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Ottoman Archives Fund

Ottoman Archives Fund consists of two collections:

1. Collection of documents in Ottoman Turkish language

2. Collection of documents in Bosnian language

1.The collection of documents in Ottoman Turkish language contains documents issued by various local, provincial, and central authorities of the Ottoman rule. Currently, the fund holds a collection of 88 sijils (protocols) of the Sarajevo Sharia Court covering the periods of 1552 – 1565 and 1725-1852. These protocols are of special significance for studying of political, cultural, and economic history of Sarajevo, as well as of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The protocols include valuable data on the Sarajevo families, their material status, and their professions. Since the protocols include data on books owned by some families from Sarajevo, conclusions can be made on their cultural level as well.

There is also a valuable collection of around 1500 endowment charters kept in the fund. Out of this number, 554 are originals while the rest are certified copies rewritten into three books (charter protocols). In addition to endowment charters, there are also other documents like testaments, writs, advertisements, legal evidence papers. Endowment charters are precious sources for studying of the history and development of towns and buildings in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


A significant part of archives fund is a collection of teaching licenses which serve as a ground for studying of history of education in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are an evidence of who attended schools, what subjects they studied, who were their teachers, and what were the places they went to for education. The teaching licenses have an exceptional artistic value. A smaller number of this fund is processed within the fund of Ottoman archives while majority of it is in the manuscripts fund.

A larger part of the fund is composed of various documents comprising 4882 registered archive units with around 7000 heterogeneous Ottoman documents such as firmans, ordinances, legal documents, fatwas, invoices, orders, petitions, decrees, testimonies, letters etc. The fund includes a great number of defters from Gazi Husrev-bey’s Endowment. All these documents represent an important source for studying of the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The archives fund also holds a collection of translations of archive materials by kadi Abdulah Polimac.

2. In the collection of loose documents in Bosnian language, mostly presented are those that cover the period from Austro-Hungarian occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the end of the Second World War. A smaller number of individual documents relate to the recent period.

This collection at the moment contains 961 registered archive units with a large number of individual documents. It also includes various official documents and private possessions of outstanding persons of Bosnian and Herzegovinian cultural past, as well as of some institutions such as the Office of El-Hidayah.

A prominent position in the fund is occupied by archive collection of Osman Asaf Sokolović that consists of 9 compilations of archive units with a great number of cursive documents (published or unpublished); a collection of Dr. Muhamed Hadžijahić containing many thematically organized notes and  working versions of materials; as well as a collection of archivals by Fejzulah ef. Hadžibajrić composed of his notes, thoughts, texts, translations, newspaper clips etc.

Archivals and handwritings create a kind of "live” material that, printed or not, enable closer contact with a person, his ideas, his understanding of things or events.


Within this collection, inventory books kept as of the time of Salih Sidki Hadžihusejnović Muvekkit are also processed since they represent a historical overview of the work of Gazi Husrev-bey Library. They range from handwritten inventory books to modern digitalization.

Particularly significant are the roles of Muhamed Enveri Kadić and Osman Asaf Sokolović who donated to the Library an exceptional collection of documents in Bosnian and Ottoman languages.