Gazi Husrev- bey, the second founder of Sarajevo, was born around 1480 in Serres, Greece, where his father Ferhad-bey, born in the vicinity of Trebinje, was a regent.
His mother was the daughter of Sultan Bayezid the Second. He grew up at the imperial court. Before going to Bosnia, he was a regent of Smederevo Sanjak and performed a couple of diplomatic missions for the Sultan in Europe. Immediately upon arrival to Sarajevo in 1521, he undertook considerable construction initiatives. By buildings he built in Sarajevo and by vakfs he established to maintain his foundation, Gazi Husrev-bey is the greatest and the most significant legator of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
GAZI HUSREV-BEY’S VAKF
The Gazi Husrev-bey Mosque, the biggest and one of the most beautiful mosques in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was built in 1530-31 (937 by Hijra).
One year later, a maktab was built in the Mosque courtyard and a Hanikah across the street from it. In 1537, the madrasah endowment charter was written for which Gazi Husrev-bey endowed seven hundred thousand dirhams. The madrasah was named Seljukija, after Gazi Husrev-bey’s mother Seljuka. By its lead roof, the madrasah was also called Kursumlija. In addition to these, Gazi Husrev-bey built imaret and musafirkhana, Turkish bath, bazaar, two inns, water supply, a fountain in the Mosque courtyard, public toilet. The clock tower next to the Mosque also belongs to his vakf, as well as muvekithana built in 1859. The funds of his vakf were used for building of a hospital in Sarajevo in 1866. It was open all until the General Hospital was built in 1882.
To maintain these buildings, Gazi Husrev-bey donated around two hundred shops in the Sarajevo market, huge land compounds around the town of Jajce, and forests in Tešanj. He also left vakfs in Serres and certain amounts of turnover money. Income from bazaars, inns, and Turkish baths was used to keep the vakf buildings operational.
Gazi Husrev-bey Library in Sarajevo is the first library whose date of establishment is known.
The endowment charter of Gazi Husrev-bey for his madrasah states that "whatever is left from madrasah construction expenses is to be used for purchase of good books that shall be read in the madrasah and rewritten by readers interested in science”. Therefore, Gazi Husrev-bey Library dates as back as the madrasah, i.e. since 1537. The date of its establishment is considered the 26th of Recep 943 by Hijra, or January 8, 1537.