European JerusalemJewish Sacral Monuments › The Old and the New Jewish Temple
The Old and the New Jewish Temple
The Old and the New Jewish Temple
Sephardic Jews who were expelled by the Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand II of Aragon (along with the Spanish Muslims) in the late 15th century found new sanctuary across Europe.
Location: Old Town
Ottoman sultans granted them civil rights, equal opportunity, freedom of trade and protection. Thus a group of Sephardic Jews arrived to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sarajevo at the beginning of the 16th century. With them, they brought Haggadah (now known as the Sarajevo Haggadah), a priceless illustrated handwritten manuscript of the Passover. This is one of the oldest Sephardic Haggadahs in the world.

The two temples are located in Il Kortijo – Sijavus-Pasha’s Quarter, near Bascarsija.

Old Jewish Temple (Il kal Grandi/Grand Temple or Il kal vjezu/Old Temple) is now an annex to the Sarajevo Museum. It was built in 1580. After the fires in 1697 and 1788 (Prince Eugene of Savoy’s Raid) which caused great damage to the Old Temple, it was renovated in 1909. Electricity was brought to the temple, and a new stone façade and new roof built. It was again severely damaged during the Second World War. Today, this valuable cultural and historical building is a home to the Jewish Museum. It is a three-nave building with the front area used for preaching, and lateral naves with upper floors used as the women's section.

New Temple (Il kal muevus) was built in 1820, next to the Old Temple due to an increased number of believers. Today, it is an artistic gallery. In addition to these two Jewish sacral monuments, there is the New Grand Jewish Temple (today known as Bosnian Cultural Centre) and the Ashkenazi Synagogue, the only synagogue serving sermons nowadays, and the seat of the Jewish Municipality in Sarajevo.