The Bosniak Institute – Adil Zulfikarpašić Foundation is a unique institution in Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is also a museum, library and archive, a gallery and a cultural center. The Institute was opened in Sarajevo in 2001 as a foundation, or waqf of Adil Zulfikarpašić, and is the largest and, according to its collections, the richest waqf in the contemporary history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Bosniak Institute is the crown of decades of commitment, effort, and the vision of the couple Zulfikarpašić, Adil-bey and his wife Tatjana. Throughout their lives, spent in immigration, they collected material on Bosnia and Herzegovina, countries of the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans, with active publicist-political work on the strengthening of Bosniak national consciousness and BH historical and cultural identity.
The Bosniak Institute is a modern institution that contributes to the development and promotion of Bosniak and BH science and culture, in our country and the world. In the architectural sense, the complex of the Institute consists of two facilities, one containing a library, an archive, a collection of works of art, an ethnological collection and other smaller collections, the gallery of the Institute, a conference hall and other facilities, Gazi Husrev-bey’s hamam, in which museum exhibits are shown , a part of the gallery, and a gala hall.
Gazi Husrev-bey’s hamam provokes a special interest of tourists, guests and the public, because it is a famous example of Ottoman architecture in Bosnia, it was built in the 16th century and is the only preserved and restored hamam in Sarajevo. This is a place where two benefactions, two waqfs meet, Gazi Husrev-bey’s from the 16th and Adil-bey’s from the 20th century.
The Institute’s library was intensively and meticulously built initially as a private library, and then within the institution (Bosniak Institute in Zurich) since 1988. Since the opening of the Institute in Sarajevo, we continue to enrich the library and archival fund, and the library now has about 250,000 library units. It should be kept in mind that this is a special library focusing on social and humanistic sciences, primarily publications that deal with Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the former Yugoslavia.
Within the library there are special funds of Oriental manuscripts (more than 1,000 manuscripts written in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Bosnian), old and rare books (from the 14th to 19th century), collections that are specific to this library, such as Emigrantika, Putopis , Rat 1992-1995.
The collection of works of art of the Institute counts about 1,500 works of BH authors. It should be noted that this collection originated from a private collection, that is, the collection of Zulfikarpašić couple, which was expanded and completed in time, with the help of professional associates of art historians and painters, especially bearing in mind this is a very high quality collection and a collection in which BH classical and contemporary authors are largely represented.
In addition to Behaudin Selmanović, Rizah Štetić, Ibrahim Ljubović, Hakija Kulenović, Vojo Dimitrijević, Ismet Mujezinović, Safet Zec, Salim Obralić, Mehmed Zaimović, and others, there are also graphic artists like Emir Dragulj, Muhamed Ćeif, Mirsad Konstantinović …
– I would single out several legacies within the collection, as well as donations: Mersad Berber, who donated 73 of his works to the Institute, and this is the only such extensive and permanent setting of Berber’s works in our country; then the latest donation to the Institute of images and installations of our contemporary artist Edo Numankadić; aquarelles of Ismet Mujezinović; aquarelles of Fuad Arifhodžić; drawings of Mevludin Ekmečić – says Amina Rizvanbegović Džuvić, director of the Institute.
According to her, the Institute’s commitment is to provide unique cultural experiences through different programs and activities, to be a space for the exchange of thoughts, to enable dialogue, scientific research, and at the same time to approach a wider audience of different interests its capacities, funds, and the very idea behind establishment and existence of the Bosniak Institute.
In pursuit of this commitment, we strive to provide the public with a large number of cultural, scientific and educational content. The gala hall in Gazi Husrev-bey’s hamam allows us to organize or enable the organization of exceptional and selected cultural events, from concerts, music competitions, literary meetings, round tables, conferences and simillar events, and we are very active in exhibition activities – says Amina.
The Institute offers a unique walk through the cultural history of our country, heritage, culture and tradition; from the very buildings, one Ottoman from the 16th century and another contemporary from the 21st century, museum exhibits that testify to the rich and long tradition and culture, exhibitions of contemporary artists, various funds of invaluable value for exploring our historiography and cultural history in the widest sense, to programs that promote and represent Bosnia and Herzegovina’s scientific and artistic creativity.
-Thus, our audience is diverse. We have visitors to our collections, foreign and domestic tourists, our diaspora visits us very much in the summer months, then a large number of school-age children. For example, this year, through various programs of workshops and thematic guides through collections, we had about 1,500 children from primary and secondary schools. Then there are visits and interest in our programs, so a large number of attendees come to see various programs during the year. A total of 15,000 visitors are recorded on various bases – she says.