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14 Oral Tradition and Architectural History: A Sixteenth-Century Ottoman Mosque in the Balkans in Local Memory, Textual Sources, and Material Evidence

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines oral traditions as they pertain to the origins and historical contexts of Ottoman monuments erected in the Balkans. The author focuses on one specific monument, a sixteenth-century mosque in the Bosnian-Herzegovinian town of Foča, which was destroyed during the war in 1993. He evaluates how the content of an oral tradition recorded in the late nineteenth century, that narrated the foundation of this mosque three centuries earlier, relates to information gathered from textual sources and material evidence. The Mosque of Fočan included a detailed oral tradition about the circumstances of its construction. In its design, the monument is a typical example of a medium-sized provincial congregational mosque: it is a near-cube measuring approximately 14 m square, constructed of limestone blocks, surmounted by a hemispherical dome with an internal diameter of approximately 11 m, and it is entered through a three-bay portico with three cupolas.

Keywords: Balkans; Bosnian-Herzegovinian town; Foča; sixteenth-century mosque



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