What a jewel of the architecture in Sarajevo. Svrzo's house is the traditional Bosnian-Ottoman Muslim house in what used to be elite quarters of Sarajevo of Curcica brijeg (Curcic hill) which is extension of Carsija towards its northern side. Carsija is market place, Curcica brijeg are living quarters: two places are differed by function yet being close to each other; the market is bellow, houses above.
House was rebuilt by renowned Gloðo family mostly during 18th century (fire destroyed original house from 1640ies) and later became Svrzo family property through marriage (Glodzo didn't have male descendant) whom lived there until 1952 when it was sold to Museum of Sarajevo; opened for public in 1965. Complex consists of 3 buildings and two courtyards (avlija); the avlijas of them two being finest existing examples of Bosnian garden architecture and deserve extra attention. The courtyards are indispensible parts of the traditional house, hidden behind the wall, with stone paved surface.
The traditional houses of city people those days were enclosed by high walls which protected property and hide it from views. Street life was another matter, and the house is cell for itself in the city tissue. It is covered by 4-slope roof, walls are combined of white facade which comes from stone and wooden constructions of dark colors – altogether appear modest from the outside. It is interior that contains rich detail – see the complicated pattern of the carpets, curtain, the wood carvings and embroideries, see the views from the house to the avlija, the light and exposure of the room to feel the effect of natural light, the placement and design of furniture which comes from local craftsmen, the dishes they used, the tools they had, the heating … all that comes in variety of shapes, in discreete design and clever arrangement to make the maximum use of the place. And the water! The water in the courtyard is the most important feature, when you walk throughout the city you pass many fountains and there is no traditional house with one.
Men's quarters – selamluk - of the house is accessed through the main gates and the first courtyard – men's avlija. He will meet his guests here. Women quarters of the house is separated from the men and it is to use for family only with another courtyard - haremluk. By the side there were servants quarters – of the boys and girls from poor families who were taken into house and treated like their own. They were allowed to stay until they got married.
One may like to stay in the house for hours. I will keep my text short here, because I believe you will find more accurate description in english from the tiny guidebook you can buy at the entrance. Instead I invite you to take a look at the pictures, for they say more than one thousand words.
Entry fee is 2 KM for adult.
One may indulge in the most interesting discussion on the house, on Sarajevo architecture and life with the staff whom works by the ticket room.
You would not have problem finding the house. From Sebilj square walk north, pass taxi station, ascend on the hill via Sagrdzije street, then turn into Cemrlina which is on your left right behind the faculty of Islam studies. Walk straight until you see Glodzina on your right side. Roughly 7 min from Sebilj.
The Svrzo house is situated north from the center walking up towards the hill. It represents the real turkish house from Ottoman's period. The whole house is built only from wood and there are separated parts for men, women and servants.
The entry is 3 KM (1,5 e)
How can you have 4 consonants together (as in “Svrzina”) without a hint of a vowel? Oh well, that’s Bosnian for you…A pronunciation tip – it’s easier after a beer.
I digress. This was one of the highlights of my visit to the city. Utterly fascinating. My guide book describes it as an 18th century Ottoman house. The official guide also describes its age as 18th century, with bits being added from time to time, the last being in 1832.
Well preserved, maintained and restored.
The Svrzo family lived in it until 1952, and then sold it to the city. It has been a museum since 1965.
It costs 2km for entry, plus 5km for their guide book. It takes a short time to go round, but linger and savour the moment. I saw 3 other visitors whilst I was there. Such is Sarajevo. In somewhere more tourist orientated, the place would have been crawling.