Gazi Husrev Bey's Mosque in Sarajevo

Gazi Husrev Bey's Mosque, better known as Bey's Mosque, was built in 1530 and is located right in the center of Baščaršija. It is surrounded by many shops and the streets, Sarači, Ćurčiluk Veliki, Čizmedžiluk and Mudželiti Veliki.

Updated: 2018/12/27

There's also the nearby Sahat Kula, a famous clock tower and the only one of its kind in the world to follow the lunar calendar (“a la Turka” time), used to determine the times for the five daily Islamic prayers.

Bey’s Mosque was designed by Adžem Esir Ali, a Persian from Tabriz who was the chief architect for the Ottoman Empire at that time. The mosque was built as part of the vakuf (endowment) set up by the Ottoman Governor, Gazi Husrev Bey, who governed Bosnia, more or less continuously, from 1521 until his death in 1541.

While Sarajevo was founded by Isa Bey Ishaković, it was Gazi Husrev Bey who gave Sarajevo its recognizable features, some of which have become its main attractions. This generous benefactor not only left behind mosques for future generations, but also a bezistan (covered bazaar), hamam (public bath), madrasa (educational institution), library….

Bey’s Mosque is rightly considered one of the most important architectural monuments from the time of Ottoman rule in BiH. While it suffered much damage over the centuries, especially during the frequent fires which broke out in the old čaršija, it was rebuilt every time.

The mosque’s current appearance, with its 26-meter-high dome, dates from the restoration carried out in 1893. Five years later, it would become the first mosque in the world to be fitted with electric lighting.

Besides the true beauty of this structure, which displays a mixture of the early architectural styles from Istanbul, it’s hard to miss the lovely šadrvan (public fountain) in the courtyard, where believers can take ablutions before prayers and travelers can quench their thirst.

There used to be a muvekithana (a type of observatory) where the times for prayers were determined with the help of precise instruments and techniques. It was here that muvekits worked, using their perfect knowledge of mathematics, astrology and astronomy. Now there is a screen, in the same spot, that displays prayer times according to Central European Time, in honor of the muvekits.

Beneath the shade of a 100-year-old linden tree, there are two turbes (domed tombs) – one houses the remains of Gazi Husrev Bey and the other his lifelong and trusted friend, Murad Bey Tardić.

For 500 years now, it has been a practice for Muslims to pass by Gazi Husrev Bey’s turbe to offer supplications, for his sake, after the late afternoon prayers every day during the month of Ramadan.

There are many Bosnian leaders buried in the mosque’s courtyard, including Reis-ul-Ulema, Mehmed Džemaludin Čaušević; the politician, Dr. Mehmed Spaho; the reformer, Ali Bey Firdus; the poet, Safvet Bey Bašagić ...

Gazi Husrev Bey’s Mosque remained open even during the last war, and was hit by more than 100 grenades. Today, it is fully restored and shines brightly to represent itself as the most important mosque in BiH and in the Balkans.