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Tombstones in Montenegro

Tombstones are monuments of great value for studying of the time, social relations, life, and circumstances in which they were made. They were mentioned for the first time by travel log writer Evlija Celebija who, passing through these areas (1660 – 1664) in his travel log included some inscriptions from some more significant monuments. The value of Evlija’s notes today is even bigger because many monuments are long gone, and unfortunately, they have been preserved only in the chronicle of this writer. Tombstones were built above “mezar” of extremely important, religious and popular people. “Turbe” (Tombstone) is a Turkish word, and it denotes a mortuary edifice, a monument of square or hexagonal (six angles) as well as octagonal (eight angles) basis. They were most often built next to the founder’s mosque. They were built with huge full walls, covered sometimes with leaded dome, sometimes with four-sided roof of open or closed type. Often we have examples that they were also built on graveyards or in the place where the person died. Open tombstones have 4 to 6 stone pillars, which are connected by built arches, which carry the low eight-sided or six-sided round part, with the windows which, because of the light, are inserted in domes between the upper cap, hemisphere, and the lower base which carries the entire construction.

Tombstones of closed type, by its special solution, are similar to mosques, though their base and the shape is not always a rectangle, but instead it is octagonal or hexagonal. Here we can find tombstones, which have four pillars, which carry the dome, as well as the ones, which are not covered, but have opened walls (perforation walls).

Many tombstones today are gone so we can not precisely say how they looked, and the appearance of some tombstones has been changed during the reconstruction such as for example: Seki Baba’s tombstone on Zabljak, tombstone on Skadar Lake, Hursev beg’s tombstone in Podgorica. The most complicated complex has the tombstone in Old Bar. Most tombstones were built to the most distinguished benefactors. Those are Hajdarpasa’s tombstone in Radulici near Bijelo Polje, Hadzi Pasha Osmanagic’s in Podgorica, and Dervish Hasan’s in Bar.

Sehid’s tombstones are in Rozaje, seih Mehmed’s, in Podgorica Husrevbeg’s, and in Ulcinj on Vrh Pazar.

Distinguished Dervishes were raised tombstones in Pljelja, Seki Baba’s, in Zabljak Mirhada Sultan’s, and in Ulcinj Murat Deda’s. majority of tombstones were built in Ulcinj – eleven, but only four have been preserved, of which among people the most famous are tombstone Fani near Mala plaza (Small beach), and the tombstone Murat Dedaj, in the yard of the family Manica. In Pljevlja there were five tombstones, and only two have been preserved; in Bar, Podgorica, and Bijelo Polje there are two tombstones in each town, and only one in each town has been preserved. In Rozaje, Petnjica, and Gusinje there is one tombstone in each place. Tombstone is actually a materialized legend, because it is built in the place where a legend was started. And as many tombstones as many legends. Many remember lit candles in tombstones, towels that were regularly changed.  There was also a basin and a pot, which was always filled with fresh water, because it was believed that Sehids take treat.

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