After arrival in rainy Sarajevo, I directly head to the northwest. On the way to Jajce, I decide to make a stopover in the old town of Travnik. The castle on the top of a hill overlooking the small town squeezed into a narrow, green valley is my first obvious stop; after that, I decide to stay a little longer and explore the town itself. At the bottom of the valley, I find the multi-coloured mosque: a square building with a minaret. Walking around it, I noticed that the walls are painted around the windows. When I come to the entrance, at the backside of the mosque, I find a small courtyard with an ablution block, and a stream running through it. Turning around, I see a richly decorated wooden door. I walk up the stairs, examine the door, and push it, even though it seems to be locked. To my surprise, it opens; I take off my shoes, and walk the carpets to the main prayer hall, which is empty.
Here, light comes in through windows on all sides. The ceiling has remarkably brightly painted wooden panels, in a pattern of lozenges, in blue, yellow, and orange lines. The minbar is also painted on all sides. Here, the paint has faded, but the decorations are easy to discern. I am surprised: in most mosques, you would see intricate geometric patterns as decoration, but not earthly items like flowers and fruits. The mihrab is also brightly painted: blue, red, and yellow patterns with a green background. I walk around the prayer hall, looking up at the ceiling, where some columns have cracks in them. I walk up the wooden stairs, and from the first floor, have better view of the carpets on the ground below. This mosque was initially built in the mid-18th century on the location where another mosque had been, but was rebuilt bySuleyman-Pasha Skopljak after it burnt down in 1815; he also had the paintings added, making it a unique mosque.
When I come back to put on my shoes and leave, I am still the only person inside. This is my first experience in Bosnia, and I start having the feeling that this country does have a unique identity. It makes me curious to see more. But first, I walk around the mosque again. Curiously, on two sides, there are arches sustained by columns; behind it, there are some small shops. A souk integrated into the mosque, called a bezistan, which means that the mosque itself is actually on the first floor, above the shops. There are a few white tombstones close to the wall of the mosque. It is believed that hairs of the Prophet Mohamed are stored in this mosque, but I could not find where they would be stored - surely not within sight of the occasional visitor. An old man is sitting at the corner of the mosque, eating some undefined stuff from a dirty paper bag. He looks like a vagabond, and in a bad shape. I remember that I still have the sandwich I got on the plane with me, and give it to him; a gesture he appears to like.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Multi-coloured-mosque (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Multi-coloured-mosque.
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