Public fountains are the centuries old symbol of Sarajevo 

PHOTO: KEMAL SOFTIĆ

For several centuries, public drinking water fountains are unforgettable and decorative symbols of the City of Sarajevo. These fountains primarily served the locals, but also the travelers, to stop, drink fresh, cold water and continue the journey.

Since Sarajevo is located in the basin, and numerous settlements are scattered over hilly and high areas, with no drinking water, the fountains served to have fresh water at all times in their homes.

Reconstruction Program

There are numerous stories and legends about Sarajevo public fountains. Some were motifs of various souvenirs, while some found their place on painter’s canvases and artwork. They testify about the local tradition and in some way represent a significant monument in the cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

According to historical records from the Sarajevo City Archives, at the end of the 19th century there were 152 public fountains in the city itself. Out of this number, only 30 remained, in the 90s of the last century. More aware of the fact that fountains slowly disappear and collapse, the city authorities decided in 1995 to build a program for reconstruction of old fountains, a total of 41, which were to be reconstructed and restored. Following this program to this day, many abandoned and destructed fountains have been reconstructed, and their old purpose of existence has been restored.

The most famous Sarajevo fountain is certainly Sebilj on Baščaršija, which was restored in 2006. From this part of the city comes the famous saying: “Whoever drinks water from Baščaršija once constantly returns to Sarajevo”.

During 2006, thanks to the city authorities, fountains in Bistrik, Provare, Brdo and Kesa were restored.

The restoration of the public fountain in Terezija, in the old town community of Toka-Džeka, was completed at the end of 2015. This fountain is of great importance for this part of the city, because it supplies water to the hills Bistrik, Hrid, Jarčedoli, Mahmutovac, Širokača, Bostarići, Komatin, Soukbunar …

Donation of Citizens

There is no Sarajevo citizen who did not hear about the fountain at Terezija. It is unusual because it is a natural spring of drinking water, and at the entrance to the fountains stairs and a stone sink are built. Another strangeness is related to this fountain, the fountain is restored by the personal donation of a Sarajevo citizen in memory of her mother.

One of the oldest preserved Sarajevo fountains is also under Alifakovac. It was built in the wall of the Vekil Harč Mosque, which is known as the Hajjis Mosque. Most likely, it was built with the mosque itself, that is, between 1541 and 1561. As a gift from the City of Sarajevo to the city of Rome in 1999, a replica of the square of Piazza S. Giorgio al Velabro was built.

There is also a fountain on Kovači, located at the corner of Kovači and Jekovac. It was built in the 16th century, on the wall of the old Muslim cemetery, and it is the most beautiful old Sarajevo fountain preserved in its original form and appearance. Gazi Husrev-bey’s water supply from the Crnila spring supplied this fountain until 1890, when it was connected to the city water supply.