Šejhova Korija

Walking from Bentbaša along Ambassador Alley, over Kozija Ćuprija and further down the road that returns to Sarajevo from the west, will bring you to a hill on the left bank of the Miljacka.


This spot once served as the eastern entrance to the city, and Šejhova Korija (koru, Turkish=hill, grove) was the center of religious and social life.

It is known that the earliest dervish lodges (khaniqahs, tekkes) were founded when the Ottomans first came to BiH (beg. 14th c), a few decades before the Kingdom of Bosnia finally fell.

Long before the arrival of Isa Bey Ishaković, who laid the foundations for urban Sarajevo with his endowment, wondering Mevlevi Sufis came to this valley and erected their wooden dervish lodge on Šejhova Korija, a hill beside the river. 

Later on, after Sarajevo’s founding, it was here that members of different guilds had their “kušanme” festivities, where guild apprentices were promoted to journeymen and then to masters. The first day of spring (Sultan Nevruz) and the birthday of Hazrat Ali were celebrated, iftars were held, excursions were organized….

Dervishes cave

At the base of the hill was a small cave used by dervishes for their 40-day solitary retreats.

Water from the Miljacka, which was crystal clear and teeming with trout, was used for different purposes, but water from the nearby Ebu Hajat spring – the famous Water of Life – was used for drinking and ablutions.

The Ebu Hajat spring never dried up, and it was believed that the water was holy and that a man could drink from it only after he had fallen to his knees, in sajdah. Sarajevans would take the water home with them, and it was from this spot that they offered provisions to travelers on the Carigrad Road.

An official Mevlevi khaniqah, Isa Bey’s Tekke, was built about one kilometer from this spot after Isa Bey Ishaković’s arrival in 1458.

The first coffeehouse was later opened on Bentbaša, next to the tekke. Known as Šabanova Kahva, it was where Sufis, residents and city officials gathered.

The Mevlevi Bridge, an inn with a public kitchen and a small dam (bent, which is why this area is called Bentbaša), were nearby.

The Mevlevi lodge on Šejhova Korija was burned when Eugene of Savoy sacked Sarajevo.

National Monument of BiH

In 2005, the Committee for the Preservation of National Monuments of BiH made the entire Isa Bey Tekke complex a National Monument. It comprises: the Isa Bey Tekke archeological site and dervish cemetery in the courtyard; the Ebu Hajat spring, two dervish tombstones and the dervish cave (ćilehana).

The tombstones with Mevlevi turbans, but no inscriptions, have remained intact as final resting places for Mevlevi sages, Sultan Ahmet and Abdul Mahmut.

Šejhova Cave and the Ebu Hajat spring have been preserved.

Isa Bey’s Tekke was damaged by many fires and floods, and was razed to the ground in 1957 when the road was laid.