Konak (Turkish = home, palace, inn) is a residential complex in Bistrik, a neighborhood situated between the Academy of Fine Arts building (west), the Emperor's Mosque (north), Konak Street (east) and Franjevačka Street (south).
The sultan’s governors in Bosnia were based in: Sarajevo (1463-1553), then Banja Luka (1553-1638), and again Sarajevo (1638-1703), Travnik (1703-1850) and, for a third time, Sarajevo (post-1850).
During the period of Turkish rule, governors’ residences were referred to as saraji, begluk-saraji (Turkish = “palaces” and “a bey’s palaces”) or bejluk-saraj, which basically denoted an inn-like residence. In Sarajevo, there used to be an old bey’s palace on the spot that is now home to the Bistrik Barracks. Built between 1453 and 1462, it was demolished during the attack waged by Eugene of Savoy in 1697.
Today’s Konak was built just after the governor’s seat was being relocated from Travnik to Sarajevo, which was during Topal Osman Pasha’s administration (1867-1859).
In the spirit of the Historicist style, the palace was built on three levels, and there was also a smaller building that served as the governor’s private apartment (haremluk), as designed by Franjo Linardović of Split.
Up until 1878, Konak was the seat of the government, audiences with the resident vizier were held here, and National Assembly sessions convened here once a year. After the Berlin Congress of 1878, when Austro-Hungary was granted control of BiH, the National Government was formed in Konak.
During the period of Austro-Hungarian rule, this was where the country’s top administrators resided, and Czar Franz Joseph slept here in May 1910. After the assassination of Heir Apparent Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie on June 28, 1914, their bodies were brought here, where the autopsies were performed and the bodies prepared for their final viewing.
Generals, important parish residents and bans resided here from 1918 to 1941, and it was used as a royal residence during the period of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
BiH’s first medical faculty, which opened on November 22, 1944 in Sarajevo, was housed in Konak and its surrounding buildings.
After WWII, Konak went back to being a residential facility, and President Josip Broz Tito of Former Yugoslavia resided here temporarily, as did VIP guests who came from abroad for official visits.
This building was partially damaged during the war (1992-1995), and was later renovated. It now serves as a facility used by the Presidency of BiH and for occasional state functions.
The entire Konak residential complex (with its movable heritage, an auxiliary building and a park) was made a National Monument of BiH in 2007.