Guardians of Tradition at Međaš near Kalesija: Blacksmith’s workshop that has existed for 130 years

Kovačnica Hare FOTO: VELIJA HASANBEGOVIĆ

Back in 1889, in Međaš near Kalesija, beside the main road Tuzla-Zvornik, Mehmed Bešić opened a blacksmith workshop. He did not know that the workshop will survive for 130 years, and that his descendants will make a living thanks to it. The son Mustafa, then grandson Muharem succeeded Mehmed, and at his great-grandsons Damir and Belmir, are currently working there.

Damir says that, according to his knowledge, there is no older blacksmith workshop in the Tuzla Canton where the traditional way of workmanship is used, that is, by means of a blacksmith’s fire and a hammer.

Agricultural Tools

According to him, the shop was renovated and beautified, but its appearance remained authentic. On the walls and shelves there are many antiques that they, as Damir says, carefully collect and now their workshop looks a bit like a museum.

-We are the fourth generation that preservs this craft. Our great-grandfather was a blacksmith, and he founded this shop, the craft was passed from generation to generation, and now my brother and I  are working here, and our uncle is helping – said Damir.

He emphasizes that this is a permanent job from which their families live well, with the hope that their sons will go through their fathers and grandfathers’ paths and inherit this craft.

-This craft is beautiful and I loved it from my early age. I knew that one day I would be a blacksmith. We were educated, studied other crafts that helped us a lot in this business – says Damir.

He says that there is enough of work and that he is satisfied, because the quality of a product made in an old fashion way cannot be compared with anything.

-Due to the fact that this is the winter period, we are preparing for the spring and we are making agricultural tools. This is somehow our main activity, but we also make barbecues, souvenirs and other items that our customers want, and we repair the old tool – he says.

Nostalgia

According to him, this work requires added energy and strenght, but it is not difficult if it is done with love. He says that for production of one, for example axe, takes three hours, and that everything depends on its size.

In front of the blacksmith shop there is a really wide range of their products, but also an old machine for sharpening of knives, axes, hoes …

– Only on this machine, the knife can be sharpened properly, without burning material that then weakens its quality. This is what, among other things, attracts clients to us. People are interested in all this, and the elderly come with some kind of nostalgia because they had the opportunity to know how it was before – Damir emphasized, adding that people from Diaspora are frequent buyers of their products.

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