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Church/mosque in Jajce should be used for connecting people

29.07.2019 at 13:09

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Religious communities did not enter disputes regarding this national monument until the old city center of Jajce was nominated for UNESCO. The famous Italian architect Andrea Bruno made a project of its restoration with which no religious community agreed. It was not acceptable for the Catholic Church to turn the building into a flat roof multimedia center. The Islamic community was worried that on the flat roof the glass part that would illuminate the interior reminds of a cross, Anto Brtan, Director of the Cultural Heritage and Natural Heritage Agency and Development of the Tourist Potential of the City of Jajce told FENA speaking on the request of the Islamic Community of BiH, i.e. the Majlis of the Islamic Community of Jajce and the United Waqf of Jajce, to return to them the Church of St. Mary (converted to Fethija or Sultan Sulejman's mosque in 1528) with the Bell Tower.

He recalls that as a mosque this monument was used from 1528 to 1832, when it was completely burnt in the fire caused by Turkish soldiers located in that building. Thereafter, until the arrival of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, there was no intervention on the repair or restoration of that building.

As the Director of the Agency emphasizes, most Jajce citizens, both religions, do not want this case to be politicized and bring unnecessary tensions. Brtan points out that Jajce's citizens mostly want the church/mosque to be rebuilt and protected as a national monument without any mixing of religious communities. He also reminds of the attitude of the Franciscan monastery in Jajce that it would be best for all Jajce and BiH citizens to not raise tensions that could disrupt inter-religious relations and undermine general security and that the church/mosque should remain under exclusive protection and management by state, cantonal and municipal institutions.

Church of St. Mary (converted to Fethija or Sultan Sulejman's mosque in 1528) with the Bell Tower was proclaimed a national monument for the first time by the Austro-Hungarian authorities in BiH in 1892 and is committed to managing the National Museum in Sarajevo. The same protection enjoyed during the former SFRY. The Commission for the Preservation of National Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina also proclaimed it a national treasure in 2003.

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