The collection of sidzils (court records) in the Gazi Husrev-bey's library

  • Hatidža Čar-Drnda, dr.


In the collection of sidzils (court records) from the Gazi Husrev-bey's Library there are 85 books which are primary sources far the study of our national history from the five century long period of Turkish rule. Sidzils are collections of documents from the qadi (judge) of certain territorial-administrative regions. The territory in the jurisdiction of one qadi was called qadiluik. The work of each qadi wasn't only manifest in his juristic activity. In the event of a shortage of organs of general authority the qadi carriad out various orders of central and local power. Thus he had some influence in the domain of executive power in the area where he performed his Service as qadi. To them were senf the Sultan's orders and instiructions concerning their areas, as well as similar types of documents which were issued by the office of the regional deputy. Due to the wide scope of the qadifs responsibility, sidzils can contain very different material for research in the political, social, economic and cultural history of a region.

Collections of sidzils from the Gazi Husrev bey's Library contain 3 books from the 16th centruy, 37 books from the 18th century and 45 books from the 19th century, The major part of them 82 books, are protocols of the Sarajevo court. Three sidžils from the 16th century, together with the cadastral registers of the Bosnian Sanjak from the same period, represent the fundamental material for the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The 18th and 19th centuries are significant periods in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Ottoman Empire waged wars over a wide area for the protection of the integration of its domain. Because Bosnia was an integral part of the Empire, it participated in all wars. A reflection of all these events which influenced its economic, social and cultural life is contained in the documents of these sidžils.

They have a special importance for research into the past of Sarajevo and its surroundings. On the basis of the material contained in them it is possible to follow the territorial diffusion of Sarajevo through ali its streets during the 18th and 19th centuries. On the basis of the inherited documents it is possible to study the culture of residence, material and social status of its citizens, their cultural level etc.
For research into the cultural history of Sarajevo the collections of books that are listed in numerous inherited treatises are valuable. Many of these books were textbooks in maktabs and madrasas and their study is also important for the history of education in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In that respect these collections are necessary for an understanding of education in Bosnia and Herzegovina. For research into the religious, national and social structure of the population of Sarajevo, the important sidžil documents are: in’amat defters, marriage contracts and the Kefileme-instrument by which the Ottoman administration established security in town.

For our knowledge of guilds and their structure in Sarajevo sidžils contain rich material. They also give rich material for research into the urban structure of Sarajevo and the fortified parts of Sarajevo. From the aspect of the fine arts and applied art, the collections of gold jewelry and gold money (which were used as jewels); various decorative objects for women, which are noted in sidžil documents are of great value.
The emotions of women, conveyed in their decorative tapestries, cobweb laces and coloured carpets, are rich material for etnographers and historians of various kinds. Because Sarajevo grew into a large urban centre and the centre of the greater Bosnian pashadom, in it were concentrated ali the social and political developments of a town of Oriental-Islamic civilisation. Research into all aspect of Sarajevo is the basis of our understanding of this specific period.

How to Cite
Čar-Drnda, H. (1987). The collection of sidzils (court records) in the Gazi Husrev-bey’s library. Anali Gazi Husrev-Begove Biblioteke, 8(13-14), 53-67. Retrieved from