Gazi Husrev-beg’s Mosque, affectionately known as Begova Mosque, is a magnificent gem of Islamic architecture nestled within the charming old bazaar in Sarajevo. This historic masterpiece is a must-visit for tourists seeking a blend of culture, art, and spirituality.
The mosque was built in 1530/31 by the renowned Persian architect Adžem Esir Ali, making it not only the largest but also one of the most spectacular mosques in the region. Its intricate design and harmonious proportions are a testament to the brilliance of early Ottoman architecture.
As you step into its vast courtyard, the mosque’s grandeur unfolds. Marvel at the heavy marble columns and beautifully stylized arabesques that adorn the entrance.
Above the door, an Arabic inscription reveals the mosque’s construction date.
Inside, you’ll be captivated by the vast, harmonious space. The central prayer area is crowned by a 26-meter-high dome, creating an impressive sense of spaciousness. The mihrab, an ornate niche facing the Kaaba, and the mimber, a pulpit of seven marble types, add to the mosque’s charm.
What truly sets this mosque apart is its lighting – 51 windows, each with a unique design, bathe the interior in a soft, welcoming glow. The stalactite decorations, ornate patterns, and calligraphic inscriptions from the Quran further enhance its beauty.
Visitors can explore the mahfil gallery and the maksura reserved for dignitaries. The tetimes on either side are connected to the central space and are covered by smaller domes, adding architectural elegance.
This cultural and spiritual haven is not only an architectural marvel but a place where history, art, and religion converge. Its timeless beauty will leave you in awe, making your visit to Begova Mosque a truly enriching experience. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the exquisite craftsmanship and immerse yourself in the rich history of this iconic Bosnian landmark.
In the Courtyard of Gazi Husrev-beg’s Mosque
The Şadırvan: A Source of Ritual Cleansing
In the heart of the courtyard stands a graceful marble fountain, the Şadırvan. Its elegant structure not only adds to the aesthetics but also serves a practical purpose. Pilgrims and visitors can use this fountain for ablution – the ritual cleansing before prayer. This serene spot invites reflection and spiritual preparation.
The Abdesthane: Ritual Cleansing Chambers
To the west, you’ll find enclosed facilities for ablution, divided into male and female sections. These rooms, known as abdesthane, have been in use since 1530. They offer a glimpse into the traditions of preparing for prayer, which is an integral part of Islamic culture.
Begova Hana: A Rare Public Toilet
Constructed in 1529, just beyond the mosque’s harem walls, the public toilet at Begova Hana is a unique historical gem. It is possibly one of the only facilities of its kind in Europe during that era. Discover how this essential amenity was integrated into Gazi Husrev-beg’s visionary water supply system.
Muvekkithana: The Timekeeping Room
Beside the abdesthane, you’ll find the muvekkithana, a small building that houses instruments for measuring the sun’s altitude. Learn how this room played a crucial role in determining the precise time of prayer, especially in an era when timekeeping devices were scarce.
Sahat-Kula: The Clock Tower
Constructed in 1529, the clock tower marks the intersection of four streets. It tells time based on lunar calculations, a system that offers a unique perspective on the passage of days. The tower’s clock faces on all sides have a fascinating history, and tourists can marvel at how this historical timepiece continues to function today.
Ezantaş: The Muezzin’s Platform
The old stone capital from the mosque’s pillar now serves as a platform for the muezzin during special occasions. Discover its significance and learn how it was also used as a measurement standard, highlighting the multifaceted nature of these historical relics.
Mekteb: The Religious School
Explore the building to the east, dating back to 1530, which housed a mekteb – a place for religious education. Today, it has been adapted to serve modern needs while preserving its historical charm.
Adjacent to the mosque, you will find the Gazi Husrev-beg Turbe, also known as the Tomb of Gazi Husrev-beg, a mausoleum which is the final resting place of Gazi Husrev-beg.
Visiting the courtyard of Gazi Husrev-beg’s Mosque is like stepping back in time, where you can gain a deeper appreciation for the cultural and architectural richness of Sarajevo. These interconnected structures and historical artifacts offer a unique and educational experience for tourists seeking to explore the city’s captivating history.
If you are a tourist who is visiting a mosque, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Dress appropriately: In most mosques, visitors are required to dress modestly. This means that women should wear long sleeves and pants or a long skirt, and cover their hair with a scarf. Men should wear long pants and shirts with sleeves.
- Remove your shoes: Before entering a mosque, you should remove your shoes. There is usually a designated area where you can leave them.
- Respect the prayer times: Mosques have designated prayer times throughout the day, and during these times, visitors are not allowed to enter. It’s important to be aware of the prayer times and plan your visit accordingly.
- Follow the rules: When you enter a mosque, be sure to follow the rules and guidelines. For example, some mosques may require visitors to enter through a specific entrance, or may not allow photography inside.
- Be respectful: Remember that a mosque is a place of worship for Muslims. Be respectful of the space and the people around you. Avoid loud talking or disruptive behavior.
By following these tips, you can have a respectful and enjoyable experience visiting a mosque as a tourist.