Bajrakli Mosque in Belgrade

The historical area of Dorcol in the city of Belgrade has many sites of historical, architectural and urban value that you could visit during your Belgrade tour. Parts of Dorcol represent the testimony of once oriental Belgrade during the Turkish reign. The Bajrakli Mosque that is located in the district of Dorcol presents the cultural monument of the great value and the only remaining example of the Ottoman sacred architecture in Belgrade.

It was built in the 16th century and is the only mosque in the city out of the 273 that had existed during the time of the Ottoman Empire's rule of Serbia. It once dominated the environment of mostly low -storey oriental houses in the busy commercial district of craftsmen called the Zerek in the Belgrade town. The name Bajrakli Mosque dates from the 1780’s when the flag (barjak) was waved from the mosque to signal the beginning of the prayer to other mosques in the town.

Bajrakli Mosque represented the main mosque in Belgrade, and there was the man (muvekit) who calculated the Islamic Hijri calendar which is used to date events in many Muslim countries (concurrently with the Gregorian calendar), and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper days on which to observe the annual fasting, to attend Hajj, and to celebrate other Islamic holidays and festivals. So according to Hijri calendar this man was regulating the religious life with the determination of the holy days, regulation of the clock mechanism and flag waving of the minaret as a sign of simultaneous beginning of the prayers in all other Islamic places of worship in the town of Belgrade .

During the Austrian rule 1717-1739 the Bajrakli Mosque was converted into a catholic church, but its original function was renewed in 1741 when the Ottomans had returned to Belgrade. Since 1868 it has been the only Muslim shrine in Belgrade.

Belgrade tour, Bajrakli Mosque interiour

In the 19th century it was renovated by the ruling Serbian dynasty Obrenovic. Prince Mihailo Obrenovic ordered in 1868 to the Minister of Education and Religious Affairs to select one of the existing mosques and enable it for the performing of the Muslim religious rites, when the whole complex of this mosque was renewed.

Between the two world wars, the mosque was restored by the Municipality of the City of Belgrade. In 1935 it was protected by Regulation on the protection of antiquities of Belgrade. The restoration was carried out several times after the Second World War by the National Committee of the City of Belgrade and the Institute for the Protection and Scientific Research of Cultural Monuments, and from the mid-sixties of twentieth century it is under jurisdiction of the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments.

The architecture of the mosque belongs to the usual type of the on-storey domed building. The transition from the square plan to the octagonal tambour with dome was realized by trompe l’oeil. The minaret is located on the right side of the entrance is not particularly slender and has a fence with modest profiling on its lower side. On the opposite side of the entrance there is a shallow niche of mihrab (a niche in the wall of a mosque, at the point nearest to Mecca, towards which the congregation faces to pray) and minbar (a short flight of steps used as a platform by a preacher in a mosque). The space is lit through the windows on each side of the octagonal tambour. The apertures on the building end in characteristic ogee arches.

The Bajrakli Mosque is currently the only active mosques in Belgrade.