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Rebirth of Arnaudija: Banja Luka’s Historic Mosque Reopens

A New Chapter of Resilience and Unity in the Heart of the Community

In the heart of Banja Luka, the Arnaudija Mosque stood as a beacon of cultural and historical richness since its inception in 1595. Built by Hasan Defterdar, the mosque was more than a place of worship; it was a cornerstone of the community, reflecting the diverse heritage of the region.

Opening ceremony of the Arnaudija Mosque

The Arnaudija Mosque’s opening ceremony took place in Banja Luka on Tuesday, drawing numerous citizens, believers, and dignitaries from Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond.

Muamer Okanović, the chief imam of Majlis Banjaluka, hosted the event. He welcomed the attendees and shared his delight that the mosque was reopening. He expressed that the mosque would serve as a gathering place for good and virtuous people, alongside other Banja Luka mosques.

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Hasan defterdar’s mosque stands out as a jewel among mosques, enhancing the beauty of Banja Luka’s mosques that have been pivotal for centuries,” Okanović said. He noted that the mosque has been a hub of spirituality, nobility, and strong interpersonal relationships. Built shortly after Ferhat Pasha’s mosque, Arnaudija remains a vital part of Banja Luka. Its luxurious interior and the grandeur of its harem have captivated both residents and visitors alike.

Anaudija Mosque reopening in Banja Luka
Anaudija Mosque – Photo

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Similar fate as Ferhat Pasha’s mosque

Built at the end of the 16th century, in 1595, Arnaudija Mosque shares a similar fate with Ferhat Pasha’s mosque. Hasan defterdar, the finance minister of Ferhat-pasha Sokolović, constructed it just a few decades after the Ferhadija Mosque. Over time, Arnaudija has earned the epithet of being Ferhadija mosque’s sister, linking their histories closely together.

Both buildings tragically met their end on May 7, 1993, when someone detonated them in the early morning hours.

Now, as we gather here, the newly reopened Arnaudija Mosque stands not just as a building, but as a meeting place for all good and virtuous. Chief Imam Muamer Okanović calls it “a jewel among mosques,” celebrating its role in fostering spirituality and strong interpersonal relationships in Banja Luka.

Today, Arnaudija is more than just rebuilt walls; it represents a revived heart within the community. Indeed, it stands as a testament to resilience, providing hope and fostering unity for future generations.

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