What is the Secret of an Orthodox Graveyard in Mostar?

February 19, 2018 11:45 AM

Orthodox graveyard on Bjelusine is the national monument of BiH, but it hides one unique phenomenon – graves were turned opposite of customs for several hundreds of years. The main reason for this is probably the order of Ottomans to change the position of crosses in such way so that they are not visible from the center of Mostar.

There is one of those cross that dates back from 1499, a significant number of them are from 16th century, a solid number from 17th century, while the most of them are from 18th century and somewhat less from the 19th century, because the graveyard around the Old church was formed then.

“Crosses, that is graves, are always positioned in the east-west direction, while they are positioned opposite on this graveyard, in the north-south direction. I do not have any authentic document why it is like that, except two narrations. One of them says that Turkish conquerors did not want the cross to be visible from the city. When you take a look, it really looks like that and it sounds quite logical”, said Krulj.

The other narration says that these crosses were turned towards the old church that was build back in 1630, but the first theory is more accepted.

“That is a very rare phenomenon, on our region, but I haven’t heard that people were buried in that way anywhere else, as you can see on other nearby graveyards. The name of that graveyard is also Pasinovac, which can be connected with one of the pashas who requested for these graves to be turned opposite of customs”, stated Krulj.

Crosses are in a solid state even today, and the famous historian of art Radomir Stanic, who is “Mostar’s son-in-law”, is largely responsible for this.

“Stanic lived in Mostar during 60’s, and he was interested in that locality and made literacy photography of every cross. Besides that, he described in details and read what was written on the cross. Monography of Old graveyard in Mostar will be published soon, which is containing two graveyard units, one that we are talking about – Pasinovac and the other one that is named Bjelusine,” stated Krulj.

This valuable graveyard is endangered by erosion of land, stream Dronjo or Suhodolina which turns the side of this graveyard into landslide, and therefore bones of deceased can be found in the soil. Krulj added that several projects are active, and they should preserve and revitalize this monument.

(Source: R. D./Klix.ba)


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