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

Gazi Husref-bey (Bey’s) mosque, 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 7 to 10 November 2006, the Commission adopted the following






The architectural ensemble of the Gazi Husref-bey (Bey’s) mosque in Sarajevo is hereby designated as a National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter: the National Monument).

The National Monument consists of the mosque, Gazi Husrev-bey's and Murat-bey's turbes, the courtyard with burial ground, the abdesthana with hot running water, the šadrvan fountain, the muvekithana and the site of the old mekteb.

The National Monument is located on cadastral plot no. 822 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. nos.3 and 6 (old survey), Land Register entry no. VI/27, Municipality Stari Grad, 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 under 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, and 6/04) 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 ensuring and providing the legal, scientific, technical, administrative and financial measures required for the protection, and presentation 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 notice-boards displaying the basic data on the monument and the Decision to proclaim the property a National Monument.




To ensure the on-going protection of the National Monument, the following protection measures are hereby stipulated, which shall apply to the area defined in Clause 1 para. 3 of this Decision.

  • all works are prohibited other than research and conservation and restoration works, including works designed to display 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.




            All executive and area development planning acts not in accordance with the provisions of this Decision are hereby 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 thereof.




            The Government of the Federation, the Federal Ministry responsible for regional planning, the Federation 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.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.




On the date of adoption of this Decision, the National Monument shall be deleted from the Provisional List of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Official Gazette of BiH no. 33/02, Official Gazette of Republika Srpska no. 79/02, Official Gazette of the Federation of BiH no. 59/02, and Official Gazette of Brčko District BiH no. 4/03), where it featured under serial no. 506.




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


No. 07/2-2-125/06-6

10 November 2006



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.

The Commission to Preserve National Monuments issued a decision to add the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque in Sarajevo to the Provisional List of National Monuments of BiH under serial no. 506. 

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 para. 4 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, data on restoration or other works on the property, etc.
  • Inspection of the current condition of the property,
  • Copy of the cadastral plan,
  • 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 property



The properties belonging to the Gazi Husrev-bey vakuf (perpetual endowment) are for the most part located in the central area of Baščaršija, mainly facing Sarači street. 

The Gazi Husrev-bey mosque stands to the east of the clock tower and south of the Kuršumlija medresa, between Sarači, Čizmedžiluk, Veliki Ćurčiluk and Mudželiti streets.

It is located on cadastral plot no. 822 (new survey), corresponding to c.p. nos.3 and 6 (old survey), Land Register entry no. VI/27, Municipality Stari Grad, Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Historical information

Sarajevo reached the height of its urban, economic and cultural development in the 16th century. At that time it was one of the largest cities in the Balkans, and indubitably the largest and most important city in the Bosnian sandžak, later eyalet.

Although there were settlements on the area of present-day Sarajevo even before the arrival of the Ottomans, the year 1462, when the vakufnama (deed of perpetual endowment) of Isa-bey Ishaković was written, is justly regarded as the year when Sarajevo was founded (H. Šabanović, Dvije najstarije vakufname u Bosni, Prilozi za orijentalnu filologiju, II, 1951, Sarajevo 1952.). The erection of Isa-bey's endowed properties in Sarajevo saw the start of its development as an urban area.  In 1457, to the orders of Sultan Mehmed Fatih, Isa-bey built a mosque, known as the Careva (Emperor's) mosque.  He also built a court (saray), after which the city was named. The court was close to the Konak, the last residence of the Bosnian viziers. The entire quarter was formerly known as Begluk-saraj, Begluk or Zabegluk. The earliest use of the name Saray-ovasi (the plain around the court) dates from 1455, in Isa-bey Ishaković's census (H. Šabanović, Krajište Isa-bega Ishakovića, Zbirni katastarski popis iz 1455. godine, Sarajevo 1964)(1). 

Isa-bey was followed by many other governors, members of the feudal class, wealthy merchants and artisans who, in erecting various buildings of a religious, social, commercial or cultural nature, caused Sarajevo to become the largest and most important city in Bosnia – particularly during the 16th century, when the major architectural creations of the Ottoman period were built – and one of the largest in the Balkans as a whole.  

The favourable political situation in the Ottoman Empire also had an impact on the urban development of Sarajevo. The shifting of the frontiers to the north contributed to general stabilization in the interior, providing conditions conducive to the more rapid development of urban settlements (Čelić, p. 371).

Evidence that Sarajevo's development was at its height in the 16th century can be found in the number of mahalas in the city, the best indicator of the extent of urban development of an Islamic oriental city. 

Further evidence that Sarajevo's development was at its height in the 16th century lies in the fact that by the early 17th century almost the entire area constituting the urban territory up to the time of the Austro-Hungarian occupation had already been built up. 

The buildings most frequently erected during the 15th and 16th centuries were mosques. In addition to their role as religious and cultural-cum-educational facilities, mosques were also the centres of the mahalas around them, which bore the name of the founder of the mosque.  Mosques were founded by senior officials of the Ottoman authorities, wealthy merchants and artisans, and other citizens of Sarajevo. The majority of them, including senior officials, were of Bosnian origin, and some were also related to the Imperial house. Like other buildings of Islamic architecture, mosques were built as the endowments of individuals.

The establishment of a vakuf(2) or perpetual religious endowment made it possible not only to build a mosque, but also to provide for its operation. Vakifs (legators) played an important part in the development of Sarajevo. Vast vakuf sums were invested in building the city, as indicated by a number of vakuf inventories in the defters (records) of the Bosnian sanjak(3). The most important architectural creations, however, date from the 16th century(4).

Every age has left us its monuments, but at no time in Sarajevo's long history have so many cultural and historical monuments been built in so short a time as in the fourth decade of the 16th century – to be exact, between 1529, when the governor of Bosnia, Gazi Husrev-bey, began to build his edifices, to c. 1543/44, when the last buildings founded him were completed.

Apart from the time he spent on military campaigns, Gazi Husrev-bey dedicated his entire life to building and to the urbanization of Sarajevo. Knowing that his valour on the field of combat would be preserved only by history, and that the only lasting hajrat (good deed) is that which is repeated in the future, Husrev-beg endowed his entire immovable and movable property(5). Son of a Herzegovinian father, and grandson on his mother's side of Sultan Bayezid II, by endowing so many properties this Bosnian sandžakbeg ensured that Sarajevo became a city.

Gazi Husrev-bey was sufficiently wealthy and powerful to be able to build almost 300 properties for his vakuf during the 1530s.  Among these are many that truly represent not only the acme of the Bosnian oriental heritage as a whole, but also supreme achievements of the Islamic architecture of the world at that time. Front-ranking among them are the famous Gazi Husrev-bey mosque, the two monumental turbes (mausolea) beside it – that of Gazi Husrev-bey himself and that of Gazi Murad-bey – and, of major importance for the history not only of our architecture but also of our education system, the Kuršumlija medresa with the Gazi Husrev-bey library, the Khaniqah (high school of Sufi mysticism), followed by the mekteb, imaret (public kitchen), musafirhana (inn, hostel), hammam, Gazi Husrev-bey bezistan (covered market), Tašli-han, Morića han (hostel), clock tower, muvekithana (premises occupied by the muvekit, who was responsible for adjusting the clock to mark the proper ritual prayer times), šadrvan fountain, numerous shops in the čaršija – the crafts and commercial centre – and more besides.

He endowed extensive property in Bosnia and Rumelia(6) for the maintenance of his hajrat, as attested by his three vakufnamas, written in November 1531, January 1537 and November 1537.  Husrev-bey made his own fortune in Bosnia, but inherited another fortune in Rumelia from his father Ferhat-bey. Affirming the Islamic principle urged by Muhammad pbuh, that it is best to bequeath property in such a way that it becomes an enduring asset, Gazi Husrev-beg included the following passage in his 1531 vakufnama:

«Every wise and reasonable man will realize that this world is transient, and that it is the abode of tedium and misfortune.  The world is neither a house nor a home, it is merely a passageway to the abode of salvation or of hell, and for this reason he is wise who does not fool himself in this world, who does not trust it, who does not look upon it with the eyes of love, and who does not adjust himself to it. Happy is the man who takes circumstances upon himself and today on the example of yesterday and who, while awaiting the time of his death, commits no errors in his work. Good deeds banish evil, and the sublimest of good deeds is alms, and the sublimest of alms is that which endures forever, and of charitable deeds the finest is that which is or which shall perpetually repeat itself. It is evident that of all charitable deeds that of the vakuf is the most enduringly guaranteed. As long as the world endures the benefit of a vakuf does not cease nor will its benefactions be complete by the Day of Judgment.»  

Gazi Husrev-bey's first vakufnama, dating from 1531, was written for his mosque, imaret and khaniqah.

His second vakufnama, dating from 1537, was written for the Kuršumlija medresa, built opposite the mosque. The funds remaining after the medresa had been completed were used to purchase the best-known books of the day and to found a library. His third vakufnama, also dating from 1537, was to endow further properties for the maintenance of the mosque(7).

Calculating the numerical values of the letters and chronostich in the inscription above the entrance portal gives the year 937 AH, or 1530/31 CE, the year when the Bey's mosque in Sarajevo was completed. The mosque took not quite two years to build. Both Dubrovnik craftsmen and a local workforce are known to have been hired to build the mosque.  According to Abdullah ef. Kantamirija (d. 1774/75) the stone for the Bey's mosque was extracted below Ozren(8) (Mehmedović, p. 41).

It is not known with certainty which architect designed this mosque, but many scholars share the opinion that it was built by the Persian Ajam Asri Ali.

In 1938 Kreševljaković provided an incidental item of information in his work Džamija i vakufnama Muslihudina Čekrekčije (Muslihudin Čekrekčija's mosque and vakufnama), where he notes: “According to the latest research, the drawings for the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque were made by none other than Mimar Sinan himself. “

This note prompted Husref Redžić to write: “After looking into this claim and seeking its sources,I found that among the information Kreševljaković had obtained was a verbal communication to the effect that Sinan's original drawings for the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque had been found in Istanbul, and that it was on that basis that he ascribed the building to Sinan. “

According to Prof. Redžić, the best systematic analysis of Sinan's works, together with bibliographical information, is to be found in the monograph Sinan published in Zurich in 1954 by Prof. Ernest Egli. Redžić also sets out Egli's hypothesis that it would have been impossible, given the times in question, for Sinan to be building in Bosnia during Husrev-bey's time.  However, after analyzing historical information and conducting an architectural analysis of the structure and details of mosques that are reliably known to have been built by Sinan, and making a comparative analysis of the Bey's mosque with these, Redžić reached the well argued conclusion that Sinan did not build this mosque.

In seeking a model for the Bey's mosque in Sarajevo among the mosques of the early Istanbul school, as it is known, Redžić notes the similarity between the Sarajevo mosque and the Atik Ali pasha mosque in Istanbul, dating from 1497. He notes that they are similar in ground plan and spatial treatment, as well as in proportion, but that the architectural details and decor are so different “that one can state with certainty that they are not by the same architect.“  Furthermore, the two buildings are separated in time by 33 years, yet another reason to assume that the same person did not build both, leading Redžić to the logical conclusion that “we must content ourselves with the knowledge that its architect belonged to the school of Mimar Hayruddin. (9)   

In a brief article in the periodical Architect for 1937, entitled “Esir Ali,“ Mimar Kemal Altan claims with conviction that among the works this very architect(10) is the Bey's mosque in Sarajevo, though he does not give his references for this assertion.

The claim by Mimar Kemal Altan, which was picked up by Meyer, had been known for a long time.  It was also made by Andrej Andrejević in his Islamska monumentalna umjetnost  XVI vijeka u Jugoslaviji (16th century Islamic Monumental Art in Yugoslavia).

Since no documentation that might corroborate this has been found, Ekrem Hakki Ayverdi was invited to give his opinion on the work and the claim, but he could provide no more reliable indicators as to the origin of the information given, though he contested some of the claims in the study (the Ayas pasha mosque and the Kasim pasha mosque).

On the other hand, a comparison between the Bey's mosque and the Imperial mosque in Manisa and others leads to the conclusion that there are features suggesting the same architect.  There is no doubt that Gazi Husrev-bey was well positioned to commission the best architects, on account of both his wealth and his standing at court, as well as the importance of Sarajevo.  Ottoman architecture at that time was wholly characterized by the early Istanbul school, and was reaching its acme. The Islamic Persian school of architecture made its mark, in the origins of its forms, both on early Seljuk and on later Ottoman architecture. At the same time, the entire process took place in a region under the powerful influence of Byzantine elements of tradition, and there is no doubt that the Byzantine dome on pendentives continued to feature in Ottoman Islamic architecture.

Gazi Husrev-bey's endowments came into being at the time of the early Istanbul school, where the dominant figure in architecture was Mimar Hayruddin the Elder. His Bayezadiya in Istanbul is a domed basilica the central space of which was influenced by Haghia Sophia, extended by semi-domes on both sides, while the side aisles are separated by pillars and covered with smaller domes. The Bey's mosque, like the Atik Ali pasha mosque already referred to, has a single semi-dome over the mihrab, but unlike the Bayezadiya and the Atik Ali pasha mosques, which have side aisles separated by pillars from the central space, the Bey's mosque lacks this feature – instead, it has two square areas at the sides, covered by smaller domes and joined to the central area by wide, arched openings in the side walls.

In the early years of the Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bey's mosque and medresa drew the attention of the professionals who were brought to Sarajevo. As early as 1887, Edmund Styx published their typical plans in his Bauhausen in Bosnien und die Herzegovina. These drawings were later much repeated in professional literature.

In 1912, Ćiro Truhelka gave the, relatively, most complex architectural analysis of Gazi Husrev-bey's buildings, supplemented by numerous technical drawings and photographs; it is thanks to him that the ground plans of the khaniqah and Tašli-han have been preserved.

As well as the exhaustive historical information provided mainly by H. Kreševljaković, Mate Bajlon provided a special article on the architectural features of the Gazi's buildings in the Commemorative volume for the quadricentenary of Gazi Husrev-bey.

In his extensive work Spomenici osmanlijske arhitekture u BiH (Monuments of Ottoman Architecture in BiH), published in 1953, Alija Bejtić provides brief descriptions and evaluations along with the technical drawings taken from Styx's book.

Drawings of most of the buildings can be found in Dušan Grabrijan and Juraj Neidhardt's Arhitektura Bosne i put u savremeno (Architecture of Bosnia and the road to modernism).

New drawings of the medresa, including an architectural analysis and proposals for its repair and restoration, were published by Džemal Čelić in 1954, and Husref Redžić included new drawings with a detailed spatial analysis, comparing them with the major works of Mimar Sinan, in his Ko je graditelj Gazi Husref-begove džamije u Sarajevu (Who built the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque in Sarajevo) published in 1960.


2. Description of the property


Husrev-bey was keen for his buildings to surpass everything that had been built so far in Sarajevo. The architectural ensemble of the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque consists of the mosque, Gazi Husrev-bey's and Murat-bey's turbes, the courtyard with burial ground, the abdesthana with hot running water, the šadrvan fountain, the muvekithana and the site of the old mekteb. The complex is surrounded on all sides by the mosque wall and four gateways (two from Sarači street, one from Mudželiti Veliki and one from Čizmedžiluk street) and the shops of Baščaršija.


The Gazi Husrev-bey mosque belongs to the type of domed mosque with anopen exterior portico roofed with domes and a stone minaret abutting onto the right hand side. It is one of the finest works of architecture of the Ottoman period in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The architectural treatment of the mosque is complex.

The front of the mosque is dominated by the portico with sofas, measuring 37.17 x 6.20 metres. The structure of the portico is supported by two side walls with a width of 1.17 metres and four marble columns at the front (the north-west side). The columns stand on moulded stone bases and have cubic capitals decorated at the corners by widening rows of stalactites.  Each of the capitals of the portico is decorated differently. The columns are about 4.90 m in height and about 66 cm in diameter, and are fitted with moulded bronze hoops at the base, midway and at the top.

The pointed arches of the portico are set above the columns and between the columns and the front wall of the mosque, forming five bays with a width of 5.70 to 5.95 m. The central intercolumnar bay, which is 6.30 m wide, serves as the entrance to the mosque. The transition between the square ground plan and the dome is achieved by pendentives. The dome was originally clad with lead, and later with sheet copper. In order to handle the compression force more effectively, horizontal iron bars were fitted above the capitals; lamps and lanterns were formerly hung from these bars. The portico is 10.05 m in height to the cornice, and 13.25 m in height overall including the dome. The sofas are of cut stone blocks and stand 1 arshin above the level of the courtyard. There are two exterior mihrabs with a wealth of stalactite decoration, one on the west and one on the east sofa. These mihrabs are of yellow sandstone, and were until recently walled up. They have inscriptions in thuluth Arabic script, written in black ink on stone. 

§          The mihrab on the west sofa bears the inscription:

فنادته الملائكه و هو قائم يصلي في المحراب

And the angels called to him, standing in the Sanctuary at worship. (Holy Qur'an, III-39) (11) 

§          The mihrab on the east sofa bears the inscription:

فاذا قضيتم الصلوه فاذكرواالله قياما و قعودا

When you have performed the prayer, remember God, standing and sitting. (Holy Qur'an, IV-103)

Women usually pray on the east sofa.

To the west of the main entrance to the mosque, above the window, is a mukebbire (which Truhelka calls a kandilj) – a small balcony with a wooden railing from which the muezzin recites each day at podne [zuhr, the midday prayer] and ićindiju ['asr, the afternoon prayer] “ (Truhelka, 33).  This balcony is reached from the mahfil through a small door.

The portal, richly decorated with arabesques, is in the middle of the portico. In terms of footprint, the portal forms a deep niche (there are two recesses resembling a mihrab on each side of the doorjambs) with stalactite decoration above it. The entrance to the mosque is surrounded by massive stone doorjambs topped by a segmental arch. Prominent sections of the portal with a narrow carved edge form the continuation of the doorjambs, projecting out from the wall face by more than 1.50 m. The outer edges of the portal are framed by a moulded stone cornice. The double wooden doors are richly decorated(12). 

There is a stone plaque measuring 120 x 60 cm  above the main entrance to the mosque, on which an inscription has been carved. The text of the tarih (chronogram) is in thuluth Arabic script, and is divided into six sections with gold lettering on a blue ground, carved into the stone and surrounded by a moulded stone frame.

جامع الابرار خسرو بك بنا             حسبه لله دار الساجدين

قاتل الاعداء معين للغزاه         ناشر الاحسان نصر العابدين

الهمه الله لنا تاريخه               مجمع الابرار دار الحامدين

Husrev-bey erected a mosque for good people, in the name of God as a home for those who prostrate themselves [in prayer].

He is the destroyer of the enemy, the helper of those who fight for the faith, the disseminator of good deeds, the helper of the pious.

God inspired us with [the mosque's] chronostich: “[This is] the meeting place of those who do good, the home of those who praise God. “

The decoration on the entrance portal of the Bey's mosque is the restored decoration dating from the Austro-Hungarian period. To the right and left of the top of the portal are two levhas (calligraphic inscriptions) by Rakim efendi Islamović, calligrapher from Sarajevo active in the late 19th and early 20th century, who composed all the calligraphic inscriptions of the 1879 decoration of the mosque. These are the only two remaining inscriptions of his on the mosque.

§          To the right is an inscription in thuluth Arabic script, reading:

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.

§          And to the left an inscription reading:

و الله يدعو الي دار السلام

Allah calls to the House of salvation.

§          There are two inscriptions on the inner portal of the central entrance door, which is entirely covered with ornamentation. At the top of the portal is an inscription in floriated Kufic script reading:

ادخلوها بسلام امنين

Enter here in peace and safety.

§          Above this is a circular inscription in jalī thuluth Arabic script reading:

سلام عليكم ادخلوا الجنه بما كنتم تعملون

Peace be on you.  Enter paradise for that you were doing (Holy Qur'an, XVI-32)


The central prayer space of the mosque is square, measuring 13.40 x 13.40 m, and is covered by the central dome, which is 24.4 m high in this part of the building(13).The lateral forces at the corners of the building at the height of the drum are taken by masonry buttresses which barely project out from the wall face. Below the dome is a circular gallery with a wooden railing, formerly used to light the mosque lamps; this was reached via a staircase built into the massive 2 m thick stone wall of the mosque.

The central space of the mosque extends to the south-east into another, half its size, with a width of 13.06 m, with a 16 m high arch supporting a semi-dome. This section of the mosque is 17.55 m in width on the outside. The south-east wall of this section is 2.44 m thick, and the other two walls are each 2.20 m thick.

§          To the right and left, on the final level surface of the muqarnas linking the circular vault of the dome with the flat walls of the mosque, is a mirror inscription in thuluth Arabic script:

لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله

There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His prophet.

§          Above the mihrab, immediately below the dome, are the names of God Almighty and His prophet.

الله جل شانه

Allah jalla shānuhū

محمد عليه السلام

Muhammad, peace be upon him.      

There are five windows at the base of the semi-dome, dividing ayat al-kursi, the Throne Verse, into six sections. The verse is written in jalī thuluth Arabic script.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الله لا اله الا هو الحي القيوم لا تاخذه سنه و لا نوم له ما في السموات و ما في الارض من ذا

الذي يشفع عنده الا بذنه يعلم ما بين ايديهم و ما خلفهم و لا يحيطون بشئ من علمه الا بما شاء وسع كرسيه السموات و

الارض و لا يؤده حفظهما و هو العلي العظيم صدق الله العظيم

In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. God, there is no god but He, the Living, the Everlasting. Slumber seizes Him not, neither sleep; to Him belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth.  Who is there that shall intercede with Him save by His leave?  He knows what lies before them and what is after them, and they comprehend not anything of His knowledge save such as He wills.  His Throne comprises the heavens and earth; the preserving of them oppresses Him not; He is the All-high, the All-glorious. (Holy Qur'an, II-256)  Allah has spoken the truth.

§          At the top of the semidome is an inscription in thuluth Arabic script, so composed that the letters alif and lam form a geometric design in the centre of the inscription, which they also divide into six equal sections.

ان الصلاه تنهي عن الفحشاء و المنكر و لذكر الله اكبر و الله يعلم ما تصنعون

Perform the prayer; prayer forbids indecency and dishonour. God's remembrance is greater; and God knows the things you work.  (Holy Qur'an, XXIX-45)

The central mosque space extends to the south-west and north-east to a tetima (side area) on each side, which have their own separate entrances. The tetimas are square in ground plan, but of different sizes: the east tetima measures 6.37 x 6.40 m, and the west tetima 6.90 x 6.37 m. These rooms are connected to the central part of the mosque by arched passageways.  The tetimas are covered by 14 m high domes.

§          Part of the last ayat of sura al-Fath (Victory) is inscribed at the top of the east tetima, written in the same manner as the inscription in the west tetima. This inscription begins with the name of Muhammad, which is in the centre of the inscription.

محمد رسول الله و الذين معه اشداء علي الكفار رحماء بينهم تريهم ركعا سدا يبتغون فضلا من الله ة رضوانا سيماهم في

وجوههم من اثر السجود

Muhammad is the Messenger of God, and those who are with hi are hard against the unbelievers, merciful one to another. Thou seest them bowing, prostrating, seeking bounty fro God and good pleasure. (Holy Qur'an, XLVIII-29)

At the base of the dome is an inscription in floriated Kufic script in five sections:

ان الله و ملئكته يصلون علي النبي يا ايهالذين امنوا صلوا عليه و سلموا تسليما اللهم صل و سلم وبارك علي سيدنا محمد

و علي ال سيدنا محمد

God and His angels bless the Prophet. O believers, do you also bless him, and pray him peace (Holy Qur'an, XXXIII-56).  O Lord, bless, greet and bring good fortune to our leader Muhammad and the family of Muhammad.

§          The pendentives of the east tetima bear the following inscriptions:

اشهد ان محمدا عبده و رسوله

I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and His prophet.

و انك علي كل شئ قدير

??? (LXVIII-5) (14) 

و ما ارسلناك الا رحمه للعالمين

We have sent thee as a mercy to the worlds.

شفاعه يا رسول الله

Intercede for us, O Prophet of God.

§          The dome of the west tetima is inscribed with ayat an-nur, the Light Verse, in thuluth Arabic script, with the name of Allah – with which the verse begins – at the centre of the inscription, surrounded by a design in the form of a twelve-pointed star from which the inscription extends

الله نور السموات و الارض مثل نوره كمشكوت فيها مصباح المصباح في زجاجه الزجاجه كانها كوكب دري يوقد من

شجؤه مباركه زيتونه لا شركيه و لا غربيه

God is the Light of the heavens and the earth; the likeness of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp (the lamp in a glass, the glass as it were a glittering star) kindled from a Blessed Tree, and olive that is neither of the East nor of the West. . . (Holy Qur'an, XXIV-35)

§          The remainder of the ayat is inscribed at the base of the dome in floriated Kufic script in five section:

يكاد زيتها يضيء و لو لم تمسسه نار نور علي نور يهدي الله لنوره من يشاء و الله علي كل شئ قدير صدق الله العظيم

...whose oil wellnight would shine, even if no fire touched it; Light upon Light ;(God guides to His Light whom He will). (And God strikes similitudes for men, and God has knowledge of everything. God has spoken the truth.

§          The four pendentives contain the following inscriptions in jalī thuluth Arabic script:

اشهد ان لا اله الا الله

I bear witness that there is no god but God

وحده لا شريك له له الملك

He is one, He has no equal, and to Him is all power

و له الحمد و هو علي كل شئ قدير

And praise Him. He is omnipotent.

لا حول و لا قوه الا بالله العلي العظيم

There is no strength nor power but with Allah Almighty, the Magnificent

§          The front wall of the tetima bears a free-standing inscription by an unidentified artist, dating from 1302 (1884).



The mahfil is alongside the north-west wall. The load-bearing structure of the mahfil is supported by a stone beam and a total of eight marble columns with capitals. Above the capitals is a row of stalactites, and above these is a wooden balustrade. The mahfil has a semicircular projection extending by about 1 metre to the south-west. The area of the mahfil is 265 m2. The mahfil opens onto the interior staircase that leads to the gallery below the dome.

To the east of the entrance door is the maksura, a railed-off area for invitees attending ceremonies but not joining in the formal prayer.

The mihrab of the Bey's mosque is in the exact centre of the front wall. It is made of multicoloured marble. The semicircular recess contains two inscriptions in thuluth Arabic script, the letters worked in relief and gilded. Above this niche is an elaborate painted muqarnas decoration of stalactite form consisting of seven rows. The inscription on the five centre sections of the lower part of the mihrab muqarnas reads:

كلما دخل عليها زكريا المحراب

Whenever Zachariah went into the Sanctuary (Holy Qur'an, III-37)

§          The end sections to left and right contain the words:

يا خفي الالطاف نجنا مما نخاف

Thou who knowest what is hidden, save us from that which we fear.

Above the inscription is an ostrich egg in a wicker basket.

A feature of the interior of the mosque is the very fine stalactite muqarnas decoration in the corners below the dome and in the mihrab, and the designs and calligraphy on all the walls.  The entire interior of the mosque is decorated with calligraphy of quotations from the Qur'an.

Inscriptions on the lower windows and the right and left entrance doors

§          All these inscriptions are in square Kufic Arabic script, and set into the recessed stepped area above the windows. Above the window to the right of the mihrab is:

يا ايهاالذين امنوا امنوا بالله و رسوله و الكتاب

O believers, believe in God and His Messenger and the Book He has sent down. (Holy Qur'an, IV-136)

§          Window to the left of the mihrab:

يا ايهاالذين امنوا اطيعوا الله و اطيعوا الرسول

O believers, obey God, and obey the Messenger (Holy Qur'an, IV-59)

§          Above the front window on the right-hand wall:

يا ايها الذين امنوا اصبروا و صابروا و رابطوا

O believers, be patient, and vie you in patience; be steadfast (Holy Qur'an, III-200)

§                   The end window on the right-hand wall bears the inscription:

يا ايهاالذين امنوا انفقوا من طيبات ما كسبتم

O believers, expend of the good things you have earned. (Holy Qur'an, II-267)

§          Above the front window in the right-hand tetima:

يا ايها الذين امنوا اذكروا الله ذكرا كثيرا

O believers, mention Allah often.

§          The inscription above the end window of the right-hand tetima reads:

يا ايهاالذين امنوا اتقوا الله حق تقاته

O believers, fear God as he should be feared. (Holy Qur'an, III-102)

§          The inscription on the left-hand wall above the front window reads:

يا ايها الذين امنوا لا تتخذوا بطانه من دونكم

O believers, take not for your intimates outside yourselves. (Holy Qur'an, III-118)

§          The end window on the left-hand wall bears the inscription:

يا ايها  الذين امنوا لا تبطلوا صدقاتكم بالمن و الاذي

O believers, void not your freewill offerings with reproach and injury. (Holy Qur'an, II-264)

§          The front window in the left-hand tetima bears the inscription:

يا ايها الذين امنوا لا تتبعوا خطوات الشيطان

O believers, follow not the steps of Satan. (Holy Qur'an, XXIV-21)

§          The inscription above the end window in the left-hand tetima reads:

يا ايها الذين امنوا لا تكون كالذين كفروا

O believers, be not as the unbelievers. (Holy Qur'an, III-156)

§          The inscription by the entrance door above the window on the end wall reads:

يا ايها الذين امنوا توبوا الي الله توبه نصوحا

Believers, turn to God in sincere repentance. (Holy Qur'an, LXVI-8)

§          Above the right-hand entrance door is the inscription:

سلام عليكم بما صبرتم فنعم عقبي الدار

Peace be upon you, for that you were patient. Fair is the Ultimate Abode. (Holy Qur'an, ,XIII-24)

§          Above the left-hand entrancedoor is the inscription:

سلام عليكم طبتم فادخلوها الخالدين

Peace be upon You. Well you have fared; enter in, to dwell forever (Holy Qur'an, XXXIX-73)

Right and left hand wall with central dome

§          At the top of the flat surface of the right-hand wall are the names of the first and third caliphs, Abu Bakr and 'Uthman, may God be pleased with them. The names of the calips are inscribed in circular form in gilded relief lettering.

ابو بكر رضي الله عنه

Abu Bakr, may God be pleased with him

عثمان رضي الله عنه

'Uthman, may God be pleased with him

§          In the corresponding position on the left-hand wall are the names of the second and fourth caliphs:

عمر رضي االله عنه

'Umar, may God be pleased with him

علي رضي الله عنه

'Ali, may God be pleased with him

            Six of the names of God are inscribed on each of the four central pendentives, in thuluth Arabic script. The text of the names is divided into spherical areas with the personal name of God, Allah, inscribed in the centre, the epithets belonging to the name in the next circle, and the six names of God in the outer circle.

§          The right-hand front pendentive bears the inscription:

يا الله

جل شانه

يا رحمن يا حنان يا برهان يا منان يا سبحان يا سلطان



Rahman, Hannan, Burhan, Mennan, Subhan, Sultan

§          The left-hand front pendentive bears the inscription:

يا الله

جل جلاله

يا غفار يا قهار يا صبار يا جبار يا ستار يا يسار


The Majestic

Ghaffar, Kahhar, Sabbar, Jabbar, Settar, Jesar

§          The left-hand rear pendentive bears the inscription:

يا الله عم نواله يا قادر يا قاهر يا طاهر يا ظاهر يا ناصر يا باصر


Sveopći Dobročinitelj

Qadir, Qahir, Tahir, Zahir, Nasir, Basir

§          The right-hand rear pendentive bears the inscription:

يا الله

لا اله غيره

يا علي يا متعالي يا بارئ يا ضار يا هادي يا بادي


There is no god but Him

Aliyy, Muta'ali, Bari, Darri, Hadi, Badi

§          Sura al-ikhlas (Holy Qur'an, CXII) is inscribed on the central dome, in thuluth Arabic script, with the letters alif and lam dividing the inscription into seven sections and forming a central geometric design.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم قل هو الله احد الله الصمد لم يلد و لم يولد و لم يكم له كفوا احد صدق الله العظيم و تلغ رسوله

الكريم الامين

In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Say: 'He is God, One, God, the Everlasting Refuge, who has not begotten, and has not been begotten, and equal to Him is not anyone.'  God has spoken the truth, and His noble and trustworthy Prophet has faithfully transmitted it.

North-west wall

§          The name of the first muezzin is inscribed in nasta'liq Arabic script above the mahfil:

يا حضرت بلال حبشي

Bilal the Abyssinian.

§          The names of the Prophet's grandsons are inscribed at the top of the flat wall surface:

حسن رضي الله عنه

Hassan, may God be pleased with him.

حسين رضي الله عنه

Hussain, may God be pleased with him.

§          A levha by Mehmed-beg Kapetanović Ljubušak is mounted on this wall. It is large (approx. 3 x 2 m), and is in gold on glass, in masterly jalī thuluth Arabic script on a black ground.  It is probably the most valuable free-standing levha in this country (in the professional opinion of Hazim Numanagić).

هو الله لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله

He is God, there is no god but Him, and Muhammad is His prophet.

The signature of the levha reads:

كتبه محمد محبي1313

Written by Mehmed Muhibi in 1313 (1895/96)


To the right of the mihrab is the minber, made of fine-grained sandstone and marble. It is about 1 metre wide and about 2.50 m high. It is elaborately adorned with decorations in stone.  There is a four-sided stone gallery above the twentieth step, consisting of four uprights linked by pointed stone arches supporting the drum and polygonal canopy topped by a gilded alem (finial).  An arched doorway and perforated stair rail also form part of the mimber. At the entrance to the mimber is an inscription carved in stone, by an unknown artist, in mirrored thuluth Arabic script.

لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله

There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His prophet.

On the cap of the mimber is a design on plaster belonging to the earlier Ottoman decoration of the mosque.

Two pear-shaped ćurs (pulpits) stand in the eastern part of the mosque, surrounded by a decorative wooden railing like those of the mahfil and the two maqsuras.

Light enters the mosque through 51 windows set in two rows. The lower windows are rectangular, with stone frames, and number 12 in all. They range in width from 95 to 105 cm. All the other windows terminate in the shape of a pointed arch. On the front and side walls of the mosque there are also another three round windows resembling in appearance the rosettes of Romanesque buildings. Since such features do not exist in the Ottoman architecture originating in Turkey, they probably resulted from the influence of the Dubrovnik masons who were working in Sarajevo at that time.

The mosque is built of cut stone blocks of unequal size and average workmanship. For this reason they are plastered on the outside.


The minaret is about 45 m in height.The plinth is rectangular, and decorated with stalactitesat the top; at the level of the dome of the west tetima, it gradually begins to merge into the polygonal shaft of the minaret itself. Access to the minaret stairway is from the north-west.  The west side of the plinth is decorated with a blind mihrab of the same size as the entrance to the minaret. The šerefe is undecorated, and reached via a spiral stone staircase with 140 steps.  The minaret is topped by a steeple-like roof with a five-pommelled finial (Mehmedović, p. 43).


A stone capital formerly part of the second column of the mosque sofa west of the entrance stands outside the šadrvan fountain and mosque. This capital was damaged in 1755 when the mosque was repaired, and was consequently replaced by a new one. The old capital has stood in the harem of the Bey's mosque ever since, and is sometimes used as an ezantaš (a stone from which the muezzin calls the azaan in certain circumstances).

The local people also used this stone as a standard arshin measure (an old Turkish measure of length), since the sides of the top surface of the capital are roughly equal to one arshin, or 72 cm.


In 1530 a building was erected in the north-eastern corner of the harem, consisting of a storeroom on the ground floor and a mekteb (schoolroom where children were given religious instruction) on the first floor. The mekteb began operating when the mosque was completed in 1531.The building was altered on several occasions.The present-day building was erected in 1843, at a cost of about 3,000 groschen (Mehmedović, p. 63). The mekteb continued in use on this site until 1897, when it moved to the Đulo han building and, after the medresa was enlarged in 1930/31, to a private house close to the Shari'ah school. The ground floor of the building is now used by the muezzin and staff, and the first floor contains preparatory rooms for imams.           

Šadrvan fountain

The šadrvan fountain in the middle of the mosque courtyard has a roof structure supported by eight woode pillars joined by arches. As well as being highly decorative, the fountain has a functional purpose; the water is used for taking abdest (ritual ablutions of the face, hands and feet before prayer). It has undergone alterations on a number of occasions in the past.

The original šadrvan was built in 1530 of local Bosnian miljevina stone (a soft, easily worked stone). It was circular, with a diameter of 4 metres and a height of 1.50 m, and was topped by an iron grid dome.  It had a total of 15 waterpipes (Mehmedović, p. 55). The fountain was fed by water from the Crnilo spring (Donje Biosko – one version has this as 7 km from the Bey's mosque and another, 13 km) (15) which flowed through Sarajevo through baked clay pipes(16).

The old šadrvan fountain was thoroughly refurbished in 1772 to match the original.  These repairs cost 1,000 groschen (Mehmedović, p. 55).  By the end of the 19th century the bitter Sarajevo winters and constant freezing had damaged this refurbished fountain, and in 1893 a new one was made of marble from the island of Brač (Dalmatia) to replace the old one. The fountain is twelve-sided, with a waterpipe at the centre of each side, below whichis a stone plinth where people stand when taking abdest. The basin of the fountain is surrounded by an iron railing, and at the centre of the basin is a tripartite marble bowl with three basins progressively smaller from bottom to top. The basins are decorated with carved stone arabesques. The places where the waterpipes are fitted are decorated with stylized rosettes. The šadrvan has a wooden roof structure supporting a dome clad with sheet lead. The dome is supported by a horizontal structure and eight wooden posts. The space between the uprights is filled by elliptical arches.  There were formerly wooden benches with backrests between the uprights. The underside and eaves of this structure are made of wood. Each flat side of the ceiling bears an inscription in every kind of Arabic script: “All things living come from water.“ Architecturally speaking, this šadrvan is the twin to the one outside the Ulu mosque in  Bursa. During this reconstruction the fountain was connected to the modern city water main. Three damaged troughs of the old šadrvan are to be seen by the west entrance to the harem.


There are covered buildings in the western part of the courtyard in which abdest may be taken, divided into the men's and women's sections. These are known as abdesthanas, where ritual ablutions are performed before prayer. There were abdesthanas on this site as long ago as 1530: these were roofed, but open on the side facing the harem. They were fitted with hot running water which flowed from a row of taps on the western part of the harem wall, and was fed from large copper cauldrons built into an earthenware stove at the corner of the wall. In winter fires were lit to heat the water. To save money, the water is no longer heated. The buildings measure about 5 x 14 metres.  Water flows through two pipes on the outside of the wall, to the south-west; these date back to the very origins of the mosque. This fountain is known as a čifte or double fountain.


The muvekkithana (where prayer times, and the dates of Ramadan, festivals etc. were calculated) was built beside the abdesthana in 1858/59. It is a single-storey building alongside the north-west mosque wall. The entrance to the building is from the south-east. There are two elongated, round-arched windows in each of three of its walls.  These windows are fitted with iron bars. The building measures roughly 5.00 x 5.00 m, and has a hipped roof clad with sheet copper. The building houses the instruments used to measure the elevation of the sun. This used to be a simple wooden board, an astrolabe in the form of a quadrant, calculated for the Sarajevo meridian.  Later this was replaced by a modern sextant, which made it possible to measure the elevation of the sun more accurately.  Precise measurements are required to determine the exact time of sunset, when akšam (maghrib, the sunset prayer) is to be prayed; this begins after astronomical sunset. The time when the other four ritual daily prayers (namaz, in  Persian/Turkish/Bosnian; salah, in Arabic) are to begin is calculated on the basis of the start of the sunset prayer. Determining the exact time when namaz was to begin was the duty of the muvekkit (the person who determines time), which he did for each day by recalculating the results of measuring the elevation of the sun.


There are two turbes (mausolea) to the east of the mosque. The larger contains the tomb of the founder of the mosque, Husrev-bey, and the smaller that of Gazi Muratbey Tardić, the first mutevelija and Gazi Husrev-bey's closest friend.           

Gazi Husrev-bey's turbe

The turbe is a regular octagon in ground plan, with the inner sides 2.53 m in length. It is made of cut stone, with two rows of windows, two on each side. The lower windows are rectangular, and decorated by a blind lintel. The upper windows terminate in pointed arches. The masonry part of the turbe terminates in a simple moulded cornice above which is an octagonal drum topped by a dome clad with lead.

On the tarih above the entrance door to the turbe is the following inscription in gold lettering on a green ground:

بات خسرو بك بحال ليس نوم    و هو معروف بعدل بين قوم

يسر الله له في فبره                راحه الروح و عفوا قبل لوم

قال داع في الدعا تاريخه         رحمه الماجد عليه كل يوم

Husrev-bey departed this life into a state that is not sleep, he was known to the people for his rectitude.

May God ease his condition in the grave, and bestow peace and forgiveness upon his soul.

The supplicant expressed this chronostich for him in prayer: „May the mercy of the Lord be upon him every day.“

Painting from the Austro-Hungarian period survives on the inside walls of the turbe, and has been restored since the recent war. The following names were inscribed below the dome of the turbe in gold lettering on a white ground by Ali Fagin, a late 19th century Sarajevo calligrapher:

الله جل جلاله

Allah Almighty.

محمد عليه السلام

Muhammad, peace be upon him.

ابو بكر رضي الله عنه

Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, may God be pleased with him.

عمر رضي االله عنه

'Umar al-Faruq, may God be pleased with him.

عثمان رضي الله عنه

'Uthman Dhu-n-Nurayn, may God be pleased with him.

علي رضي الله عنه

'Ali al Murtada, may God be pleased with him.

حسن رضي الله عنه

Hassan al Mujtaba, may God be pleased with him..

حسين رضي الله عنه

Hussain, may God be pleased with him.

Below this inscription is the signature of the calligrapher and the year the levha was made – 1311 AH (1893/94).

            The following inscriptions, in a circle, in gold lettering on a blue ground, are set centrally on the wall faces:

انه من سليمان و انه بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

It is of  Suleyman and it is in the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful

رب اغفر و ارحم و انت ارحم الراحمين

Lord forgive and have mercy, Thou are the most compassionate of Mercygivers

فالله خير حافظا و هو ارحم الراحمين

Allah is the best of protectors and the most compassionate of Mercygivers

فاعلم انه لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله

Know that He is the one than Whom there is no other god and Muhammad is the Prophet of God.

حسبي الله و نعم الوكيل نعم المولي و نعم النصير

Allah is sufficient for me, He is a fine representative, fine Lord and fine Helper

لا حول و لا قوه الا بالله العلي العظيم

There is no strength or power but with Allah, the Almighty, the Majestic

الهي انت مقصودي و رضاك مطلوبي

O Lord, Thou art my goal and I seek Thy pleasure.

اللهم صل و سلم و بارك علي سيدنا محمد

God bless, greet and bring good fortune to our leader Muhammad

These verses are inscribed in gold lettering on a white ground on the lower part of the walls. Like all the inscriptions in the turbe, they are in thuluth Arabic script.

الموت شراب كل ناس شاربون

Death is a beverage that all shall drink of,

و الكفن ثياب كل ناس لابسون

The shroud is a garment that all shall don,

و الجنازه مركب كل ناس راكبون

The janaza [Muslim funeral] is a steed that all shall mount,

و القبر باب كل ناس داخلون

The grave is a door through which all shall pass,

و البعث حق كل ناس مبعوثون

Living is the truth, all shall be lived,

و المحشر موقف كل ناس واقفون

The gathering is the abode in which all shall abide,

و الصراط ممر كل ناس مارون

Sirat (the bridge)is a passageway that all shall pass over,

و الرب حاكم كل نلس حاكمون

The Lord is the judge who shall judge everyone.

            Gazi Husrev-bey’s tomb is in the shape of a sarcophagus, surrounded by cut stone blocks and covered with a richly decorated cloth (Mehmedović, p. 67).  Some sources claim that the cloth dates from the time of his death. The headstone nišan is wrapped in cloth in the form of a kauk (woollen or cotton under-cap). The interior also contains ceramic tiles from Iznik, the only instance of its kind in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Mehmedović, p. 67).

            Certain relics are housed in the turbe, among them an amanet (Ar. trust) and part of the cover from the grave of Muhammad pbuh. The turbe also includes a carved shelf with a valuable, large-sized copy of the Qur’an.

Murat-bey's turbe

Murat-beg Tardić, the first mutevelija (administrator) of the Gazi's vakuf, is buried in this turbe. The turbe is hexagonal, and made of the same type of stone. It has windows only at the lower level. Above the entrance door is a tarih with the following text:

مير مراد جونكم    دنيادن ايتدي رحلت

هر كم اشتدي       جان مراده رحمت

When Murad-bey passed on from this world,

All who heard of it said: „May God have mercy on Murat's soul.“

            The following inscriptions in gold lettering on a green ground are to be seen on the inside walls:

سيدخلهم الله في رحمته ان الله غفور رحيم

Allah will bring them beneath the wings of His mercy.  Allah is truly the Compassionate Forgiver

ان الله يغفر الذنوب جميعا انه هوالغفور الرحيم

Allah forgives all sins, He is the  Compassionate Forgiver.

ربنا امنا فاغفر لنا و ارحمنا و انت خير الراحمين

O Lord we believe in Thee, so forgive us and have mercy upon us, Thou are the most compassionate of Mercygivers

عسي الله ان يتوب عليهم ان الله غفور رحيم

Perhaps Allah will forgive them, He is the Compassionate Forgiver.

و ان تعدوا نعمه الله لا تحصوها ان الله لغفور رحيم

If you were to count God's blessings you would not come to an end of them, truly Allah is the  Merciful Forgiver

و قل رب اغفر و ارحمو انت خير الراحمين

Say: „O Lord forgive us and have mercy on us, You are the most compassionate of Mercygivers.

The signature of the artist who wrote these levhas is above the entrance door on the inside:Muhamed Akif, son of Salih, of Sarajevo, muvekit of the Bey's muvekithana. The inscriptions were made in 1320 AH (1902/03).

The tomb is almost identical to that of Gazi Husrev-bey.

Mezaristan (burial ground) of the Bey's mosque

            There are ten tombs on the west side of the harem of the Bey's mosque. The burials are as follows:

1. Man's stone nišan tombstone with dervish's turban on a stone tomb. There is a chronogram on both sides of the tombstone. The longer of these reads as follows:


هو الباقي

متولي وقف غازي خسرو خيرات اثر

ايتميوب دنيا ده رغبت جلب مال و دولته

تازه ايكن سالك اولمشدي طاريق نقشيه

التمات ايتمزايدي هم جاه و شاب و رفعته

ذكر دائم ايله قلب باكي بولمشدي حيات

زادراه اخرتله حاضر ايدي رحلته

نيجه مدت تا مراح اولوب رجا ره عاقبت

مرغ روحي عشقله روان قيلدي جنته

احرف منقوطله زهدي ديدي تاريخني

حي ديوب عزم ايلدي محمد رحنائي رحمته


He is Eternal.

The mutevelija of Gazi Husrev-bey's vakuf properties

Aspired not to the wealth and fame of this world,,

In his youth he joined the naqshiyya order,

Heedless of shining repute and fame.

Throughout his life he was occupied mentioning God

And was ever prepared to quit this world,

So at length, with joy, he sent his soul to paradise.

With manqut(17) letters Zuhdi expressed this chronogram of his death:

Uttering „Ya Hay“ Mehmed Rizai goes to God's mercy.

Year 1269 (1852/53)

The shorter inscription on the other side of the nišan reads:

ركن اشراف خاندان سراي

افتخار اماثل و اقران

متوللي بو شهرتله شهير

محمد افندي بر كزيده جان

حيف اوذات هنوز تازه ايكن

بويله تقدير خداي منان

قفس تنده اولوركن محروس

طير روحي اوجوب سوي جنان

حرف جوهرايله ديدم تاريخ

اوله صنعي مقام فاتحه خوان

قيلدي رحلت بسوي عتباهم

بوله فردوس جنتده مكان

سنه 1269

Pillar of Sarajevo's ashraf and khandan(18),

Pride of his peers, dignitary,

The shining person of Mehmed efendi,

Still in the flower of youth,

On the orders of the Compassionate One,

Shed these earthly shackles from his soul.

His soul flew up to eternity.

I expressed his chronogram of death in jawhar(19)  lettering,

O Sunniyy(20), remember the deceased with al Fatiha:

He has passed on to eternity,

May his have his place in the paradise of Firdaus.

Year 1269 (1852/53)

(M. Mujezinović, Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine I)

2.  Stone nišan mounted on a stone sarcophagus with an epitaph Arabic and a translation of the epitaph into Bosnian in arabica script, revealing that this is the tomb of Reisu-l-ulema Džemaludin Čaušević.

هو الحي الباقي المرحوم و المغفور له رئس العلماء و اما المله الحاج جمال الدين جاؤشهويج ولد في 4

شوال سنه 1287 و ارتحله الي دار البقاء في 26 محرم سنه 1357 لله الفاتحه

He is Eternal, Ever-Living. Allah had mercy upon and forgave reisu-l-ulema hajji Džemaludin Čaušević. Born 4 .10.1287 (12 December 1870) and died 26.10.1357 (28 March 1938). Fatiha.

مرحوم جمال الدين جاؤشهويج رئس العلماء روديو سه 27 ده جه مبرا 1870 و ارابوشي بوس. قروبا بره سهليو نا

اخرت 28  مارتا 1938 (26 محرما 1357) و سارايه وو لله الفاتحه

The late Džemaludin Čaušević, reisul ulema, born 27. Decembra 1870. He passed away in Arapuša, Bosanska Krupa, on 28. March 1938 (26  Muharram 1357) in Sarajevo. Fatiha.

(M. Mujezinović Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine I)

3.  Man's marble nišan tombstones with turban set on a stone sarcophagus with a tarih in Turkish, so badly weathered as to be almost illegible.

اه من الموت سراي بوسنه ده اعيان و اشراف مواليدن جناب باكي باشا زاده فاضل تقي سيرت سمي مسطفي مير جميل

جميل القدر خير الدين مثال ارجعي به امتثالا ايلدي رحلت فناده زاد عقبايي تدارك ايلمش ذاتي بقا ملكنه جان اتدي اوله

منزلكهي جنت ذنوبني مغفرت قبريني بور نور ايله يه مولي قبيله سيله ماواره اوله لر مظهر نعمت دعا ايت فاتحه اوقو

قمو ارواح اسلامه مقر ردر سكاده موت كجمشلردن ال عبرت نحيفي سويله تاريخ كوهر بويله مناجات  ايت الهي مير

خير الديني سن قيل نائل رحمت سنة1310

Ah, death. A prominent figure in Sarajevo, descendant of the ashraf,

By the surname of Fadilpašić, he was a very pious person,

Emir Mustafa Hajrudin was honoured and respected.

When the call came to him „Return“ he gladly responded to the voice,

For during his life he had gathered provisions for eternity,

And yielded up his soul, may he have his place in heaven.

And may the Lord forgive his sins and lighten his grave,

So that he may ever abide in well-guarded paradise.

Pray and recite al Fatiha for all Muslims,

And reflect that you too will drain the chalice of death.

Nahif, express a jawhar tarih and pray thus:

„O Lord, Peace. Grant Thy mercy to Hajrudin “

In the year 1310

(M. Mujezinović Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine I)

4.  Man's nišan tombstone with fez on a sarcophagus of Prilep marble with an epitaph on both the headstone and footstone.

كل من عليها فان

قف بالقبور الساكتان و عدد  من كان حيا من فقير و سيد  فاقطع رغائبك التي هي خدعة  متخليا و عش معيش محرف

او ما تري الدهر الخؤن مهد ما  ة مبدد ما ليس بالمتبدد  او ما رايت فعله مع صاحب القبر  الوزير ذي العلي و السودد

في حزبه يطيعه اصحابه  ة بعقله كل جميعا  يقتدي  في عام الف مع ثلث مئتين و الثمان  و الخمسين سار المرقد  فعليه

منا الف الف تحية  و رحمة الرحمن غير محدد  سنة1358

All that is on this earth is but passing.

Stand by this silent tombs and count whom you know was alive of the poor and the great.

Reflect and rid yourself of all desires that can deceive you and live freely without them.

Do you not see the faithless how time destroys all that stands firm.

So do you not see you how time has dealt with the owner of this tomb, grand minister Mehmed.

Death took him suddenly when was living comfortably in honour and refinement.

And when his adherents humbly followed him and imitated his opinions.

In the year one thousand three hundred and fifty eight he lay in the grave.

May a thousand of us greet him, and may Merciful God grant him limitness mercy.

In the year 1358 (1939)

The epitaph in Arabic on the footstone reads.

المرحوم و المغفور له الدكتور محمد سباهو رئيس الحزب الاسلامي ببوسنه و هرسك و زعيمه السياسي و وزير

المواسلات في يوغوسلافيا المتوفي في 11 شهر جماد الاولي سنة 1358 الحجرية الموافق 29 يونيو سنة1939

الملادية لروحه الفاتحة

Deceased Dr. Mehmed Spaho, President and political president of the Yugoslav Muslim Organization in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Minister of Transport in Yugoslavia. Died 11 Jumada-l-Ula 1358 AH, equals 29 June 1939.


Woman's nišan on a stone sarcophagus with elaborate floral decoration and an epitaph carved in fine nasta'liq Arabic script.

(M. Mujezinović Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine I)

5. New nišan tombstones erected on the site of old, dilapidated ones, with the epitaph:

Alibeg Firdus 1864-1910.

6. New nišan tombstones erected on the site of old, dilapidated ones, with the epitaph:

Mahmudbeg Fadilpašić 1855-1912.

7. Man's nišan tombstone with fez on a stone sarcophagus with a tarih in verse in Turkish on one side and a tarih in prose on the other side of the nišan

هو الحي الباقي

ملتي ايقاظ ايجون همت بلند ساعر سهير

مرزا ضفوت بذل سكوت ايلدي مانند شير

ملتك حفظ مزايا سنده بو عالي امير

خامه صمصام النده جهد ايدردي بو شهير

مجلس عرفان ايجنده جالس صدر سرير

نزهتي بخش ايليور دي جمله يه ميرزا

عمريني سرف ايلدي نشر ايده خاميه كير

بونجه اثاري مكمل اولدي بر باغ نصير

يك بديع اثار و اشعاري حكمده بي نظير

از معان براقدي عمومه حضرت صفوت دار

ذو قيله اشعاريني ترتيل هب اندر شاب و بير

روح ملتده ياشار بوتا ابد ورشن ضمير

موتنه تاريخ تام اولدي بو مصراع بشير

جنت عليايه اوجدي عندليب نازي شهير

سنة 1356

He is Eternal and Living.

To arouse the people the famous high-minded poet

Mirza Safet fought like a lion.

This famous Emir stood, pen in hand, in the defence of national interest,

And was at the forefront in education circles.

And extended his help to everyone.

He spent his life disseminating fine books,

So that his works resembling a fresh-grown garden.

Courageous Safet left as his gift

Many poems and works of wisdom.

Both young and old, read his poems with pleasure

So that a fine memento of him shall ever live among the people.

This handsome full chronogram was composed for his death:

A nightingale with an exquisite voice has flown away to the high heavens.

Year 1351. (1934)

The other, shorter tarih in prose reads:

الفاتحة مملكت سراي اشراف خاندانلرندن شاعرشهير باشاغيج دوكتور مرزا صفوت بك بوراده مدفوندر ايليه سنه


Fatiha. Here lies the poet Dr. Safet-Mirza Bašagić. May God have mercy upon him. Year. 1352.

(M. Mujezinović Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine I)

On the opposite side of the harem, behind the turbes, is a small graveyard with the following burials:

8.  Child's grave with small nišan tombstones on a stone sarcophagus.

هو الباقي مير ميران كرام معالي اتسامدن ازوورنيق متصرفي رؤف باشانك نخدومي محي الدين بكك روحنه فاتحه سنه

1285 رمضان8

He is Eternal. Muhjudin-beg, son of the high mir-miran(21), mutesarif of Zvornik, Reuf pasha. Fatiha for his soul.  8 Ramadan 1285 (23 December 1868).

(M. Mujezinović Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine I)

9.  Richly decorated woman's nišan tombstones on the stone sarcophagus on the grave of Hatidža.

هو الحي الباقي رجال دولت عليه دن بوسنه مجاسبه جيسي عزتله الحاج ناشد افندينك حرم محترم لري خديجه فردانه

خانم افندي روحيجون فاتحة 13 شعبان1280

He is Eternal and Living. Recite al Fatiha for the soul of Hatidža Ferdana-hanuma, distinguished wife of the Bosnian muhasebdžija who is an honoured figure. 13 Shaban 1280 (23 January 1864).

(M. Mujezinović Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine I)

10. Man's nišan tombstone with turban on the stone sarcophagus on the grave of  reisu-l-ulema Hadžiabdić Naim. The tarih, in thuluth Arabic script in the Arabic language, is in the hand of Ešref-efendi Kovačević.

و اجعلني من ورثة جنة النعيم سبجان من يحيي العظام و هي رميم   و بينهم المرحوم حاجيعبديتش الحاج نعيم   كان له

في حيوة الدنيا امر عظيم   صار رئيس العلماء بيوغسلافيا   و حمل رسالته العليا بالغر و التكريم   تاريخه في الدعاء الي

رب الرحيم   بالفردوس نعيم مقيم

„Make me inherit Jannati-naim [Paradise]. Praise and glory to He who shall bring back to life the rotting bones among which are the bones of the deceased Hadžiabdić hajji Naim, who performed duties of great responsibility in his life on this earth.  He was reisul ulema in Yugoslavia, a duty he fulfilled with honour and nobility. His tarih is submitted in du'a [prayer] to the Merciful Lord: „Give Naim his abode in Firdaus“

The footstone bears an epitaph in Latin script:

Naim ef. Hadžiabdić, reisul-ulema 1918-1987

11. Man's nišan tombstone with fez on a sarcophagus of miljevina stone.The tarih is in Turkish in nasta'liq Arabic script.

هو الحي الباقي  روم ايله اوردوي همايوني اركان متحيزاتندن سعادتلو امحد باشا حضرتلرينك مخدومي ياور

يوزباشيسي ابراهيم توفيقي بك روحيجون الفاتحة سنة1280

He is Living and Eternal. Ibrahim Tevfik-beg, javer juzbaša(22) , son of Ahmed pasha, erkan(23) of  Rumelia. Fatiha for his soul. 5 Shaban 1280 (15 January 1864).

(M. Mujezinović Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine I)

12. Man's nišan tombstone with turban on a damaged stone sarcophagus.

هو الحي الباقي

الراجي لمرضاة الرب الرحيم سباهو فهيم افندي ابن الحاج حسن افندي رئيس العلماء في بلاد يوغسلافيا ولد في20

محرم الحرام سنة 1294 الموافق لرابع فبرائر سنة 1877 و انتقل الي جوار الملك القدير في 28 محرم الحرام سنة

1360 الموافق لثالث عشر فبرائر سنة1942

He is Living and Eternal. Full of hope for the mercy of the Merciful Lord, Spaho Fehim-efendi, son of hajji Hasan-efendi, reisul-ulema in Yugoslavia, who was born on 20 Muharram 1294 (4 February 1877), passed away to the vicinity of the Lord most Powerful on 28 Muharram 1360 (13 February 1942).

13. Richly decorated nišan tombstones on a stone sarcophagus with a tarih in nasta'liq Arabic script over the tomb of Hajrija, wife of Huršid-pasha.

هو الحي الباقي وزراي عظام سلطنت سنيه دن بوسنه ايالتي واليسي دولتلو خورشيد باشا حضرتلرينك خليله محترمه سي

و يكي شهر فنار خواندانندن نقيب الاشراف نجيب بكك كريمه سي اولوب شهادة ارتحال دار جنان ايليان مرحومه و

مغفوره لها خيريه خانم روحيجون الفاتخة في سنه 1272 في ربيع الاخر

He is Living and Eternal. Deceased Hajrija-hanuma, wife of the Bosnian vali and imperial vezier Huršid-pasha, daughter of nekibul-ešraf(24),  has passed away into eternity. Recite al Fatiha for her soul. Month of Rabi' al-akhira 1272 (1855/56)

(M. Mujezinović Islamska epigrafika Bosne i Hercegovine I)

14. Man's nišan tombstone with turban on a stone sarcophagus over the grave of reisul-ulema Sulejman Kemura.The tarih, in thuluth script in Arabic, was written by Ešref ef. Kovačević.

هو الخلاق الباقي   يا زائرا مثوي فقيد المسلمين ادع اسم ربك مترحم حينا علي روح الفقيد و ملء قلبك هنا المرحوم

سليمان بن ابراهيم كنورا عالم رئيس علماء المسلمين رجل محنك و اجل ما به يعني انشائه كلية علياء اسلامية بسراي

فاقصدها بحبك .....

He is the Eternal Creator. You who stand at the tomb of a deceased Muslim, pray at time in the name of your Lord for His mercy on the soul of the deceased and fill your heart.  Here lies the deceased Sulejman, son of Ibrahim Kemura, alim, reisul-ulema of the Muslims, a man of experience. He built an Islamic high school . . . [remainder of epitaph illegible]

            The footstone bears an epitaph in Latin script:

Merhum [the late] Sulejman ef. Kemura reisul-ulema 1908-1998

15. Man's stone nišan set into the ground with epitaph:

Hadži Ibrahim Jakuba Halilović, Mufti of Banja Luka 1946-1998


3. Legal status to date


Pursuant to Rulings nos. 670/50, 672/50, 673/50, 754/50, 755/50, 756/50 dated 9 June and 17 June 1950, issued by the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments and Natural Rarities of Sarajevo, the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque and associated buildings in Sarajevo was placed under state protection under registration no. 15.

Pursuant to Ruling no. 02-616/3 of 18 April 1962, the property was entered on the register of immovable cultural monuments. The Ruling entered into force on 24 October 1962.

The 1908 Regional Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina listed the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque in Sarajevo as a Category I monument.

The Gazi Husrev-bey mosque in Sarajevo is on the Provisional Lisst of National Monuments of BiH under serial no. 506.


4. Research and conservation and restoration works


§          1755 – restoration of the interior of the mosque – wall paintings

§          1772 – renovation of the old šadrvan fountain, at a cost of 1,000 groschen

§          1861/62 – renovation and widening of the east door of the mosque

§          1885 – levhas made by calligrapher Muhammed Rekim Islamović;

§          1886 – interior refurbishment of the mosque (painting) after the1879 fire. The Austro-Hungarians stripped the old plaster off the walls, replastered them and repainted the mosque. This decoration survived until just before the 1992-1995 war.

§          1898 – the building was wired for electric lighting;

§          1997 – a new roof was made for the šadrvan to match the old one that had been damaged during the war. A calligraphic quotation from the Qur'an were added on the underside of the wooden roof. The same quotation is repeated on all eight sections of the roof, each time in a different Arabic script.

§          2001/2002 – conservation and restoration works in and around the mosque:

o         since no trace of early painting had been found on the walls of the mosque, the dilapidated Austro-Hungarian paintwork was removed. The present calligraphy in the Bey's mosque is by Hazim Numanagić, and the ornamental designs by Nihad Čengić, Hazim Numanagić and Nihad Babović

o         the mihrab, mimber, mahfil and entrance portal were restored.The restoration works were carried out by Nihad Čengić

o         parts of the Austro-Hungarian paintwork were left on the entrance portal

o         the entire wall of the harem was dismantled, the blocks marked, and the base made good

o         the wooden window lintels were replaced by new concrete ones which were then masked with wooden boards

§          2002 – the šadrvan underwent its final restoration, when it was completely dismantled and the water pipes, which had burst, were replaced.


5. Current condition of the property


Following the latest works, the property is in good condition.


6. Specific risks






Applying the Criteria for the adoption of a decision on proclaiming an item of property a national monument (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. v. value of construction

D. Clarity (documentary, scientific and educational value)

D.ii. evidence of historical change

D.iii. work of a major artist or builder

D.iv. evidence of a specific 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 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 a group or site


The following documents form an integral part of this Decision:

-                      Copy of cadastral plan

-                      Proof of title,

-                      Photo-documentation,

-                      Drawings

-                      Photographs of the Commission to Preserve National Monuments of BiH taken by Mirzah Fočo




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


1912.    Truhelka Ćiro, Gazi Husrev-beg – njegov život i njegovo doba (Gazi Husrev-bey – his life and times), Jnl of the National Museum XXIV, 1,2 , 1912.


1932.    Commemorative volume for the quadricentenary of Gazi Husrev-bey


1952.    Šabanović, H., Dvije najstarije vakufname u Bosni (The two oldest vakufnamas in Bosnia), Contributions to Oriental Philology, II, 1951, Sarajevo 1952.


1964.   Šabanović, Krajište Isa-bega Ishakovića (Lands of Isa-bey Ishaković), Zbirni katastarski popis iz 1455. godine (Collective cadastral survey of 1455), Sarajevo 1964.


1973.    Bejtić, Alija, Ulice i trgovi starog Sarajeva (Streets and squares of old Sarajevo), Sarajevo 1973.


1981.    Ayverdi, Ekrem Hakki, Avrupa'da Osmanli mimari eserleri, Yugoslavya, Istanbul 1981


1983.  Redžić, Husref: Studije o islamskoj arhitektonskoj baštini (Studies on the Islamic architectural heritage), Sarajevo.


1988.   Čelić, Džemal, Graditelj Gazi Husrev-begov (Gazi Husrev-bey’s builder), Radio Sarajevo III programme, no. 60/1988, yr. XVI


1990.   Bećirbegović, Madžida, Džamije sa drvenom munarom u Bosni i Hercegovini (Mosques with wooden minarets in BiH), 1990.


1997     Zlatar, Behija, Zlatni period Sarajeva (Sarajevo’s Golden Age). Contributions to History, Sarajevo, 1997.


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


2005.    Mehmedović, Ahmed, Gazi Husrev-beg i njegove zadužbine (Gazi Husrev-bey and his legacies), Sarajevo 2005.


Documentation of the Gazi Husrev-bey vakuf in Sarajevo:

  • Printed matter – brochure of the Gazi Husrev-bey vakuf


(1) This indicates that the court had already been built by that time. All that is known of the appearance of the old Bosnian governors’ court is what can be learned from the testimony of contemporary travel chroniclers and envoys from Dubrovnik who came to the Pasha in the saray bearing various gifts and armed with letters of credentials and various documents pertaining to privileges obtained from the sultan. (2) The number of vakufs in BiH was certainly in excess of 1,000, and the number of surviving vakufnamas, whether the original or in transcript, is estimated at about 400. As well as the name of the vakif and details of the endowment, every vakufnama stated which qadi had passed the act into law and named the witnesses, but nowhere is there any mention of the names of the builders. Many properties now bear plaques with a chronogram and the name of the founder, and usually that of the poet who composed the chronogram, but in not one single case is the craftsman who built the property mentioned (Čelić, pp. 371-372).

(3) This is indicated by several lists of vakufs in the defters (records) of the Bosnian sandžak. During the 15th and 16th centuries, 70 masjids (mosques for everyday use) and 35 jami' mosques (Friday mosques for communal prayer) were erected, and some of the masjids were turned into jami' mosques, for which permission was sought from the Porte in Istanbul

(4) The first monument building was the mosque of Mustafa Pasha Skenderpašić, some of the famous Bosnian sandjakbey Skender Pasha, whose father was from Genoa and whose mother was Greek. Educated in the court of Sultan Mehmed Fatih, this famous military leader, after waging war fiercely around Bosnia, built a number of endowed properties in Sarajevo. On the left bank of the Miljacka, he erected a tekke of the Naqshbandiyya order, with an imaret (public kitchen) and musafirhana (hostel) beside it, bringing water to them from Soukbunar, and also installed a number of drinking fountains. On the right bank of the Miljacka, he built a court, caravanserai and shops, and linked all these properties by a bridge over the Miljacka. All that now reminds us of Skender Pasha and his son Mustafa is the name of the quarter Skenderija. Soon after the Skenderija mosque was built, another two domed mosques were built in Sarajevo, the Muslihudin Čekrkčija mosque in 1526,and the mosque of Havadža Durak, known as the Baščaršija mosque, in 1528.

(5) By establishing a perpetual endowment (Bos. vakuf, Ar. waqf), the legator voluntarily renounces his property and endows it for the public welfare, for all time.  Once so endowed, the property can no longer be the subject of transactions that could violate it.

(6) The European region of the Ottoman Empire

(7) These three vakufnamas are documents constituting the legal basis for the formation of Gazi Husrev-bey's vakuf as a well-organized institution. From the perspective of contemporary legislation, they also contained all the necessary rules for the operation of any contemporary organization. As a result, Gazi Husrev-bey's vakuf is specific as an institution, with the posts of all its officials described at the time it was founded. At that time, 46 such posts were envisaged, pertaining to the management of the vakuf, mosque, haniqah, medresa, mekteb and imaret. Naturally, with the passage of time the number of vakuf officials had to be changed to adapt to current needs. The commemorative volume celebrating the quadricentenary of the vakuf, in 1932, included a budget providing for 65 posts, while the list of employees numbered 121 in all, since at that timem the vakuf also owned a forestry company. In his vakufnamas Gazi Husrev-bey described in detail everything that was required for the on-going operation of the vakuf.  These vakufnamas established hajrati (charitable institutions) that would be his legacy to the future. All the operations that were to be carried out in the vakuf and the properties in which the different operations were exercised were described:

-                      the mosque, and operations associated with the mosque,

-                      the medresa, and operations in the field of education,

-                      the haniqah (school for dervishes [Sufis]) and the ibadet (acts of worship) performed in the haniqah,

-                      imaret and musafirhana (humanitarian kitchen and overnight hostel) with their obligations and mode of operations.

All the posts pertaining to these organized operations are described in detail and the individual remuneration for each is expressed in dirhams (1 dirham = 3.207 gr. of silver). The conditions of employment for each post and the educational qualifications required are described down to the finest detail. The additional religious ibadet (acts of worship) to be performed in the mosque in addition to the five compulsory daily prayers are set out and the way in which they are to be performed is described. Here it is important to note that the recitation of hatma and tevhid (khatm and tawhid – recitation of the entire Qur'an and prayers for the dead) for Gazi Husrev-bey are ibadets that have been performed every day since he passed away in 1541. In line with the provisions of the first vakufnama, the hatma is performed every day following the noon prayer by the recitation by 30 juz reciters simultaneously reciting one juz (30th part of the Qur'an, consisting of 20 pages), and jointly performing the hatma-dova (khatm du'a or final prayer) for the soul of Gazi Husrev-bey. The continuation and maintenance of the properties and the prescribed operations within them were provided for by means of the revenue from other endowed properties, as was the requirement to manage them properly so as to be profitable and increase in value. All the endowed property was listed and described in detail. Gazi Husrev-bey endowed his immense personal fortune for the maintenance of the properties he endowed under the terms of the vakufnamas, along with some state lands (erazi mirije) that had been bestowed on him by a mulknama (decision) of Sultan Suleyman in order that he might endow them to maintain his hajrat. It was thus that extensive areas of land around the towns of Tešanj, Teslić, between Ključ and Ostrovic, around Obrovac, Mlinovi on the reiver Zrmanja and other areas «that were not owned by anyone, but were abandoned, were appropriated by the imperial powers, some lying close to the town of Kobasa and some bordering with the Croatian vilayet», were added to the already immense fortune of the vakif. It was thus that this, the largest vakuf in Bosnia and Herzegovina, came into being. The mulknama was confirmed by all the successors of Sultan Suleyman. Until World War II an original mulknama of Sultan Osman II remained in the state library in Dresden, probably taken there on the occasion of the assault on Sarajevo by Prince Eugene in 1697. This vakuf, and others, suffered serious blows from various fires, the worst of which was the 1697 fire when Sarajevo was attacked by the Austrian army and torched, and many original documents and endowed valuables of this vakuf were seized.  Other fires also caused serious damage to the vakuf, in 1724, 1759, 1765, 1769, 1776, 1788, 1831, 1842, 1852 and 1879, but each time the vakuf recovered, thanks to the solid foundations on which it had been based under the terms of Gazi Husrev-bey's vakufnamas. In the legal sense, the act of endowment as a vakuf is important in placing the property outside the scope of any legal transaction that could violate it.  As a result, its basic assets cannot under any circumstances be transferred to anyone's ownership.

(8)Below Ozren was a public fountain and above it a quarry, from which Gazi Husrev-bey extracted the marble for both the mosque and the hammam.  I was told this by an old man, Kalauz-zade Ahmed efendi. I record it in order that it be known.“(Mehmedović, p. 41)

(9) The reference here is to Mimar Hayruddin the Elder, who was chief architect during the reign of Bayezit Bajazita II (1491-1512). Some historical works claim that he built the Bayezit, Firuz-aga and Atik Ali pasha mosques, though other authorities suggest that the latter was the work of Mimar Kemaluddin. In any case, this Hayruddin is not the same as Mimar Hayruddin the Younger, who built the bridge in Mostar.

(10) As far as we know, Esir Ali, as chief architect of the Ottoman empire, built the monumental portal within the gatehouse in the Top Kapi Saray known as the Bab-us-selam, on which details are to be seen that recall the Iranian-Azerbaijani forms of that time. In 1523 he completed the mosque of Sultan Selim in Istanbul, building of immense gravity, austere and strict in form. In his Islamic architects and their works (Geneva, 1956), where the most comprehensive details concerning this architect are to be found, Leon Meyer notes that he built the Cezari Kasim mosque, the Bali pasha mosque, and the Piri Mehmed pasha mosque, all in Istanbul, as well as the Suleymaniyya in Çorlu, the Ayas pasha inTekirdag, the Seyfuddin kadi mosque in Sofia, the Imperial mosque in Manisa, the Çoban Mustafa pasha mosque in Gebze and others. He died in Istanbul in 1537/38 and was buried beside the mosque he built at his own expense and in his own name not far from the Mevlevi tekke in Jenikapi in Istanbul. He called himself Esir Ali in his vakufnama.

(11) All quotations from the Qur’an are given in the English version by Arthur Arberry – trans.

(12) Truhelka provides the following description of these doors:“The doors are most artistically worked and beautifully carved with ornamental studs with large flat heads, and the top panel of each door is decorated with exquisitely stylized arabesques, richly adorned with a gilded inscription worked in relief.“

(13) The first comprehensive description of the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque was provided by Ćiro Truhelka, who writes in his monograph GAZI HUSREV BEG: „The drum is covered by a rounded dome, the inside top of which is 4.5 m higher than the base, so that the dome is 26 m above the floor of the mosque. If we compare this with the width at the base, we observe that the height versus the base is in the ratio of 2:1, which the architect must surely have consciously and carefully calculated, giving it the magnificent aspect with which this dome so impresses the observer, for the wonder is that, although it is not of great size, it makes the space appear much larger than it really is." Ćiro Truhelka ascribes the success of the spatial treatment to the proportions of the domed area in the ratio of 1:2, where the first number represents the sides of the square and the second the height from floor level to the apex of the down. The ratio he cites has never been checked since by anyone else; the many authorities who have written about the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque have simply repeated the same observations. In this case it would be realistic to doubt his measurements, since the Renaissance architectural ratio of 1:2 is not typical of Ottoman architecture. A schematic study of the spatial proportions of many large and medium-sized Ottoman mosques reveals that their lateral sections are based on an equilateral triangle. This is the basis of the proportions of the Atik Ali pasha mosque and also of the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque. Truhelka obviously did not know the exact height of the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque, and later authorities simply took his measurements as accurate, without checking them. When conducting a detailed architectural survey of the Gazi Husrev-bey mosque, we obtained measurements that differ to some extent from his even as to the ground plan, and differ considerably as to height. The height from the floor to the crown of the dome is not 26.00 but 24.4 m. Thus there is no 1:2 ratio; rather, the proportions are based on the principle of the equilateral triangle. Not only the main domed area but also the side domed areas were taken into consideration in calculating these proportions (Redžić, p.    )

(14) there seems to be some confusion here. The Bosnian translation (“For thou art truly of the finest morality”) does not correspond to the Arabic (which reads “And Allah is Almighty, All-powerful”), and neither corresponds to the Qur’anic reference provided – trans.

(15) A satellite survey from the GoogleEarth application was used to calculate the distance between this spring and the building, which is 4.8 kilometres.

(16) Prior to this there were other piped water systems in Sarajevo: the Skender pasha, Isa bey, Ajaz bey and Firuz bey water pipe systems, but no one came close to Gazi Husrev bey for installing water pipes (Kreševljaković). The water from the spring was first fed along a wooden aquaduct, and then through ceramic pipes of conical shape. The water pipes supplied the north-eastern part of Sarajevo as it was then, the buildings of Gazi Husrev-bey’s vakuf, and part of the old Sarajevo čaršija, ending up in the Tašlihan and outside the Ferhadija mosque. There were several terezijas (reservoirs) along the system, filled with gravel to filter the water; pipes branched off from these to supply the public fountains around Sarajevo. In 1529 a public toilet, the Bey's hale, was built to the west of the mosque, outside the harem walls; this has been in constant use ever since, and has been adapted from time to time.  At that time the drainage pipes were made of quarry stone, were rectangular in section, were covered with stone slabs, and ran down into the river Miljacka.

(17) Script marked with diacritics – trans.

(18) ashraf – nobility, pl. of Ar. sharif; khandan, hospitable person, Pers. – trans.

(19) lit. jewelled (Ar.) – trans.

(20) follower of the orthodox Shari’ah (Ar.) – trans.

(21) title derived from Ar. ‘amir, leader – trans.

(22) Adjutant general – trans.

(23) Governor – trans.

(24)  Ar. naqib al-ashraf, head of the Alids, head of the descendants of the Prophet – trans.




Gazi Husrev-beg mosqueGazi Husrev-beg mosque and the Clock towerMinaretView from the mosque's courtyard at the Clock tower
Courtyard of the mosque - mosque's porch and the šadrvan (fountain)Porch of the mosquePorch<i>Muvekithana</i>
ŠadrvanInterior of the mosqueCentral domeInterior
<i>Mihrab</i> in the porch Archival photograph  Archival photograph  Archival photograph of the turbe mausoleums
Interior of the Gazi Husrev-beg turbeGazi Husrev-begovo turbe - DomeGazi Husrev-begovo turbe - SarcophagusInterior of the Murat-bey’s turbe

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