Three petitions of Banja Luka

A contribution to the history of Banja Luka

  • Haso Popara, hafiz
Keywords: Banja Luka, Jajce, Tešanj, Bosanska Gradiška, Kobaš, arzuhal, Sim-zade, Omer-efendi, kapetan, aga, farisi, azapi, đonlije, ćehaja, bajraktar, tobdžija, serde i odžakluk, timar


During the Ottoman period, Banja Luka was one of the most impor- tant centers of administrative, military, political, agricultural, cultural, reli- gious and public life in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Banja Luka achieved an important milestone in its development at the beginning of the second half of 16th century, when Sofi Mehmed-paša in 1553 established Banja Luka as the center of the Bosnian sanjak, but complete development was achieved at the end of the 16th century when during the reign of Ferhad-paša Sokolović Banja Luka became the center of Bosnian province (1580-1638). For two centuries, Austria tried to subjugate Bosnia through the Krajina region and succeeded in it in 1878. During this whole period, Austria faced a strong resistance by the people of Krajina who showed patriotism and courage especially at the battle of Banja Luka in 1737. In many wars, floods, earthquakes and other disasters which affected Banja Luka, many objects were destroyed so that the town of Banja Luka at the beginning of 19th century could not be recognized compared to previous times. However, the worst destruction of Islamic heritage occurred during the last war (1992-1995) when all fifteen mosques, five tombs, fountain and clock tower were destroyed. In the region of Banja Luka, out of 207 mosques, 205 were destroyed.

This work presented three until now unknown and unpublished petitions (arzuhala) from Banja Luka from the second half of 18th century. The first two petitions refer to the appointment of qadi of Banja Luka while the third deals with the dispute about odžakluk timar in Kobaš. A short content of arzuhala was provided in Bosnian while decoded names of its signatories, their positions and the text of the stamps were given in both, the original and translated in Bosnian language.

Here, therefore, we did not aim to analyze the text of the mentioned petitions as such as to provide as much information about names, positions and the role of more than 150 most prominent persons of that time in Banja Luka. Among signatories, there were muftis, qadi, muderris, shaykh, imam, khatib, vaiz, muallimah, kapetans, officers, soldiers and persons of other professions. Thanks to these petitions, we discovered important information about objects previously unknown in Banja Luka such as the Halil-paša’s mosque.

How to Cite
Popara, H. (2008). Three petitions of Banja Luka. Anali Gazi Husrev-Begove Biblioteke, 15(27-28), 69-112. Retrieved from