WHITE FORTRESS

WHITE FORTRESS

WHITE FORTRESS (BIJELA TABIJA)

 

Located on the southeastern slopes of Sarajevo, hiding in a stone mantle the history of the city from the Middle Ages to the present day, Bijela tabija is certainly one of the most impressive and most valuable buildings of the architectural heritage of this area. The dominant position of the White Bastion in relation to the natural amphitheater of the historic city center, and the view that stretches along the Miljacka River all the way to modern residential areas in western Sarajevo, make a specific, almost completely natural, choreography of nature and human creativity.

White bastion as an object of architectural heritage

To this day, different opinions have been expressed about the time of the creation of the White Bastion. According to one, the building was built around 1550 (the opinion is based on data provided by the travel writer Katarina Zeno), and it was demolished during the construction of the town of Vratnica and a new fortress was built in its place, which we recognize today by its polygonal shape.

According to another opinion, in the place of the White Bastion there was a fortress in the Middle Ages, which was not larger than the usual type of medieval defensive fortification that protects the open settlement (suburbs) in its vicinity.

A successful reconstruction of the appearance of the medieval fortress on the site of the White Bastion was done by Alija Bejtić on the basis of data provided by sources from the 17th century. It was a fortress with a rectangular base (approximately 75 m long in the north-south direction, approximately 50 m wide in the east-west direction) with four towers at the corners, a square base and a heel above the entrance gate. This appearance of the city dates it to the end of the 14th or the beginning of the 15th century. One peculiarity in architecture and conception is interesting, due to its unique fortification in medieval Bosnian fortification architecture. The rectangular fortification conceived in this way, with four towers at the corners, has similarities with the Central European fortifications, with a strong influence of Gothic Hungarian construction. There are openings for cannon barrels on the thick stone walls.

With the establishment of permanent Ottoman rule in this area in the middle of the 15th century, nothing significant changed in the appearance of the fortress. A crew of timarli was established in it and a mosque was built inside the fortress for their needs. On the Austrian map from 1882, the foundations of the mosque are drawn in the shape of an octagon, with an entrance that was parallel to the entrance gate of the fortress (north side). Evliya lebelebi also mentions the mosque in his travelogue from 1660. Next to the mosque, inside the fortress, was the house of the imam, two muezzins and military musicians, then a grain magazine and several houses of crew members. E. bijaelebija also explains why the name Bijela tabija came from, so he says that it was called that because of the white painting.

Review of activities performed on the protection of the White Bastion complex in the period from 1991. till today

In the desire to return the White Table to our everyday life, we decided to offer this building to the cultural scene, to make it not only a stage of history, but also a stage of today's modern life.

  • February 1991  Preliminary Archaeological Research Program;
  • September-October 1991  Small-scale archaeological excavations
  • / This research has indisputably confirmed that it is a multi-layered archaeological site and an architectural fortification complex from several historical periods. The discovered parts of the architecture, in the context of the obtained results, are dated to the Turkish period (parts of the wall of the polygonal mosque, paved canal - water supply line from Moščanica, fragments of Turkish ceramics ().
  • September 1999  Program for rehabilitation, conservation, restoration and revitalization of the White Bastion - Project task for the development of the Project for rehabilitation, conservation, restoration and revitalization of the White Bastion.
  • The realization of the mentioned Program went step by step:
    - October 1999. Geodetic and photogrammetric survey of the complex
    - Technical survey of the complex and detailed assessment of the state of the physical structure of the complex
  • February-April 2000.  Project of protective measures, preparatory works and clearing works. More on that  here .
  • 2000  Exploratory geotechnical soundings on the territory of the entire complex
  • 2000-2003  Project for rehabilitation, conservation and restoration of part of the southwestern wall of the bastion and bastion (Phase I of works) and Main project of constructive rehabilitation and reconstruction of the tower of the White Bastion (Phase II of works).
  • October 2002 / December 2003  Works on the south-west wall and bastion;
  • April 2004 / July 2005  Rehabilitation and reconstruction works on the tower of the White Bastion;
  • July 2004  The main project of constructive rehabilitation, restoration, conservation and reconstruction of the southeast wall with the associated tower (Phase III of works). / developed by the project team of the Institute /
  • September 2004  the collapse of a part of the south-eastern wall was noted;
  • October 2004 / October 2005  Southeast wall works;
  • September 2005 Main project for the rehabilitation, restoration and conservation of the northern wall of the White Bastion (Phase IV);
  • Rehabilitation and restoration works on the north wall are currently underway.
  • January 2004  The Institute has prepared a Terms of Reference for the development of the Preliminary Design for the purpose and use of the Bijela tabija complex, and the development of the design was offered to Academician Zlatko Ugljen. City administration - as an investor in March 2005. organized a public presentation of the Conceptual architectural and urban solution for the revitalization of the White Bastion complex, authored by academician Z. Ugljen, led by the author himself.

Activities related to the preparation of project documentation and implementation of certain phases of the project of rehabilitation, reconstruction and restoration of the complex Bijele tabije - fortification complex within the Vratnica rampart are financially supported by the City of Sarajevo - City Administration and the Ministry of Physical Planning of Sarajevo Canton. At all stages of preparation of project documentation (Phases I-IV), the holder of the development was the Cantonal Institute for the Protection of Cultural, Historical and Natural Heritage.

White Frotress Reconstruction Program
http://www.spomenici-sa.ba/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/bijelatabijaprogram.pdf

 

Source:

Cantonal Institution for the protection of cultural, historicel and nature heritage Sarajevo
http://www.spomenici-sa.ba/2006/12/22/bijela-tabija/ (en)