Marijin Dvor

In 1899 August Braun, the owner of the building materials factory, erects a building and names it after his wife Mary (Germ. Marienhof), which is how this part of the city became known as Marijin Dvor (Mary’s Castle).

Before he met his wife, August Braun produces bricks with embedded initials. After meeting Mary, he adds a heart-shaped frame around the initials. As he was the biggest brick manufacturer, most buildings were built with heart-shaped stamped bricks, including the Presidential Palace, now Building of the Presidency of BiH, as well as the main FBiH Railway Administration building and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Presidential Palace, designed by Josip Vancaš has typical features of an early Renaissance Florentine palace with “glazed” facades made from recognizable forms of the Medici-Ricardi palace in Florence. The building was raised by one level in 1911 (architect Karlo Paržik), and thus partly lost its original proportions.

The third in the series of Provincial Government buildings is “The White Government” built in 1905 in historicist style. Today this building houses Canton Sarajevo Institutions and Center Municipality offices.

Behind Mary’s Palace is today’s General Hospital “Prim. dr Abdulah Nakaš”. It was initially founded as a Turkish Military Hospital Topal Šerif Osman-paša. Prior to his arrival, the soldiers were treated in leased private homes. Thus, he started building this hospital as part of the new Turkish Army reform in 1866. Along with the civic hospital, which was built slightly earlier, these were the only two hospitals in the whole of BiH. It had its own water supply and sewage system which was rare at the time, and also, it was where the first modern BiH pharmacy was opened.

The hospital weathered through two world wars and several rulers, eventually becoming dilapidated. It was refurbished in 1979 and became a hospital for civilians as well. However, from 1992 and the start of the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina, the hospital was hit with over 200 major projectiles resulting in severely damaged buildings and equipment. The hospital was fully restored again in 1999.

Just before the start of World War II the church of Sveti Josip (Saint Joseph) was built close to Marijin dvor, using white Herzegovinian stone. The church design, work of an unknown artist was brought from Rome by Archbishop Ivan Šarić and given to Karl Paržik who adapted the design originally made for a small church on the outskirts of Rome.

In the eighties of the last century, the new BiH Assembly building was completed, which, along with the previously built skyscraper comprising Republic Administration bodies made a unique functional complex designed by Juraj Neidhardt.

With key government buildings located within a 1000m radius, Marijin dvor becomes both political and business centre of Sarajevo.

The largest hotel in Sarajevo, Holiday Inn, was built in Marijin dvor for the occasion of 14th Winter Olympic Games. The designer of the hotel, architect Ivan Štraus tried to paraphrase the spatial concept of Morića Han from the seventeenth century and form it as a fragment of a new city center, with the large stylized “Umbrella – Circus Tent” in the foyer serving as a reminder that the hotel was built on a site previously used as a circus-plateau.

The twin Skyscrapers, built in 1986 by the architect Ivan Štraus as commercial buildings for the former metal industry giant UNIS Sarajevo are first commercial buildings in Marijin dvor. Amongst Sarajevans, they are known an Momo and Uzeir, the two popular inseparable characters from a spoof by Nikola Škrba. They suffered severe damage during the war, but were later fully restored and today they represent a modern business, convention and shopping complex. Today, there are three retail and commercial centers within a 500m radius: Alta, Sarajevo City Center and Importanne.

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