One name is permanently written with golden letters in the history of BiH. This is the name of a man who fought for the freedom of his country, stood up to revolt and declared disobedience to the Sultan, the name that is honor to our country and pride of our nation – Dragon of Bosnia, Husein-kapetan Gradaščević.
Husein, son of Osman-captain and Melek hanuma, was born in 1802 in Gradačac, in Gradaščević family, which had the reputation as one of the most influential bey families in Bosnia.
Family house of Gradaščević family where Husein was born, was located near the Gradačac Castle. As a young boy, while listening to stories of his father Osman and glorified brothers Murat-captain and Osman-Pasha on their victorious campaigns in Serbia at the beginning of the 19th century, he was nurturing inside his warrior spirit.
Bartolomeo Kunibert, his contemporary and doctor, made this worth recording about him: “Husein-captain was around 30 years old; his stature was somewhere in the middle, he looked interesting, his look was gentle and gloomy, smile full of charm and sadness, his eyes were framed by thick and crossed eyebrows, his skin was revealing more of his mother’s type but the proud and cruel Bosniak type of his father. It was hard to believe that under this gentle and delicate body composition is hiding brave soul, military gifts, a large vanity, and in particular personal courage, which sometimes would be even turned to pride. Honest and hardworking muslim, he carefully carried out the external ritual of their religion and holy Qur’an; he would not miss the five prayers a day, that are sharply prescribed to every muslim and from which nothing can relieve, for nothing in the world, and often you would see him during the conversation to turn his eyes to heaven and repeat some silent prayer or verses from the Qur’an; and unlikely his fellow citizens, he was holding back from a variety of wines and liquor, prohibited by the laws of Islam…”
Husein-kapetan spent his childhood and youth in turbulent times. His brother Murat-captain was poisoned as the example for others who dare to disobey his orders by heartless Dželal-Pasha in 1820. The tragic fate of his brother, whom he inherited at the captain’s chair, deeply shaken Husein. It was one of the reasons why he mistrusted the new Bosnian governor Abdurahim-Pasha.
For 11 years that he spent as the head of Gradačac captaincy, Husein-kapetan worked very hard on the construction of many buildings. Rich building activities, which were developed thanks to large financial resources, was mainly flourishing in the area of Gradačac. Especially interesting is the history of the city fortress which was built on a small and strategically important hill, from which the human eye can see a beautiful cityscape. Behind its walls, is located tall and white the tower, popularly called the Husein-kapetan Tower. Was this tower really built by Husein-captain, remains unknown, but it is certain that he conducted some construction and repairs on it during his administration.
The most important building Husein-kapetan constructed in 1826 under the city gates, about 50 meters away from the walls of the old fortress. It was, called after the founder’s name, Husejnija, mosque of impressive dimensions and beauty, with a large dome and three smaller ones over the mosque porch, above which it proudly resisted, 25 meters tall white minaret.
As a captain, Hussein hated doing injustice and tyranny. Besides giving so much money to build these buildings, Husein-kapetan financially helped and issued permits for the construction of many buildings of general benefit to the residents of his captaincy. Catholics from the villages of Tolisa remember him as a good man, where, as recorded by Julian Jelenic, in 1823 was built the first building for the needs of the Catholic elementary school where 120 children were educated, and one Catholic church where around 1500 people was coming to prayers. He does not care much for sentences because he issued all licenses to these people on his own and not under the orders of the imperial seal certified Berat.