Blagaj Dervish House – History
Tekke on the Buna in Blagaj is an important monument of the early Ottoman period in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is a place where, by special ritual, the dervishes performed – and perform today – Zikr (praising God).
Tekke in Blagaj belonged to various dervish orders, first there were Bektashi order, then Halveti and Kaderi orders. Today the place is headed by Vekil (Deputy Shaikh) of Naqshbandi order.
Tekke on Buna was established shortly after the fall of Herzegovina under the Turkish rule in 1446. year, at the latest around in 1520. year. In the earliest period, bektash order was the ruling ideological doctrine of the Turkish conquests, especially of the Army (light shock cavalry) and Janissaries.
First mention of Tekke in Blagaj
The first mention of Tekke in Blagaj we find in Travelogue by Evliya Çelebi, who traveled through this place in 1664.
He says the mufti effendi of Mostar raised along the cliffs and source of river Buna one tekke of Khalwatiyyah order in which the dervishes could have friendly talks and scientific discussions.
Travelogue, Evliya Çelebi pg. 230
The first reconstruction
At the request of Achik-pasha, Omer-pasha Latas had the Tekke reconstructed, its turbe (tomb) and misafirhana (traveler lodgings). Na molbu Ačik-pašinu, Omer-paša Latas obnavlja tekiju, turbe i musafirhanu
By the beginning of 1949th and in 1951 new rock slides have caused major damages to the Tekke. Work on the restoration was carried out by the Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Somewhere around the 1952. the dervishes were expelled from the Tekke. Since then the place was used more as a tourist facility. Before the war, the dervishes started to return to the Tekke, do dhikr (praise of God), organize mevlud (Prophet's birthday) every first Saturday in May.
Restoring the authentic look to Tekke
Finally the 600 year old Tekke was about to get its authentic look. The restoration project was carried out by the Turkish travel agency Fidan Tours who invested into the restoration and the Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina ceded the Tekke to Fidan Tours to use in 33 years. Tekke has finally taken its authentic look that it once had.