17 October 2022

TİKA Works to Preserve Common Cultural Heritage in Balkans

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency  (TİKA) has restored more than 80 Ottoman-era structures in the Balkans as part of its efforts to preserve the common historical and cultural heritage of the empire's 550-year legacy in the region.

Centuries-old mosques, madrasahs, clock towers, public baths, and bridges that were built under the Ottomans and today dot the Balkan peninsula have long been in the sights of the TİKA.

Working out of 11 coordination offices in the Balkans, the agency has sought to protect the heritage left by the empire from the 14th century until the early 20th, including by reviving the dozens of mosques that were damaged through the decades since its dissolution.


The Ethem Bey Mosque, one of the eight large Ottoman-era mosques in the city of Tirana, was fully restored in 2021 after TİKA's efforts that lasted about four years.

The mosque, completed in the early 19th century, was reopened in Albania's capital in January 2022 with an event attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Also in Tirana, the Berat Bekarlar Mosque's restoration was likewise completed last year. It is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

In addition to its restoration work, TİKA also renovated seven other mosques, including the Preze Castle Mosque.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of most important historical and cultural monuments of the Ottoman period, the Ferhadija Mosque, was rebuilt in 2016 after its destruction during the Bosnian War in the early 1990s.

TİKA picked up reconstruction work for the mosque, whose towering minaret decorates the capital Sarajevo's skyline, in 2014 after a pause of several years.

The Emperor's Mosque, known to be the "oldest mosque" in Sarajevo, was restored in 2015 and opened in a ceremony in which Turkish President also participated.

Six other mosques, such as the Kursunlu Mosque, were also renovated by TİKA in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


After numerous renovations since its construction in 1620, the Semsi Pasha Mosque in the Sanjak region of Montenegro was rebuilt in 2015 by TİKA in accordance with its original form, repairing damage that went down to its foundations.

The Nizam Mosque, built by Sultan Mehmet II in the Ottoman cemetery of the town of Tuzi near the capital Podgorica, was also rebuilt by TİKA in 2015. The structure had been destroyed during World War II.


The restoration of the Sinan Pasha Mosque, a major Ottoman landmark in the town of Prizren, Kosovo, began in 2007 and was completed in 2011, when it was opened to worship.

In 2010, TİKA completed the restoration of the Fatih Mosque, a valued example of classical Ottoman architecture and Islamic artwork. It was also built by Sultan Mehmet II in 1460-1461.

TİKA also carried out the restoration of four other mosques in the Balkans.

North Macedonia

The Sultan Murat Mosque, the largest in the North Macedonian capital of Skopje, was built by Ottoman Sultan Murat II in 1436-37. After TİKA's extensive restoration and landscaping in 2016-2019, it was reopened to worshippers in 2020.

TİKA also completed renovation and landscaping work for the Ishak Bey Mosque, built in 1438 in southwestern city of Bitola. It enjoys an important place in the history of North Macedonia and Ottoman mosque architecture and was reopened in 2020.

Today, the agency continues its cooperation with country governments to preserve the remnants of Ottoman heritage in the Balkans, handing them down to future generations.

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