There was a small cemetery on the parcel of land where the building would eventually be raised, and the bare plot of land had been purchased in the 1870s by the Austro-Hungarian general consulate with the intention of building a Catholic church.
However, Duke William of Württemberg, a commanding general, decided in 1880 that an officers’ casino would be built on this spot.
The casino was the first major edifice in Sarajevo to be built in the Romantic style, and expenses were covered by Bacher, a construction entrepreneur who did so out of gratitude for the job his company was given in building the Brod-Sarajevo railway line.
Center of cultural and social life
The building was officially opened in 1881 and served as the center of cultural and social life in Sarajevo until the completion of the Social Hall (National Theater).
An exhibition of paintings by Nikola Arsenović that showed traditional folk costumes worn by the peoples of Yugoslavia was opened here in 1880.
The first public concert in the history of Sarajevo was also held here on December 11, 1881. The military orchestra was conducted by Franz Lehar, a bandmaster serving in Sarajevo and father of the Austrian composer of the same name.
Heinrich Speer Theater brought the first opera performance to the casino, in 1885 a men’s singing society started its activities and was followed by others (Trebević, Lira, Sloga)….
In 1912 a project led by Karl Paržik saw the building extended and an extra floor was added with a large hall.
Acoustics and paintings
The Dom’s concert hall is considered the most acoustic hall in Sarajevo. The walls are decorated with four enormous oil paintings which depict the People's Liberation Front (PLF) during WWII. They are the work of academic painter, Ismet Mujezinović, himself a PLF member and founder of the artistic movement, Collegium Artisticum.
After 1918 it became an officers’ hall and following WWII it was called Dom Jugoslavenske Narodne Armije (JNA).
Dom JNA was on the frontline of one of the first big battles during the last war. On May 2, 1992, members of JNA who were holed up inside fought against the Army of BiH. After a few hours of hard fighting, the latter managed to overtake the building and that same year it was renamed Dom Ljiljana.
After the war, it first bore the name FBiH Army Hall, then with the creation of a single Armed Forces of BiH, it took the name Dom Oružanih Snaga BiH.
Since 2006, Dom Armije has been on the list of Protected National Monuments of BiH and even today it plays a major role in the social life of the capital city of BiH.