Type: Architecture, Historical, National Treasure
The entire villa complex on Petrakijina Street, which comprises Villa Mandić, as well as Villa Heinrich Reiter, Villa Hermina Radisch and Villa Forstrath Miklau, all represent the most well-preserved grouping of villas from the Austro-Hungarian period in Sarajevo.
The complex typifies the buildings being constructed in Sarajevo at the beginning of the 20th century, when the city was seeing a westward expansion, and most of the greatest architectural authorities in BiH were building objects that were in keeping with the Building Code for the National Capital City of Sarajevo of 1893, which made sure that, in future, the city’s appearance would be in harmony with the European standards of the day.
These representative villas, which were different from the other Austro-Hungarian constructions of that period, were built in 1903 and 1904.
The first structure, Villa Mandić, was built on the western side of the street according to designs by Karl Paržik. It was built in 1903 for Sarajevo lawyer and politician Dr. Nikola Mandić.
This monumental residence was built in the spirit of the Historicist style of architecture and was based on the luxury villas being built in Europe at that time. In decades to come, it would serve as a residence for the British ambassador, home to the US Consulate and the seat of the City Committee of the League of Communists. The Olympic Museum of BiH would later be housed here.
At the beginning of the Siege of Sarajevo in 1992, the building was shelled and set aflame. Ivan Štraus’ restoration project lasted until 2019, and the villa is again home to the Olympic Museum of BiH.
This line of buildings continues north with the villa that belonged to Heinrich Reiter, the son of a wealthy merchant. It was designed in 1903 as a castle with a high tower and a pointed “alpine” roof.
The villa has had many owners since 1914. Since 1985, it has been owned by the Sofić family, who live in part of the building, while the rest has been turned into business space (a smithing workshop for gold and other precious metals); and since 1996 part of the space was rented out to the British Embassy’s Consular Services Office in BiH.
Villa Hermina Radisch was built further to the north in 1904, with a few residential units and visible influences of the “Hungarian Secession” period. It was owned by the family of Hajim Finci (a Sarajevo merchant) from 1915 to 1948, until it was then considered communal property, but a few apartments were excluded from the property seizure and remain in the Finci family to this day.
Rudolph Tonnies designed Villa Forstrath Miklau directly across from Villa Radisch, and it was intended as a residence for the families of prominent socialist politicians after the Second World War. In 1962, the Behmen family sold the villa to the Association of Hunting Organizations in BiH, which turned it into Lovac Restaurant years later.
Until the mid-70s it was an exclusive establishment that welcomed only top socialist leaders, and then it became a public establishment. During the last war (1992-1995), this villa housed the command headquarters for one of the units of the Army of BiH.
The entire villa complex on Petrakijina St. was made a National Monument of BiH in 2009.