Libmonster ID: RS-325
Author(s) of the publication: R. G. LANDA


Doctor of Historical Sciences

The Balkans are a part of the world where East and West, Asia and Europe not just converge, but mutually penetrate each other, forming extremely peculiar, complex, sometimes confusing combinations with not always clearly fixed boundaries and characteristics.

Croatia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina are and Christian republics, except for the latter.

But in their culture, architecture, language, and art features, you can feel the influence of the East, which remained after several centuries of being part of or in the sphere of influence of the Ottoman Empire. Somewhere it lasted up to 400 years, as in Montenegro and Bosnia, somewhere, as in Croatia (and even then in the south), less than 300 years.


Today, if you come to the most famous city of the Dalmatian coast of Croatia - Dubrovnik (which, by the way, was never Ottoman, but only paid tribute to the Sultan), you can see the remains of a mosque on Pratsata Street, and during the annual celebration of St. Vlach's Day, considered the patron saint of the city since the X century, in multicolored folk costumes participants of the festival can be distinguished by red fezs, wide trousers, ornamental embroidery and colorful sashes clearly oriental style. And all this is not lost on the background of countless monuments and traces of the stay in Dubrovnik of Venetians and Austrians, who long competed with the Ottomans in the struggle for the Dalmatian coast.

This is quite natural. According to University of Zagreb Professor Nenad Moakanin, Dubrovnik was "a de facto independent Croatian maritime mini-power, which owed its commercial and cultural prosperity to its position as a privileged Ottoman vassal, especially in the sixteenth century, i.e., during its 'golden age'. This is an important statement, especially since Moakanin himself admits that the ethno-confessional and socio-cultural processes that began at the time he mentioned are not yet over.

Once, during the period of Ottoman rule (1526-1693), there were many mosques and madrassas here. But they were all "destroyed during the wars of liberation," as Thomas Cook's guide to Croatia puts it. But it also says that among the foreign artists, sculptors and artisans who influenced the development of Croatian art, there were also masters from Istanbul. However, these connections, obviously, have not been interrupted so far. I remember how in October 1977 one of the merchants of the Istanbul quarter Polonezkey, who turned out to be a Croat, tried to talk to me in Polish for some reason and, in particular, said that he was "not alone here" and had been trading for a long time.

The religious situation in the country is now difficult. As you know, it was religious, or rather ethno-confessional, differences that served as the main reason (but not the reason) for military operations in the Balkans. And it's hard to forget, even though there are almost no traces of that terrible time in Croatia. At first glance, you can see that life in the country is improving. The same can be said, albeit with reservations, about the cooperation of various ethnic groups and faiths. Of the country's 4.5 million inhabitants, 89% are Croats (almost all Catholics) and 4.5% are Serbs (almost all Orthodox). But among the remaining 6.5% of the population, representing other peoples, mainly of Balkan origin, there are, along with Protestants and Jews, also Muslims.1 The exact number of them is not specified by any reference book. This circumstance (as well as the disappearance of the term "Serbian-Croatian language": it is now "divided" into Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Montenegrin) is one of the sad consequences of the "war of all against all" that swept through the Balkans like a wave of fire at the end of the last century.

Of course, the Ottoman era is a distant past for the Balkan Slavs, although many of them finally freed themselves from the rule of the sultans only at the beginning of the XX century. Now few people remember that among the 13 grand viziers at the court in Istanbul in the XV-XVI centuries. the overwhelming majority were Slavs-poturchentsy, i.e. converted to Islam and Turkish culture. One of them, Rustem Pasha, was a Croat, and the most famous - Mehmed Sokolu (Sokolovich)-was originally from Bosnia and became famous as Kapudan Pasha (admiral), and then the de facto ruler of the empire in 1568 - 1579.under the formal reigns of Selim II and Murad III.

But even if you forget about it, it is enough to drive along the coast of most Mediterranean countries (I can tell this by visiting all the countries in this region, with the exception of Albania and Israel) to see that one of the founders of the Turkish History Society, Reshid Saffet Atabinen, is right: "From Oran to Alexandria,

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In Istanbul, Athens and Istria, these shores are dotted with monuments of Ottoman power", among which he considers" the most fascinating examples " located in Dalmatia, i.e. on the South Croatian coast.

Indeed, that to the north of the fabulously beautiful Dubrovnik, towards Split, which is to the south of it, on the road every now and then there are massive towers, remnants of fortress walls and other fortifications of the Ottoman period. By the way, some of them were built to fight the Ottomans, but clearly under the influence of their military engineering. No wonder Atabinen reproaches "small peoples with anarchic traditions" for the lack of "the slightest gratitude" to the Ottomans, "who allowed them to exist, multiply, enrich themselves and preserve their culture under the protection of Turkish armies for at least 4 centuries." But he also admits that the folklore of the South Slavs, "music, dance, cuisine, clothing, architecture of their countries are connected with the traditions and customs of the Ottoman Turks, only slightly different from them, and also go back to their Eurasian ancestors"2. Other Turkish authors also write about the Balkan elements in the life of modern Turkey 3.


...We drive along the coast of the Boko Kotor Bay-a picturesque corner of Montenegro:rocky mountain cliffs (up to 2 thousand meters above sea level), cutting into the mirror-like water surface with steep protrusions, form bizarre bends of the coastline 106 km long. In some places, the mountain slopes, densely overgrown with forest and shrubs (there are 2,800 species of plants, of which 22 are not found anywhere else), gently descend to the bay and end at the water's edge with white-stone villages with red roofs and an abundance of fishing boats. We pass Bijela, Genovici, Kamenari, Herceg Novi, founded in the XVI century by the ruler of Bosnia Tvrtko. We have time to notice the old towers of the Ottoman fortress. The guide adds: "This is where the governor Agha Mustafa erected the Sahat kula-a clock tower-by order of Sultan Mahmud."

The guide Alexandro (one of the few Croats who regret the breakup of a unified Yugoslavia) often interrupts his very expressive (and in good Russian) story about the Orthodox monasteries of Montenegro, its amazing bays and fortresses with phrases:" Here the Turks and Venetians constantly competed"," here the border of the Turkish conquests passed", "this city has never been a place of war". it did not fall under the rule of the Ottomans." The latter refers to ancient Perast, whose inhabitants not only defended their independence, but even built an artificial island on an underwater cliff, on which they erected the Church of the Blessed Virgin. From her, the island received the name "Virgin from the Cliff". The city was home to the naval school of Captain Vuk Markov Martinovich, where Peter I in 1698 sent 70 Russians to study, who later did a lot for the formation of the Russian navy. The local sailor Matiya Zmayevich, who later served Catherine II and was awarded the Order of Alexander Nevsky, studied at the same school.4
Martinovich's school brought up brave sailors, because the neighboring town of Risan, like almost all other cities in the Bay of Boko Kotor (called Byron "the pearl of restless nature"), was occupied (from 1539 to 1687) by the Ottomans, who repeatedly tried to capture Perast. So the local sailors never lost their combat uniforms.

The old quarters of Kotor and Budva are also reminiscent of the East: massive walls of houses with rare windows, red tile roofs, narrow medieval streets and alleys (one of the streets in Kotor is called "Let me pass"). Although they are somewhat similar to medieval Western European cities, Oriental motifs prevail. The very structure of the neighborhoods, especially the steep stone staircases connecting their various levels, is reminiscent of Algeria, Rabat and other port cities of the southern Mediterranean, which originated primarily as sea fortresses. Budva, according to legend, was founded by the Phoenicians in the IV century BC. It shows all the epochs in the history of the Mediterranean. And Kotor was a fortress from its very beginning in the IV century AD under the Byzantine name Katarum. But since the XI century. it became fully Slavic and received its current name. "The long struggle," writes local author Milun Lutovac, " which was waged against the Turks and French (during the Napoleonic Wars-R. L.), ended thanks to the help of Russian and Montenegrin troops."

Lutovac does not elaborate on the details of this struggle, which is understandable: for the first time after the official incorporation of Montenegro into the Ottoman Empire (in 1499), the Montenegrins considered the Ottomans as a kind of patron and ally in the struggle against the almost 100-year rule of Catholic Venice. Moreover, the Ottoman Empire even acted in some ways (and in certain circumstances) as a centralizing and ordering principle.

In particular, during the Ottoman era, Montenegrins, especially in the coastal areas, suffered greatly from rampant piracy, which was often led by local adventurers and feudal lords from the converted Poturchens, who were not always controlled by Istanbul. Their stronghold in Montenegro was the Ulcinj fortress built on the seaside cliffs. This nest of corsairs was a nightmare for merchant shipping throughout the Mediterranean, and its chieftain, Utuj Aliyah, was known as the" nocturnal menace " of the Adriatic. In 1675, the Ottoman fleet of Suleiman Pasha defeated the pirates, sinking into the sea the riches they plundered, the legends of which are still told today. And although Ulcinj is now primarily the largest beach in the Adriatic (12.5 km) and the largest number of sunny days a year, for tourists it is also the birthplace of all sorts of legends and tall tales (like the fictional stay in the local casemates of Miguel Cervantes), memories of the Roman historian Pliny the Elder, who mentioned Ulcinj almost 2 thousand years ago under the name Kolkhanium, as well as a view of the picturesque ruins of the 17th-century fortress, which "preserved in its architecture an oriental", as Lutovac writes,"character" 5.

In other words, co-existence with the Ottomans took place in different places and at different times

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in different ways, especially during the heyday of their empire in the XVI-XVII centuries. Then the tribal lords (knezs and voivodes), formally recognizing the power of Istanbul, in fact often turned out to be independent, and many of them even participated in the wars of European states with the Ottomans (for example, in 1645-1669, in 1683-1699). while formally remaining a subject of the sultan, he actually undermined the foundations of his power in the country, partly killing and partly expelling the local Poturch feudal lords who had converted to Islam.

Under the Negoshs, especially under Peter I (1784-1830), rapprochement with Russia began and gradually intensified. It is no coincidence that in 1806 the Montenegrins put up a stubborn and rather successful resistance to Napoleon's troops. "Montenegrins? What is it?" Bonaparte asked: "Is it true: this tribe is evil, is not afraid of our forces" - wrote A. S. Pushkin in 1835 - "And the French have hated our free land ever since, and blush when they see our cap casually"6. The mention of hats is not accidental - Montenegrins, like other inhabitants of the Balkans, then wore red fezs. However, the heritage of those times is not limited to the peculiarities of the national costume. In the old capital of Montenegro - Cetinje - and now more than 5% of the inhabitants are Muslims (Bosniaks, Albanians, descendants of the Turks who remained here). At the same time, it is worth remembering that the religious issue in Montenegro today, in comparison with previous times, has lost its sharpness. For example, the Ostrog Orthodox Monastery, which is located high in the mountains and seems to be built into a cave, and is the most revered in the country, is "visited by believers regardless of their religious affiliation." 7
Montenegro is building a lot, including Russian companies. There are a lot of Russians vacationing here, and among the locals there are much more than in Croatia, those who understand and can even say something in Russian. Of course, Western capital is also represented here, as well as Japanese and Arab capital. I heard Arabic spoken in Kotor and Budva. But, as elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia, Western influence is clearly on the rise. This is especially noticeable now: since 2009, Montenegrins have been switching from Cyrillic to Latin. Almost all signs and announcements have already changed from the old alphabet to the new one. I found the Cyrillic alphabet only in the old quarter of Kotor on the building of the Union of Veterans of the Liberation War of 1941-1944. Veterans are people of the old school and old traditions. But the majority of Montenegrins, obviously, are drawn to the West and would clearly like to keep up with neighboring Croatia, where the average salary is 700 euros per month, and in Montenegro - 2 times less.


And finally, a trip to Mostar, the historical center of Herzegovina, the "city of songs", whose beauty is celebrated in the poem dedicated to it by Dervish Pasha Baezidagicha. Herzegovina (with an accent on the 3rd syllable, as the locals say) originated in 1448, as a special possession of the southern Bosnian ruler Stepan Vukcic, who proclaimed himself an independent duke. But after its conquest in 1482 by the Ottomans, it was reunited with the rest of Bosnia (conquered earlier, in 1463). Both there and there, most of the feudal lords and a significant part of the inhabitants converted to Islam. In addition, other Muslims-Turks, Albanians, and Poturchens from neighboring regions-found themselves in the country that was turned into the Pashalyk of the Ottoman Empire. At the same time, Catholics-Croats, Orthodox Serbs and others-also lived here.

After 4 centuries of Ottoman rule, Bosnia was actually a colony of Austria-Hungary for 40 years, then became part of Yugoslavia, and after its collapse became independent, which was preceded by the war of 1992-1995, during which up to 200 thousand people died. Some 1.5 million people were displaced (mostly Serbs and Croats). By the way, brigades of volunteers from Turkey, Iran, Arab countries and even Pakistan participated in this war on the side of Muslims. Currently, up to 3.8 million people live in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including 48% Bosniaks, 37% Serbs, and more than 14% Croats. Different regions are dominated by one or another ethnic group or denomination. However, after the tragedy of 1992-1995, much has been done in the republic to ensure decent living conditions for all citizens, respect for the rights and identity of each of the peoples inhabiting the country, their traditions and culture. 8
Our way is through the hills, vast meadows and mountain passes of Herzegovina, which is called the "stone dream". Giant rocks, rocks, and mountains abound here, but there are also fertile valleys, lakes, and rivers. In addition, this part of the country is dominated by the Mediterranean type of climate, almost like in Dalmatia. We stop in the city-museum of Pochitel. The dominating tower on a sheer cliff above it reminds of the military past: in 1466-1471, the city stubbornly defended itself against the Ottomans with the help of Dubrovnik and the Hungarian King Matyas Hunyadi. But the Ottomans still captured it. For more than 400 years of their rule, a lot of them were built here. This is why this city, which descends through terraces of countless gardens to the Neretva River, is called "a unique monument of medieval Oriental architecture", the main achievements of which include the Haji Aliya Mosque of the XVI century. (its spear-shaped minaret is visible even before entering the city), Shishman Ibrahim Pasha madrasah, which operated until the arrival of the Austrians in 1878, khan (inn), hamam (bath) and Sahat-kula (clock tower), built in the XVII century.

After a more than cursory tour of these attractions, we continue on, remembering the adoration of the Bosnian writer Zuko Jumhur, who was fascinated by the Visitor: "This is heaven on earth." Perhaps he was referring not only to the picturesque panorama of the city, but also to the abundance of figs, tangerines and other appetizing-looking fruits that caught our eye at the local bazaar.

We arrive in Mostar. It, like Pochitel, originated in the XV century, and - around a suspended wooden bridge over the Neretva River. In the towers on both sides of it there was a guard - mostari, from which the name of the city arose. The Ottomans owned it from 1468 to 1878. They built here even more than in Pochitel, and osmot-

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We managed to study all this more carefully.

During the 1992-1995 war. Mostar suffered more than any other city in Bosnia. Many of its monuments were destroyed. Even now, the ruins of houses and traces of shrapnel and bullets on the surviving walls, especially on the left bank of the Neretva River, do not allow us to forget about the past. Some of its multiethnic and multi-religious population was forced to flee, including to other countries, even to the United States and Australia. However," Mostar is gradually regaining its lost grandeur, " writes historian Khedija Boshkailo-Shikalo. And all its inhabitants, regardless of their origin (155 thousand people, of which about 60% are Croats, more than 35% are Bosnians, the rest are Serbs and Jews), strive for this.

The main monument of the city's antiquity is, of course, the Old Bridge, built in 1557-1566 by the architect Khairuddin, a disciple of the great Turkish architect Sinan, in the form of a stone arch, instead of the former wooden one. It is said that Khairuddin was so worried that he could not attend the opening of the bridge, having left the city for 20 km. He didn't return until after the ceremony was safely over. The length of this "crescent over the Neretva" is 29 meters, width 4.5 meters, height-21 meters. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Then the towers protecting the bridge were also built - Helebia on the right bank, Tara and Hercegusha on the left. Helebia currently houses an art gallery. The bridge itself, as well as other bridges in the city (for example, built in 1558 by Kriva Chupria), was destroyed in 1993, but with the financial assistance of international organizations and the active participation of Turkish experts, it was restored in 2004. Walking on it, you can go from the modern part of Mostar to the old quarter of Kuyunjiluk 9.

The name literally means "jewelry making" in Turkish. But in reality, today it is a typical oriental bazaar, where until recently artisans (they are also sellers of their goods) were grouped in esnafs (workshops) that followed clear rules of work and trade. Previously, Kuyunjiluk was called charshiya, i.e. bazaar, market. Today, in addition to the traditional products of artisans (goldsmiths, blacksmiths, weavers, furriers, dyers, masters of cold weapons - knives, daggers), which were previously exported outside of Bosnia, they sell anything: clothes, household utensils, dishes, books, newspapers, souvenirs, pottery, etc . all Bosnian Muslims-red fezs and black vests with fancy embroidery patterns are very similar to their Tunisian or Moroccan merchants of half a century ago. They are, perhaps, only less mobile and more reserved. After all, there was a recent war here... By the way, Kuyunjiluk is also included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. You remember this, not always easily overcoming the steep descents and ascents of its ancient pavement of large cobblestones.

Naturally, there were many mosques in Mostar, where the residence of Mufti Pashalyk was located since 1592. Almost all of them have been preserved. These are the mosques of Askeria (built in 1512-1520), Cheiwan-Che-

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haina (1552-1553), Tabachitsa (1600), pod lipa Mosque (1564). The main one of them until 1992 was the Karadjoz Bega mosque with the highest minaret in the city. Built in 1557 (by craftsmen from Dubrovnik, obviously Christians), it was destroyed during the last war, but now it has been completely restored. However, its interior and especially the wall paintings still need to be repaired. But it is already being shown to tourists. Not far from it is the city library, which once, apparently, served as a repository of manuscripts at the madrasa, which was part of the mosque complex. Approximately 100 meters from the Old Bridge, there is another mosque of Koski Mehmed Pasha, built in 1617, whose courtyard overlooks the Neretva River. There is also a fountain for ablutions and a small Muslim cemetery. Until 1992, this mosque preserved its original appearance, wall paintings and ornaments better than other ancient monuments. During the war, it was seriously damaged, losing its dome and minaret. But now it has been completely restored and again pleases the eye with its appearance and intricate interior decoration, which in its sophistication resembles the interiors of mosques of Arab-Andalusian architecture, typical of the Maghreb countries. 10
Other monuments of the Ottoman era in Mostar include the Clock Tower (Sahat kula), the Tepa Bazar (small market), and the residential buildings of Bishčević, Muslibegović, and Kaitaz. These are typical works of Ottoman architecture of the XVII-XVIII centuries. They are characterized by a second floor with or without a gallery projecting above the first, roofs covered with colored tiles, here and there barred windows and a thoughtful combination of white stone and dark wood, a closed courtyard on all sides, relaxation rooms (divan khan), colored shutters, arches over the entrances, an abundance of carpets inside houses and furniture made of colored wood with carvings of diamond-shaped and other geometric shapes, sometimes-bedspreads of black velvet with a crescent moon and a star embroidered in silver.

I would like to conclude my story about Mostar, the world-famous center of Bosnian Muslims, by reminding you that this city also has many monuments of Christian culture. Back under the Ottomans, in 1767, Mostar became the seat of an Orthodox metropolitan. Built here in 1834-1835, the Orthodox church was decorated with icons made by Byzantine, Cretan and Russian masters, including the 15th century. Destroyed in 1993, it and its iconostasis were completely restored in 1996. The other church, built in 1863-1873 with the great assistance of Sultan Abdulaziz and which became the most significant building of Orthodox worship in Bosnia, was less fortunate. Unfortunately, this church was completely destroyed in 1992 and is still waiting to be restored. Abdul-Aziz also helped build a Catholic basilica in 1866. It has been preserved, as well as the Franciscan monastery of St. Mary, which has existed here since 1553. It still has a rich library with "numerous manuscripts and other documents "dating back to the" end of Ottoman rule " in Bosnia.11
Thus, Mostar is of interest not only to historians of Islam and Bosnian Muslims. It is an example of the frequent coexistence of different peoples and religions in the Balkans, seeking mutual understanding after the tragedies of war. But the example, in our opinion, is a good one. Unlike many other examples of the same kind, including in the Balkans (in particular, in Kosovo).

Bennett L. 1 Croatia. Moscow, 2008; Revue du Monde Musulman et de la MØditerranØe. Aixen-Provence, 1992 - 1994, N 66, p. 135 - 138.

Eremeev D. E. 2 Ethnogenesis of the Turks, Moscow, 1971, p. 148; Atabinen R. S. Les Turcs occidentaux et la MØditerranØe. Istanbul, 1956, p. 61, 65 - 67.

Cicekoglu F., Eldem E. 3 La MØditeiTanØe turque. P., 2000, p. 37.

Lutovac M. 4 Montenegro. Belgrade, 2007, pp. 16, 21.

5 Ibid., pp. 19,21,57-58.

Pushkin A. S. 6 Bonaparte and the Montenegrins. Essays. Leningrad, 1938, p. 451.

Lutovac M. 7 Edict. soch., p. 9, 81.

Biyavica A., Nyavro M. 8 Bosnia and Herzegovina. Zagreb, 2008, pp. 9, 34-35.

9 Ibid., pp. 137-138, 142, 144; Boskailo-Sikalo H. Mostar et ses environs. Mostar, 2007, p. 16.

Biyavitsa A., Nyavro M. 10 Edicts op., pp. 138-140; Boskaib-Sikalo H. Op. cit, p. 24 - 27, 33 - 39.

Boskailo-Sikalo H. 11 Op. cit., p. 28 - 32.


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