Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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Turbe of Shaikh Gaibija and harem of the Tekke Mosque, the architectural ensemble

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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 1 to 7 July 2003 the Commission adopted a






            The architectural ensemble of the turbe of Shaikh Gaibija and harem (courtyard/burial ground) of the Tekke Mosque in (Bosanska) Gradiška is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument is located on cadastral plot 985, cadastral municipality Gradiška grad, Municipality (Bosanska) Gradiška, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The mosque being built on the site of the Tekke mosque demolished in 1993 is not subject to protection since it has not been built in conformity with the state of the building before demolition and has not been rehabilitated in compliance with the Law on the Implementation of Decisions of the Commission established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 9/02) and other valid standards and principles of protection and thus does not meet the criteria for the designation of property as a National Monument (Official Gazette of BiH nos. 33/02 and 15/03).

            The National Monument consists of the site of the mosque, turbe and harem with nišan tombstones alongside the mosque.

            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 shall apply to the National Monument.




            The Government of Republika Srpska 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 Commission to Preserve National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (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.





• The turbe of Shaikh Gaibija and harem of the Tekke mosque with nišan tombstones are hereby under protection.

• The original use of the site may not be altered.

• The turbe of Shaykh Gaibija may not be relocated nor shall any works be permitted other than conservation and restoration works, with the approval of the Republika Srpska Ministry responsible for regional planning and under the expert supervision of the heritage protection authority of Republika Srpska.

• Document the epigraphic material of the harem, landscape the mosque harem and repair all damage

• Fence the harem of the mosque by analogy with older methods of fencing off such sites.




            The 1999 Regulation Plan for part of Derventa centre is hereby set aside wherever it is contrary to 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 specified in Clause I of this Decision or jeopardize the preservation and rehabilitation 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.aneks8komisija.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 Republika Srpska.


            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



No: 06-6-29/03-2

1-7 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 (hereinafter referred to as Annex 8) and as 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.

            In August 2002 the Commission received a petition from the Islamic Community of Bosnia and Herzegovina, office of the Banja Luka Mufti.

            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:

• Documentation on the location and current owner and user of the property (transcript of proof of title no. 663, (Bosanska) Gradiška municipality, dated 4 June 2003, copy of cadastral plan issued by (Bosanska) Gradiška municipality on 28 May 2003)

• Current condition of the property

• Data on the current condition and use of the property, including a description and photographs,

• 1972 Regulation Plan for part of centre of (Bosanska) Gradiška

• 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. Details of the site


            The architectural ensemble of the turbe of Shaikh Gaibija and harem of the Tekke Mosque lies in the centre of (Bosanska) Gradiška on c.p. 985, c.m. Gradiška grad, Municipality Gradiška, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

            Gradiška and its environs came under Ottoman rule in 1535, from which time on Gradiška developed as the seat of the Sava kapetanija on both banks of the river Sava.  According to an account by Petar Erdedi of Zelina, who later became ban of Croatia, the Gradiška kapetanija is referred to in 1558 and was regarded as the oldest kapetanija in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Kapetanijas were feudal institutions established along the borders with Austria to guard the borders and keep the roads under observation.  The commanding officers of kapetanijas were prominent feudals, and the post was a hereditary one.  The first Gradiška kapetan was Džafer-beg Malkoč, from a prominent family; his father was Malkoč-beg Karaosmanović, the Klis sandžakbeg, and later the sandžakbeg of the  Bosnian sandžak. He was killed in 1560 and buried in the harem of Hiseta, by Halilpaša's turbe in Banja Luka.  Other well known Gradiška kapetans were Muhamed-beg, Mustafa-beg, Džino, Ibrahim-beg and Salih-beg.

            In 1560 work began on the right bank of the Sava on building a new stone fortress to replace the older wooden one, that would later acquire the name Berbir.  The new fortress was built of stone and baked brick with a tile roof, and took ten years to build. A fortress of this kind was easier to defend in the event of siege, and was less vulnerable to fire.

            Here, too, the Imperial mosque was erected, one of many built during the reign of Suleyman the Law-giver (Suleyman the Magnificent).  The Tekke Mosque with wooden minaret was built in 1620 at the centre of the harem (Majlis [council] of the Islamic Community of  Bosanska Gradiška, 2003).  The tekke mosque is aboaut 100 m. from the Berbir fortress.  Around the fortress there were mahalas with houses and mosques.

            In the seventeenth century Gradiška was still an important military post.

            The assumption is that from its origins Gradiška was a single town on the two banks of the river Sava.  It was only after the Vienna war and the 1699 Treaty of Karlowitz, when the border between the Ottoman Empire and Austria was established on the river Sava, that two Gradiškas are referred to.

            Gradiška became part of the Hapsburg monarchy, but following the 1739 Treaty of Belgrade, Bosanska Gradiška and other towns in north-western Bosnia were again restored to the Ottoman Empire.

            In the 1780s Gradiška harbour was still one of the main ports of the Bosnian eyalet, with large quantities of food, arms and ammunition imported through it and goods exported to neighbouring areas.

            Bosanska Gradiška was under Austrian rule from 1789 to 1797.

            The kapetanijas in Bosnia and Herzegovina were abolished in 1835, and a new administrative division into muselimluks was introduced. The last Gradiška kapetan was Salih-beg Džinić, and the commanding officer of Berbir fort was Derviš-aga Smailagić. 

            In 1878 the Austro-Hungarian army occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina, crossing the borders at several points, including a route from Stara Gradiška.

            One  of the most prominent figures from the history of Gradiške is Gaibija or Gaib-effendi. Shaikh Mustafa Gaibija lived in Gradiška in the second half of the sixteenth century.  He belonged to the «Dživletlija» order, of which he was the shaikh.  The very name of the mosque (Tekke mosque; the mahala too, later a quarter and now a local ward, was once called Tekija or Tekke) (Hadžialagić, 2000, p. 34).  The earliest record to Gaibija is found in Liber memorabilium parochiae Vetero Gradiscanae (Commemorative volume of the parish of Old Gradiška).  The book was hand-written, and the entries were the work of parish priests or religious officials.  It dates from the early 18th century and was written first in Latin and later in Croatian.  The note on Gaibija is in Latin and is entitled “Sepulcro magni prophetae Gaibia” (Tomb of the great prophet Gaibija).  “The title indicates that the Slavonians regarded him as a great prophet and healer, since one passage notes that he cured people of the plague, which was at that time an extremely dangerous disease from which large numbers of the population died.  The same note further states that Gaibija’s turbe was of the open type, meaning that it had a low surrounding wall and four columns holding up the roof.  In 1828, at the request of the Emperor Franz I, the tomb was surrounded by a wall to a height of half a fathom and protected by a roof.  At the same time, a metal lantern in the form of a crescent moon was made, paid for by the Turks, which was lit on certain days and burned all night.  It is also said that foreigners would cross the Sava in boats and pray beside Gaibija’s grave.” (Hadžialagić, 2000, p. 35).

            Little is known of Gaibija's life.  «When the Austro-Turkish war broke out in 1683, according to the records, Gaibija prophesied that Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa Pasha would be defeated outside Vienna, which is indeed what happened.  When the defeated Ottoman army retreated back across the Sava, a soldier killed Gaibija after he refused to withdraw with them.  The Austrian captain Makar, who was familiar with Gaibija's religious knowledge, ordered him to be buried close to the fortress by the river Sava where he was killed. Later a turbe was erected to him on the site.  He is assumed to have been a native of Livno and to have lived in Banja Luka, Istanbul, Kupres and Gradiška.» (Hadžialagić, 2000, p. 13)

            There are many references to him in written sources and legends. He is known to have been very learned and highly respected in his day, and to have written poems and prose in which, openly or covertly, he criticized the flaws of the Ottoman Empire and gave instructive or moral advice.  He left a number of literary works, of which some have yet to be found. Gaibija's turbe or mausoleum is in the harem of the Tekke Mosque, where it was moved in 1954 from Stara Gradiška. 

            There is considerably more information about his work as a shaykh, good man(1) and healer, and of his literary work.  The custom has survived in Bosnia and Herzegovina of visiting the graves of people who are traditionally regarded as martyrs or «good».  The visitor would pray du'as alongside their graves or turbes in which such people were buried, in the belief that the «good» could act as intermediaries to help make the prayers come true.  Prayers for healing the sick were read alongside some graves of the «good», prayers for family harmony and good fortune alongside others, and so on.  Often visitors would leave some money in the turbes; this was used to maintain the turbes and to pay those who cleaned them.  Leaving gifts and money is perhaps linked with old Slav customs of giving gifts to the unseen powers.

            Most of his contemporaries referred to Gaibija as a strange, mystical and enigmatic shaykh.  Safvetbeg Bašagić writes that Shaikh Mustafa Gaibija was born somewhere in the Klis sandžak, which included south-western Bosnia, and the administrative headquarters of which was in Livno.  He says that Shaikh Gaibija originated from the Hljevno (Livno) area, and that he moved from there to settle in  Stara Gradiška.  He also says that he was highly educated, and that «in his day he was held in high regard among serhat [border-region] shaykhs;» and that «legends of Gaibija's life are passed on by word of mouth among Bosnian dervishes» and that Bosnian Muslims frequently cross the Sava to visit his grave in Stara Gradiška. (Bašagić, 1987, p. 227).

            The orientalist Fehim Nametak says that Gaibija was an even more enigmatic figure than the enigmatic and wise Hasan Kaimija, Gaibija’s contemporary and teacher.  He wrote mysterious letters of mystical, incomprehensible content to various state dignatories, criticizing their moves, and in some letters giving them advice.

            As well as poems and letters in Turkish, Gaibija wrote a work entitled Tarika-name-i Gaibi, about the “Dževleti” [sic] order to which he belonged; the work is now in the University library in Bratislava.

            When the turbe was relocated from Stara Gradiška to Bosanska Gradiška, Imam Hajji Ali Kapidžić found, and removed for safe keeping, a Risala, a treatise by Gaibija in Turkish, the full title of which is Risalei sharif Shaikh Mustafa effendi Gaibi (Noble treatise by Shaikh Mustafa effendi Gaibija).  The Sarajevo orientalist Fejzulah Hadžibajrić has translated this work from the Turkish and made a detailed study of it.  He notes that in shaikhs and dervishes use many allusions and allegories in their speech and writings; this is what is known as “tekke literature”, and is to be seen in the Risala.

            The Serb historian Dr. Dimitrije Kostić published an article in the Zagreb publication Narodna starina (no. 13, pp. 99-100, 1934) entitled «Gaibija's turbe near Stara Gradiška».  The article begins: «On the left bank of the Sava by Stara Gradiška, at the entrance to the former Austrian fortress, in the middle of a small flower garden with an iron fence, is the northernmost Muslim turbe in our state, with a metal roof topped by a crescent moon, and in the turbe the grave of the seer Gaibija.»  Kostić goes on to say that word of Gaibija as a seer and saint has spread throughout the Ottoman Empire, and that many people have begun to visit his grave.  «Thus it is that those who for reasons of poverty or poor health have been unable to perform the hajj to Mecca have gone to Gaibija's grave.»


2. Description of the monument


            The old Tekke mosque was built in 1620 (Majlis of the Islamic Community of Bosanska Gradiška, 2000), with a wooden minaret and hipped roof.  This type of mosque with wooden minaret is a significant feature of the architectural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which the skills of local builders found its finest expression.  There were 786 mosques with wooden minarets in Bosnia and Hedrzegovina (Bećirbegović, 1999, p. 53).  This is evidence that this type of mosque was regarded as the basic form of religious building, becoming a typical Bosnian feature of villages, larger settlements and even šehers or large towns.

            In building these mosques, the same materials and architectural elements were used as for houses.  These mosques with wooden minarets blended harmoniously with their environs.  The interior generally had whitewashed walls, wooden ceilings, multicoloured carpets on the floor, and simple decorations.

            The name of the mosque itself (Tekke mosque, shared until recently by the street that ran from the harem towards Obradovac – Tekija street – and the mahala, later quarter and most recently local ward was also known as Tekija) suggests that there was once a dervishes’ tekke of Gaibija’s “Dževiletlija“.  The harem in which Gaibija’s turbe stands is also known as the Tekke harem.  (Hadžialagić, 2000, p. 27).

            The old Tekke mosque measured 11 x 8 m, and was a single-space mosque, with a front mahfil about 2.80 m wide where two rows of worshippers could pray. The mosque had a hipped roof with wooden rafters clad with plain tiles.

            The minaret was wooden, set on the right hand part of the roof, and had a covered šerefa (balcony).  Such minarets, with small apertures on the šerefa, were known as “blind minarets” and were mainly seen in the Bosnian Krajina (border area). 

            The facades of the mosque had two rows of windows.  The long side walls had three each, and the mihrab wall two upper and two lower windows. The windows were rectangular and had no mušebak (lattice).

            The old Tekke Mosque was on the site of the present day harem very close to the mosque currently being built.  The old mosque was in use until 1966 when a new domed mosque was built and the old mosque was pulled down.

            The new domed mosque was erected very close to the site of the old one.  The new Tekke mosque measured 13 x 10 m, and was built of baked brick 50 cm thick with a concrete minaret.  It was a single-space mosque with a front mahfil.  The prayer space was roofed with a single dome, and the entrance portico with three small ones.  Visually the mosque was dominated by its tall, slender, many-sided minaret with open šerefa, standing by the right-hand wall of the mosque.

            In the 1980s ancillary premises were built alongside the Tekke Mosque – a gasulhana for laying out the dead, a library, reading room, divanhana for sitting, and others.  This building was completely destroyed in 1993.

            In the harem of the Tekke Mosque, to the north, is the turbe of Shaikh Gaibija, moved there in 1954 from Stara Gradiška.  The turbe measures 3.76 x 3.66 m in ground plan and is 2.85 m high to the roof cornice, with the roof 0.80 m. high.  The roof is hipped, with wooden rafters, and is clad with green sheet metal with an alem on top.  The windows are round-arched and the entrance door is solid wood.  The facade is plastered and whitewashed.

            When the turbe was moved from Stara Gradiška it was not rebuilt as a faithfuly reconstruction of the old turbe.  According to records from that time, the old turbe was somewhat larger and more solidly built.  It had a landscaped access with a fence.. (Hadžialagić, 2000, p. 11)


Current condition of the monument

            The Tekke Mosque was destroyed on 25 March 1993.

            When an on-site inspection was carried out on 20 May 2003 it was ascertained that work is in progress on building a new mosque.  The foundations, ground floor and upper storey walls have been built, with concrete slab and dome. The exterior dimensions of the new mosque are 21.30 x 14.90 m.  The walls are of baked-brick blocks 25 cm thick and the structural elements are horizontal and vertical concrete ring beams.  The roof of the mosque consists of three large concrete domes and six small ones.  The entrance portico has six small concrete domes and the minaret, which is 41 m high, stands to the right of the entrance door.  The highest dome is 13.99 m. high.

            The new Tekke Mosque stands on the same site as the previous one but is larger in size.  Inspection of the blueprints revealed major departures from the state of the building prior to 1993.  This is an entirely new building of large size with a different architectural treatment.  The designer is Aladin Saračević, a graduate architectural engineer from Bihać.



            Pursuant to the Law on the Implementation of Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, every national monument, as well as properties for which petitions have been submitted, must be renovated according to approval for rehabilitation issued by the relevant Entity ministry. The Commission has enacted the Decision cited above which stipulates that the new building of the Tekke mosque in Gradiška is not a national monument, by 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).  It was determined that the new building does not meet the following criteria:

                        A. Timeframe

                        B. Historical value

            Pursuant to the above, the provisions of the Law on the Implementation of Decisions of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments established pursuant to Annex 8 of the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not apply to the new mosque.

Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision to designate a propery as a National Monument, the Commission has enacted a Decision to designate the turbe of Shaikh Gaibija and the harem of the Tekke mosque as a National Monument. The Decision was based on the following criteria:

                        A.  Time frame

                        B. Historical value

                        E. Symbolic 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


            The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-         Copy of cadastral plan

-         Copy of land register entry and proof of title;

-         Photodocumentation;

-         Drawings


Bibliography :

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


Galib, Šljivo,  Bosna i Hercegovina 1849-1853, Institute of History Banja Luka, 1990


Galib, Šljivo,  Bosna i Hercegovina 1788-1812, Institute of History Banja Luka, 1992 


Galib, Šljivo,  Bosna i Hercegovina 1854-1860, CIP Biblioteka,  Institute of History Banja Luka, 1998


Hadžialagić, Husref, Gradiška u prošlosti (Gradiška in the past), Geotisak d.d. Rijeka-Delnice, 1995


Hadžialagić, Husref, Šejh Gaibija, Studiograf Rijeka, 2000


Hadžibajrić, Fejzulah, Risala šejha Mustafe Gaibije (The Risala of Shaikh Mustafa Gaibija), Annals of the Gazi Husrevbeg Library, Vol. VI, Sarajevo


Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Selected Works I, Cultural Heritage Collection, Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1980



(1)The term “good man” in Bosnian designates saintly people with particular knowledge.

Austrian troupes crossing Sava near Bosanska Gradiška in 1878, illustration Old Tekke street in Bosanska GradiškaTekke mosque in Bosanska Gradiška, photo from 2003Harem of the Tekke Mosque
Turbe of Shaikh Gaibija in the twenties of the XX centuryTurbe of Shaikh Gaibija, seventies of XX centuryTurbe of Shaikh Gaibija with harem, photo from 2003Old Tekke mosque
Wooden minaret of the Old Tekke MosqueDomed Tekke mosque from 1968New projected Tekke mosque 

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