowed property for this mosque.

Hafiz Muhammed-efendi Baki Džino-zade(6) secured himself a place among Sarajevo’s leading vakifs (donors, legatees). For example, in 1813 he endowed his konak and several properties for the upkeep and repair of the mosque. The 1813 budget of hafiz Džino’s endowments is kept in the Turkish archives of the Gazi Husrev-bey Library.

Thirteen years earlier, hajji Fatima, the daughter of hajji Ahmed-aga Džino, endowed a storeroom at Varoš, with two rooms above, earmarking the income for the lamps of the mosque(7).

Hajji Omer Karić, son of Muharem, from the same mahala, endowed a bakery with three rooms above, a storeroom, a general store and a house in Čekrekčija mahala, the income to be used to pay the mosque officials and repair the mosque. This endowment dates from 1844(8).

In 1870 the mosque was decorated by Mustafa Fagin(9), the second and most prominent nakaš (painter) in a series of artists from the Faginović family.


2. Description of the property

The Mišćina (Kebkebir hajji Ahmed) Mosque belongs to the type of single-space mosque with hipped roof and stone minaret(10). It consists of a portico with sofas occupying the width of the north-west entrance front, the main prayer hall, and a stone minaret. The prayer hall and portico are covered by a hipped roof.

The mosque is rectangular in plan, measuring approx. 11.33 m wide x 12.00 m long, or about 11.33 x 15.80 m including the portico. The walls of the main carcass, which are about 80 cm thick, are of unfired brick with wooden tie beams, plastered and painted inside and out.

Portico with sofas

The sofas of the mosque measure 4.13 x 3.79 m, with a height of 0.35 m, and have wooden floorboards. Between them is a passageway about 2.05 m in width leading to the mosque portal. The abdesthana (premises for ritual ablutions), built in 1997, is on the left-hand sofa.

Between the wooden 13 x 15 cm posts of the portico is a wooden railing with a height of 1.33 m on a base wall which varies in height, reflecting the slope on which the mosque stands. The entrance gateway, which is about 1.90 m in height, is of wooden boards. The wooden posts are linked on the entrance front of the portico by round arches composed of wooden boards; the sides of the portico are walled in. The roof timbers over the portico are concealed by wooden boards.

Entrance portal

The portal, which is about 5.10 m high and 2.50 m wide, with a height to the tarih (chronogram) of about 2.73 m, projects out from the wall face by about 26 cm. Above the arched doorway is a niche in the form of a stepped arch, where the tarih was once mounted and which is now occupied by a levha in a wooden frame.

Two decorations in the form of circles standing 2-3 cm proud of the wall are set symmetrically over the arched doorway.

The double wooden doors are set in a doorway about 1.26 m wide x 2.06 m high (daylight opening) or 1.62 x 2.26 m (masonry opening). They are divided into square and rectangular panels decorated with carved rosettes; each door is fitting with a decorative metal rosette and door knocker.

Prayer hall

The portico leads into the main prayer hall, which is about 9.80 m wide x 10.00 m long, with a ceiling height of about 5.60 m. All the inside walls are plastered and whitewashed. The prayer hall contains a mihrab, mimber, ćurs and mahfil.


The mihrab in the south-east wall of the mosque, directly opposite the entrance portal, is 1.98 m wide overall, with a niche about 98 cm wide surrounded by a rectangular frame. The mihrab frame is about 4 metres in height, with a width on the right of 52 cm and on the left of 48 cm. The frame stands 26 cm proud of the wall face, and is decorated with a close-packed polychrome floral design painted on plaster. The decoration consists of the following components: on the upper level, three sets of lines following the outline of the mihrab frame, a moon and stars set symmetrically on either side of the frame, and on the lower level, stars and two pillars or supports set symmetrically on each side of the frame, bearing vases of flowers. The niche, with a radius of 72 cm, is topped by six rows of stalactites (muqarnas). The leaves of the floral decoration are thickly intertwined. Inside, the niche is decorated with four pillars with capitals decorated with floral motifs in yellow, green and brown. These colours dominate the inside of the niche, while the mihrab frame also has touches of red. The upper level of the frame includes a central framed levha with an Arabic inscription:

كلما دخل عليها زكريا المحراب

Whenever Zachariah went into her [Mary] in the Sanctuary [mihrab]

(Sura al-Imran v. 37)

            The mimber, which is to the right of the mihrab, is about 3.62 m long, 77 cm wide, and 5.60 m high. It consists of an entrance portal formed by a wooden frame over which is a moulded wooden slat with a floral decoration, a twelve-step staircase with wooden stair rails on each side, and a podium or kjurs at the top. The kjurs is surrounded by four uprights carrying the canopy, above which is the top of the minber, consisting of a low octagonal drum and polygonal roof. The triangular sides of the minber below the stairs are enclosed, with five small pointed arches at the base. The mimber is painted green(11).


The ćurs, the pulpit from which sermons are preached in the mosque, is by the south-east wall, right of the mihrab. Measuring 79 x 79 cm, it consists of four pillars with moulded tops, joined on two sides by a wooden railing. The lower part of the ćurs has moulded openings.


The mahfil or gallery is a “front mahfil,” occupying the full length of the north-west mosque wall. Measuring 8.36 x 2.30 m, it is wooden, resting on four wooden posts measuring respectively 12 x 13 cm, 19 x 20 cm, 20 x 20 cm and 22 x 20 cm in section, standing on concrete bases, except for one of the central posts, which still has its original stone base. One post is set by the side wall of the mosque, another by the minaret wall, with the other two between, 2.80 m apart. Midway along the mahfil, over the central posts, is a semicircular tribune about 77 cm long for the muezzin. The mahfil railing is about 40 cm high, with an additional railing about 90 cm high. The area beneath the mahfil constitutes an interior sofa measuring 3.62 x 1.97 m, surrounded by an L-shaped railing about 76 cm high. Access to the mahfil is via the stone minaret steps. The mahfil is painted green.

According to the description in the file on the mosque drawn up in 1959 by the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage of BiH, the wooden mahfil of the Mišćina Mosque was fairly extensively decorated with carving.


From the outside, a particular feature of the mosque is the row of round openings below the eaves.

The mosque has fourteen arched windows, two on the north-east façade and four each on the south-east, south-west and north-west facades. The windows are in two ranks, except for those of the north-east façade, which are both upper windows. All the lower windows are rectangular, 105 cm wide and 152 cm high, with a small pointed-arched opening above each, of the same width as the window, and with a rise of 60 cm. These windows are fitted on the outside with iron grilles. The upper windows, set directly above the lower, are arched; they are of the same width as the lower windows, but are about 2 m high.

In addition to these windows, there are another eleven glazed oculi in wooden frames, three on each façade except for the north-west, where there are two. These round windows, with a diameter of 40 cm, are set between and level with the top of the upper windows. Two on the north-east wall have been closed off to allow for the installation of air conditioning units, as has one of those on the north-west wall. The façades are plastered, and the two air conditioning units can be seen on the north-east façade.

The stone structure of the minaret can be seen on the south-west façade. The minaret is entered from the prayer hall, through an arched wooden door of about 174 x 72 cm, set 16 cm above floor level. The door to the mahfil is at a height of about 3 m. The stone šerefe (minaret balcony) is at a height of about 13 m. It is surrounded by plain stone slabs not accentuated by moulded string courses above and below. The minaret is clad with sheet copper, and surmounted by a lead alem (finial) with three equal-sized orbs.

The mosque has a hipped roof with a pitch of about 30°.

Wall paintings

“The dervish orders came early to Bosnia and probably played an essential role in Islamization and the development of Muslim towns(12). Many people from the Bosnian sanjak joined these orders, which did much to disseminate knowledge of philosophy and to foster poetry and literature, and the decorative arts of calligraphy and miniature paintings(13).

There is extensive evidence of art deriving from the prayer customs of the dervish orders in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s mosques and tekkes, as well as in private collections and libraries.

The wall paintings showing Medina (277 x 165 cm) and Mecca (276 x 166 cm) on the north-east inside wall of the Mišćina Mosque are the work of Mustafa Fagin, who was influenced by the teachings of the Dala’il al-Khayrat, composed and studied by the Naqshbandiyya order in particular, which begin with images of Mecca and Medina(14).

A comparative analysis of earlier and somewhat later scenes of Mecca and Medina in manuscripts of the Dala'il al-Khayrat in the Balkans (Dala'il al-Khayrat, Medina, 18th century; Museum of the Applied Arts, Belgrade; Dala'il al-Khayrat, Medina and Mecca, 1902, National Archives, Skopje)(15) reveals that in Mustafa Fagin’s composition every space is filled, and that the principles of composition he based his work on are those of the historical cartographic art of Turkish miniatures, themselves influenced by Persian art(16).

An interesting feature of the view of Medina to which Mustafa Fagin accords particular significance is the Jannat al-Bakki burial ground, a detail that could lead scholars to the model he used for his wall paintings, since it does not feature in miniatures. When the mosque was restored, only fragments of the wall on which the holy places were painted were retained, and the areas of wall between them were whitewashed. The original composition has thus been broken up into the three fragments now on the wall. These surviving fragments were coated with transparent acrylic varnish, to the serious detriment of the colour scheme, and the murals are also at risk because of the low diffusion coefficient of the acrylic. The present state of the wall paintings also makes it more difficult to study the composition, the surviving part of which abounds in details, with particular emphasis on the Prophet’s Mosque in the veduta of Medina, and on the Kaba in the veduta of Mecca. Unlike such views in miniatures, where the composition is in portrait (vertical) format, these are in landscape format, and shown from a bird’s-eye view. The scene of Mecca is dominated by the Ka’ba in the centre of the Masjid al-Haram (Holy Mosque), while the rest of the town is depicted around the mosque, filling every part of the scene. The side walls of the Holy Mosque slant inwards, and are echoed by the surrounding buildings, creating an impression of depth. The scene of Medina is similar in composition to that of Mecca, except that much of the painting, apart from the Prophet’s Mosque in the centre, is dominated by the ramparts surrounding the entire townscape. The same perspective is applied to create a sense of depth with the buildings around the mosque and beyond the ramparts. In both scenes there are no empty spaces, which the artist achieved by incorporating features from the natural surroundings (Mecca is surrounded by rocks, and Medina by tall trees). Faginović paid meticulous attention to each building, painting the features of the Holy Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque in minute detail.

Nišans of muezzin Mišćo

The grave of Mehmed Mišćo son of Jusuf across the way from the mosque is marked by two small green nišan gravestones. The grave was known to exist, but had become buried under about a metre of soil, so mutevelija Mustafa Korić arranged for it to be dug out. The position of the grave was carefully chosen; on festival days, when the muezzin is squatting in the mahfil tribune, all that can be seen through the window to the right of the mihrab is Mišćo’s grave, which is in line with the point in front of the mimber where the muezzin recites the convocation to prayer. When stepping into the minaret, the first thing to be seen is the grave.

The grave of the famous muezzin Mišćo is opposite the mosque, in the old Kovači burial ground, on a slope, separate from the others and surrounded by a stone retaining wall of about 2.80 x 1.50 m.

Both nišans are damaged.

Nišan no. 1

Man’s nišan with pleated turban, measuring 12 x 13 x 61 cm, without epitaph.

Nišan no. 2 (footstone)

Octagonal nišan with sides of 6 cm and a height of 51 cm.


3. Legal status to date

The property was subject to statutory protection pursuant to the provisions of the law and by ruling of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of NR BiH in Sarajevo no.678/50 of 9 June 1950, placing the Mišćina (Kebkebir Hajji Ahmed) Mosque in Sarajevo under state protection.


4. Research and conservation-restoration works

-       the mosque has been renovated on several occasions

-       the record of the property at the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of NR Bosnia and Herzegovina states that repairs were carried out on the minaret in 1958. The old hollow tiles and board underlay were removed, and the roof was reclad with interlocking tiles

-       the façades were repaired and repainted

-       the woodwork and interior(17) were painted with oil paint(18)  

-       reeds were laid over the ceiling, which was then plastered

-       the ceiling was then decorated in colour, but these decorations were overpainted in white during the 1997 works

-       the frescoes, which were beginning to come away from the ground, were varnished over.


The minaret was repaired in 1980, when it acquired its present appearance. Rebars were laid around the minaret and then overlaid with cement mortar.

The mosque took two hits from shells during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, one at the base of the minaret, the other near the top of the roof.

The following works were carried out on the mosque in 1997:

-       the roof timbers were reinforced by laying ridge tiles and new slats. New tiles were laid, with metal flashings and snow guards

-       the sofas and the entire wooden entrance area were completely replaced, piece by piece

-       the abdesthana and fountain were installed

-       the mosque was painted white inside

-       double windows were installed – previously the mosque had had inside windows only. The windows were painted green

-       the wall paintings were conserved(19).


Works carried out in 2003:

-       installation of underfloor heating

-       rewiring

-       lighting installed on the minaret.


Arrangements were made in the 1950s for a copy to be made of the wall paintings in the mosque. The copies were then displayed in the Sarajevo Museum (which then occupied the Shari’a Judges’ School building, now the Faculty of Islamic Studies)(20).


5. Current condition of the property

The findings of an on-site inspection conducted in March 2012 are that the mosque is in good condition.


6. Specific risks

-       unskilled and inappropriate interventions to the wall paintings and mihrab

-       use of in appropriate modern materials during maintenance works, installation of air conditioning and gas boiler



Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on designating a property as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH nos. 33/02 and 15/03), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above.

The Decision was based on the following criteria:

A.         Time frame

B.         Historical value

C.         Artistic and aesthetic value

C.i.       quality of workmanship

C.ii.      quality of materials

C.iii.      proportions

C.iv.     composition

C.v.      value of details

C.vi.     value of construction

D.         Clarity (documentary, scientific and educational value)

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

D.v.      evidence of a typical way of life at a specific period

E.         Symbolic value

E.i.       ontological 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.         Towncape value

F.i.       relation to other elements of the site

F.ii.       meaning in the townscape

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

G.         Authenticity

G.i.       form and design

G.ii.      material and content

G.iii.     use and function

G.iv.     traditions and techniques

G.v.      location and setting

G.vi.     spirit and feeling

G.vii.    other internal and external factors

H.         Rarity and representativity

H.i.       unique or rare example of a certain type or style

H.ii.      outstanding work of art or architecture

H.iii.      work of a prominent artist, architect or craftsman


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-       copy of cadastral plan

-       proof of title

-       photodocumentation (photographs of the Kebkebir hajji Ahmed (Mišćina) Mosque taken in March 2012

-       drawings (architectural drawing of the mosque in its present state by Milka Grujić BSc.Arch and Mejra Hodžić BSc.Arch.)



During the procedure to designate the Kebkebir hajji Ahmed (Mišćina) Mosque in Sarajevo as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina the following works were consulted:


1913.    Kemura, Šejh Sejfudin. Sarajevske džamije i druge javne zgrade turske dobe (Sarajevo’s mosques and other public buildings of the Turkish period). Sarajevo: 1913.


1939.    Nametak, Alija. Islamski kulturni spomenici turskog perioda u Bosni i Hercegovini (Islamic cultural monuments of the Turkish period in BiH). Sarajevo: Državna štamparija u Sarajevu, 1939.


1953.    Bejtić, Alija. “Spomenici osmanlijske arhitekture u Bosni i Hercegovini” (Monuments of Ottoman architecture in Bosnia and Herzegovina), in: Prilozi za orijentalnu filologiju i istoriju jugoslovenskih naroda pod turskom vladavinom (Contributions to oriental philology and the history of the Yugoslav peoples under Turkish rule), volume. III-IV. Sarajevo: Oriental Institute, Veselin Masleša, 1953.


1960.    Šabanović, Hazim. Postanak i razvoj Sarajeva (The origins and development of Sarajevo), proceedings of the Scientific Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina, vol. 5. Sarajevo: 1960.


1968.    Bejtić, Alija. Stara sarajevska Čaršija, jučer, danas i sutra (The old Sarajevo Čaršija, yesterday, today and tomorrow). Sarajevo: Stambeno preduzeće Sarajevo, 1968.


1982.    Redžić, Husref. Umetnost na tlu Jugoslavije, Islamska umjetnost (Art in Yugoslavia: Islamic Art). Belgrade: Izdavački zavod Jugoslavija, 1982.


1982.    Šabanović, Hazim. Bosanski pašaluk (The Bosnian pashaluk). Sarajevo: 1982.


1983.    Redžić, Husref. Studije o islamskoj arhitektonskoj baštini (Studies on the Islamic Architectural Heritage). Sarajevo: Veselin Masleša, 1983.


1984.    Andrejević, Andrej. Islamska monumentalna umetnost XVI veka u Jugoslaviji (16th century Islamic monumental art in Yugoslavia), study 6. Belgrade: 1984.


1985.    Skarić, Vladislav. Izabrana djela, knjiga I, Sarajevo i njegova okolina od najstarijih vremena do austrougarske okupacije (Selected Works, Bk. I, Sarajevo and environs from ancient times to the Austro-Hungarian occupation). Sarajevo: Cultural Heritage Series, 1985.


1987.    Bašeskija, Mula Mustafa Ševki. Ljetopis 1746-1804 (Chronicle 1746-1804). Sarajevo: 1987.


1991.    Kreševljaković, Hamdija. Izabrana djela II, Esnafi i obrti u Bosni i Hercegovini (1463-1878) (Selected Works II – guilds and trades in BiH 1463-1878). Sarajevo: Veselin Masleša, 1991.


1996.    Çelebi, Evliya. Putopis – odlomci o jugoslovenskim zemljama (Travelogue – Excerpts on Yugoslav countries). Sarajevo: Sarajevo Publishing, 1996.


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


1999.    Bećirbegović, Madžida. Džamije sa drvenom munarom u Bosni i Hercegovini (Mosques with wooden minarets in BiH). Sarajevo: Sarajevo Publishing, 1999.


2003.    Palevestra, Vlajko. Legende iz starog Sarajeva (Legends of old Sarajevo). Zemun: 2003.


2009.    ANALI - Gazi Husrev-begove biblioteke, Knjiga XXIX-XXX. Sarajevo: 2009.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/74606001/Anali-Gazi-Husrev-begove-biblioteke-u-Sarajevu-knjiga-29-30-2009 accessed 29 February 2012


Izvještaj o radu Zemaljskog zavoda za zaštitu spomenika kulture i prirodnih rijetkosti u Sarajevu u 1958 (Report on the work of the National institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities in Sarajevo in 1958) http://www.fmksa.com/download/zzs/1959/29-1959.pdf accessed 29 February 2012


2010.    Halimić, Enes. Iz mape Faginovića (From the Faginović portfolio). Sarajevo: Bošnjački Institut – Fondacija Adila Zulfikarpašića, Print Line, 2010.


(1) Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, knjiga I - Sarajevo, Sarajevo: Sarajevo Publishing, 1998, 273-274

(2) The levha states that the mosque was built in 1543, but other sources, including the records of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments of NR BiH, state that it was built in 1557.

(3) The muezzin performs the iqama or convocation to prayer, leads dhikr (praising God after namaz/salah or ritual prayer), and performs the adhan or call to prayer for each of the five obligatory daily prayers

(4) Palevestra, Vlajko, Legende iz starog Sarajeva, Zemun: 2003, 69

(5) Bašeskija, Mula Mustafa Ševki, Ljetopis 1746-1804, Sarajevo: 1987, 259

(6) Hajji hafiz Muhammed Baki was born in Sarajevo in the mid 18th century. He sometimes signed his name as Muhammad Abdulbaki (and his son signed himself Abdulbaki), but more often as Muhammad Baki Džino or Džinozade. Muhammad-aga Džino was one of Sarajevo’s leading vakifs (donors, legatees). He founded two mektebs, the first of which, a boys’ mekteb, was in the Čekrekči Muslihuddin mahala. He endowed a caravanserai and a storeroom for its maintenance, and prescribed that the income be spent on repairing vakuf (pious endowment) buildings and for the salary of 30 florins for the mu’allim (teacher). Džino’s caravanserai, which was in Kovači, had room for 20 people and 20 horses. The other mekteb was in Hubjaraga’s mahala, and for its maintenance Džino endowed a women’s hammam, known as the Mehmed pasha hammam, in Sheikh Ferrah mahala. This single domed hammam was built before 1554, and purchased by Džino before 1771. It was demolished after 1848, and the building materials were reused to build a caravanserai. Džino’s original vakufnama (deed of endowment) of 27 Safar 1185 (11 June 1771) is kept in the archives of Muhammed Enveri Kadić. Funds from Džino’s vakuf were used to build a wooden bridge at Bendbaša in Sarajevo in 1782.  Mehmedović, Ahmed, “Hadži hafiz Muhammed Baqi Džino-zade - sarajevski kadija, vakif, kaligraf i bibliofil,” ANALI - Gazi Husrev-begove biblioteke, Knjiga XXIX-XXX, Sarajevo:  2009, 225-236

(7) Mehmedović, Ahmed, “Hadži hafiz Muhammed Baqi Džino-zade - sarajevski kadija, vakif, kaligraf i bibliofil,” ANALI - Gazi Husrev-begove biblioteke, Knjiga XXIX-XXX, Sarajevo: 2009, 225-236

(8) Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine, knjiga I - Sarajevo, Sarajevo: Sarajevo Publishing, 1998, 273-274

(9) The Faginović family of artists, one of Sarajevo’s leading traditional art houses, occupies a special place in the rich and diverse cultural history of Ottoman-period Sarajevo.  The family produced several generations of outstanding calligraphers and painters, including Mustafa Faginzade and Ali Šeriš Faginović, a famous calligraphy teacher. Mustafa Fagin was born in Sarajevo in 1839 and died in Istanbul in 1900. Halimić, Enes, Iz mape Faginovića, Bošnjački Institut – Fondacija Adila Zulfikarpašića, Print Line, Sarajevo, 2010, p.11-12

(10) There are many more mosques with hipped roof and stone minaret than there are domed mosques.  Statistics from 1993 reveal that there were 223 mosques with hipped roof and stone minaret in Bosnia and Herzegovina as a whole, with Sarajevo in first place with 34 (now 26), only three of which were built in the 15th century. The rest date from the 16th century but their present appearance dates from the 18th, as most of Sarajevo’s mosques were burned down in 1697, when Prince Eugene of Savoy set fire to Sarajevo. Bećirbegović, Madžida, Džamije sa drvenom munarom u Bosni i Hercegovini, Sarajevo Publishing, Sarajevo, 1999, p. 43

(11) A gas-fired boiler has been installed on the wall next to the mimber (op. MH)

(12) “The first dervish tekke [lodge] in Sarajevo, the Isakbegova tekija, belonging to the Mevlevi order, was built before 1463; another, the Skender-paša, of the Naqshbandi order, was built in 1500, and two more important tekkes (the Sinan-paša and the and Bistrigina) were added in the seventeenth century. . .  Evliya Çelebi counted forty-seven altogether in Sarajevo in the mid seventeenth century. . . As well as being centres of local fellowship and piety, the tekkes were also part of a huge international network.” Noel Malcolm, Bosnia: A Short History, 2nd ed., Macmillan, 1996, 104.

(13) Ibid, 103-4

(14) The wall paintings in the Mišćina Mosque are unique in their coloured scenes of Mecca and Medina.  Among Sufis, and in particular the Naqshbandiyya order, it is customary to recite prayers for the Prophet Muhammad a.s. from the most famous collection of litanies known as the Dala’il al-KhaayratI, composed by Sheikh Suleyman Jazuli in the first half of the 15th century. It was widely transcribed, and the illuminations invariably included miniatures of Mecca and Medina. Mustafa Fagin drew on his experience of painting miniatures for manuscripts when painting the murals of the Mišćina Mosque. Enes Halimić, op.cit., 12.

(15) Zagorka Janac, Islamska minijatura, Beograd: Prosveta [1985.], 54, 55, 104, 105.

(16) Map of Istanbul, Nesuh Es-Silahi El-Matrakči, 1573, from Beyan-i Menazil-i Sefer-i Irekeyn (A tale of the famous campaign on the two Iraqs), Istanbul, University Library. See Luca Mozzati, Islamska umjetnost, Sarajevo: Šahinpašić [2011], 245. [Also available in English: Luca Mozzati, Islamic Art, Prestel, 2010, 245, previewable on the Amazon UK site. Trans.]

(17) The mosque walls were painted to a height of about 120 cm with oil paint to imitate wood. The work was carried out by Orlo Alija and Goro Salih, who also began working on the mihrab, but never completed it.

(18) The works were financed by the Vakuf, in the amount of 370,000 dinars.

(19) According to Mustafa Korić, the paintings were glued to the base by qualified persons hired specially for the purpose.  He was unable to tell me who they were

(20) Information provided on 3 June 2012 by Mustafa Korić, former mutevelija (whose father was also mutevelija of the Mišćina Mosque).

Mišćina (Kebkebir hajji Ahmed) MosqueMišćina (Kebkebir hajji Ahmed) MosqueMišćina Mosque, south view Entrance
Porch Porch Portico Interior of the mosque
Interior of the mosque Interior of the mosque, mahfil galleryMihrab and mimberSouthwest wall
Mahfil galleryMahfil galleryMihrabDoor of the minaret
Northeast wall Wall paintingsMedinaMecca
Mecca, detailWall paintings, detailThe grave of the muezzin Mišćo  

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