A stroll through Paržik's Sarajevo

In 1878, Sarajevo was beginning to look like a European city, and the architects arriving from all over the monarchy had much to do with this.


Among them was Czech-born Karlo Paržik, who gave Sarajevo some of its prettiest structures during his 58 years here.

He respected local building traditions, insisted that čaršija’s original form be preserved, and designed a single-story Vijećnica, a plan rejected by authorities.

Alexander Wittek designed Vijećnica, but followed Paržik’s triangular floor plan, and Paržik designed the building next to it. Built in 1892, it later housed Beledija Prison, whose location was the reason why Vijećnica’s main entrance faced the Miljacka.

Various styles

Skilled and familiar with various styles, Paržik was responsible for designing the Sharia-Judge School (given the need to educate Sharia judges) in the Pseudo- Moorish style. It later housed the Museum of the City of Sarajevo (1949) and has been home to the Faculty of Islamic Studies since 1992.

He worked with Croatian architect Josip Vancaš on the Cathedral of Jesus’ Sacred Heart, the BiH Presidency Building, the edifice behind Vječna Vatra, as well as Gazi Husrev Bey’s palace, where the National Museum’s collection was kept in 1888.

With the development of Sarajevo came the need for cultural events, so this Czech was charged with designing a Renaissance building for the Social Hall (1897). Based on Prague’s National Theater, it later became the National Theater of Sarajevo (1922).

In 1902, he designed one of Europe’s largest synagogues (now BiH’s only active one) for Ashkenazi Jews, who arrived in the late 19th century.

The museum’s collection was growing and there was a need for what would be his most monumental work – the National Museum. This Neo-Renaissance building, with four interconnected pavilions and a central botanical garden, opened on October 4, 1913. The famous Haggadah is among the museum’s three million items.

A Sarajevan by choice

Born in Czechia in 1857, Karlo Paržik came to Sarajevo in 1884 after finishing his schooling in Vienna. Here he designed public, residential and sacral buildings… for the National Government’s Construction Department, taught at the Technical School…. After his death on June 16, 1942, he was buried in St. Mihael’s Cemetery, and the following is engraved on his headstone: “Here lies Karel Pařík, the one who built Sarajevo – a Czech by birth, a Sarajevan by choice.”

He was involved in projects for more than 100 impressive buildings all over BiH, including these in Sarajevo: the Academy of Fine Arts, St. Joseph’s Church, the Bistrik Barracks, the Canton Sarajevo and Municipality Centar building, Zagreb Hotel, the electric power station on Hiseta Street….

In 2008, Sarajevo paid Paržik back for adding a European flair to the city by naming the square in front of St. Joseph’s in Marijin Dvor after him.