Not far from the city center lies the second largest Jewish sacral complex, and at the same time one of the most valuable memorial complexes in Europe.
It might sound a bit morbid to include a cemetery in the list of sights but this is in no doubt something special. Even though it is so close to the city such peacefulness and tranquility is very hard to find. A beautiful view of the city and a visit to a museum all in once.
Fundamental sources for the study of the cemetery were looted and destroyed, especially in the fire of 1941 when the “book of the dead” was burned in the ruins of the Great Sephardic Temple, carefully printed by Mosha Altarac for forty years, known as the “Moshe di la Office”, secretary of the Sephardic Municipality and Hevra Kadisha Funeral Society.
The Jewish cemetery was opened in 1545 and the seven councilors who created it rest there together, under the same mound, placed around the body of their great Rabbi Baruch who’s tombstone is found to be the oldest on the cemetery. It is believed that the upper part of the cemetery was reserved only for hahams and other distinguished persons.
It was built along with the medieval necropolis of the stećak tombstones (Borak) and the old quarry (Šatorija). The Sephardim created unique tombstones which, looking at the style throughout the globe, can not be found on the Jewish monuments anywhere in the world. The laid monolithic plates and crates, with or without inscriptions, directly follow the stećak forms and that thread that connects the Sephardic tradition of simple forms with the indigenous style of Bosnia at the turn of the medieval to the Turkish period.