Bascarsija Mosque: A Sarajevo Ottoman Legacy in Sarajevo

The official opening ceremony of the five-century Ottoman legacy in Sarajevo, Bascarsija Mosque, took place on August 27, 2021 after its restoration in 2020.

Sarajevo, a prevailing cultural and historic center in the Balkans, is well known for its religious diversity. The city has been home to several religions, including Islam, since the Ottoman Empire. At the heart of the city is Bascarsija, a colorful neighborhood filled with mosques, churches, synagogues, and more, emblematic of the diversity of Sarajevo. One of those mosques is the historic Bascarsija Mosque, a national monument in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Built in 1527 during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Bascarsija Mosque has one main dome and a 35-meter-long stone minaret. Its entrance is characterised by a portico courtyard with three arches and cupolas. The most outstanding features of the mosque are its acoustics and hand-drawn details that adorn its interior.

The mosque has a history of restorations. The initial damage was from the fire in 1697. The hand-drawn details of the mosque were renewed by Mehmed Pasa Muhsinovic in 1762. There was also a restoration effort from 1866 to 1867. The mosque again took damage during the Bosnian War of 1992-1995.

The latest and most comprehensive restoration of the Bascarsija Mosque was carried out by the Turkish Directorate General of Foundations in liaison with the Islamic Union of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo Waqf Directorate.

The restoration of the Bascarsija Mosque is part of several projects that the Turkish Directorate General of Foundations has taken on with the aim of restoring Ottoman Era structures in Bosnia. This liaison between Turkey and Bosnia-Herzegovina is meant to protect the common cultural legacy and strengthen the bonds between the two countries.

The restoration of the mosque took three years from 2017 to 2020. Although the mosque had opened its doors for worship last year, the opening ceremony which was initially set for the 2020 anniversary of Miraj (21 March 2020) was postponed due to Covid-19 precautions.

Today, as part of his visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited the Bascarsija Mosque in Sarajevo to conduct its official opening ceremony after performing the Friday prayer in the Mosque.

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