During the difficult period following the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia until the late nineties, there emerged a figure of a man who became the symbol of the struggle for freedom and the idea of Bosnia-Herzegovina as a multi-ethnic and civic state –Alija Izetbegović. He stood strong against all attacks and attempts to divide the country and destroy its millenial legacy of peaceful co-existence.
Dedicating his entire life to freedom, justice and democracy, Alija Izetbegović became a symbol of the honorable struggle and an advocate of democratic aspirations of the opressed, with his never-ending love for Bosnia-Herzegovina, the country of all the people who accept it and cherish it as their homeland.
The Museum “Alija Izetbegović” was established on the fourth anniversary of the President’s death, October 19th, 2007, in the old city fortress – the towers Kapi-kula Ploča and Širokac. Along with the War Memorial and Kovači Cemetary, it became another important monument of the Bosnian struggle for survival.
The two old towers, connected by a stone fortress wall, were built as a part of the city’s fortification in 1739, after the raid of the infamous Austrian field-marshal Eugene of Savoy. At the time, Eugene invaded Sarajevo, turning it into dust and ashes, burning down over 2,000 buildings, destroying more than 120 mosques, killing the majority of their imams and muezzins, and torturing helpless women and children.
The Museum “Alija Izetbegović”, which was initially opened as an extended part of the Museum of Sarajevo, became an independent public institution by the Decision of the Sarajevo Canton Assembly passed on December 31st, 2009. This provided greater opportunities for a successful cultural and social work of this institution.
Besides its permanent collection which attracts foreign visitors and the Bosnian public, the Museum takes a proactive approach, initiating the visitors' interest in the modern history of Bosnia-Herzegovina, marked by the personality and work of Alija Izetbegović.
According to its programme, the Museum organises workshops for students of primary and secondary schools. After the tour of the museum led by the professional museum guide, students are encouraged to record their impressions and knowledge in the form of literary and artistic works. It also supports scientific research, students' graduation theses, as well as doctoral dissertations. The Musem grants access to its library and different forms of historical sources to scholars, students and researchers.
Special emphasis is placed on traveling photography exhibition which represents the life and work of Alija Izetbegović. The exhibition has debuted in Istanbul in 2008, followed by displays in over fifty cities in Bosnia Herzegovina and abroad. In addition to the Museum library, which serves as a valuable source of information, the Museum grants students and researchers a free visit to the permanent exhibition. For larger and more substantive projects, there is a possibility of establishing contacts and providing liaison with relevant personalities within specific fields of research.
The beginnings of scientific research of the recent history are barely in the initial stage. This makes the role of this Museum even more important. The Museum offers a modern approach to the questions from the past, but also sets the foundation for a better future. Through its objective scientific approach, it encourages young people, intellectuals and researchers to approach modern history with expertise and knowledge.
The Museum “Alija Izetbegović” is located in the towers Kapi-kula Ploča and Širokac. The symbolism is obvious - the fortress wall and the towers have been the symbols of defence and freedom since ancient times, while the War Memorial and Cemetery Kovači stand as a daily reminder of the price that was paid for it. Both stories are closely related to Alija Izetbegović. His story has brought to life the old stone towers, thus confirming the continuity of Bosnia. The Museum serves both as a reminder and as a message to the future generations.
The permanent museum exhibition is located in the towers Kapi-kula Ploča and Širokac. In the Ploča tower, the life of Alija Izetbegović as statesman and politician is displayed on chronologically arranged exhibition boards, accompanied by text and photographs. In the Širokac tower, the exhibition is dedicated to Izetbegović's role as the Supreme Commander in the defense of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Serbian agression.
Established in the recent times, the Museum „Alija Izetbegović“ offers modern answers to questions from the past, but also sets the foundation for the future. Through its objective scientific approach, it encourages young people, intellectuals and researchers to approach modern history with expertise and knowledge.
The Museum educational programs are designed for elementary and secondary school students. They include professional tours of the permanent museum exhibition, interactive school workshops, pedagogical and educational publications, lectures, special programmes observing important historical dates, etc.