Decisions on Designation of Properties as National Monuments

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60th session - Decisions

Dolnjačka mosque in Derventa, the site and remains of 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 6 to 12 May 2003 the Commission adopted a






            The site and remains of the architectural ensemble of the Dolnjačka mosque in Derventa is hereby designated as a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

            The National Monument covers the site designated as cadastral plot no. 1820, cadastral municipality Derventa I, Derventa, Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

            The National Monument consists of the area of the mosque and the harem belonging to 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 (Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 9/02) 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 Government of Republika Srpska 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 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 Government of Republika Srpska is responsible in particular for enforcing the following measures:

-         The architectural ensemble of the Dolnjačka mosque in Derventa with its surrounding graveyard shall be reconstructed in its original form to the same dimensions and of the same or same type of materials using the same techniques wherever possible on the basis of documentation on its original appearance, which forms an integral part of this Decision

-         all pieces of stone that may have remained on the site or on adjacent plots since demolition shall be recorded, conserved and rebuilt into the walls of the mosque;

-         all fragments found that are too badly damaged or for other reasons cannot be reintegrated shall be displayed in appropriate fashion within the mosque complex;

-         prior to the start of reconstruction the surface layers of soil shall be removed for the purpose of finding the original foundation walls, and a detailed survey, repairs and consolidation of the original parts of the foundations and walls shall be carried out;

-         all parts for which there is no reliable documentation shall be treated within the project in a way that will ensure that their interpolation is fully distinguishable;

-         all pieces of nišan tombstone that are found shall be displayed in the part of the complex in which the graveyard was prior to demolition;


            On all the adjacent plots bordering on the protected area the rehabilitation of existing buildings shall be permitted provided that they retain their existing dimensions and height.  The interpolation of residential buildings may be permitted with a maximum of two storeys (ground floor and one upper floor) of a maximum height of approx. 6.5 m. to the roof cornice.




            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 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.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 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: 07-6-782/03

7 May 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 (hereinafter referred to as the Commission) 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.

            The Commission received a petition from the Islamic Community of BiH, Banja Luka Majlis (Council), on 22 July 2002. 

            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:

Ÿ         Documentation on the location and current owner and user of the property

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

Ÿ         Regulatory plan for part of Derventa centre, 1999

Ÿ         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. Data on the historic monument


            The Dolnjačka mosque is close to the centre of Derventa, c.p. no. 1820 c.m. Derventa I, Derventa, Republika Srpska.

Historical information

            According to the 1600 census, the rural settlement of Gornja Ukrina had the status of kasaba (town) with three developed mahalas and three mosques.  The mahala of the mosque of havadža Ibrahim, also known to the people of late as the Dolnjačka mahala, was formed between 1570 and 1600 and was named after its founder, Ibrahim hojja, who endowed 1,300 akčas to maintain the mosque.  The imam also acted as muezzin, and received a daily wage for his services of 4 akčas.  There is reliable information in the census that the founders of the three oldest Derventa mosques left only monetary endowments for the maintenance of their mosques, in other words that the vakufs of the Dolnjačka, Gornjačka and Fortress mosques were based on movable property.

            The original tarih or chronogram and the vakuf nama of the founder of the Dolnjačka mosque have not survived.

            In 1925, at the initiative of the mosque committee of the Dolnjačka mosque and with the help of significant financial contributions from the people, particularly  wealthy families such as the Mulabegović, Kapetanović, Gradaščević, Karabegović, Đonlagić, Hadžiomeragić, Udžvalić and Hadžidervišagić families, a new brick-built minaret was erected to replace the original wooden one.

            Major repairs to the mosque were carried out in about 1970, when the entire roof structure and roof covering was repaired and the mahfil totally renovated, major repairs to the interior plastered surfaces were carried out, the painted decorations of the interior were restored, the facade of the mosque and the minaret were redone, the half-round tiles of the minaret were replaced, the alem of the minaret was replaced, and the mosque lamps replaced by new ones.

            In the mosque harem there was a graveyard where only members of the alim class of Derventa were buried – prominent muderrises, imams, muallims and hafizes.  No common people who were buried there, with the exception of the bones of shahids killed in the fighting against Eugene of Savoy.  These shahids were buried in the mezarluks (graveyards) in the centre of the town on the site where the garden of the Town reading room later stood.  When the street leading to Srpska Varoš was widened, part of this garden was expropriated, and the mortal remains of the shahids were gathered up into a single tabut (open coffin) and buried in a common grave by the Dolnjačka mosque.  Adembeg Kapetanović gave a speech on the occasion of this exhumation in which he spoke of the courage of the Derventa shahids in the battle with Eugene of Savoy.

            During the Eid celebration, at the end of Eid prayers representatives of the cultural and educational societies Merhamet, Gajret and Narodna uzdanica would spread out prayer mats on which the people would leave money to help fund the work of these institutions and carry out repairs to the mosque and mekteb.  (Derventa između dva svjetska rata, 2001, pp 11, 12, 35, 38, 47, 48; Postanak i razvitak Dervente u XVI stoljeću, 1974, pp 118,121, 122, 127-131;  Derventa i okolina, 1981, p. 18; Kapetanije u Bosni i Hercegovini, 1991, p.159 ).


2. Description of the monument


            The building, which was renovated during the Austro-Hungarian period, had external dimensions fo 11.50 x 14 m, with two rows of windows.  It was brick-built, and the walls were about 70 cm. thick.   The exterior facade of the mosque was stuccoed.  The mosque had a hipped roof, and a minaret set alongside the west facade wall.  The roof structure was of wood, overlaid with tiles.  The pitch of the roof was about 30 degrees.

            As regards ground plan, the mosque had an entrance portico at ground level, separated by a thick wall in which there were two wooden windows and a door from the central mosque space, and at the gallery level it had a so-called frontal mahfil of L shape.  The mahfil was deeper than the portico and projected through the wall into the interior of the mosque, resting on two carved wooden pillars.

            The mahfil was reached via a wooden staircase to the left of the entrance door. The part of the portico to the left of the entrance door was used to place the tabut with the body of the deceased when performing janaza (funeral prayers).

            One row of worshippers could stand in the narrower left-hand part of the mahfil, and three could stand in the right-hand part.  In the centre the mahfil had a semicircular projection for the muezzin.  The minaret stairway was reached from the mahfil level through a door in the west wall of the mosque.

            The central area of the mosque was entered through a double door from the portico.  The doors were carved all over with floral motifs.  To the left and right of these doors were interior sofas.  Two rows of worshippers could stand in the left sofa and three in the right sofa.

            The central prayer space was very spacious, of square ground plan measuring approx. 10 x 100 m, and above this central 10 m. square area was a wooden dome which penetrated entirely into the roof area.  The primary wooden structure of the dome was covered on the underside with a secondary structure of wooden panelling and reeds to which the ceiling plaster was applied.  The ceiling was painted sky blue with motifs of five- and six-pointed gold stars, and in the lowest part of the dome was a frieze of arabesques, about 25 cm high.

            In the central part of the mosque was a wooden carved kursi and mimber, and to the left and right of the mihrab were two large brass lamps.

            There were two rows of windows on the facades.  On the east side facade there were four windows, and on the west side facade there were three; there were two upper and two lower windows in the mihrab wall, and three upper windows on the entrance facade, with two lower windows and the entrance door at ground level, emphasized by a shallow projection standing out some 10cm from the wall.  The lower windows were rectangular, measuring about 100 x 200 cm, and the upper windows were round-headed, measuring about 80 x 170 cm.

            On the facade at the level of the mahfil gallery was a prominent cornice about 12-15 cm high, and all four corners of the building were emphasized by piers some 35 to 40 cm wide, extending the full height of the exterior wall and projecting from it by some 8 cm.  Above the entrance doors to the mosque was a shallow moulded frieze which also extended across the four corner piers at the same height.  All the windows were framed on the exterior with a frieze some 15-20 cm wide and with a projecting depth of some 8 cm.

            In the walled harem of the Dolnjačka mosque, southwest of the mosque itself, was a graveyard with about sixty nišan tombstones.  Some of them bore decorative elements in the form of shallow reliefs with sabre motifs.

            Outside the mosque there was once a drinking fountain used by the inhabitants of Dolnjačka mahala as well as by believers to perform abdest (ablutions) before prayer.

            Outside the boundary wall of the mosque harem, on the street side, was a bench for worshippers and passers by to rest.


3. Current condition of the property

            The Dolnjačka mosque was demolished on 31 May 1992.  Opposite and very close to the site a petrol station has been built.

            Reference to the Annex to the regional plan of the 1999 Regulatory Plan of part of Derventa centre ascertained that the plot on which the Dolnjačka mosque had stood was treated as a reserved site.



            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

B. Historical value

E. Symbolic value

E.ii. religious value

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

F. Townscape/landscape value

F.ii. meaning in the townscape

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


            The following photographs and graphic documents form an integral part of this Decision:

- Copy of cadastral plan

- Copy of land register entry and proof of title;

- Photodocumentation;

- Drawings




Alagić, Nedžmudin, Derventa između dva svjetska rata, (Derventa between the two World Wars) Office to resolve the status of displaced persons and refugees of Derventa Municipality, department of office for Sarajevo, Sarajevo (thanks to services of the library of the Bosniac Institute, foundation of Adil Zulfikarpašić, Sarajevo) 2001


Handžić, Adem, Postanak i razvitak Dervente u XVI stoljeću (Origins and development of Derventa in the 16th c.), Contribution to the history of settlements in Bosnia (Offprint), Contributions, Institute of History Sarajevo, yr X/II, Sarajevo, (thanks to services of the library of the Bosniac Institute, foundation of Adil Zulfikarpašić, Sarajevo) 1974


Kreševljaković, Hamdija, Izabrana djela I (Selected Works I), Cultural heritage editions, Veselin Masleša, Sarajevo, 1991


Ledić, Franjo, Crtice iz prošlosti grada Dervente (Sketches from the past of Derventa), Derventa, (thanks to services of the library of the Bosniac Institute, foundation of Adil Zulfikarpašić, Sarajevo), 1958


Mujezinović, Mehmed, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine (Islamic epigraphy of BiH), bk II, 3rd ed, Biblioteka kulturno naslijeđe, Sarajevo –Publishing, 1998


Omerhodžić, Ahmed, Derventa i okolina (Derventa and Environs), Geographical Society of BiH, special editions, Vol.VI, Sarajevo, (thanks to services of the library of the Bosniac Institute, foundation of Adil Zulfikarpašić, Sarajevo),  1981


            The following persons provided some information during on-site enquiries;

• Hidajet Hadžiabdić,

• Nihad Hadžihasanović, academic painter who took part in the repairs to the Dolnjačka mosque


DerventaDolnjačka mosque in DeventaDonja mahala, the site of the Dolnjačka mosque in 2003The site and remains of the Dolnjačka mosque, photo from 2003
Dolnjačka mosque, photo before 1992Derventa - <i>Donja mahala</i>, I. Đuzel, drawingFragment of the Dolnjačka mosque 

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