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Museum "Alija Izetbegović": the story of Alija – the story of Bosnia

During the worst years this country endured, in the period from the break of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia up until the late nineties, there is a man who becomes a symbol of the fight for freedom and the idea of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a multi-ethnic and civic state – his name is Alija Izetbegović.

Dedicating his whole life to justice and democracy, Alija Izetbegović has become a symbol of the honourable struggle and an advocate of democratic aspirations of all imperilled people, with a never-ending love for his Bosnia-Herzegovina, the homeland of all who love, respect and accept it as their country.

The Museum “Alija Izetbegović” was opened at the fourth anniversary of the President’s death, on the 19th of October, 2007. In the old fortress of the city, that is, in the towers Kapi-kula  Ploča and Sirokac , located in the Old Town neighbourhood called Vratnik, thanks to the enthusiasm and respect for the persona and work of Alija Izetbegovic, there was another monument born. Together with the Martyr’s Memorial Cemetery Kovači, the Museum tells the never-ending story of Bosnian life and death, marked by the fight of good against evil.

The two old towers, linked to each other by a stone fortress wall, are a part of the city’s fortification built in 1739, after the raid of the infamous Austrian field-marshal Eugene of Savoy, who turned Sarajevo into dust and ashes, burning more than 2,000 structures, destroying more than 120 mosques, killing the majority of their imams and muezzins, and going on rampage against helpless women and children. These old, stone towers got a new life; the life of Alija Izetbegović.  Alija Izetbegović, too, had his own “Eugene of Savoy”, but, just as the towers did, he defended his people against evil and he remained proud as they did.

Given the increasing interest from the community and the Museum’s visitors themselves, the Museum “Alija Izetbegović”, which was initially opened as one of the extended part of the Museum of Sarajevo, became a public institution of its own, based on the Decision made by the Sarajevo Canton Assembly from the 31st of December, 2009. This has provided for larger opportunities for a successful cultural and social work of this institution.

 

Proactive approach of the Museum "Alija Izetbegović"

Besides the permanent display, which invites and attracts the visitors and public of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Museum “Alija IZetbegović” takes a proactive approach towards its visitors, thus initiating their interest in the period of the most recent history of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which is marked by the persona and work of Alija Izetbegović.

In line with its programme, the Museum “Alija Izetbegović” organises workshops for students of primary schools. After the visit and lecture held by the professional staff of the Museum, students are encouraged to record their impressions and gained knowledge through their literary and visual works.

Besides its work with students, the Museum also supports research and graduation works of students, as well as doctoral dissertations by intellectuals and scholars.

It provides them the service of continued communication with the Museum, placing at their disposal its library and different forms of historic sources. This is another way in which the Museum contributes to the truth.

Special attention is paid to the travelling exhibition of photographs about the life, persona and work of Alija Izetbegović, which had its debut in Istanbul in 2008, followed by displays in Priština and towns throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina. It provided the opportunity to educational institutions to organise additional education and to induce the interest of the public for truth about the first President of the independent state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Significance of the Museum "Alija Izetbegović"

The Museum Alija Izetbegović is a museum dedicated to our contemporary who dedicated his life and his fight to his country, struggling for a better future for his people. This Museum has just been established and it does not drain its facts from the ancient past. The beginning of research and writing of the history is just at its initial stage. This makes the role of this Museum even more important. The Museum “Alija Izetbegović”, which has emerged in the modern time, provides the modern-way shaped answers to the questions asked in the past, but also sets the foundation for the future. Through its objective approach, the Museum encourages young people, intellectuals and researches to approach to history writing with expertise and knowledge. Judging by the life of Alija Izetbegović, this history can leave a positive mark only if it is written and based on the truth.

The Museum “Alija Izetbegović” is located in the towers Kapi-kula Ploča and Sirokac. The symbolic is obvious. The fortress wall and the towers have always been the symbols of defence and freedom, while the Martyr’s Memorial Cemetery is a daily reminder on the price that was paid for it. Both stories are closely related to Alija Izetbegović. His story has brought life to and filled in the centuries-long emptiness of the old, stone towers, thus indicating the continuity of Bosnia. The Museum “Alija Izetbegović” serves both as a reminder and as a message to the future generations. The message is that one needs to fight for everything that is valuable, but at the same time everything that is valuable does not belong to a person - it is the assets for the future of all generations. The message is that everything that is valuable survives and outlives barbarism and savagery. The message is that everything that is valuable has to be just, even at the cost of one’s own freedom and life. And finally, the message is that Bosnia will always exist.

 

Thanks to the following persons and institutions, the establishment of the Museum "Alija Izetbegović" has been made possible:
(information from the period of establishing and creation of the Museum)

Reconstruction of the structure:
Project team of the Cantonal Institute for Protection of Cultural, Historic and Natural Heritage:
Nermina Mujezinovic, M.Sc. in architecture
Prof Zlatko Langof, PhD in civil engineering
Senad Hadzibegovic, B.Sc. in electrical engineering
Selim Čauševic, mechanic technician

Interior Design:
Nihad Babović, B.Sc. in architecture

Author of the Exhibition
The Museum of Sarajevo:
Amra Madžarević, senior custodian
Nedžad Čmajčanin, design

Exhibition Fellows:
General Fikret Muslimović
General Nedžad Ajnadžić

Editor:
Prof Džemaludin Latić, PhD

English Translation of the Boards
Senada Kreso, literary and conference interpreter
Saba Risaluddin

Council of the Museum
Denis Zvizdić
Samir Silajdžić
Emir Hadžihafizbegovic
Bakir Izetbegović
Mustafa Resić
Prof Džemaludin Latić
Amor Mašović
Smail Čekić
Mevlida Serdarević
Amra Madžarević
Adnan Muftarević
Ibrahim Hadžibajrić

Contractors
«Klesar» d.o.o. Hadžići
«Ramaglas» d.o.o. Sarajevo
Cip sistemi d.o.o. Sarajevo
«Stil» d.o.o. Sarajevo

INVESTOR:  Memorial Fund Kovači