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The Mistery of Ahdnama from Fojnica

Fojnica Ahdnama is an important document from Bosnian history. It is a document whose content and significance greatly exceed the meaning of local history.

It was given by Sultan Mehmed II El Fatih in 1463 to the Bosnian Franciscans in Milodraž near Kiseljak. The Turkish rulers did not often issue such documents. When they did it, there was a special reason. Sultan Mehmed II, the author of the Fojnica Ahdnama, issued a similar document to the inhabitants of Constantinople, after conquering that city in 1453.  It was released at a turbulent time for Bosnia when the Sultan conquered the country.

Throughout the entire history of medieval Bosnia, faith was its lasting burden. The problem was that the people of Bosnia, at the time known as the Bosnians, followed the teaching that neither the western nor the eastern church had recognized, so it was the heresy, or the false religion.

Mehemed Fatih Ahdnama - Fojnica
Ahdnama – Mehemed Fatih  – Fojnica

It was based on neo-Manichean teachings whose roots were drawn from Iran where it was created in the 3rd century and it was reformed in the 7th century. Although the followers of that faith were in other European countries, especially in northern Italy, where they were called patterns, in southern France, where they were called catharses and albigens, etc., in Bosnia, they had the most and most caught deepest roots, for which there were special reasons.

Ahdnama is a really special document

When the Guardian of the Fojnica monastery, Anđel Zvizdović, came to the sultan in front of the lodge in Milodraž near Kiseljak and asked for mercy for the Catholic regiment, there was no dilemma for the Sultan. Following the Qur’an, which is quite clear about other religions, he not only showed mercy but he took the protection of the Bosnian Franciscans, that is, the local Catholics, and the faith they confessed, which he also confirmed in writing, as witnessed by the Ahdnama.

Fojnička ahdnama
Ahdmana – Fojnica

There are numerous explanations for this sultan’s procedure. We’ll just list some. This is an Islamic ruler whose rules was based on the principles of the Qur’an, In history, there are a number of examples that confirm this, starting from the time of the Arab conquest of countries all the way to Spain, in which they best demonstrated the tolerance of Islam towards the faith of the subordinates, and these were largely christened.

In this regard, there is the example of Sultan Saladin from 1099, the conqueror of Jerusalem, when he did not take revenge for the massacre previously committed towards the Muslim population of the area during the occupation of that city.

And so did behave Mehmed II of El Fatih and his army upon taking Constantinople and Bosnia and Fojnica ahdnama is a living example of this tolerance, in the heart of Europe and these are undisputed historical facts. However, in addition to the release of Ahdnama, Sultan Mehmed II el Fatih did another thing in Bosnia that also had important consequences for this country.

This valuable document is kept in the Franciscan Monastery in Fojnica and it represents the most valuable object of his museum collection.


1.Enver Imamovic: “Fojnicka ahdnama u svjetlu politickih prilika u Bosni pred tursko osvajanje 1463.godine”; Objavljeno u zborniku „Multireligijska Bosna: suvremeni kontekst i poruke ahdname“, Sarajevo 2018.

2.  Srecko M. Dzaja: “Fojnicka ahdnama u zrcalu paleografije, pravne povijesti i politike, Kontekstualizacija  ahdname bosanskih franjevaca”; Poseban prilog Svjetla rijeci, 2012.

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