Ali Pasha’s Mosque – The prettiest construction of Ottoman legacy in Sarajevo

Ali Pasha’s Mosque, which most experts consider to be the prettiest example of classical Ottoman construction in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is located in the very center of Sarajevo, at the crossing of Titova and Alipašina streets, in the immediate vicinity of the Sarajevo Canton Government building. Next to it, the Koševo stream flows and joins the Miljacka River a little bit further on.


It was built in 1561 in a classical Istanbul style by the order of Hadim Ali Pasha, known for his military efforts also under the name Gazi Ali Pasha. He was born in the village of Drozgometva at Sarajevsko Polje. He was a begler-bey of Budim and a Bosnian sanjak-bey.


In the testament that he wrote and verified on October 27, 1557, he asked for a mosque to be erected next to his tomb from funds out of his endowment. He died in 1557, and was buried at a graveyard which is more than a hundred years older than the mosque itself. After 4 years, next to his turbeh, in 968 by the Hijri calendar or 1560/61 by the European calendar, this mosque was erected. It is decorated by 4 domes, a minaret adorned by stalactites, and white stone arches at the entrance.


The construction technique, the thickness of the walls and the stone sofas show that coastal influences were also present in its construction.



The spacious graveyard alongside the mosque stretched out all the way to today’s Veliki Park, but due to countless construction works, the graveyard was altered in size a number of times. This first happened after the establishment of Austro-Hungarian rule due to the construction of government buildings, and then again in 1939, during works on the main street, today’s Maršala Tita Street, when instead of a metal fence, a hedgerow was planted and a good part of the graveyard was turned into a park.


During the time of the SFRY in 1950, the construction of today’s Public Health Institute began, and at that time the turbeh of Ajni Dede and Šemsi Dede, who were dervishes of the Nakisbendi order, was demolished, and their tombstones were transferred to the graveyard alongside Ali Pasha’s Mosque. The nearby tekke, which had been built after the turbeh, was also demolished. The tombstone of Mustafa Bey Dženetić was also transferred here from the harem of the demolished Ćemaluša Mosque.


At the graveyard alongside Ali Pasha’s Mosque, there are several tombstones of a specific shape from the time of Bosnia’s conquering. There is a particularly interesting tombstone there with a specific war cap, weapon and rosette.


Ali Pasha’s Mosque with a harem in Sarajevo was declared a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2005.