Fifth Architectural Workshop Mostar 2004, organised under the patronage of H.E. Alija Izetbegovic, President of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in cooperation with the Municipality of Mostar, Mostar, 9-24 July 1999

The Fifth Architectural Workshop "Mostar 2004" was held in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 9-24 July 1999, with more than eighty participants including professional architects and students. In conjunction with the conservation and reconstruction activities undertaken by IRCICA in Bosnia and Herzegovina, this year’s workshop was designed as an educational and professional exchange between Bosnian and international participants.

Field work was conducted in relation with high priority projects which are currently being funded and managed by the City of Mostar in collaboration with IRCICA; the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (Geneva), UNESCO (Paris), the World Bank (Washington, D.C.), the World Monuments Fund (New York), other institutions, as well as individual sponsors.

During the two-week program, 29 researchers were organised in seven groups to work on the following projects:

Reconstruction of the eastern Stari Most area
Reconstruction of the western Stari Most area
Restoration of the Kapetanovina housing complex
Restoration of the Kulluk Street
Rehabilitation of the Cernica mahala
Redevelopment of the site of the Muminovica house and dan
Design of a new complex on the Boulevard

Evening sessions were reserved for discussions on the projects.

The general objective of IRCICA’s Mostar 2004 program is to contribute to the restoration and preservation of the architectural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina by means of research, training, technical and documentary support. The first workshop was organised in Istanbul in 1994, while the war in Bosnia was still on. The second workshop, which was held in Istanbul in 1995, was involved with combined and comparative studies on the urban heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina on one hand, and Istanbul on the other. It was an inspiring architectural exercise about these two historically related cities. The third workshop, which was held in Mostar in 1997, focused on the restoration of the Old Town of Mostar and its surroundings. As to the fourth workshop, it took place in Mostar last year, on 20-31st July 1998, with the participation of 50 architects and other professionals. Several organisations contributed in implementing all these workshops. Participants from more than 30 leading universities in 19 countries collaborated in implementing them.

The fourth workshop was concluded with the inauguration of the reconstruction of the Neziraga Mosque. The fifth workshop was concluded with its completion and inauguration for prayers.


Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 10 September 1999


The historical Neziraga Mosque in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been reconstructed and inaugurated within the framework of IRCICA’s Mostar 2004 project and thanks to a generous donation by H.H. Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohamed Al-Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

A ceremony was held on 10 September 1999 to mark the opening of the mosque, where addresses were delivered by the Deputy Mayor of Mostar Mr. Safet Orucevic, IRCICA Director General Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu and the IRCICA team in charge of the project, the Mufti of Mostar Seid Efendi Smajkic, the Head of the Department of Foundations of Sharjah H.H. Sheikh Salim Al-Qasimi, and the Deputy Head of Religious Affairs Mr. Ibrahim Spahic. Following the addresses, the participants performed the Friday prayers in the mosque and planted trees in the garden in memory of the occasion.

IRCICA, its Director General Prof. Dr. Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu and Project Manager Prof. Dr. Amir Pasic were responsible for implementing the reconstruction project. The archeological survey and restitution design (August-December 1998) were done by Professors Zeynep Ahunbay and Amir Pasic. The implementation design (January-March 1999) was conducted by the Institute for Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Mostar. The Chief Architect was Arch. Zijad Demirovic, Director of the Institute. The team included Architects Ekrem Dizdar and Omer Saffic, as well as Salko Kolukcija for the structural design and Enver Orucevic for the infrastructural design. Local administration was supervised by the Stari Mostar Foundation and its Director Mr. Mustafa Delic. The construction phase took place from April-August 1999, under the supervision of Mr. Arif Fajic, Director of the company Gradevinar-Fajic, Mostar, and Mr. Omer Karaahmet, Director of the company Kara-Drvo, Kiseljak. Restitution of the arcades was done by M. Fatih Uluengin and calligrahic inscriptions, by Hasan Çelebi. Supervision on the site was done by Engineers Esved Dugalic and Omer Sahic, as well as Archs. Zeynep Ahunbay and Amir Pasic.

Neziraga Mosque is located at Spile, a sub-zone of the historic core of Mostar, on the plateau above the Kriva Cuprija bridge across the Radobolja River, a tributary of Neretva, and at a distance of 150 meters from the Old Bridge. The mosque was built in 1550, at the order of Nezir Aga, a well-to-do person who, according to a folk tradition, was the son-in-law of the highly respected Vucjakovic family which has a housing complex across the street. The mosque was closed to prayers in 1932 and completely demolished in 1950. Nothing was built on the plateau after the mosque was demolished, but its lower part was preserved.

The mosque is a complex which also includes a school, an ablution place, a courtyard and a cemetery. The mosque building has a square plan with a 10,20 meter-long side and 1,05 meter-wide walls. It has a porch with stone sofas which are 4,40 meters wide and 9,40 meters long. The porch rests against 12 wooden columns. The minaret is 27 meters high. The ceiling and the gallery were built with pinewood elements. The school has two rooms on the upper floor and two on the ground floor. The reconstruction was done in total conformity with the original, which was depicted in accordance with the findings of archeological excavations, as well as illustrations and written documents. These facts formed the basis of the restitution design. The original materials and techniques were used wherever possible. At the same time, modern facilities were installed to provide maximum comfort for the worshippers.

The reconstruction of Neziraga Mosque represents the third phase of IRCICA’s long-term Mostar 2004 program and first implementation project. The first phase of the Mostar 2004 program, which started with the first architectural workshop held in Istanbul in 1994, aimed at creating international awareness and mobilising public opinion, and the second phase, launched one year later as the workshop series continued, was related to the formation and strengthening of an academic network. The third phase consists of actual reconstruction projects. It started with the reconstruction of Neziraga Mosque as the first project implemented within the framework of the Mostar 2004 program. Archeological excavations started in August 1998, immediately after the fourth workshop, which was held in Mostar in 1998. The necessary documents were produced and detailed archeological surveys were completed before the actual reconstruction began. The design was produced by the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage in Mostar in collaboration with experts from IRCICA. Significantly, the reconstruction was completed and the mosque re-opened concomitantly with the fifth architectural workshop Mostar 2004.

This reconstruction project and the related architectural workshops resulted from a committed international endeavour by a community of professionals and a group of organisations and institutes. It is hoped that the success achieved in their implementation will continue in future.