• Museums of Sarajevo

  • Brusa Bezistan


    The old covered bazaar, Bezistan, which was erected in the heart of Baščaršija in 1551 by Rustem Pasha, Grand Vizier to Suleiman the Magnificent, is now home to an annex of the Museum of Sarajevo, where visitors can view the museum’s permanent exhibits.

    The displays are divided into three chronological periods – prehistory, antiquity (which features the oldest example of the lily motif in BiH) and the middle ages. Bezistan’s gallery includes items from the Ottoman period, such as valuable pieces of weaponry used by Ottoman soldiers, and the period of Austro-Hungarian rule in Sarajevo.

    The display that attracts the most attention is the model of “Old Čaršija”, the trading and merchant center of Ottoman Sarajevo.

    The original model, which shows the city as it was right before Austro-Hungarian occupation, was created by master modeler,Husein Karišik, in the 1950s.

    In conjunction with this display, visitors can now make use of an interactive 3D model of Ottoman Sarajevo and obtain information on specific objects by selecting items on the screen.



    Gazi Husrev Bey Museum


    Gazi Husrev Bey’s Museum is dedicated to Gazi Husrev Bey (1480-1541)the Governor of Bosnia and Sarajevo’s greatest benefactor. 

    The museum is located in Kuršumlija Medresa, one of the many objects built in the city by Gazi Husrev Bey.

    The museum’s collection can be divided into eight thematic sections which fill the rooms that were once used by students at the medresa.

    As they pass through the facility, visitors can come to learn more about Gazi Husrev Bey as a historical figure, his endowment (vakuf) and the medresa itself.

    The central area in Kuršumlija Medresa is made up of dershani (small lecture halls) which serve as exhibit spaces for the collection of rare items that were part of Gazi Husrev Bey’s vakuf. There is also the muvekithana, a room with instruments used to determine the exact time, as well as a room dedicated to the bequeathed structures that were damaged during the Siege of Sarajevo (1992-1995).

    In one of the rooms visitors can watch a documentary of Gazi Husrev Bey, the establishment of his vakuf and the objects that were built in Sarajevo as part of his generous endowment.



    Gazi Husrev Bey’s Library Museum


    The Gazi Husrev Bey Library museum collection contains more than 1,200 items which are divided into six thematic exhibit areas: Islamic Calligraphy, Measuring Time, Ulema, Mosques and Tekkes, Hajj and Everyday Life.

     

    • The Islamic Calligraphy section is made up of a collection of works by BiH master calligraphers.
    • The Measuring Time section contains items that were used to calculate the exact time, including two hand-made globes made by the famous Sarajevo muvekit (a person responsible for precisely calculating the time for prayers), Salih Sidki Efendi Muvekkit.
    • The Ulema section features a display of both hand-written and printed works by famous BiH ulemas (scholars), who served as authors, scribes or commentators on the works of others.
    • The next section, Mosques and Tekkes, has items such as levhas (individual calligraphic panels), lamps, Qur’an stands, prayer beads, hand-made carpets, prayer mats…, from some of BiH’s religious buildings.
    • The Hajj display shows items that were brought back by Bosnian-Herzegovinians from their pilgrimages.
    • The Everyday Life section contains articles that have served as a part of Bosnians’ everyday life for centuries, including clothing and shoes, furniture, dishes, items used in personal hygiene...

     



     

    National Museum of BiH


    The National Museum of BiH was founded onFebruary 1, 1888 and was first housed in a building next to the Sarajevo Cathedral. Construction of the facility in Marijin Dvor, the museum’s current home, got underway in 1909 and was completed in 1913 and designed by Karl Paržik.

    The museum allows visitors to take “a short walk” through BiH’s past, from earliest times all the way to the ethnology exhibit, whose interior captures the atmosphere of a traditional city house during the Ottoman period.

    The permanent exhibit, Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Middle Ages, takes up three separate halls which contain archaeological pieces dating from the Middle Ages (6th c. to 15th c.). Among the 11,500 itemson display, there are some that even adorned the interior of the palace where the royal Kotromanić family resided.

    The most valuable item in the museum’s collection is the famous Sarajevo Haggadah, which the Sephardic Jews brought to Sarajevo when they left Spain.

    There is also the rich collection in the natural history section which covers both living and non-living worlds, including a skeleton of a bearded vulture, a bird with a giant wingspan which used to fly in the skies above BiH not that long ago.

    There is a botanical garden in the central part of the complex, home to more than 3,000 types of plants, including some endemic varieties.

    Some of the most representative examples of Bosnian stecak can also be found among the greenery.



    Museum Sarajevo 1878-1918


    The Museum of Sarajevo 1878-1918 is an annex of the Museum of Sarajevo and its permanent exhibit shows Sarajevo during the time of Austro-Hungarian rule (1878-1918). 

    The Sarajevo Assassination was carried out on June 28, 1914 right in front of what was then a shop named “Schiller's”, in the building that now houses the museum. The assassination of the Austro-Hungarian heir apparent, Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, Sophie, was carried out by Gavrilo Princip, a member of the revolutionary organization, Young Bosna. 

    The museum’s exhibit is laid out chronologically and starts with events which paved the way for the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy to receive its mandate during the Berlin Congress to occupy Bosnia and Herzegovina and ends with the First World War, whose outbreak was caused by the Sarajevo Assassination.

    The exhibit can be divided into eight distinct sections

     

    • Resistance to Occupation
    • New Administration 
    • Cultural Life 
    • Cultural-Religious Educational Societies
    • Printing Presses and Publishing 
    • Industry and Architecture 
    • Annexation and the Bosnian Diet; The Assassination of the Heir Apparent, Franz Ferdinand, and His Wife, Sophie and The First World War
    • The life-size models of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie are among the most interesting items on display.

     


    Jewish Museum of BiH



    The Jewish Museum of BiH is an annex of the Museum of Sarajevo and is housed in the Old Jewish Temple, which is considered one of the loveliest exhibit spaces in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
    The museum’s holdings testify to the centuries that Jews have been living in BiH, as well as to the enormous contributions they have made to the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    This modest but very attractive collection contains engraved items used during worship, silver-plated prayer book holders, scrolls in silver holders, candelabras and menoras….
    There are also manuscripts, marriage agreements, prayer books and items which attest to the legacy of the many prominent Jewish scientists and artists from BiH, such as Kalmi Baruh, Danijel Ozmo, Marsel Šnajder, Isak Samokovlija….
    There is a special section dedicated to the great losses that the Jews of Bosnia and Herzegovina suffered during World War II.




    The Old Orthodox Church Museum



    The Old Orthodox Church Museum in Sarajevo was founded in 1889 and taken from the church holdings. It was Churchwarden Jeftan Despić, a member of the famous Sarajevo Despić family, who was credited with opening the museum.

    Given the abundance of items contained in its collection, this museum is ranked among the five most important orthodox museums in the world.

    Items held by the museum include the following: old paintings, manuscripts and printed books; church tapestries and embroidery, metal items, objects used in religious services, old money, religious relics, old weapons, handmade engravings and a collection of fine stones.

    The most abundant items are paintings by Bosnian and foreign artists. The museum also has several valuable hand-written and printed liturgical books, with the most important one being the Sarajevo Codex, which was written on parchment in the 14th century.

    As for textiles, the museum has a number of embroidered items, gold brocade vestments, church drapery, embroidered and woven belts with clasps. Some of the metal items that deserve special mention include ornate crosses from the 17th and 18th centuries, hand-held censers, panagias, patens (diskoi) used when serving the Eucharistic bread, Bosnian and Venetian lamps…

    As for types of currencies, the museum has quite a lot of old money issued by Turkey, Venice and the Republic of Dubrovnik, as well as money used in Austria and Serbia in more recent times.




    Museum of Literature & Performing Arts



    This museum deals with the collection, preservation and presentation of items which tell the story of the development of the history of literature and the performing arts in BiH.

    Founded in 1961 as the Museum of Literature, it was further expanded nearly a decade later to cover topics that related to the performing arts scene in BiH.

    It’s located in the heart of Sarajevo in an old family house that was built in the middle of the 19th century, making it a fine cultural-historical monument.
    The house was originally owned by the Skarić family and then the Despić family, whose members bequeathed both this object and Despić House to the city of Sarajevo. The latter now houses an annex of the Museum of Sarajevo.

    The museum’s holdings comprise 67 literary and 17 theater-related collections which contain more than 20,000 items.

    There are also permanent exhibits: Silvije Strahimir Kranjčević’s Study Room and the Bosnian Rooms of Petar Kočić, Hasan Kikić and Isak Samokovlija.
    The ground floor of the museum, the Mak Gallery, has served as an exhibit space since 1992.




    National Gallery of BiH


    The National Gallery of BiH (UG BiH) is the most important gallery-institution in Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Founded in 1946, its initial core collection consisted of 600 pieces which belonged to the Gallery of the National Museum of BiH.

    Since 1953, the gallery has been housed in the same building, which was most likely designed by the famous Josip Vancaš in 1912. Up until then it had been used as a department store that was owned by the Jewish merchants, Ješua and Mojca Salom. The Gallery opened to the public in 1959, with the installation of its first permanent exhibit.

    The UG BiH's collection currently contains more than 6,000 works which can be divided into several collections
    • the BiH Art Collection
    • the Ferdinand Hodler Collection
    • the Icon Collection
    • the Yugoslav Art Collection
    • the International Donations Collection 
    • the Photography and New Media Collection and the "NADA" ("HOPE") Art Archive

    The Gallery also works on documentation and has a library, plus departments for restoration and carpentry; a goldsmith's workshop, a photo studio and archive, as well as a department that is involved in pedagogical work.

    Since its founding, the Gallery has hosted over 900 exhibitions and was even in operation during the war (1992 to 1995), when it organized 42 exhibitions.

     


    Historical Museum of Bosnia



    The Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina was founded soon after the end of the Second World War, on November 13, 1945, as a museum of national liberation. 
    It was first located in Vijećnica and then moved to a specially designed facility in Marijin Dvor in 1963.

    Over the years, this museum has had different names and the scope of its collection has been modified. From 1949 to 1967 it was called the Museum of the People’s Revolution of BiH, then the Museum of the BiH Revolution (1967-1993), until it finally acquired its current name in 1993.

    The museum covers the entire history of Bosnia and Herzegovina, from the first mention of “Bosna” in historical sources (in the document, De Administrando Imperio, issued by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus) up until the present day.

    The museum’s collection is divided into six main areas
    • archival material
    • photographs
    • three-dimensional objects
    • artwork 
    • a research library 
    • documentation center
    The collection comprises some 400,000 items, many of which are very rare.




    Museum of Alija Izetbegovic



    This museum is dedicated to Alija Izetbegović, the first president of an independent Bosnia and Herzegovina. The museum is housed in the old city gates, Ploča and Širokac, which are remnants of the old fortified city, Vratnik, that was built in the 18th century.

    Not far from the museum is the memorial to martyrs in Kovači, with the mausoleum and last resting place of their wartime commander, Alija Izetbegović, which lies among the graves of the defenders of Sarajevo.

    The entrance to the museum is located in Ploča Gate, which houses a library of Alija’s works, as well as a few of his personal items. Visitors can also watch the films, The Audacity of Living and In the Service of Bosnia, which talk about the first president.

    Up on the first floor there are nine exhibit panels which tell the story of Alija’s life through texts and photographs and the central part of this space displays the many awards and recognitions that he received.

    There is an enclosed passage that runs between Ploča Gate and Širokac Gate and the latter houses an exhibit dedicated to Alija Izetbegović in his role as Commander of the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.




    Despic house



    Despić House, the oldest part of which was built during the 17th century, was bequeathed to the city of Sarajevo at the end of the 1960s by Pero Despić.

    As a descendent of this prominent Sarajevo family, it was Pero’s wish that Despić House, now an annex of the Museum of Sarajevo, serve as an exhibit that would show the way of life for one old Serbian family. It was also a way to preserve the memory of the Despić family, which left an indelible trace on one period of Sarajevo history.

    The Despićs, who made their fortune as artisans and traders, were members of the Sarajevo elite at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. Despić House even served as a precursor to the city’s modern theater, with the first theatrical performances given in the drawing room of the home.

    The house contains many interesting items which belonged to members of the family, including the will made by the most famous and influential Despić, Hajji Makso, as well as the piano that belonged to his Austrian daughter-in-law, Wilhemina “Mina” Despić, which was produced by a family-run company, Neubauer, in Vienna.
    The Despić family also donated another house to the city of Sarajevo, which is now the Museum of Literature and Performing Arts of BiH.




    Svrzo house



    Svrzo House represents one of the most well-preserved examples of domestic architecture from the Ottoman Period in BiH during the 18th century, a time when wealthier homes were divided into a public section (selamluk) and a family section (haremluk).

    The house originally belonged to the prominent Glođo family from Sarajevo. When the last male descendant was forced into exile for disobeying the Ottoman authorities, the house passed through marriage to the Svrzo family.

    In the 1960s the family sold the house to the Museum of the City of Sarajevo and it is now an annex of the Museum of Sarajevo.
    In addition to its permanent displays, Svrzo House now serves as a venue for exhibitions, concerts and performances.




    Vijecnica Museum



    Vijećnica Museum is located in the basement of Vijećnica, a building that is not only one of the most recognizable symbols of BiH's capital city, but also a world symbol of the meeting of civilizations.

    While Vijećnica was undergoing reconstruction, plans were made to include a space for the installation of a permanent exhibit about the building’s original construction, its incineration and renovation, as well as the major events that this building has witnessed during its turbulent history.

    The permanent exhibit is still in the process of being completed so, in the meantime, visitors can take a look at the exhibit, “Sarajevo City Hall Revisited”, by Nedžad Mulaomerović. The exhibit tells the story of Vijećnica’s reconstruction, which took nearly two decades to complete.

    Another exhibit on display is, “Sarajevo 1914-2014”, which has been done in cooperation with the JU Museum of Sarajevo and tells the story of Sarajevo over the past 100 years, including the story of one of its most important symbols – Vijećnica.

     


    The Olympic Museum



    The Olympic Museum of BiH was founded with the aim of preserving, for posterity’s sake, the memory of the organization and realization of the XIV Winter Olympic Games (WOG) which were held in the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1984.

    From 1984 to 1992, the museum was housed in a prominent villa in the center of Sarajevo, which had been designed by the famous Czech Architect, Karl Paržik, for Nikola Mandić, a Sarajevo lawyer and politician. Mandić, who served as President of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) and was later deemed an enemy of the state, lost his life and property after the Second World War.
    On April 27, 1992, right at the beginning of the last war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Olympic Museum was hit by grenades. The building was badly damaged and many valuable items went up in smoke.

    However, most of the collection was salvaged and transferred to the Zetra Olympic Complex and the new Olympic Museum of BiH was opened in 2004 to mark the 20th anniversary of the XIV WOG.
    Many items related to the XIV Winter Olympic Games have been donated, which has helped replenish the museum’s collection, and renovation of the Olympic Museum of BiH is in progress.




    Sarajevo War Tunnel (Tunnel of Hope)



    From July 1993 until the end of the Siege in late February 1996, the Sarajevo War Tunnel was the only connection besieged Sarajevo had with the outside world.
    It took more than six months to dig the tunnel and was done using pickaxes and shovels. The only source of light the workers had was provided by “war candles”, containers filled with cooking oil and fitted with a wick made from string.

    On the night of July 30, 1993, the tunnel was finally completed, giving Sarajevo an outlet to the world. The 800-meter-long corridor is a little over a meter wide and has an average height of 1.5 meters.

    Thanks to the tunnel, the beleaguered city regained access to telephone lines, oil supplies, food and electric energy.
    After the war, about 20 meters of the tunnel became part of a museum which contains many items from the time of the Siege of Sarajevo – the longest-running siege of any city in modern history.




    Gallery 11/07/95



    Gallery 11/07/95 is a memorial gallery whose aim is to preserve the memory of the Srebrenica tragedy and its 8,372 victims who were killed after the Army of Republika Srpska captured the eastern Bosnian town on July 11, 1995.

    Located in the center of Sarajevo and covering an area of 300m2, this gallery had a symbolic opening on July 12, 2012, the day after the anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre. The gallery aspires to be part of the collective memory – both as a testimony and a condemnation of the violence.
    The gallery’s permanent exhibit provides documentary images of what remains of Srebrenica. This includes a wall with the names of the victims, old family photographs, the scenes from the survivors’ camp, bones that were once scattered and later collected, offensive graffiti, photos of women from Srebrenica in front of Anne Frank’s house, as well as video and audio documents.

    Gallery 11/07/95 provides visitors with a documentary-artistic interpretation of the events that took place in July 1995 and asks that they not be simply passive observers of the items on display, but living witnesses to the horror and injustice.
    In addition to its permanent exhibit, the gallery also regularly organizes and hosts other exhibits.




    Sevdah Art House



    Sevdah Art House is a museum dedicated to sevdalinka, traditional urban love songs, and the famous singers who have interpreted them. 
    The museum is located in Baščaršija in Velike Daire, a renovated storehouse (magaza) that was built during the Ottoman period and used by Sarajevo merchants to store their goods. 

    The old magaza is now home to the museum collection, which displays items that once belonged to the greatest sevdah masters: Himzo Polovina, Zaim Imamović, Ismet Alajbegović-Šerbo, Safet Isović, Zehra Deović, Nada Mamula, Zora Dubljević....

    The museum also includes biographies of these sevdah performers, as well as the instruments they played, the major awards they received, old concert posters, archived recordings, some of the outfits they wore and so on. 

    The Art House has a central area, the enclosed Velike Daire courtyard, with its Sevdah Cafe, where visitors can rest and enjoy some coffee and the most beautiful sevdalinka songs. The museum also has a souvenir shop with CDs, books and many other items related to sevdalinka available for purchase.




    Ars Aevi Art Depot



    The Ars Aevi Museum of Contemporary Art (whose name is a partial anagram of “Sarajevo”, meaning “art of the epoch” in Latin) was founded during the war, in 1992.
    A group of enthusiasts led by Enver Hadžiomerspahić invited artists from all over the world to donate some of their works as a symbol of support for Sarajevo during the Siege, while also building up a collection for what would later become Sarajevo’s museum of contemporary art.
    Ars Aevi’s unique collection arrived in Sarajevo in 1999 and is comprised of approximately 150 works of art that were donated by some of the most renowned local and international contemporary artists.

    Today, this collection is considered one of the most important collections of modern art in Southeastern Europe and can be viewed at the Ars Aevi Art Depot in Dom Mladih, where it will remain until the museum’s new facility on Wilson’s Promenade is built.
    The design for the new museum was put forth by the Italian architect, Renzo Piano, who also donated the materials used in the construction of the pedestrian bridge that spans the Miljacka River near the site of the future Ars Aevi Museum.

    In recent years, Ars Aevi has organized many exhibits in Sarajevo by prominent artists, such as Michelangelo Pistoletto, Joseph Kosuth, Joseph Beuys, Bizhan Bassiri, Maja Bajević, Jusuf Hadžifejzović, Jannis Kounellis..., all of whom have donated some of their own works to the museum’s collection.


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