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Traditional Tinsmith Craft in Sarajevo

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One of many Turkish words present in Bosnian language is word “zanat”. Word “zanat” is a Turkish word with Arabic origin (ar. zanaat, “skill, knowledge”, tur. sanat, sanatalı, sanataçı) and this word is related to skills and crafts of various forms.

Generally speaking, craft is an overall action which refers to processing, production and other types of services which are primary related to craftsman as specialists for certain products. Craftsmen are producers who are making, whether individually or as a part of a group (along with kalfas and apprentices), products for a wider market. One of many traditional crafts is the tinsmith craft. In Sarajevo this craft is introduced by Sephardic Jews in XVI century. Sephardic Jews have introduced many new traditions and crafts to their new homeland such as herbal pharmacies,  and above all the tinsmith craft. You can learn more about Serphardic Jews and Jewish tradition in Bosnia on our Jewish Sarajevo tour organized by Meet Bosnia Travel from Sarajevo.

Tinsmith workshop in Sarajevo
Tinsmith workshop in Sarajevo

With the arrival of Austro-Hungarian empire, new products are starting to be produced within the tinsmith craft such as various types of dishes, lanterns, stoves, gutter drains etc.

Expansion and rapid increase of industrial production in the twentieth century contributes to strengthening of other segments of economy which leads to technological competition. This newly arrived situation has lead to the downfall of many traditional crafts in Bosnia because it was difficult to compete with the modern means of production.

variety of prouducts
Tinsmith products

In today’s Bosnian economy traditional crafts make up only a small part of the overall production, but during the hard times of Bosnian war and The Siege of Sarajevo, the tinsmiths played a crucial role. Shortages of electricity and gas lead people to use alternative means of heating such as burning wood, charcoal and even pieces of furniture. For this they needed stoves which were produced by traditional tinsmiths. These stoves became the most wanted product in Sarajevo during the Siege.

You can learn more about tinsmiths and other traditional crafts on one of our Sarajevo Walking Tours. We are mentioning crafts in Sarajevo during the Sarajevo Free Walking Tour.

Today there are seven tinsmith shops existing in Baščaršija.

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