The Ferhad Pasha Mosque Complex in Banja-Luka was blown up during Bosnia's inter-ethnic war from 1992 to 1995, on May 7, 1993 in the early morning hours. After destroying the buildings on the site, Serbian nationalists bulldozed and removed the debris of the destruction. Today, the outline of the mosque's foundation in an empty grass lot is the only proof of its former presence.
Built in the late sixteenth century, the mosque complex included a madrasa (medrese), a Quranic school (mekteb), a dar al-hadith (darülhadis), a bathhouse (hamam), a fountain (çesme), clocktower (saat kulesi or sahat kula), three tombs (türbe) and a cemetery. A caravanserai (kervansaray) and a market (bedesten or bezistan) were also built at the same time to bring income to support the mosque and its institutions. These were all constructed as part of Sokollu Ferhad Pasha's waqf, or religious foundation, in Sarajevo. He also commissioned an aqueduct, a bridge and a palace in the city. An inscription over the main entrance of the mosque dated construction to 1579 (987 A.H.), which corresponds to Ferhad Pasha's rule as the district governor (sancakbey) of Bosnia before he became the provincial governor (beylerbeyi). By the time of its demolition in 1993, the complex included only the mosque, the three tombs, the fountain, the clock tower, the cemetery and a house for the imam.
The Ferhad Pasha Mosque featured an elaborate multi-domed roof system over a brightly lit central prayer hall, flanked by vaulted galleries to the east and west and with a semi-domed qibla iwan projecting to the south. Fenestration on the mosque included two tiers of windows on the main structure, with fourteen windows on the large central dome and four on the semi-dome of the qibla iwan. A third tier of three windows sat above the portico and above the qibla iwan. Inside, the windows had colored glass in plaster frames, some decorated with gold. Spanning 6.58 meters in diameter, the inner surface of the central dome was decorated with Quranic inscriptions of the Sura Al-Fatiha and painted arabesques. The qibla dome had Quranic inscriptions and paintings as well, with the names of God decorating the pendentives. The minbar was made entirely of marble and the painted mihrab niche had seven tiers of muqarnas at its crown.
A three-bay portico preceded the sanctuary, covered by three small domes carried on four marble columns and arches. The center dome over the entrance was slightly elevated. The two central columns featured muqarnas capitals while the outer two had diamond-cut capitals. Adjoining the mosque at its northwest corner, the octagonal shaft of the minaret rose into a single muqarnas balcony and a conical cap. Inscriptive plaques decorated each face of the minaret base. The three domed tombs at the mosque complex were each octagonal in plan. These tombs housed the graves of Ferhad Pasha and his sons, his extended family, and two of his close assistants.
A U.K.-based trust called The Soul of Europe, together with the Swedish foundation Cultural Heritage without Borders, is planning the reconstruction of the Ferhadija Mosque, although the local Bosnian Serb authorities have tried to thwart their efforts. Start of construction of the mosque is anticipated for 2005.
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