Banja Luka mosque rises 23 yrs after Serbian attack

Ferhadija grand mosque, which was blown up by Bosnian Serb militiamen, to reopen after painstaking nine-year reconstruction

Banja Luka mosque rises 23 yrs after Serbian attack

World Bulletin / News Desk

Blown up and destroyed in the middle of the night by Serbian troops 23 years ago the 16th century Ferhadija Mosque in Bosnia-Herzegovina's city of Banja Luka has been rebuilt and has risen up with a formal opening ceremony to be conducted today by Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

On 7th May, in the middle of the night, Bosnian Serb militimen exploded the mosque and minutes later, a second explosion also destroyed the city's second mosque Arnautija. Along with the destruction, the Serbian militiamen also obliterated other suburban mosques as well as the Muslim cemeteries in an effort to wipe out the Islamic heritage of the Balkan country. A total of about 60,000 Muslim and ethnic Croat residents were rounded up and deported from the municipality, imprisoned or killed. 

The reconstruction utilised many of the stones from the original building, which were dug up from rubbish dumps and lifted from riverbeds in which Bosnian Serb militiamen had dumped them in an attempt to strip Bosnia’s second city of all traces of its long Muslim heritage. Nearly 3,500 fragments, 65% of the original material of the mosque, were recovered from riverbeds, landfills and rubbish dumps.

Muhamed Hamidovic, the former head of the Sarajevo architecture faculty, has led the restoration effort after realising that the many sketches he had made of the mosque as a student in socialist Yugoslavia provided clues to how to rebuild it.

“Stones were found everywhere, mostly in landfills and dumps in and around Banja Luka,” Hamidovic told The Guardian. “Some were found at stonemasons’ workshops. We couldn’t use all of the material that was found because it was damaged by pathogenic materials that could not be treated. But there was only one piece – a pillar – that was found whole. It was discovered in a lake by members of the Banja Luka Divers’ Club.”

The Ferhadija reconstruction was funded by private foundations, the Turkish government and the government of the Serb-run half of Bosnia, the Republika Srpska. About 8,000 live there now, compared to about 30,000 at the outbreak of conflict in 1992.

“The re-opening of the Ferhadija gives me a great personal satisfaction because I am confident that we have done the job professionally, using methods similar to the original ones,” Hamidovic said. “It can be a model for the future reconstruction of over 2,500 cultural and historic monuments that were destroyed during the war in my country. And, of course, I am happy that we have enabled the people to have their memories back.”

Source: The Guardian




n the middle of the night on May 7, 1993, the centuries-old Ferhadija Mosque in Bosnia-Herzegovina's city of Banja Luka

Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Mayıs 2016, 09:53