Mosque on Sunday
Today RHOB highlights Bajrakli Mosque, the sole remaining mosque in Belgrade. Tucked away on a quiet street, the building has a rich history.
Bajrakli Mosque dates back to 1690, during Turkish rule in Serbia. The original minaret is gone; the building was converted to a Jesuit (Catholic) church during the second Austrian rule of Serbia from 1717-1739. It re-opened as a mosque in 1893 and continues to serve Belgrade’s Muslim population.
The mosque is around the corner from Kralja Petra Street, the site of a former synagogue (now a gallery) and an Orthodox Church, at the edge of an area called Dorcol. Dorcol comes from the Turkish words for “four roads.” It’s pretty fitting, since at one time the area was home to three different religions existing in relative harmony. That harmonious history was challenged when the mosque was burned during riots several years ago. It was subsequently repaired, but I’m not sure how inter-religious relations were rehabilitated since then.
In name and in architecture, this area truly represents the history and people of Belgrade. Belgrade author and painter Momo Kapor wrote, “If I only had half an hour to show a visitor Serbia-what we are and what we’re made of-I would take him to Kralja Petra street. Like a rainbow, this street connects two civilizations, two cultures and two rivers–the Sava and the Danube.”