Ottoman Empire Landmarks Walk, Sarajevo

Ottoman Empire Landmarks Walk (Self Guided), Sarajevo

Sarajevo is a city founded by the Ottoman Empire upon conquering the region, 1461 is most often referred to as the founding year. Today, there are a number of landmarks built by the first Ottoman governor of Bosnia that endured over the centuries. Take this tour to see the most impressive Ottoman landmarks in the city of Sarajevo.
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Ottoman Empire Landmarks Walk Map

Guide Name: Ottoman Empire Landmarks Walk
Guide Location: Bosnia-Herzegovina » Sarajevo (See other walking tours in Sarajevo)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Author: DanaU
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Konak
  • Emperor's Mosque
  • The Emperor’s Bridge
  • Sahat Kula
  • Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque
  • Baščaršija
  • Čekrekčinica Mosque

1) Konak

The word “konak” translates as residence or lodging from Turkish. Sarajevo Konak was the residence of the Gazi Isa-Bey Ishaković, the founder of the city. The present baroque building dates from the period when Bosnia was ruled by Osman Pasha. In 1868, he built a new Konak in the place of the old one. The new building underwent several changes during the Austro-Hungarian rule and then Socialist Yugoslavia. Nevertheless, the Konak is still considered one of Sarajevo's noteworthy Ottoman buildings.
Image Courtesy of Marcin.
Emperor's Mosque

2) Emperor's Mosque

The Emperor's Mosque is an important landmark in Sarajevo, being the first mosque to be built (1457) after the Ottoman conquest of Bosnia. It is the largest single-subdome mosque in Bosnia and Herzegovina, built in the classical Ottoman style of the era.

The original mosque was built in the mid-fifteenth century and has a long and fascinating history. Damaged and totally destroyed at the end of that century, it was rebuilt in 1565 and dedicated this time to Suleyman the Lawgiver, one of the most splendid and renowned Sultans of the Ottoman Empire. The first mosque was made of wood and significantly smaller than existing building that was built in 1565. Side rooms were added in 1800 and connected to the central prayer area in 1848. Between 1980 and 1983 the painted decorations in the interior of the mosque were conserved and restored. The burial ground (graveyard) beside the Emperor's Mosque contains the graves of viziers, mullahs, muftis, sheikhs, the employees in the Emperor's Mosque, along with other prominent figures living in Sarajevo. The mosque was damaged during World War II but mostly in the wars during the 1990s, and renovation work is pending.

The first settlements in Sarajevo were built around the mosque with the residence of the Sultan's representatives then being built next to the mosque. Isa-bey also built a hammam (public bath) and a bridge that led directly to the mosque. This bridge was disassembled during the Austro-Hungarian government and rebuilt just a few meters upstream where it still exists today.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
The Emperor’s Bridge

3) The Emperor’s Bridge

The first bridge over the Miljacka River was built in 1462 and led from Kolobara to the Emperor’s Mosque. During the Austro-Hungarian administration, the bridge was demolished. Later, a concrete bridge was built in the place of the old one, that led to the Konak Street. The Emperor’s Bridge is one of the most important structures from old Sarajevo, along with the small shops on both banks of the river that create an atmosphere of the past. Don't miss the opportunity to cross this full of history bridge.
Sahat Kula

4) Sahat Kula

Built in the 17th century, Sarajevo Sahat Kula (clock tower) is one of the most beautiful and highest towers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The tower was seriously damaged by fire in 1697, but was restored in 1762. During the Austro-Hungarian occupation, it was decided to increase its height and to replace the old Turkish clock. Two Sarajevo merchants brought the new clock from London in 1874.

Sarajevo Sahat Kula was erected by Gazi Husrev-bey, who was one of the most important figures in Ottoman Bosnia. Because the clock shows the lunar hour, it should always be adjusted. It is considered to be the only public lunar clock in the world.
Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque

5) Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque (must see)

The Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque is a mosque in the city of Sarajevo. It is considered the most important Islamic structure in the country and one of the world's finest examples of Ottoman architecture. It is located in the Baščaršija neighborhood in the Stari Grad municipality, and remains one of the most popular centers of worship in the city.

The Gazi Husrev-beg Mosque was built by the famous Ottoman architect Adzem Esir Ali "Alaüddin", who also built the Yavuz Selim Mosque in Istanbul for the Sultan Selim I. The mosque was financed in 1531 by Gazi Husrev-beg, the provincial governor of Bosnia and Sultan Beyazid II's grandson. Gazi Husrev-beg is widely considered Sarajevo's greatest patron, as he financed much of Sarajevo's old city at this time. Magnificent stalactite ornamentation in the angles under the dome and in the place where the imam leads the prayers, as well as other polychromatic decoration, valuable carpets and the light effects through the 51 windows produces a sense of greater space than there is in reality. At every time of prayer in this mosque, the great benefactor Gazi Husrev-beg is remembered.

During the Siege of Sarajevo, Serbian forces purposely targeted many centers of the city's culture, such as museums, libraries, and mosques, and fired on them generally. As the largest and best known, the Beg's mosque was an obvious target. Heavily damaged in the war, it was renovated in 1996 with foreign help. Haverford College Professor Michael A. Sells has accused the renovators of Wahhabism in the mosque. Prior to reconstruction, the interior was far more intricate, but today the walls are simply white, much of the detail, artistry, and color taken out. Complete restoration and re-painting of the mosque began in 2000. It has been done mainly by Hazim Numanagić, a Bosnian calligrapher.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

6) Baščaršija (must see)

Built in the 15th century, at the time when Isa-bey Ishaković founded the city of Sarajevo, Bascarsija is both an old market place as well as the historic and cultural center of the city. The word “Bascarsija” translates as the “main market place”.

Compared to past times, Bascarsija is much smaller than it used to be. It was damaged by fire and other calamities in the19th century. The communist regime wanted to raze it to the ground altogether, but luckily they changed their mind.

Today, Bascarsija is the main place of interest for tourist coming to Sarajevo, as there are several historic structures around it.
Čekrekčinica Mosque

7) Čekrekčinica Mosque

Built in 1526 by Muslihudin hajji Mustafa Cekrekcija, Cekrekcinica Mosque is the only single-dome mosque in the region that has survived until today. The original deed of endowment of Cekrekcija is the oldest deed in Sarajevo. According to it, Cekrekcija also endowed 45 stores in Carsija.

The dome of the mosque is the work of architect Hajrudin. It is placed above the prayer area. The interior is beautifully decorated with geometric shapes and plant illustrations.

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