Type: Architecture, Historical, National Treasure
There used to be hundreds of sebiljs (kiosk-shaped public fountains) in Sarajevo, but today the last one is found on Baščaršija Square, where it serves as a major symbol of the city.
The origins of these fountains can be traced back to the Arabian Peninsula and the custom of building sebiljs was brought to Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Ottomans. Sebiljdžija, workers who received wages from the state or a vakuf (endowment), manned the kiosks and dispensed free water to hungry passersby.
This sebilj in Baščaršija dates back to the Austro-Hungarian period. The original one, built by Mehmed Pasha Kukavica, was several meters away from where Sebilj now stands, but was knocked down after being damaged during a fire.
Alexander Wittek’s design for Baščaršija’s Sebilj is in the Pseudo Moorish style and was installed in 1913. It underwent renovation before the XIV Winter Olympic Games were held and again after the last war.