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Sebilj in Sarajevo: Ottoman remnants

October 11, 2023


Sebilj in Sarajevo: Ottoman remnants

Sebilj in Sarajevo: A Glimpse into the City’s Soul

Credit for photo:

The word “sebilj” has its roots in Arabic and means “a structure on the road with water.” Traveler Evliya Çelebi documented that in Sarajevo in 1660, there were approximately 300 “sebilj” buildings situated at busy intersections and major marketplaces. Inside these “sebilj” structures, a “sebiljdzija” was responsible for filling containers with water and serving it to those in need. Unfortunately, all of them were destroyed in a significant fire in 1697.

In 1753, Bosnian Vizier Mehmed-pasha Kukavica Fočak erected a Sebilj in Baščaršija, which, for reasons unknown, was demolished in 1891. A new Sebilj, designed by Aleksandar Witek, was built in 1913 and has been preserved to this day. It stands as the sole remaining Sebilj in the entirety of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Nestled in the heart of Sarajevo, you’ll find an exquisite piece of history and culture – the Sarajevo Sebilj. This ornate wooden fountain, brimming with intricate details and vibrant colors, is a symbol of the city’s past and present. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of Sarajevo’s Sebilj, exploring its rich history, cultural significance, and the enchanting stories that surround it.

Sebilj depiction
Credit for phot: _goropro_

A Glimpse into History

The Sarajevo Sebilj, stands as a testament to the city’s diverse and complex history. This wooden fountain was constructed in the 15th century, a period when Sarajevo thrived as a multicultural hub. Sebilj served as a public water source, providing clean drinking water to the city’s residents and travelers.

What makes Sarajevo Sebilj particularly captivating is its intricate design. The structure boasts an Ottoman-style wooden pavilion adorned with impressive geometric patterns, making it a feast for the eyes of any admirer of architecture. The vivid colors and detailed craftsmanship bring the Sebilj to life, creating a stunning contrast with the bustling modern city that surrounds it.

Cultural Significance

Sarajevo Sebilj is more than just a historic landmark; it’s a cultural symbol. For the people of Sarajevo, it represents their resilience and unity in the face of adversity. The Sebilj has withstood the test of time, surviving not only wars but also social and political changes. It remains a symbol of hope, reminding the people of Sarajevo of their shared history and the importance of coming together.

A Meeting Point

In Sarajevo, the Sebilj is not just an inanimate object; it’s a place where people meet, stories are shared, and traditions are upheld. It’s not uncommon to see locals and tourists alike gathered around the Sebilj, sipping on traditional Bosnian coffee or enjoying a refreshing glass of water from its spouts. The Sebilj is a place where the past and present intersect, where cultures merge, and where friendships are formed.

Famous Sebilj pigeons
Credit for photo: makaki82

Festivals and Celebrations

Throughout the year, the Sebilj serves as a focal point for various cultural events and festivals. From art exhibitions to musical performances, the area around Sebilj comes alive with creativity and energy.

In Conclusion

The Sarajevo Sebilj is more than just a historic wooden fountain; it’s a living piece of the city’s soul. Its rich history, architectural beauty, and cultural significance make it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Sarajevo. As you stand before this captivating symbol, you’ll not only witness its beauty but also feel the heartbeat of a city that has endured and thrived through the ages.

So, if you’re ever in Sarajevo, don’t forget to pay a visit to the enchanting Sebilj. It’s a place where history and culture merge, where stories are told, and where the heart of the city beats on.