16. sij 2017.


Autor: Ibrahim Kajan


A friend shows a two-minute video of Buna. The cameraman started his camera from the centre of the pool in front of the hatch from which spews the richest well in Europe. He caught the sun swaying on the surface of the river. Camera’s eye is raised toward the rock: light is reflected from the water across the board cliff. The camera moves to the Tekke. And behold! - A miracle that no one has ever seen: Reflections on the rock formed flares, real and impressive that took our breaths away: the flames licked the stone archway like "God’s giving" unprecedented!

The area around the source of the Buna in Blagaj has always been "strange" and "mysterious", a place of people’s prayers- from Bogumils and before them the Roman Pagans, and even older ones, Illyrian worshipers of water gods and protectors of human life.

 Velika pećina

The fortress on top of the cliff in its building structure hides all sorts of layers of time. Science had them "sorted": from the Austro-Hungarian and Turkish adaptation, ruins of the house Hranić to the Roman "herringbone" and Illyrian megaliths. There is ''a little'' history: a mere 2,000 years!

A scientific team gathered around professor Enver Imamović, after one in early fifties of the 20th century (discovery of  "Zelena pećina") – brought in new "facts" of prehistory! Imamović has found two previously unknown locations – Velika pećina and Vučje točilo.

Velika pećina is located 70-80 m above the spring. Before its entrance a stone pillar stands. Imamović thought that this is an altar of natural rock with two to three worked up stairs, of unknown deity of Neolithic inhabitants. This reminds the professor of the one in the Delphic sanctuary which once adorned the temple of Apollo, in a phallic shape, called ''Navel of the world''. Into the cave, the team climbed with the aid of a mountain climbing team, and when they got hold of a floating position of  the "mainland", they saw a sight that has not been seen for hundreds or thousands of years. It is described, succinctly, as follows:  The area of the cave is about 40 m2. Dimensions: 11.5x4.80. At the edges of openings: drywall ... Branch - semi-cave: 2.90x1.70 m. Here is buried the first probe. In the first layer ancient pottery was found; in the second, of a metre, pieces of treated plank and one rack. And human bones. Several fragments of sheet metal. Iron peg measuring 6 cm. Fragments of glasses. There were also some pieces of a yellow mixture, a mineral. Fragments of pottery, parts of the human skeleton, remains of planks and bits of minerals pointing to "a grave". The items are from different eras, and "Earth movements" mixed them up and rifled them!

                                                               Zelena pećina - artefakti

In conclusion "ceramics and yellowish mineral belong to the prehistoric times, fragments of glass and planks with pieces of sheet metal are medieval products, as well as several rectangular iron peaks of arrow type of crossbow bolts. Someone "shot" them from the present Tekke’s courtyard aiming at eagles or collared doves. It was found that bits of minerals are - sulphur. It was used in prehistory and early classical antiquity in cult rituals.

Locals have drawn attention to the professor to another cave in the cliff, called Vučje točilo. It has been devastated by an unknown visitor. It abounds in fragments of Metal Age pottery full of impresso decorations: nail marks, stamping, pinching fingers, poking.

In its vicinity is the famous Zelena pećina. Alojz Benac thought it was an occasional residence of the people of the Mediterranean type, while for the Vučje točilo Imamovic believes it  have been a permanent residence of the same racial, cultural and customary type of our ancestors. Zelena pećina's recent investigation is not only confirmed by the first-class discovery of the last century, but also deepened the knowledge that its dwellers followed the ritual of human sacrifice! "Within the fireplace are found children's bones with traces of gnawing. They belonged to children under five years of age - the report says. Empty children's view of the skull is a silent cry that should "appease evil spirits", "stop the pestilence of community members " in the years of famine or facing hardship.

All this "enormous time" hidden from history arises from the cavity of Blagaj cliffs and around it, saying that we have been here for at least 7000 years. Secret of Children's skulls chases away evil spirits from us, and underground traces of pilgrimage sites under the Tekke – with a muffled echo of the prayers of good Christians and Muslims, resonate, redesigned, to this day ...

Iz dvojezicne knjige - uskoro u knjižarama: PUT U BLAGAJ DUG 2000 GODINA / JOURNEY TO BLAGAJ 2000 YEARS LONG
Prijevod na engleski: Amina Imami

29. pro 2016.


Sead Delić: Blagaj, Tekija

Ibrahim Kajan


Bektashi Tekke in Blagaj, as it used to be called in the beginning. And when was this beginning, the moment the builder brings the truss to the finial, actually no one knows. We neither inherited a precise verbal memory, nor an unambiguous written testimony. Yes, we talk about the secret origin of the Tekke in Blagaj.

It is quite clear that the Tekke dates not from 1644 when it was first registered by Evliya Čelebi in the descriptions of the world that he has seen on his travels. It was not built, he says, by the former Mufti of Mostar, nor was it erected by the followers of Khalwatiyyah dervishs, because no graves in the turbeh leaning on the Tekke are of Khalwatiyyah origin. Turbeh is not even mentioned as if it never existed, but apparently, there had to be. The turbeh is a paradox: "content” is linked to the mythical-historical figure of Sari Saltuk from the 13th century, we talked about previously, and based on that it was questionable how, this tomb, 250 years after the legendary Saltuk's vain for his body to be in one of the seven coffins - and then to be carried in seven countries and be buried there. If there were no tombs in its past, not even in the Tekke, under a large cave at the source of the Buna, was something sacred, sublime and fascinating: first Islamic pilgrimage site that has absorbed dualistic, Bogumil spiritual gathering in the face of his Lord. That is what is taught by the unknown, until the recent, posthumously published article about the Tekke and turbeh in Blagaj written by the credible Muhamed Hadzijahić.

Sari Saltuk's and Ačik-baša's graves

Sari Saltuk’s appearance on Christian sanctuary is very common (in Albania, Macedonia), so this reasonable doubt that Saltuk’s grave in Blagaj is in fact on the old sanctuary of the Bosnian Church is not surprising. This is supported, as Hadžijahić thinks, by a charter that dates back to June, 1st, 1454, given to Herzog Stjepan by the King of Aragon and Naples, Alfonso. Since in it the Aragonian king particularly values the cave in Blagaj, it is obviously a strategic site or cult place of particular importance. The author cites the legend which says that there used to be a "room" where Saltuk laid down weapons, "an indication that his tomb should be built there." River sources even in the Illyrian times were "attractive cult places".

The cult of Sari Saltuk, apparently, originates from the fall of Herzog’s land to the Turks, in the great period of rise and power of Bektashi spiritual and military tariqah. But there was a twist!

P. Ricaut writes that to Bektashis  "belonged all the janissaries, and Janissaries were reprimand for not being devout." Extremely sharp conflict Bektashi blaze was during Sultan Osman II (1618-1622) governance. In such circumstances, Hadžijahić underlines, "was strictly taken care of suppressing all heterodox teachings in Bosnia." Certainly, the Tekke in Blagaj did not remain outside the ideological “cleansing”, so it is no wonder that Čelebi, a favourite of the court, in Blagaj registered "Khalwatiyyaha Tekke" completely blind for enormous Bektashi presence as Saltuks tomb with a number of additional signatures in the Bektashi Tekke architecture.

Hadžijahić indicates a still visible detail in typical Bektashi Tekke inventory. "In Semahane the left from the entrance, but also in the room adjacent to the doors side of the entrance to the right, in the wall  in the form of niches, a taboot (coffin) is presented. The purpose of this "memento mori", or according to Sufi teachings is: "mutu kable ente mutu " - "Die before you die." Such a presentation, the author holds, developed only in Bektashi. Reminders of Bektashis are also inscriptions above the entrance to semahana, the existence of the spa in the tekke, regardless of the fact other Tekkes may have spa - it is here related to the ritual itself, i.e. it is necessary.

The tekke is, apparently, restored as Khalwatiyyahs, with Khalwatiyyah  dervishes including the mufti of Mostar Zijaudin which Čelebi mentions as a "builder", instead of  an"adaptat". Just its prehistory, tangible and not just significant, deepening the lower limit of the historical building of the Blagaj Tekke, touching upon the realms of folk traditions and folk beliefs. And on them, from whichever side you observe it, rest not only people’s dreams, but also their national history.

Prijevod na engleski: Amina Imami

18. stu 2016.


ibrahim kajan

Nikada ti niko nije pričao o jami vlastitog bića što se otvara onima koji    
        se vratiše
nakon desetljeća egzila u nevjerničkim zemljama.
        Tamo im je bilo bolje nego u domovini
iz kojih su ih prognala braća Zlatnu Teletu duboko odana.
Čudno – vratiše se na ista mjesta
gdje jednoć bje njihova djetinja duša.

Da ih upitaše oprezni, nada hoće li vaša iznevjerena biti u zavičaju
        koji je ratni sotona pročistio užasom –
zanijekali bi i tvrdili pouzdano,
desnicom, kojom su ljubavne stihove pisali, jamčili
da sad sve je drukčije,
da je Tvorac pročistio ne samo srce zemlje
        nego da je i one od zemlje sačinjene,
zabluda drevnih oslobodio i divnim ih ljudima učinio.

Takav iz sorte sinova razbludnih kad se vrati, prvo što uočio bi,
        sablažnjiva je promjena vlastitog vida,
jer više ništa ne vidje svojim očima nego očima onih koji su zla doživjeli:
plaču i tuguju umjesto svojih sestara i svoje braće rođene,
a braća i sestre takvomu ništa ne vjeruju.
Ne vjeruju, o tom ne kazuju:
smješkaju mu se i grle ga poput ljubavnice - 
a nekom, iza leđa njegovih,
jezuitskim migom namiguju!

I tako, misli  taj goso, taj brat zaboravljeni, da je pameću svrnuo,
jer nikomu reći ne može da kroz oči vlastite ne gleda on –
nego neki što s njim više veze nema nikakve.

Ja sam taj koji sad zatvara oči da ne gleda svijet, a to je veliki grijeh.
Kad padne mrak, neću ništa vidjeti niti ću išta čuti.
Osim glasa djetetova iz jame bunarske u koju ga braća baciše i zaboraviše.

U Mostaru, 2./7. VI. 2007.

Objavljeno u casopisu Ostrvo, br. 8-9, 2008. 

21. lis 2016.


Dnevne priče Ibrahima Kajana

Ne viđam se ja sa svojim malobronim "lobijem" samo nedjeljom u "Malti". Sjeli smo neku večer, nakon predstavljanja Elbisine knjige, u cernički kafić Passage. O "živim temamam Mostara" u razgovor je upleten aktuelni kantonalni ministar. Poznajem ga, imponira načitanošću i informiranošću, kultiviranim duhom i manirima ponešenim iz kuće "pune knjiga" svoga roditelja. Sviđaju mi se neki njegovi stavovi koje izgovara s pozicija "ugroženog političkog tijela" ratne žrtve nad kojim se sada dominira nad Mostarom i blokira svaki pokušaj funkcionalnog, civilnog ustroja. Spominjući aktere vlasti, strukture i njihove nosioce, kao glavne i isključive političke subjekte "koji će riješiti krizu Mostara", shvatih i protrnuh od nelagode! Ministrovo (nesvjesno?) poimanje političara koji izražavaju volju političkog naroda u cjelini - nije "od ovog svijeta", nego od svijeta srednjovjekovnog! Srednjovjekovno poimanje političkog naroda odnosilo se isključivo na tanki, vladajući feudalni sloj. Ovdje i danas, "politički narod" posreduje uska, neuvjerljiva, šarolika "stranačka elita".
Svi se mi drugi "možemo ubiti" misleći i protestirajući - oni nas ne
čuju i ne vide. Mi sloju političkog naroda ne pripadamo. Mi za njih ne postojimo. Njih ne mogu savjetovati intelektualci, mislioci, filozofi - njih mogu savjetovati samo ideologizirana djeca (kao što i jest u praksi!) - jer su ti, misleći ljudi, najodvratnija "kasta" današnjim bh. "vladarima" na svim razinama - od općine do kantona, od entiteta do države.

U Mostaru, 21. 10. 2016, 

11. lis 2016.


Author: Ibrahim Kajan

Katarina Kosača Kotromanić

Two children of Herzog Kosača, the eldest and the youngest, Katarina and Stjepan, became unforgettable names in the history.

Katarina is the eldest child of Herzog Stjepan Kosača and Jelena Balsic, daughter of the Montenegrin royal house. She was born there in 1424. When she was 25, Katarina married the new king of Bosnia of house Kotromanić, bogumil Stjepan Tomaš. In order to become the queen and for Stjepan Tomaš to be recognised by the Pope as the king - they both, along with his underage son of the same name Stjepan, from his just dissolved marriage with "inappropriate" Vojača, had to give up - she the Orthodox Church and he the Bosnian Church - and had to receive the sacraments of the Holy Roman Catholic church.

The people kept Katarina in the collective memory as a person who has followed the Christian guidance about love among people, who donated many good to churches and occasionally, as tradition says, built them herself. The king had a son Sigismund and daughter Katarina. But someone unknown killed her king in 1461. Franciscan chronicles for centuries were pointing the finger at "potential killers": king’s brother Radivoje and the king's son, an heir, his firstborn, Stjepan Tomašević! Climbing to the vacant throne, with the new short-term king, Tomaševic, Bosnia saw the last queen Jelena, that came from Serbian despotic home of Lazar Branković. Changing her faith, she acquired a new name, Marija.
But in 1463 Bosnia fell under Turkish occupation. The refugees moved to the West. The widow of murdered Stjepan Tomaš found asylum in Rome. Pope was providing her monthly appanage which supported her small court in exile. The children of the murdered King Tomaš, as Muslim historians write, Sigismund and Katarina "entered the tent of Ishak Ishaković" seeking protection from their uncle Ahmed Pasha Hercegović, Katarina’s youngest brother, once called Stjepan. Christian historians recorded that the queen's children were "kidnapped and converted to Islam by force." What is the truth?
It is strange that Katarina writes her testament five days before her death that befell her at the age of 54, on October, 25, 1478. Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia came after the testament, later known as the Pope Alexander VI. In what conditions unhappy Katarina wrote this testament after which will come Cardinal who has "become a father of several children and lived in the open immorality" and "pontificate deserved by bribery", the person who "left stain on the history of the papacy"? Katarina's original testament was never found. There is something called a "transcription", and what worth would it have, when Katarina Kosača Kotromanić was neither de jure nor de facto a Bosnian ruler.
That does not however mean that our Katarina is not an integrative historical figure. Good ones remember her for her good deeds, the Orthodox for the Orthodox origin, the Catholics for love of religion and the Muslims  for the destiny of her brother Stjepan (Ahmed) and her own children Sigismund (Ishak Bey Hercegović) and Katarina, whose tomb is in present-day in Macedonian city of Skopje.

Stjepan Kosača – Ahmet Pasha Hercegović

According to all that has been said, Herzog Stjepan, out of all of his children, loved his youngest son Stjepan the best. No wonder: he was a child and did not have time to let him down! He was this way when his father handed him over to the Sultan in 1463. The boy was a living pledge of Kosača’s allegiance, vassalage and pacification of Herzegovina. Stjepan, in Topkakapi’s seraglios became Ahmet Pasha Hersegzade (Hercegović) marked with nobility in origin, and eventually, the Grand Vizier and son-in-law of Sultan Bayezid II. Three times he was named the Grand Vizier, or five, as some claim, leaving a deep mark in the reign of the greatest empires that stretched across three continents. He was also a poet, who is still studied in the Turkish and Bosniak literature.

He never forgot his homeland, neither Blagaj, nor Herzegovina, nor the parish of Dubrovnik - because as a boy, his deceased father bequeathed houses and vineyards in Konavle that his uncle Sandalj "sold" to the people of Dubrovnik. He remembered Bosnian language, dictated logofats and katibs in it, and as well as this one we are transcribing, yellowed, but with a lot of modernity that is timeless. He sent it in April 1488 to the prince and gentry of Dubrovnik. As Herzog’s son, he was a citizen of Dubrovnik, and from the city, as his heritage, orderly received regular annual "income".

Ahmet-pasha: Letter of the Dubrovnik prince

His own man and man of the world
To the dear and cherished gentelmen of Dubrovnik, to the Prince, and the squires, from your brother Ahmet Hercegović. Squires, you all know that our Lord Herzog left by will his treasure to us when he died. And that treasure was in your hands. When you gave it to my brother, for the same you asked me. I told you to give - nothing else except the testament is not in your hands. Yes, that is the word of the Great Lord, for them to honour the document.
Squires, I ask of you as my brothers to do your best for our work, as we are doing as much as we can for yours. If you think that I have forgotten about our friendship, God knows, I have not. If you do your best for my work, I will do the best for yours. May God enhance your Lordship.

Translated: Amina Imami


Author: Ibrahim Kajan

Blagaj is one of two Bosnian towns that were mentioned for the first time in history by the Byzantine emperor Porphyrogenitus in his famous manuscript from the 10th century - De Administrando Imperio (On the Governance of the Empire). History of Blagaj has never been adequately examined over the layers of time, unlike its archeological layers to which science has produced definitive answers. From these tests it is completely apparent that the medieval Blagaj was built on Roman foundations, Illyrian, and Roman retaining walls  and extensions with some brick, used for the first time as a building material and masonry stone layers as "fishbone". This timeline spans back to encompass the last 2,000 years!

Written records of historical value related to the rulers of the city on a cliff below which the Buna river springs, with its political story systematically follows only its medieval masters of the house Hranić, especially Vlatko Vukovic, Sandalj Hranić and his nephew – heir of the famous Herzog Stjepan Vukčić Kosača (1405 - 1466).

A kind of a cheerful sentiment, enormous sympathy, and even historical love with the last master of the fortress and the whole of Hum, Herzog Stjepan, can be felt in the century-old series of oral traditions of the people of Blagaj, even to this day! It is unprecedented that any narratives remained about any historical figure, pre-Islamic in particular, containing so many "adventures and misadventures", nor has there ever been built an entire pseudo-narrative "loaded" with flaming erotic stories and defiant patriotism – as much as about him.

He succeeded his uncle, grand duke Sandalj Hranić, in his 30s, in 1435. Over his Hum land, forming a massive crescent floating at sea, with horns that touched Srebrenica in the east and Pset in the west, was the royal Bosnia. The earth would quake every time he was angry with the King, King Tomaš, to whom he gave his daughter Katarina as his wife. In addition to Katarina, he had another daughter Mara and three sons: Vladislav, Vlatko  and Stjepan aka Ahmed. Herzog died in his town Novi, in 1466, named after him, Herceg Novi.

The shape of the fortress on the cliff above the source of the Buna was formed on the ancient foundations of an independent governance of Mihajlo Višević, between 910 and 930 - a short time before it will be mentioned as a topographic point on the political map of the world by tzar Porphyrogenitus. As a military fortification, it completely disappeared by the arrival of Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1878.                                              

After research in 1990 dr. A. Ratkovic recorded that the position of the Blagaj fort has not many similarities with the majority of Bosnian residential fortifications. He observes that "the most obvious difference between the constructed surface on which flattened land is used to the end above vertical cliffs, preventing an approach below the northern, southern and western rampart." That is why, he believes, the entrance to the fortress was built in the eastern and hardest wall of the court to which led a narrow horse trail from the direction of the east. This is "a path which led to a powerful, high and thick gate walls ". If one should attempt to break into the fortress, the lobby prevented and blocked intruders. Above the entrance gate a tower rises. Right from the entrance of the ruins are houses of arrested prisoners. In one of gloomily blackened stone one misfortunate man carved (perhaps with a fingernail): ''This writes Vrsan Kosarić, a prisoner who has no reason to rejoice.''

In the central area, stood the residence and court of house Kosača monarchs. Now, with collapsed stones, just a few remnants of the former are visible, a truncated stairwell. In the court was also one of the two tanks. Tradition says that there were drinking water springs on the Blagaj hill, so many authors from that fact drew the conclusion on the permanent level of water in a large tank, visible even  today!

                   Mihrab u hercegovoj tvrđi (foto: Semir Pintul)

Along the southern part of the ramparts, long building was leaning, probably built for commercial purposes. The total could be around 15 houses and cottages. The eastern part of the complex were protected by three square towers with double ramparts, up to 14 metres high. The walls’ thickness ranged from 1.5 to 2 meters.
Mihrab dent in the wall, to the left of the main entrance, testifies of the existence of masjeed where prayers were performed by Fatih's vassals. This can be considered to be the first mosque in Herzegovina. It was built after the Turks conquered the city in 1466, the same ones in which the happy and powerful Herzog Šćepan left this deceptive, shifty and impermanent world. Returning from the fortress down the narrow horse trail to the suburb, one will see high martyrs headstones emerge from spring bushes, without incisions and letters, no names, only to witness how once upon a time someone like us lived in this world. Let the bygones be bygones.

 Translated: Amina Imami