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The new building of Gazi Husrev-bey Library has been enriched with another cultural content that adorns and complements its multi- century tradition. It is a Museum with permanent exhibition of our beautiful and often very rare artefacts belonging to cultural property of this people.

In the atrium of the Museum, there is a lapidary, a collection of engraved stones that represent a constant and true document of time in which they were created, of people who had them made, but also of the people who produced such works of art.

A visitor can see items that adorn Islamic tradition of the Bosniak population in this territory. They originate from various environments – home, mosque, tekke, trade. These three-dimensional exhibits were donated to or bought by the Library. With time, the collection grew to include over 1200 items.

The new library building provided an ample space suitable for such exhibits to be shown to the public.

The Museum collection is divided into several thematic units according to the types of objects, their purpose, and the way they were used. Therefore, the exhibition is composed of three components:


- Islamic calligraphy (khattu al-yadd) – Islamic art is focused mainly on beautiful handwriting craft – calligraphy - and its attributive ornamentation - the arabesque. Such artistic orientation evolved into a rich and versatile calligraphy, ranging over many different kinds of letterings (kufi, nesh, sulus, ta’lik, divani…) and ways of writing (in the shape of a circle, in the mirror, in the shape of an object, of a bird etc.). The origin of this kind of art is the spiritual beauty of the owner of the writing hand and its skill to bring the unreachable reality of the Divine closer to human intellect.

The Museum collection preserves calligraphic works of the most outstanding calligraphists such as Hafiz Husein Rakim-efendi Islamović , Ahmed Seid Vilić, Mehmed-beg Kapetanović Ljubušak, and other Bosnian and Herzegovinian calligraphists and calligraphy teachers.



- Time measuring – Time measuring was an important segment of everyday life of our people, particularly for the performance of religious duties of Muslim believers. Islam is one of the few religions whose rites are time specified. Prayer, fasting, hajj, and other religious duties are determined by a specific time in a lunar year. Calculation of accurate time meant knowledge of at least basic astronomy as well as appropriate tools used for such purposes – astrolabe, quadrant (rub-tahta), sextant, sundial, and mechanical clock.

A person who calculated time was called muvekkit whose duty was also to take care ofthe functioning of clock towers that have always existed both in smaller and larger towns of Bosnia and Herzegovina.Particular features of this exhibition are two handmade globes by a renowned Sarajevo muvekkit Salih Sidki-efendi Hadžihusejnović, nicknamed Muvekkit.



- UlamaBosnia and Herzegovina has always had an elite ulama educated at local schools and madrasahs but also throughout Islamic and western world. They were engaged in several fields of scientific studies, particularly in classical Islamic sciences. This component of the Museum exhibits manuscripts and printed editions by Bosnian ulama who appear as authors, scriveners, or commentators, including such names as Mehmed Mejlija Bosnevi, Sejfullah Proho, Hasan Pruščak, Allāmek Muhammed Bosnevi, Mehmed Handžić, Mustafa Ejubović Šejh-Jujo, Arif Hikmet Rizvanbegović-Stočević, Fadil-paša Šerifović. Also exhibited are photographs of our esteemed ulama and some of their personal belongings.



- Mosque and tekke – Since the time when Islam came to Bosnia and Herzegovina, hundreds of mosques have been built. The oldest one is considered to be Emin-bey’s mosque in Ustikolina near Foča built in 1463 by Emin-bey whose tombstone is exhibited in the atrium of our Museum. The most architecturally beautiful and significant mosques are Bey’s Mosque, Emperor’s Mosque and Alipasha’s Mosque in Sarajevo, Aladža in Foča (destroyed), Ferhadija in Banja Luka (renewed), Karađoz-bey’s Mosque in Mostar, Kuršumlija in Maglaj, Hadži-Ali’s Mosque in Počitelj, Sinanpasha’s Mosque in Čajniče (destroyed). As Turkish Army was preceded by sheiks and dervishes, tekkes are among the first buildings built in the conquered Bosnian settlements at the time of Ottoman power. The very first building built in Sarajevo (Bendbaša) at that time was a tekke. The best known tekkes are Hadži Sinan’s tekke in Sarajevo, tekke on the river Buna near Mostar, Naksibendi tekke in Oglavak and Vukeljići near Fojnica, tekkes in Visoko, Tuzla, Travnik. The exhibits of this collection present items that once adorned interiors of mosques and tekkes such as calligraphic quotes from Qur’an, chandeliers, Qur’an holders, hand-woven prayer carpets, prayer beads, stalks for incense sticks, dishes for rose scent.



- HajjHajj is the fifth pillar duty of Islam connected with visiting of the holy places of Mecca and Medina at a determined time ending with Sacrifice Bayram. Such trip was once very exhausting and expensive, marked by specific rules and rituals. Upon return, Hajjis were exceptionally respected in their places of living. It was customary that Hajjis bring presents for their family members, acquaintances, and friends. The items they used to bring included zem-zem water in special dishes, Hajj perfumes, prayer beads and prayer carpets, porcelain dishes, golden jewelry, dishes for scent and ritual washing (Qur’an tas), miswaks with which Arabs clean their teeth, silk and velvet, qibletnamas (devices that determine the Qibla direction), books and manuscripts. Some of these items can be seen in the central showcases of our exhibition.



- Everyday lifeThe everyday life of Muslims of our past took place behind closed courtyard gates and house doors. Wealthier women wore rich and luxurious attires, garments embroidered with golden strings and silk (blouses, bodices, and vests), gold and silver jewelry, while the attires of women from less wealthy families were modest. The clothes were held in decorated treasure chests (seharas).

Women spent most of their time behind courtyard gates and protected windows, working on embroidery hoops for needlework, or weaving beautiful and colorful handicraft (towels, table cloths, belts, carpets, prayer mats). Our exhibition is beautified by examples of such items.All exhibits, from clothing to decoration, to items of everyday use, do not differ much from those used in mosques or tekkes, and are representative of the deeply rooted Islamic tradition of Bosniaks.

Working hours

Monday - Friday 09:00-18:00,

Sunday 09:00-16:00

Please book group visits in advance so the Library may provide a guided tour of the Museum.