Stećci – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina - Atlas Obscura


National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Some of the best-preserved specimens of the monumental medieval tombstones found throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. 


Stećci (singular stećak) are monumental medieval tombstones found throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and the surrounding areas. There are tens of thousands of these inscribed stones scattered around the region, but some of the best-preserved specimens are conveniently located a short walk from the Old City of Sarajevo, at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Stećci began appearing in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the mid 12th century, reached their peak in the 14th and 15th century, and fell out of use with the arrival of the Ottomans in the 16th century. They were used by followers of the different Christian churches in the region, including the Bosnian Church, Catholics, and Orthodox.

While most of the stećci are written in the now-extinct Bosnian Cyrillic alphabet, some inscriptions are written in the Glagolitic alphabet, the first Slavic alphabet created by the same Saint Cyril and Methodius who later created the Cyrillic alphabet.

The stećci at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina are located both outside the main entrance of the museum, and spread around in the botanical garden in the courtyard.

Know Before You Go

The easiest way to get to the museum is to take the tram number three (3) from the Old City/Baščaršija away from the direction of the Old City. Get off when you see the American Embassy on the right (it's very large and a commonly referenced landmark in Sarajevo) or the Museum itself on the left. You can purchase tickets for around €1 at most kiosks. If you would prefer to walk, which is recommended, go from the Old City to the river and head to the right, following the river along the same street for around 20 to 30 minutes. At some point the street will pull away from the river but will reconnect in about 300 meters and continue until the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina which will be on you right.

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December 14, 2016

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