Only several hundred meters away from one of the westernmost points in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the Old Town Šturlić. The former medieval fortress, not so convincingly transformed into a mosque, entails plenty of interesting historical data that many do not know anything about.
The Old Town Šturlić is located on a hill above the Korana River, near the Bosnian-Croatian border and it teritorially belongs to the Municipality of Cazin. It is first mentioned in historical sources in 1459, when it was owned by the aristocratic family Šturlić.
According to historians, the old fort in Šturlić was protected by a crew of some 10 soldiers of the royal army in the second half of the 16th century. Over time, the town was abandones and remained deserted and uninhabitated until 1670, when the Ottoman authorities reconstructed it and accommodate in it its permanent military garrison under the command of the captain of Ostrožac.
These data imply that the Ottomans entered Šturlić only 207 years after conquering Bosnia in 1463, which makes it one of the last places in Bosnia, in not the last, where the centennial rulers of Bosnia set foot.
„After the Turks conquered Cazin in 1576, according to available sources, there was no interest in conquering this part of the Cazin area, i.e. the old fort in Šturlić. It was not until some 100 years after conquering Cazin that the Ottomans entered Šturlić. And they did so not with weapons, but they simply walked in the ghost town Šturlić, sometime at the end of the 17th century,“ said Nisvet Effendi Kovačević, Imam of the central mosque in Šturlić congregation.
Kovačević explained that, after the Ottomans entered Šturlić, the old fort was transformed into a mosque.
„Inside of the fort they made a mihrab and a minder and errected the still present small wooden minaret from the attic of the tower. Evidence of this is found in the inscription near the entrance to the minber which said ‘Sahibi Malik Mustafa – passed away in 1145’, referring to year according to Hijra, which corresponds to 1732 Gregorian year,“ Effendi said.
It is easily noticeable that the moque used to be a fort, since its front side is not facing the Qibla, Effendi Kovačević revealed.
„This has been done only after the old fort was transformed into a mosque, when its front side was remodeled so it faces the Qibla. That remodeling resulted in the no longer rectangular, but irregular shape of the mosque,“ Effendi explained.
What is also interesting and related to the entire story about Šturlić is the fact that in the entire village, as well as in the rest of Bosanska Krajina, the surname Šturlić no longer exists, although the settlement was named after the noble Šturlić family.
Today, the Old Town Šturlić is on the temporary list of monuments made by the Commission for preservation of national monuments of BiH and it exists only thanks to the selfless care by the residents of Šturlić and people who see it as a place of priceless value.