The Church of the Holy Trinity in Sarajevo

The Church of the Holy Trinity is located in the Sarajevo neighborhood, Dolac Malta. The front of this Catholic church faces south and looks out onto Zmaja od Bosne, a main road in town. There is a residential building, Župni Stan, on the northern side and the western side faces the post office/commercial center.

The Church of the Holy Trinity was at the center of urban development for the new part of Sarajevo and is a major example of the historicism of BiH’s sacral arts.

Center of urban development

With the onset of Austro-Hungarian rule in BiH, the first Archbishop of Vrhbosna, Dr. Josip Stadler, was very active from 1881 until 1918, when he founded church parishes and oversaw the construction of the Cathedral of Jesus’ Sacred Heart, monasteries, several churches, seminaries, educational centers, schools….

It was during this time that many workers began to arrive from all parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the population increased dramatically. The city began to expand around the old railway station and the neighborhood, Gradski Pofalići, which is where many new railway workers and those employed in the lumber industry took up residence.

Most of the new arrivals were Catholic and, with the approval of the National Government of 1902, Archbishop Stadler founded the Holy Trinity Parish, which was in need of a place of worship.

At first, given limited funds, only a chapel was going to be built, but Stadler decided in 1904 that a parish church should be built.

Josip Vancaš was entrusted with designing the project. At that time he served as the official architect and adviser for the Vrhbosna Diocese and designed all of the objects that were commissioned by the Catholic Church during the period of Austro-Hungarian rule in Sarajevo.

Vancaš completed his designs for the church by the early part of 1905 and, within three months, the Austro-Hungarian authorities approved the designs and construction plans.

The Vrhbosna Diocese financed the project and most of the money was provided by Archbishop Stadler himself.

Construction was completed by the autumn of 1906 and the dedication ceremony took place on November 18 of that year.

Neo-Romanesque basilica 

The Church of the Holy Trinity was built as a single-naved basilica in the Neo-Romanesque style. It is 40 meters long, 15 meters wide and the 46-meter high tower is topped by a three-meter wrought-iron cross.

The church features Secession-style stained glass windows and the original façade was done in two colors, with gray and blue bands. The interior was painted by Karl Richter and the painting of the Holy Trinity and other paintings at the altar are the work of Oton Iveković.

The church was badly damaged during the last war, especially the roof, façade and windows, so from 1999 to 2008 it underwent a series of renovations and the façade now has light and dark shades of ochre.

In 2008, a cathedral from Freiburg, Germany presented the church with a valuable gift – an organ that can play pieces from all musical periods.

The organ is used during sacral ceremonies and classical music concerts.

In 2009, the Committee for the Preservation of National Monuments made this historical building a National Monument of BiH.