By Ana Buljan
The Jewish Museum is dedicated to the age-long presence of Jews in Bosnia and Herzegovina and their contribution to development of the country.
The museum is located in the oldest synagogue in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Il Kal Vježu (‘The Old Temple’) Sephardic Synagogue constructed in 1581, Velika Avlija b.b. Street.
The synagogue was reconstructed several times during the history, and it is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful exhibition spaces in the region.
The last time believers prayed in the synagogue was in 1941, shortly after the beginning of the occupation of Sarajevo. The building was briefly used as a prison during the World War II.
The Jewish Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina was opened in 1966, to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Jews to Sarajevo. It was established upon initiative of Samuel Elazar, then the President of the Jewish Community in Sarajevo, with the support of many well-known figures from both Jewish and non-Jewish communities.
Museum contains some ritual synagogal items, parts of inheritance of prominent scientists, artists and social activists of Jewish origin, as well as photographs, documents, paintings and maps, objects of glass, metal, textile and wood, displayed on ground floor and on two galleries. Exhibits depict the history and achievements of Jewish people in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the period of 400 years.
Exhibition also focuses on the suffering of Jews during the World War II. One of the most significant manuscripts from the 15th century - the Sarajevo Haggadah - was brought by the Sephardic Jews to Bosnia and Herzegovina and preserved in the Jewish Museum before it was moved to the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Jewish Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina is open Monday through Friday between 1000 and 1800 hrs, and on Sunday between 1000 and 1500 hrs.