The architecture of Memory: How Sarajevo remembers its Jewry

Old Synagogue & Jewish Museum

There are many wonderful remnants of Sarajevo’s Jewish heritage scattered throughout El Cortijo, which lies near Bashcharshia, Sarajevo’s Old City, and is bounded by four streets: Ferhadija, Mustafa Mula Besheskija, Gazi Husrev Begova.  Included amongst them is the Old Synagogue, which now houses the Jewish Museum.  The Jewish Museum chronicles the history of the Jewish community in Sarajevo, including a valuable collection of Ladino and other Jewish books, some printed over 200 to 300 years ago.  The building is the oldest synagogue in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which was built in 1581, and has been burnt down and rebuilt twice, in 1679 and 1778.  It became part of the Sarajevo Museum in 1966, and is dedicated solely to portraying the history of the Jews.  It reopened in 2004, after providing sanctuary to much of the city’s ancient artifacts during the Aggression on B&H.

New Synagogue & Art Gallery

Next door to the Old Synagogue is the Novi Hram (New Synagogue), which is now gallery owned by the Jewish community of Sarajevo.


 Il Kal Grandi also spelled (Judeo-Spanish: The Great Sinagoguse). Great Sephardic Temple (Il Kal grandi) is largest of all Jewish temples in Sarajevo. Construction work on this event on from 1926 until its completion in 1930. The architect was Rudolf Lubinski from Zagreb.The temple has an elliptic dome made of reinforced concrete, with a length of 30.8 meters and a wdith of 22.3 meters. The north side of the facade next to the street of „Branilaca Sarajeva“ is in a pseudo-Moorish style with three sections.
The largest and most ornate synagogue in the Balkan. It was devastated by the Nazis in 1941 during World War II. After World War II the Jewish community gave the building to the city of Sarajevo for cultural purposes, today it is The Bosnian Cultural Center.

Ashkenazi Synagogue

Ashkenazi Synagogue is located on the left side of the Miljacka river. It was built in 1902. The temple was designed by the famous architect, Karl Parzik. It was the first religious object to be built in Sarajevo in the Pseudo-Moorish style. The Ashkenazi Synagogue is the only active Jewish temple in the city today.

         Old Jewish Cemetery

The Old Jewish Cemetery, which is located in Kovačići, is one of the largest Jewish sacral complexes in Europe. The cemetery was founded in 1630, and its oldest preserved tombstones mark the graves from 17th century.

Hevra Tziduk HaDin
Hevra Tziduk HaDin

What makes this cemetery unique over the world  is that the shape and motifs of the tombstones very closely resemble the medieval Bosnian stećci (tombstones monoliths). This is due to the fact that the cemetery was founded in the vicinity of the medieval necropolis in Borak, where many stećci used to stand.

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