Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Country / Bosnia and Herzegovina

Old Jewish Treasures in Sarajevo

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Old Jewish Treasures in Sarajevo

About the site

Corridor: Diagonal Road
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo
Type: Jewish religious centre
Epoch: Middle Ages
World Heritage:
Middle AgesJewish religious centre

Sarajevo is a center for different cultures. That is why there are a lot of treasures from Jewish origin too. Maybe the most valuable of them are the Old Synagogue and the Old Jewish cemetery.

The construction of the first synagogue in Sarajevo, known as Il Kal Grandi, began in 1581, with the permission of the Imperial divan (government).  It acquired its present shape in the early 19th century. In 1966, the synagogue was turned into the Jewish Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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The old Sephardic (jewish people who came from Spain) cemetery is an important Jewish memorial complex. This old Sephardi burial ground, in Borak or Satorija, once on the western edge of Sarajevo, where the oldest surviving tombstone (belonging to the first rabbi of Sarajevo) dates from the mid 17th century (it was erected in 1630), is a Jewish memorial complex which, on account of certain specific features, is without parallel, not only in former Yugoslavia but also in Europe. In some features the cemetery is comparable only to the mediaeval necropolises of Bosnia and Herzegovina. What makes this old burial ground unique is the shape of the tombstones, which is to be seen nowhere else but in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Jewish cemetreies, two types of tombstone are recognised – horizontal and vertical or standing tombstones. The first group is the older, and probably originates from the Middle East, while the second group shows the influence of Christianity.

Council of Europe, RPSEE