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

Musalla in Kamengrad with burial ground, the architectural ensemble

gallery back

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 1 to 7 July 2003 the Commission adopted a



            The architectural ensemble of the Musalla in Kamengrad with burial ground is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument is located on cadastral plot 351/1 Musala, 351/2 Musala, cadastral municipality Donji Kamengrad, Land  Registry entry no.  0820, Municipality Sanski Most, Federation of BiH, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The National Monument consists of the musalla – mihrab, canopy roof, and burial ground.

The provisions relating to protection and rehabilitation 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 and 27/02) shall apply to the National Monument specified in the preceding paragraph.


The Government of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the Government of the Federation) shall be responsible for ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures necessary to protect, conserve, display and rehabilitate the National Monument.

The Government of the Federation shall be responsible for providing the resources for drawing up and implementing the necessary technical documentation for the 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 the basic data on the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.


For the purpose of ensuring the permanent preservation of the monument, the following Protection Zones are hereby defined:

Protection Zone consists of c.p.    c.o. Donji Kamengrad.  Within this Zone the following measures shall apply:

·          the construction of residential, business and agricultural buildings and facilities is prohibited;

·          all works on the monuments comprising the architectural ensemble are prohibited other than conservation and restoration works carried out with the approval of the Federal Ministry of Regional Planning (hereinafter: the relevant Ministry) and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of BiH (hereinafter: the heritage protection authority),

·          the dumping of all kinds of waste is prohibited,

·          works of any kind to the infrastructure are prohibited unless with the approval and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of the Federation of BiH,

Protection Zone II  comprises a zone with a width of 200 metres from the outer limits of  Zone I.   Within this Zone the following measures shall apply:

·          the only construction permitted is of buildings with a maximum height of 6.50 m. to the base of the roof structure, i.e. ground floor and one upper floor, and maximum dimensions of 10 x 12 metres;

·          major infrastructural works and the construction of industrial or power-supply facilities, industrial facilities, stone-quarrying plant or other polluters during the course of the construction or operation of which could be detrimental to the National Monument are prohibited,

·          the dumping of all kinds of waste is prohibited.

The Federation Government is responsible in particular for ensuring that the following measures are implemented:

·          drawing up a Study to include research and preparatory works on the National Monument for the purpose of its rehabilitation;

·          drawing up a Design Project for the rehabilitation of the National Monument;

·          rehabilitation shall include documenting the epigraphic material of the burial ground, landscaping the burial ground and repairing damaged nišans

·          research, preparatory and rehabilitation works on the National Monument must be carried out in compliance with the Study and Design Project approved by the relevant Ministry and under the supervision of experts from the heritage protection service.


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


Everyone, and in particular the competent authorities of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Canton, and urban and municipal authorities, shall refrain from any action that might damage the National Monument or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation thereof.


            The Government of the Federation, the relevant Ministry, the heritage protection authority, and the Municipal Authorities in charge of urban planning and land registry affairs, shall be notified of this Decision in order to carry out the measures stipulated in Articles II-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.anek8komisija.com.ba) 


Pursuant to Art. V para 4 Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, decisions of the Commission are final.


This Decision shall enter into force on the date of its adoption and shall be published in the Official Gazette of BiH and the Official Gazette of the Federation 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.

                                                                                              Chairman of the Commission

     Amra Hadžimuhamedović


2 July 2003


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.

            At a session held on          the Commission issued a Decision to add the Musalla in Kamengrad to the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, numbered as 497.

Pursuant to the provisions of the law, the Commission proceeded to carry out the procedure for reaching a final decision to designate the Property as a National Monument, pursuant to Article V of Annex 8 and Article 35 of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments.


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

·          Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs, data of war damage if any, data on restoration or other works on the property if any, etc.

·          Copy of land registry entry and ownership details

·          Historical, architectural and other documentary material on the property, as set out in the bibliography forming part of this Decision.

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

1. Information on the site


The architectural ensemble of the Musalla in Kamengrad with burial ground is in the Donji Kamengrad settlement, to the left of the Sanski Most-Bosanska Krupa road, 9 km from Sanski Most.  It comprises c.p. 351/1 Musala, 351/2 Musala,  c.m. Donji Kamengrad, Land Registry entry no. 0820, owned by the Islamic Community of BiH, Municipality Sanski Most, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Historical data

The remains of the old Kamengrad fort are to be seen on the hill above the village of Donji Kamengrad.   The earliest reference to the mediaeval fort dates from 3 May 1374 CE, in a deed of sale between local notables. 

Since the entire region is rich in iron ore, it is not surprising that it was continuously settled over a long period.  The first remains of prehistoric life are to be seen in the immediate neighbourhood, in the Hrastovači cave south of Sanski Most.  Material remains of the prehistoric and antique periods were found around Stari Majdan.  Findings in Oštra Luka, Stara Rijeka belong to a similar cultural stratum, and are related to a dense network of routes facilitating the efficient extraction of iron ore. 

There is little information about Kamengrad from its origins in 1374 to its falling under Ottoman rule in 1499.  According to Kreševljaković, the town was walled in 1346, and conquered in 1463 (Kreševljaković, H., 1953, p. 28).  A tradition survives that the Ottomans besieged Kamengrad for a full eleven years and occupied it only after Sultan Fatih arrived on the scene of battle with his army.  First to relate this tradition was Benedikt Kuripešić in his travelogue of 1530.

After the fall of the town, military and political activity intensified, given the important strategic position of Kamengrad.  When they occupied the town, the Ottomans made it the seat of the nahija that belonged to Sana county.   A garrison was stationed in the fort, headed by a dizdar, while law and order in the town below the fort was largely in the hands of a subaša, and later of a vojvoda (military leader, «duke»).  Somewhat later, in about 1541, the Kamengrad kadiluk or area under the jurisdiction of a qadi (judge) was founded, and from 1624 on Kamengrad was the seat of a kapetanija (captaincy) to which the small towns of Stari Majdan and Vakuf (Sanski Most) also belonged.  The importance of the Kamengrad fortress began to dwindle with the fall of Bosanska Krupa in 1564, although it was to remain the seat of the kadiluk until almost the end of the sixteenth century.  The little town fell into neglect in the late seventeenth century when the seat of the qadi and the kapetan was transferred to Majdan.  The ruins of the kapetan's tower and odžak (manor) on t he hill above Donji Kamengrad remained visible until 1993.

Folk tradition on the conquest of Kamengrad tells that Sultan Mehmed Fatih II prayed Juma (Friday) prayers in Donji Kamengrad, and that it was there that the Kamengrad musalla was erected. There was a stone slab on the back of the musalla mihrab with an inscription on the construction of the musalla, its demolition in 1895 and reconstruction on 18 August 1909.  The Kamengrad musalla was badly damaged in 1942, when all that survived intact was the mihrab and its inscription.  It was also damaged as a result of hostilities during the 1992-1995 war.  In 1997 the local inhabitants repaired the war damage.

Legal status to date

By Ruling of the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina no. 02-776-3-62, the monument was placed under state protection.

2.                 Description of the monument

A musalla is a place for performing the daily ritual prayer to God.  When Muhammad decided to settle in Medina, he performed his regular prayers in his home.    Other prayers were held in a place to the south of the town.  It is said that prayers for rain were performed on the musalla and that funeral prayers for the dead were also held there.  The musalla is also referred to as a place where lectures were given.  These rites were performed not only in Medina but also elsewhere.  An Nanawi is of the view that they were held in almost every significant town.  A musalla is a spacious, walled area with a mihrab, where there was also a raised platform for the khatib (Smailagić,  1990, p. 135).

A musalla or namazgah was thus a place to pray in the open, and is one of the four basic types of place where prayers are performed in Islam.

Musallas dating from the Ottoman period fall into two groups:

·          Bajram musallas – those used for the communal prayers of the entire population of a town on the occasion of Eid;

·          Fountain musallas – used by individuals or small groups to perform their prayers at wayside stations along main roads (cesme musallalari), and known as fountain musallas because a fountain invariably formed part of the musalla.  In the earliest musallas, the direction of the qibla was indicated by a namaz-taš (a stone at ground level), with the direction indicated, instead of a mihrab.

Apart from the two Eid prayers, the local inhabitants would go to the musalla to pray together for rain (istiska) and to see off hajjis leaving to perform the pilgrimage to Makkah.  Some towns had a special site for this purpose.  It was also typical of towns in Bosnia and Herzegovina for Friday prayers (cum'a namazi) to be performed at the musalla.

In the towns of the Balkans, musallas were built when a town had already grown up around a populous settlement.

Musallas were built on sites where by tradition the first ritual prayer was performed when the town was occupied during the campaigns of various Ottoman sultans, particularly Mehmed II and Suleyman the Magnificent.  The funds to maintain the musalla were provided by waqfs; a few examples of records of this survive, such as the musallas in Konjic, Prizren and Janjina (Greece).  In addition to these waqf musallas, there were also state musallas built using funds contributed by the inhabitants and taken over by the state for maintenance purposes.    The best example of a state musalla is that of the musalla in Gornji Šeher, Banja Luka, on the banks of the Vrbas river, on a spot where there were hot springs, public baths and hot-water pools, which gave the entire mahala (residential settlement) its name of Ilidža.

A Bajram musalla had above all to be spacious enough to accommodate a large number of worshippers.  It had to stand out on account of its natural position.  As a result, musallas were often some way from the town centre or, as was common in Bosnia and Herzegovina, located beside a river (musalla yalisi) or, in old towns, close to the town ramparts and gates (namazgah kapisi). (Bojanić, D. 1990, p. 39).

The musalla itself was built with a wall 1.5 to 2 metres high, usually with four gates with portals that might be modest in treatment, but were quite often richly decorated.  The mihrab and mimber, which could also vary from modest to quite sumptuously decorated, were covered by a small dome resting on wooden pillars.  The greatest value of musallas was their location.  Of particular importance was their horticultural treatment – the diversity and arrangement of plant varieties.  Evliya Çelebi describes the namazgah in Elbasan as a lawn surrounded by 57 cypresses.

Sometimes musallas were roofed, and a mosque was later built on the site; these mosques were known as musalla mosques.  A distinct type of musalla also served as a place for scholars to meet and talk, as a result of which they were known as madrasa musallas.  Excursion musallas (namazgah mesiresi) were common, and another distinct type was the burial ground musalla (musalla mezarligi) (Bojanić, D. 1990, pp. 39– 40).

The Bajram musallas of Bosnia and Herzegovina gradually disappeared, particularly during the Austro-Hungarian period.  Keen to modernize the oriental town, the new authorities took over the maintenance of town squares, promenades and parks.  It was thus that, say, the Sarajevo musalla ceased to exist, when the Austro-Hungarian authorities turned it into a park and erected a state building there.  A special fatwa was required to address the question of surrendering the musalla site; this was issued by Mustafa Hilmi Hadžiomerović, mufti of Sarajevo and first Reis ul Ulema (Bojanić, D. 1990, p. 42).

The sites of musallas were often later turned into squares, like the Mostar musalla, of which the mihrab and mimber were demolished in 1890. All that remained of the old musalla was the toponym.

The Kamengrad musalla is of the Bajram musalla type.  It is located on a spacious plateau alongside the road leading to the old Kamengrad fort.  It also includes a burial ground which is still in use today (Kreševljaković,1998, p. 30).

The mihrab of the Kamengrad musalla is covered by a wooden dome resting on four oak pillars with stone bases and wooden corbels.  The dome was overlaid with lead plates; there were boards laid radially on the interior of the dome.  Close to the mihrab was a group of three stepped stones serving as a mimber.  The back of the mihrab had a carved text reading: At a time when the voice of faith was not to be heard in these parts, Sultan Mehmed khan Fatih erected a mihrab and mimber when this place was honoured by his visit.  They were demolished fifteen years ago.  Now they have been rebuilt at the request of the judge of the kadiluk, leader of the faith, Ismail Šukrij efendi Hadžić of Konjic,on 1 Shaaban 1327.  The inscription is framed with a ribbon-twist.

The 1909 works led to the recomposition of the monument, with a pair of small wooden mimbers with alems set to the side of the mihram.  The cross-section of the pillars was reduced and diagonal metal ties were introduced.

The mihrab is 2.90 m. high, with the niche 2.10 high and 55 cm deep measured at the centre.  In the geometric centre of the front is an inscription in Arabic, while on the back there is also an inscription giving the year of renovation of the Kamengrad musalla.  The front of the mihrab is painted in part, and the sides of the crown are decorated with floral elements.  The date of these painted features is not known, although it is evident that they were redone on several occasions.

There is a pedestal 1.31 m. high on either side of the mihrab, on which are set two stylized square wooden mimbers with their sides measuring 55 x 55 cm, and a height of 1.68 m. without the alems.  The total height with the pedestals is 2.99 m.  The mimber roof is hexagonal, and is separated from the vertical sides of the mimber by a simply moulded board.

After World War II the musalla was again restored, but this time very inexpertly, so that all the stone elements of the composition were covered with a thick layer of concrete and larry.  Nothing is known of when the sheet lead was removed and replaced by galvanized sheeting.

There is a burial ground within the musalla complex, also known as the musalla.  One nišan tombstone in this burial ground has an inscription dating from 1197 AH (1782) (Kreševljaković,1998, p. 30).

3.  Conservation and restoration works:

            No works have been carried out for which a design project was drawn up and which were supervised by the heritage authority.  Works have largely been carried out by the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, with the help of wealthy people from Sanski Most who donated funds for the purpose.         

4. Current condition of the monument

The most recent interventions to the monument were in 1997 when minor damage to the mihrab was made good, and new wooden mimbers and a new dome were made.  In 1997 the Institute for the Protection of the Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage of BiH drew up a programme for the rehabilitation of the monument setting out the measures to be undertaken before starting to drawn up a comprehensive design project.

On site inspection revealed the following:

·          the mihrab and all the stone elements are covered with a layer of concrete of unknown thickness,

·          the chronogram inscription has survived, though cracked at one point,

·          the front of the mihrab niche is painted in part and the sides of the crown decorated with floral elements,

·          the stone bases of the pillars are covered with a layer of concrete of unknown thickness, and the layers of stone are barely visible in the bases of the pillars,

·          the burial ground around the musalla is well preserved, although a few nišan tombstones need setting upright,

·          the site is at risk from house building.


Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument, adopted at the fourth session of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments (3 to 9 September 2002), the Commission has enacted the Decision cited above.

The Decision was based on the following criteria:

A.  Time frame (properties dating from prehistoric times to the beginning of the 20th c.)

B.      Historical value

C.      Artistic and aesthetic value


C.iv. composition

C.v. value of details

D.      Clarity (documentary, scientific and educational or pedagogic value)

D.i. material evidence of a lesser known historical era

D.ii. evidence of historical changes

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

D.v. evidence of a typical lifestyle at a certain 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. Townscape/ Landscape 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 group or site

G. Authenticity

G.i. form and design

G.ii. material and content

G.iii. use and function

G.v. location and setting

G.vi. spirit and feeling

H. Rarity and representativity

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

            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

The documentation annexed to the Decision is public and available for view by interested persons on written request to the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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

Bojanić, Dušanka, Musalle u Balkanskom gradu (Musallas in Balkan Towns), Islamska Misao, Vol. XII, no. 138., Sarajevo, June 1990, pp. 38-45

Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Stari gradovi u BiH (Old towns in BiH), Naše starine I, 1953,           p. 28

Mrgić-Radojčić, Jelena, Donji Kraji. Krajina srednjovekovne Bosne (Donji Kraji.  Krajina of mediaeval Bosnia), Belgrade, 2002

Mujezinović, M, Islamska epigrafika u BiH (Islamic Epigraphics in Bih), vol. III,  pp. 30, 31, Sarajevo Publishing, 1998. 

Smailagić, Nerkez, Leksikon Islama (Lexicon of Islam), Sarajevo, 1990

Šišić, Ferdo, Vojvoda Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić i njegovo doba (Duke Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić and his time), Zagreb, 1902

Historic site of KamengradMusalla with burial ground in Kamengrad MusallaMusalla, old photographs
Musalla - mihrabMihrab, drawing  

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