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Bosnian mosques and the challenge(s) of urbanization : a portfolio

Updated: Feb 8, 2021

One of the important issues adressed in my thesis, entitled « Mosque architecture and scripture in Bosnia and Herzegovina : between tradition and novelty », is certainly the consequences and impacts urbanization has had on mosque architecture in the country.

Although not new, the urbanization process has been posing an even more accurate challenge to mosque insertion and visibility over the past 25 years, in a deeply modified Bosnian post-war urban landscape, as new constructions have flourished all over the main Bosnian cities, alongside many buildings destroyed during the war, either being reconstructed or left in ruins.

Urban Muslim communities, local authorities, and architects in charge of reconstructing the mosques destroyed during the war – that have now for the most part been indeed reconstructed – have been trying to cope with mutated urban settings. Mosques that were not destroyed (like the majority of the mosques of the capital city Sarajevo, for instance), sometimes become more and more concealed by newly-built high buildings or commercial centres. Newly-built mosques are also included in the equation, as they represent new structures and landmarks in the city landscape – especially under the shape of modern, monumental, and architecturally allochthonous structures, contributing to the alteration of – as well as adapting, with more or less success to – the existing environment. #mosque_architecture #urbanization #Bosnia_and_Herzegovina

Photo credits : Robin Cognée (ESR 7), 2011-2019. 1- Sultan Ahmedova/Čaršijska mosque (originally built most probably after 1675), Zenica (central Bosnia), July 2014. 2- Minarets of the Bijela/Hadži Skender-begova (left) and Čaršijska/Selmanagića (right) mosques (originally built, respectively, most probably after 1686, and 1836, both destroyed in July 1995, inaugurated after reconstructions respectively in 2002 and 2011), Srebrenica (eastern Bosnia), July 2014. 3- Ferhadija mosque (originally built in 1579, destroyed in May 1993, reconstructed in 2001-2016), Banja Luka (northwestern Bosnia), July 2019. 4- Ummu Arif Zabadne/Grbavica II mosque (built in 2004-2010s), Grbavica district of Sarajevo, July 2019. 5- Magribija mosque (originally built in the second half of the XVth century, destroyed by artillery bombings in May 1992, reconstructed during the period 1993-1997), Marindvor district of Sarajevo, August 2017. 6- Koševsko Brdo mosque (constructed in 2006-2014), Koševsko Brdo district of Sarajevo, December 2016. 7- Hadži Idrizova mosque (originally built in 1931), Hrasno district of Sarajevo, July 2019. 8- Kralja Fahda mosque (constructed in 1997-2000), Alipašino Polje district of Sarajevo, July 2011. 9- Bosanska mosque (inaugurated in August 2019), Alipašino Polje district of Sarajevo, July 2019.

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