Choose language: Bosanski Cpпckи Hrvatski English Wednesday, 10-26-2016 22:59 h A A A  

The Town Hall

It represents the most beautiful and the most representative building from Austro-Hungarian period, built in pseudo-Moor$ learn more


The word "Bas-carsija" literarily means "main marketplace" and designates the area of market square around the fountain $ learn more $

The Morica Inn

Due to the needs of the expanding market-place and the traders that were coming from faraway countries, the caravanserai$ learn more

Ali Pasha's Mosque

One of the most beautiful cupolaed mosques, built in 1561 beside the tomb of the founder of Bosnian governor of the sanz$ learn more

Gazi Husref-bey's covered market building

This massive basilica-like stone building extends in length of 109 meters along the street bearing the same name. It was$ learn more

The Goat Bridge

The first among innumerous bridges on the road from Sarajevo to Constantinople, the last between Constantinople and Sara$ learn more

Welcome to the official Sarajevo website

Cultural and Historic Heritage of the City of Sarajevo

Print   E-mail
Cultural and Historic Heritage

The cultural and historic heritage of the city of Sarajevo dates back from the following historical periods:
• Prehistoric Time
• Roman Period
• Middle Ages 
• Ottoman Period
• Austro -Hungarian Period

Prehistoric Time

Butmir, Neolithic archeological site near Sarajevo
Butmir is one of the biggest Neolithic archeological sites in the Balkans. Its original inhabitants lived here from 2400 - 2200 B.C. (Before Christ)
It was discovered in 1892-95, and during a few years of exploration 95 sod-houses were discovered with findings of stone weapons and ceramic pottery, decorated with spiral motifs.

Roman Period

The biggest archeological finding of classical culture is located near Sarajevo at Ilidža. This is a municipal resort, situated at the important transit roads Via Argantaria - Narena. According to some research it is assumed that it was called "Aquarum Sulphuratae"- Aquae S.

Middle Ages

According to the document signed by Bela IV in 1240, the Sarajevo region belonged to the Vrhbosna district. A city, Vrhbosna was mentioned in 1379, when this region came under the control of the feudal landowning family Pavloviæ. The central fortification of Vrhbosna was the old city of Hodidjed (Bijela tabija / White Fortress).
At the area of the Brodac village Isa Beg Ishakovic built his endowment in the XV century, while the area from Marijin Dvor through mouth of the river Koševski potok (Koševo Brook) was the place of the Middle Ages trading center (U) Tornik.


At the time of Bosnian independence, the old town of Hodidjed existed, and the fortress was expanded during the Ottoman rule. However, after the devastation by Prince Eugene of Savoy - Eugen Savojski (in 1697), the fortress was completely reconstructed (1729 -1739). Three towers with gates (kapi-kule) (at Širokac, Ploèa and Višegrad’s one) as well as five gates (tabija) were built at that time. Of particular importance was Bijela Tabija (White Gate - which arose from the old city of Hodidjed) and Žuta tabija (Yellow Gate) which was completed in 1809.



Tsar’s Mosque (Careva džamija)

On the place of today’s mosque there used to be a mosque with a hipped roof, built by Isabeg Ishakovic in second half of the XV century. Today’s mosque with a dome above the prayer area and three small domes on the cloister was built in 1566 by the order of sultan Sulejman Velicanstveni (Suleiman the Magnificent). 
The cloister surrounds the mosque’s courtyard. Two sides of the cloister are walled up in 1847 and in 1912 the building of Ulema Medzlis was expanded as well. The architect was Karl Paržik, who respected the form and module of the mosque. The minaret (munara) is octagonal and it is one of the most beautiful in this region.

Gazi Husrev-Bey’s (Gazi Husrev-begova) mosque

Gazi Husrev-Bey’s mosque (1530-31) is the most significant Islamic structure in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is distinguished by its architectural values, varied base, multi dome system and courageous construction from all sub-dome mosques built here. The prayer area of Gazi Husrev-Bey’s mosque is covered by a dome (13 m span and 26 m height), whilst the side of extensions are covered by small domes. These expansions are called tetims and have separate entrances and were used for giving the shelter to the traveling dervish orders. The alter (mihrab) is covered by a semi-dome. The mosque was built by Adžem Esir Ali, who was the main architect of the Ottoman Empire at that time. In the construction of this mosque he applied the early Istanbul style that gives a recognizable mark to the whole achievement. Stone plastic and stalactite ornaments are an integral part of the universal values of the mosque.  Arabesque, which arose from the original model, was destroyed after the attack of the Eugene of Savoy (1697). It was restored in 1762, but burned down in 1879 and was restored again in 1886.
Gazi Husrev-Bey’s mosque was and has remained the most important Ottoman structure in Bosnia. The mosque including the fountain (šadrvan), Muslim primary school (mekteb), the room for ritual washing (abdestham), domed burial sites (turbeti)  and Gazi Husrev-Bey’s and  Murad-Bey Tardiæ’s harem, abode for the prayer caller (muvekithana) with minaret 45 m high  and tower clock (Sahat-kula) dominate the market – place and forms its central and largest complex. Its existence through the ages this complex has affected the construction activities of the surrounding area, streets and neighborhoods (mahala)
Since the mosque was damaged during the 1992-95 aggression, an extensive restoration works have been conducted.

Muslihudin Èekrekèija’s Mosque

Muslihudin Èekrekèija’s mosque was built as the second mosque with a dome in Sarajevo in 1526 in the Bascarsija area. The mosque has a shallow dome and is surrounded by stores. The restoration activities are currently being performed. The first mosque with a dome was built in 1517 by Mustafa Skenderpašiæ, the son of the Bosnian governor of Sandžak province (sandžak-beg) Skender-pasha who built the palace, large number of shops Muslim monastery (tekija) and resting places for the caravans (karavan saraj)  on the area of today’s Skenderija. The mosque was built in early Istanbul style. The mosque was partially destroyed during the Austro -Hungarian occupation and destroyed completely after World War Two.

Havadže Duraka’s Mosque – Bašèaršijska

It was built in the mid-XVI century. Originally the mosque had a wooden dome which was destroyed in the attack by Eugene of Savoy in 1697. The mosque acquired its present look with the stone dome, after World War Two.

Ferhadija Mosque

Ferhad-Bey Vukoviæ-Desisaliæ, the Bosnian governor of the Sandžak province built this mosque. This mosque has one dome above the prayer area (namaz) and three small domes at the cloister.  The mosque has preserved its authentic arabesque and stonemason’s ornaments. It was damaged in the 1992-95 aggression.

Ali-Pasha’s mosque

The mosque was built by Hadim Ali-pasha, the governor of the Budapest administrative district (budimski begler-beg) in 1560-61 at the time he was governor of the Bosnian district (pašaluk). The mosque is built in classical Istanbul style. The dome covers the prayer area and three small domes cover the cloister. Because of its noble proportions it stands at the top of the scale of all sub-dome mosques that have been built in our country. In the framework of the complex there is a domed burial site (turbe) with two sarcophagus of Arad’s fighters, Avdo Sumbul and Behdžet Muteveliæ. The mosque was heavily damaged in the 1992 – 95 aggression.

Šejh Magribija’s Mosque

At the outer west end of old Sarajevo (today’s Marindvor), Šejh Magribija’s Mosque was built in the mid-XVI century.
Although it is covered with a hipped roof, inside the mosque there is a trough-shaped celling made of tiled painted thin boards. In the front of the mosque is a cloister, and there are wooden columns with the stone basis and capitals, whilst the stone minaret erected on the massive pedestal is distinguished by its slenderness. It was heavily damaged in the
1992-95 aggression.

Vekil-Haraè mosque or Hadžijska

It was built between 1541 and 1561, by Gazi Husrev-Bey’s quartermaster, after who it was named. Since the pilgrims (hadžije) used to go to Mecca from here, it was named the Pilgrim’s mosque. It is placed below Alifakovac. It is fenced by a wall, inside which there is a stone fountain, which was renewed at the beginning of the XIX century by Sarajevo judge (kadija) Mustafa Fevzi, which is what the inscription is about.

White Mosque

This mosque was built by Gazi Husrev-Bey’s government president (divan-kjatib) Hajdar-efendija in the first half of the XVI century below Jajce barracks at Vratnik. The minaret is slender and made of stone, and there are two levels on the prayer area, which makes this mosque special. It was heavily damaged in the 1992-95 aggression but has now been completely reconstructed.

Sinan’s Dervish House (Tekija)

This is house for dervishes of the caderian order. It was built by Hadži Sinan-aga, a rich Sarajevo shopkeeper or his son, Mustafa-pasha, armourer (silahdar) of Sultan Murat IV’s court. The special calligraphic decoration, on the walls of the monastery dates from the XVIII century.

Kuršumlija Muslim Secondary School (medresa)

In Sarajevo there were 70 Muslim primary schools (mekteb) and 12 Muslim Secondary schools (medresa).
 The most precious building in architectural style was the Muslim secondary school built by Gazi Husrev-Bey in 1537, across the street from his mosque and dedicated to his mother Seldžuka. The school was named after her, but the nation called it Kuršumlija, due to the lead roof. The school was built in the classical style in which the Muslim secondary schools were built, with cloister and columns around the central atrium, and twelve class-rooms and dershana (school-teaching halls).
The building is made of stone, and each classroom is covered by a dome and has its own fire-place and chimney. As it was damaged in the 1992-95 aggression extensive reconstruction works have been performed. 

Hostels (hanovi) and resting places for caravans (karav saraji)

These were used as accommodation for voyagers and goods. Resting places for caravans (Karavan saraji) offered a three day stay for free.  
In Sarajevo there were 50 hostels in 1878, 45 of which were in the city territory. The first one that was built is Kolobara hostel (in 1462), and it could receive 400 people and 35 horses. Than there was Gazi Husrev-Bey’s hostel - Tašlihan, next to the covered market place (bezistan), of the same name. Tašlihan was built in 1543, and it was covered by semi-circular ceiling. It was seriously damaged in the fire in 1697.  After the fire in 1879 it was not renovated, and was demolished in 1912. There are some ruins in the yard of the hotel "Evropa".
Subsequently there were Moriæa hostel, Skender-pasha’s resting place for caravans (karavan-saraj), Kemal-bey’s resting place for caravans (karavan-saraj, hadži Bešir’s, Pehlivanov’s and Despiæa’s hostel and many others.

Moriæa hostel

The Moriæa hostel is particularly significant by its size (44, 5/38, 5 m). It was built from the Gazi-Husref-bey’s endowment. The inner yard is enclosed by stables and warehouses (magaze), in the ground floor and on the next floor by two rows of rooms lined along the cobble-stored lobby. The Moriæa hostel was adapted into a catering establishment with various services in 1985.

Gazi Husrev-Bey’s Turkish bath (hamam)

In Sarajevo there were seven public baths in the XVI century. Gazi Husrev-bey’s Turkish bath was built in 1537 -1539. The bath used to have a female and a male section, where pools for the Jews ritual washing were built in the XIX century. The Turkish bath lost its function after World War One and was adapted into an exclusive night club after World War Two. It was heavily damaged in the 1992-95 aggression.

Tower Clock (Sahat-kula)

Due to the necessity of having five daily prayers, in the Ottoman Empire the construction of tower clock began, on which public clocks were placed. 
Sarajevsko’s tower clock was one of the highest but also the most beautiful in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was built in the XVII century, and after the fire in 1697 it was reconstructed in 1762. After the Austro - Hungarian occupation upper zones of the building were added, and the clock was brought by Sarajevan traders from London.

Covered Market Places (Bezistans)

The first market place was built at the second half of the XVI century by Mehmed-bey, the son of Isabeg Ishakoviæ, next to the Kolobara Hostel. Gazi Husrev-bey built a covered market place, 109m long and 19.5m wide with 52 shops, vaulted with semi-circular ceiling. Masters from Dubrovnik were involved in the construction. Today it is called "Dugi bezistan" (long market place) in Sarajevo.
The Brusa market place was built by Grand Vizier Rustem-pasha in 1551, and it was used for the sale of silk that the founder himself manufactured in Bursa. The market place (Bezistan) has a rectangular basis (27x17.5m). It was made of stone and covered with six smaller domes. It used to have numerous shops inside and was surrounded by shops from the outside. The building was heavily damaged in the 1992-95 aggression and works on its adaptation into the Museum of the city of Sarajevo are currently being conducted. 

Warehouses (Daire)

As protection against fire, massive stone warehouses were built and since they mostly surrounded backyard they are named daire (an Arabic word meaning circle). In Sarajevo there were several warehouses. The Dubrovnik warehouse was built in Halaèi Street where masters from Dubrovnik used to built, after whom the warehouse was named. They were built by the Sarajevo trader Hadži Ibrahim in 1776. They had nine (9) storerooms. A catering facility has been there since 1965. The building was heavily damaged in the 1992-95 aggression.

Gazi Husrev-Bey’s library

This library is one of the oldest libraries in Europe. The library holdings total approximately 50,000 books, manuscripts and archive documents, in Arabic, Turkish and Persian.
The manuscripts in the Turkish language (several thousand) are particularly important for the studying of political, social, cultural and economical events in Ottoman’s time. 

Orthodox sacred buildings

Orthodox Cathedral

The Orthodox Cathedral was built in neo-baroque style in 1872. It was built by the Macedonian Dimitrov, who built Military barracks as well, for which he was decorated by the sultan. As it was damaged in the 1992-95 aggression, the Greek government ensured the fund for the reconstruction of the church in 1999.

Old Orthodox Church

The exact date it was founded has not been established, but there is written information from 1539-40, as well as evidence, that an early Christian period church already existed there. The interesting detail of the ground plan where the width is bigger that the length, without an emphasized apse and dome, spatially designed in two levels makes the Church together with the inventory and iconostasis from 1734 and the collection of the old icons as well as a museum organized by Jeftan Despiæ, the church sexton in 1889, a particularly significant building of our inheritance.

The baroque Church’s bell tower is replaced by a smooth lined bell tower in the first half of this century, according to the design of the architect D. Smiljaniæ. The building was damaged in the 1992-95 aggression.

Evangelical Church
(today the Academy of Fine Arts)

According to the design of Karlo Paržik, it was built in 1898-99. This place of worship architecturally expresses the early Christian- Byzantine style. In the beginning there was only the church building, and a decade later wings were added in the same style.  

Catholic sacred buildings


Catholic Cathedral of the Vrhbosanska archbishop’s diocese consecrated to the Most Holy Heart of Jesus was built in 1889, according to the design of Josip pl. Vancaš in the new Gothic style with new Romanesque elements. The building was lightly damaged in the 1992-95 aggression, but today is completely reconstructed.

Franciscan’s monastery and Saint Ante Padovanski’s church at Bistrik
The monastery was built in 1894, and the church in 1912 in the new Romanesque style.  The monastery holds a large number of old manuscripts and books, handicraft products and church’s objects of artistic value.
The monastery and church were heavily damaged in the 1992-95 aggression, but have been reconstructed.

Saint Josip’s church 

Saint Josip’s church in Sarajevo is the work of the architect Karlo Paržik, the author of numerous historical achievements of Sarajevo. This sacred building interprets the new Romanesque style, and by the varied mass and volume relations it remains a valuable architectural achievement and important urban point of this part of Sarajevo. As it was damaged in the 1992-95 aggression, restoration activities are being performed on the church.

Church of the Holy Trinity in Novo Sarajevo

It was built in 1906 in the new Romanesque style, with facades of two colors and a church tower on the entrance side.
The portal with a rosette above it emphasizes the entrance façade of the building by its decoration. The church was heavily damaged in the 1992-95 aggression but was reconstructed afterwards.

Jewish sacred buildings

Jewish temples

SEPHARDIC JEWS that were being persecuted in Europe came to Bosnia and Herzegovina in XVI century, when these regions were part of the Ottoman Empire. Received warmly, not only by the official authorities but the also from the local people, they have remained in these regions for centuries. They settle down at Sijavuš-pasha neighborhood, where they built the Old and New temple.

Old and New Jewish temple

The Old temple was built in 1580, but it was fired twice (in 1697 and 1788). Because of that the new temple was built in 1821. The interior of the temple is divided into three naves, and central part is covered by a curved ceiling. In World War Two it suffered severe damage from the Nazis. Today, the Jewish museum is there.

Ashkenazi synagogue

It was built in 1902 according to the design of Karlo Paržik in pseudo Moorish style, and it is located on the left bank of the river Miljacka. It was severely damaged in the 1992-95 aggression.

Austro - Hungarian Period

Post Office 

The plan for the Military telegraph and post, the most representative palace of Austro- Hungarian time was designed by architect Josip pl. Vancaš (1907-1909).
The author of numerous architectural achievements in Sarajevo, Vancaš took its example from the Viennese Post saving bank, remaining consistent with the classical spatial concept. He divides the facades into joints by pilaster systems and window openings, decorating them with sezession floral motifs. The most precise part of the palace was the window auditorium that was distinguished by its proportions and rich architectural plastics.

Sezession - an Austrian school of art and architecture in the 1890s)

National Museum

The national government established the National Museum in 1888, and in 1912 its collections were transferred to the new building, designed by Karlo Paržik. This respected architect of Sarajevo, by applying historical styles to the public and residential buildings, achieves a special value building by the complex of the buildings of National Museum. Symmetric composition of four pavilions, where every one has special proposition, forms the internal atrium with a botanic garden. These buildings although independent are connected by the terraces and create the compact spatial and harmonic entirety. The whole complex has characteristics of the new Renaissance style. It was heavily damaged in the 1992-95 aggression.


City Hall

The City Hall by its spatial - plastic values and architectural framework, as well as the urban importance, captures a high position on the scale of the most significant buildings of Sarajevo and it became its spatial peculiarity.
It was built at the end of the last century at the end of Bašèaršija, on the interesting plot in the triangle form. It was designed by Alexander Wittek in 1892, and he started the construction as well. The design was subsequently changed and supplemented by Æiril Ivekoviæ in the new Moorish style leaning especially to the architecture of Mameluk in Cairo. It officially became the town hall in 1895. As the National Library it was exposed to large shelling and was heavily damaged in the 1992-95 aggression.


The Reconstruction of the City Hall - publication