It were the viziers, governors of Ottoman empire, that made Travnik what it is today, open space museum, monument of history and old capital of Ottoman Bosnia.
This is their story.
Between 1699 and 1851, in total 77 vizier ruled Bosnia form Travnik. Some of them more than once, some of them so short that they are not even remembered, and some who made it to the top, and became Grand Vizier of Ottoman Empire, most powerful man in the Empire after the Sultan himself.
On the other hand, many of them found their end in Travnik, where they are buried and their tombs, and tombstones and mausoleums above them can be found lying in Travnik’s streets and neighborhoods.
One of those can be found in Travnik’s central street, known as “Mausoleum under the lime tree” in which two viziers are buried, the most just one, and the most cruel one.
Abdullah pasha Muhsinzade, the just one, is one of the most known viziers in Bosnia. He served in Travnik for four time, 12 years in total, most than any other vizier before or after him.
On his tombstone is written: “Here lies the ex Grand Vizier of Ottoman Empire, Muhsinzade Abdullah pasha. This Bosnian vizier went to eternity, please pray for his soul.”
The other tomb is a tomb of Ali Dzelaludin pasha, who is known as a cruel ruler most famous for beheading popular Bosnian poet of that time, Abdullvehab Ilhamija Zepcak.
Vizier Ali Dzelaludin issued death penalty by hanging to Ilhamija because of his song:
“What a strange time has become,
everybody turned evil.
The enemy of faith have risen,
For the love of Good, what do you want?”
This song was aimed at viziers rule in Bosnia so he was hanged on Travnik castle and his mausoleum is in Varosh street still today.
Son of previous mentioned Muhsinzade Abdullah pasha, Mehmet pasha Muhsinzade, also ruled as vezir in Bosnia, and as his father, as Grand Vizier of Ottoman Empire. He was married with Esma, daughter of Sultan Mustafa III, and was known as “damat” meaning “son in law to sultans family”.
He built Loncharica mosque, and madrasah (religious school) besides it. Mosque still stands today in Varosh, just beneath hotel.
Many madrasah were built by viziers in Travnik, bud only one still stands, and works today. It’s a madrasah founded by Elchi Ibrahim pasha, just on the city entrance, and still carries his name, “Madrasah Elchi Ibrahim pasha”.
The other one was built in other part of the city, by famous vizier Mehmet pasha Kukavica, but was closed and building destroyed.
Mehmet pasha Kukavica’s madrasah maybe doesn’t stand anymore, but his beautiful mosque “Hajji Ali Bey Mosque” still does, and in front of her a clock tower also built by Mehmet pasha Kukavica.
But he is not remembered by mosque, clock tower or madrasah. He is remembered as “Vizier Mockingbird”, nickname given to him by Bosnian people because he run away from Bosnian uprising against him.
He was a cruel vizier, who issued a death penalty for 18 Bosnian pashas who turned against him. He summoned them to Travnik, for peace talks, and strangled them in sleep, and by that, ended the uprising.
Vizier Ali Hekimoglu pasha, is also famous Grand Vizier of Ottoman Emipre that also served as vizier in Travnik. He was a son of venetian doctor, (hekim means doctor in Turkish, that’s why he has a surname Hekimoglu, meaning “son of a doctor”) who served as a chief doctor to sultan Mustafa II.
He served as Grand Vizier of Ottoman empire and during that time built one of the most beautiful mosques in Istanbul, on Bosphorus.
They were not all builders, or cruel rules, there was those mystic ones, man of faith, and different religious rituals. One of them was vizier Jusuf pasha, who, as it is believed among people, had mystical powers which could help you get rid of illness, etc.
His mausoleum is founded in city of Livno, and common people, even today, visit his grave and make prayers for his soul, and also their wellbeing. On his tombstone there is a writing: “Here lies Bosnian vizier, forgiven one and pardoned one, vizier Jusuf pasha. Please pray for his soul”.
He was first sentenced to death by sultan himself, but latter pardoned. But word didn’t reach his executor and he was executed. That’s why on his tombstone somebody made sure that everybody knows he was pardoned and forgiven.
These are just some of short stories about Travnik’s viziers and their legacy. Their lifes, rules, destinies, buildings, memories and other are today part of this city’s history and we will continue to bring you interesting short stories about them on our blog.