Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Country / Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarena (Sulejmanija) Mosque

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Sarena (Sulejmanija) Mosque

About the site

Corridor: Diagonal Road
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Travnik
Type: Islamic religious centre
Epoch: Modern Times
Theme: Islamic Culture
World Heritage:
Modern TimesIslamic CultureIslamic religious centre

The Sarena (multicoloured) Mosque or Sulejmanija with a sadrvan (fountain), drinking-fountain and shops is located in the centre of Donja carsija in Travnik, and in terms of architecture it represents the most important exemplar of mosque with pillars (prayer area above the bezistan (covered market) in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The development of Travnik as an urban settlement is associated with the age of Turkish rule in Bosnia. During that period, Travnik held a prominent position within the administrative division of towns in Bosnia (it used to be the seat of the kadiluk and Bosnian pashaluk). In 1699, the Vizier's chair was transferred from Sarajevo to Travnik, where it stayed until June 1850.
The Gazi-agina Mosque, which was destroyed in 1757, existed in the place of the Sarena Mosque already at the end of the 16th century. In the same year, another mosque, the Camilija Mosque, was built in its place. This mosque matches the present-day description of the structure. It rests on short stone pillars, a bezistan was built beneath it with two entrances, ten shops inside and seventy aligned around it, behind the arcades of the mosque. After the fire of 1815, the mosque was thoroughly renewed by Skopljak Sulejman-pasha, after whom it has since been called Sulejmanija.
Apart from the structural arrangement of the mosque, including the bezistan and shops, vertically divided into three storeys, the most significant elements of this mosque are wall decorations on the facades and inside the building, dominated by decorations made of coloured wood. It was after these decorations that the mosque was named Sarena.

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