The Emperor''''s Mosque: the oldest mosque in Sarajevo

The Emperor''''s Mosque (Bosnian: Careva Džamija, Turkish: Hünkâr Camii) is an important landmark in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 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.It was built by Isa-bey Ishaković, who dedicated it to the Sultan, Mehmed the Conqueror, the conqueror of Constantinople. Considered one of the most beautiful mosques of the Ottoman period in the Balkans, the mosque features a roomy interior and high quality decorative details, such as the mihrab.

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 Magnificent, 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.


In 1912 architect Karl Parzik, respecting module and using elements that have been seen in the construction of Bosnian houses, designed the Ulema majlis which successfully fit into area with the Emperor''''s Mosque.