It is remarkable the number of institutions made possible by the charitable endowment of Gazi Husrev-beg that are still functioning, or functioning again, today. At the center stands the mosque, relatively simple compared to those built by sultans or modern day monarchs, though still evocative. But there is so much more. Across the alley is the religious school, which now has both ancient and modern buildings, as well as a very informative museum. There is a clock tower, an office for determining the precise time of day for prayer, a water system including gravel filters, free public toilets, and public baths. Commerce is considered as well, with a covered market (“Bezistan”), the Morica-Han – an inn that provides food and lodging for travelers, and a caravanserai (or at least the ruins of one, and I am not totally clear on the difference between the first two and the third!)
There is also a soup kitchen, which today still functions as a bakery that sells delicious burek at very reasonable prices. Dinner for me last night and tonight has been their $1 spinach and cheese pastries!
Gazi Husrev-beg’s life shows the spread of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. He was born in Greece to a Bosnian father and a daughter of the Sultan, traveled to Crimea, fought in campaigns in Hungary and against Venice, married the daughter of the Sultan, and founded his major waqf (endowment) in Sarajevo.
Gazi Hüsrev-beg receiving a Hapsburg delegation in 1530.