A historical Bosnia Mosque has just re-opened.
It’s the first time in 23 years that Muslims have been able to openly practice their faith here.
This is the Ferhadija mosque, in Banja Luka, where an estimated twenty thousand people turned up from all over Bosnia.
This 16th century mosque, destroyed by nationalists in Bosnia, has reopened its doors to worshipers after two decades.
The mosque was blown up by Christian Orthodox Serbs during the 1992-1995 war.
It has taken 15 years to restore.
For many, this is an important step to recover from the horrors of war.
“For all Muslims in Bosnia Herzegovina it means a lot, not just for Muslims but for other people as well, because this is a historical building,” said a Bosnian man interviewed on this occasion.
“This is progress of the Islamic society, Islam and all the Muslim people,” said another elderly Bosnian man.
“This is something very beautiful. We came here to see and experience it,” said a Bosnian woman.
The 16th. century mosque was completely blown apart, destroyed by nationalists in 1993, as part of their attempts at ethnic cleansing.
“It was one of the most difficult moments of my life,” said Kasim Mujicic the Imam of the mosque.
These stones were scattered across Banja Luka, thrown in rubbish dumps and rivers.
It took restorers years to find them, or at least trace what they could.
They got as far as 65% of the mosque’s original materials, that’s around 3,500 stones.
The blank spaces filled in with the replacements of the original quarries.
Attention to detail is absolutely paramount.
“We had one particular stone that gave us problems,” said sculptor Samir Suceska.
“We moved it around 50 times to make sure it was positioned correctly.”
To watch this two minute video report on this restored ancient Bosnia Mosque, click here.