The Morić Brothers

From among the many characters who have left an indelible mark on the history of Sarajevo, a special place belongs to the controversial Morić brothers. For some they were ruffians and for others they were rebels who opposed unjust rule.


In the middle of the 18th century there lived two brothers who were wealthy merchants: Hajji Mehmed Aga, or “Pašo”, and Ibrahim Aga Morić. Their father was Mustafa Aga, an esteemed Janissary who bore the title of serdengečdija (assailant) in the army and their mother was named Amina.

It was around this time, after the battle of Banja Luka, that Bosnians had defeated the powerful Austrian army without receiving any help from Istanbul.

State of anarchy in Bosnia

The Porte “rewarded” the people by imposing new taxes and this caused further rebellions to arise, leading to a state of anarchy in Bosnia.

The chronicler of the day, Mula Mustafa Bašeskija, noted: “At that time no respect was shown to the pasha or commander, or even to the judge or religious elite…”.

In Sarajevo, the two Morić brothers from Vekil Harčova mahala below Alifakovac were among those who were leading the ever frequent rebellions against Ottoman rule.

Legend says that the Morić brothers weren’t only fighting against the authorities, but were fighting the Halilbašićs, who lived in one mahala on the other side of the Miljacka, and that these two prominent Sarajevo families were at war with one another just like two armies in battle.

It is said that the Morićs were ruffians and evil doers – they would occupy the middle of Šeher-ćehajina Bridge and would sit facing one another with their long pipes outstretched until they would meet in the center. They would sit this way for hours, talking and smoking, and no one dared pass the bridge while they were there.

It’s true that they took over the garden of one home on the right bank of the Miljacka, which was part of the endowment (vakuf) of Isa Bey Ishaković, the founder of Sarajevo. However, they didn’t take it for themselves; rather, they made it a part of Vekil Harčova Mosque in their own mahala. According to the historian, Hamdija Kreševljaković, they took a small amount from a stronger vakuf in order to help one that was less endowed.

The Morić brothers were arrested at the beginning of March 1757, when the rulers had had enough of the anarchy in Sarajevo. The most credible version of the story of their arrest states that they were apprehended after ikindija (late afternoon) prayers at Bakr Baba's Mosque in At-Mejdan. They were then led in chains to the fortress where they were tried and strangled.

The Morić brothers are buried in the courtyard of Vekil Harčova Mosque, also known as Hadžijska Mosque, which is right behind Inat Kuća. They were laid to rest next to their father and mother, Mustafa Aga and Amina. There is a plaque in the wall of the mosque which is dedicated to Mehmed and Ibrahim Morić.

Morić brothers ballad

The story of the Morić brothers’ arrest and execution is told in a ballad which was most likely written by some of their followers.

Research done by Professor Dženana Buturović has shown that there are at least 28 versions of this ballad, which has been translated into several different languages.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the son of Ibrahim Aga Morić, Mustafa, who was named after his grandfather, purchased a han (inn) which had been part of Gazi Husrev Bey’s vakuf and which today bears the name, Morića Han.

While one cannot stay at the inn today, visitors can still have a rest here. The entrance is on Sarači St. and there are a few cafés, as well as a restaurant which serves traditional Bosnian food.