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Magnificent Interior of Bey’s Mosque (Sarajevo Oriental)

‘Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking’ – Khalil Gibran

Bey's Mosque Interior Sarajevo
Bey’s Mosque interior – unique in its layout

Sarajevo’s most famous mosque

Gazi Husrev Bey’s Mosque or simply Bey’s Mosque is the largest and most famous historical mosque in Sarajevo. It is also considered the most beautiful one. Leaving Sarajevo without seeing it would be like leaving Paris without visiting the Eiffel Tower.

Interior of Bey's Mosque
The colors and intricate details of the ceiling decorations are truly inspiring.

Most remarkable work outside of Istanbul

The mosque was finished in 1531, a century after the Emperor’s Mosque by the main architect (Mimar) of the Ottoman Empire at the time, Adžem Esir Ali. He was one of the leading creators of the Early Istanbul School of Architecture and is known for the construction of Sultan Selim Yavuz Mosque and the Mimar Acem Ali Mosque in Istanbul.  However, Bey’s Mosque was the most famous work of this school outside Istanbul.

Gallery inside the Bey's Mosque
This is where the muezzin (one who delivers the call to prayer) takes his place during the prayer.

First in the world

Bey’s Mosque was the first mosque in the world to receive electricity and electric illumination in 1898. during the period of Austro-Hungarian Empire.  A few months before that Sarajevo got electrical lighting on the streets, which made it one of the first cities in Europe to have electric public lighting, including London which was still running on gas. 

Who was Gazi Husrev Bey?

The mosque was named after its founder Gazi Husrev Bey, an Ottoman governor of Bosnia and Sarajevo’s greatest benefactor. He was Sultan Bayezid II’s grandson by his mother and Bosnian by his father and he devoted most of his life as well as his riches to building and urbanizing Sarajevo. During his time Sarajevo was the largest city in the European part of the Ottoman Empire. With a population of 50,000 it was second only to Istanbul.

Sarajevo Bey's Mosque
Exceptional lighting of the mosque gives the impression of a much larger space than it is.

Gazi Husrev Bey’s Museum

During 20 years of his rule he built many important buildings and one of them houses a museum right across the mosque. If you would like to know more you can watch a documentary on his life and his legacy in the museum.

Windows of Bey's Mosque
The mosque has 51 windows – 12 lower ones of rectangular shape, while the rest are crowned with a broken arch
Main door Bey's Mosque
Inscription above the main mosque door

Beautiful decorations

Sharing the faith of many other buildings in Sarajevo throughout history Bey’s Mosque was severely damaged during several fires. One of the biggest restorations was done during Austro – Hungarian rule in 1886. but that wasn’t in accordance with its original style. However, after being seriously damaged in the most recent war the beautiful decoration of the mosque interior were restored in 2001/02. in accordance with its original style of oriental architecture.

Mihrab of Bey's Mosque in Sarajevo
Minbar – a raised platform in the front area of a mosque, from which sermons are given on Friday or during religious holidays

Larger architectural complex

Bey’s Mosque was designed as part of the bigger architectural complex which includes two mausoleums (turbe), courtyard with the burial ground, abdesthane (place for ritual washing), fountain, muvakkithane, maktab, madrasa, haniqah, public kitchen and a clock tower. 

Know Before You Go:

  • open: 9 – 12hr and 14:30 – 16hr
  • entrance fee: 3 KM
  • the tickets are available at the information office in the courtyard of the Bey’s Mosque.
  • make sure you are appropriately dressed (women can borrow a scarf at the information office)
  • remove the shoes (this is a general rule in Bosnian houses as well)
  • try not to make too much noise
  • website: begovadzamija.ba