Kazandžiluk is a street in the heart of Baščaršija, a famous tourist site and the favorite street of Sarajevans who still nourish tradition. The street dates back to the 16th century, to the Ottoman period, and it was named after the craftsmen, the coppersmiths (kazandžije), who make objects from copper.
One of the old coppersmiths of Sarajevo who preserves and nourishes this old craft is the Haji Mirsad Brkanić. His workshop is one of the rare ones where you can find exclusively domestic, handmade objects, and the only shop under the protection of UNESCO.
“My late brother taught me this craft and I inherited everything from him. I started working as a coppersmith when I was twelve and this is something I love and something I will do as long as I can,” said Mirsad.
Mirsad has two sons who are also in the business that they father taught them to do. Mirsad says that if you love this or any other job and if you know how to do it, they you work with your heart.
“People visit us, some of them just watch, while others eagerly buy some of the objects that we made by hand. Every object I made has a stamp and quality certificate. Some people recognize that, come back and buy other objects as well,” Brkanić says.
Mirsad says that the craft revived in Sarajevo over the past few years.
“Until and during the Olympics, the city was flooded with people who were looking for such objects as a memory from Sarajevo. After the Olympics and until the war, there were less interested people. After the war, the craft and the sales flourished again because people returned to the nourishment of the craft of their nation,” says Mirsad.
Mirsad says that many famous and successful people from all parts of the world ordered and bought his objects.
“People from the government came, from the Presidency, even Bill Clinton visited me once. That was a great honor for me because he must have been brought by someone who finds my objects valuable. The very fact that my store is under protection of UNESCO speaks a lot about the objects and my effort to offer the best quality to the domestic buyers and tourists,” said Mirsad.