Avlija, the house courtyard full of Bosnian tradition

Typical house courtyard was called avlija, and it was a symbol of family life, culture and heritage.

Typical house courtyard in Bosnia and Herzegovina was called avlija, and it was a symbol of family life, culture and heritage.

In case you have missed it, read our post 10 interesting facts about Bosnia and Herzegovina you need to know.

The courtyard was made of glittering stone extracted from the river.  It was blooming with life, green grass and flowers. The centar part of avlija was called ahar, a sort of side covered barn.

Each avlija represented privacy for the owners.  The guests could only enter with the permission of the host. Those who entered were among chosen friends and neighbors. In the Bosnian avlija, order and cleanliness were obligatory. Visitors and the host would drink coffee on a bench under the vine tree, ate grapes and quince which grew again in the backyard.

The whole avlija was surrounded by walls called taraba and it had to doors, large and small. In the summer women would gather and drink coffee together while the men were out working.

For a long time, avlija was a mirror of the culture and work habits of the host and hostess. If the place exuded freshness, peace and purity, it was a sign that hosts were virtuous people.

Today our curiosity can be satisfied by visiting the Bišćević and Muslibegović houses in Mostar as an great example of Ottoman architecture where you can take a look at the traditional avlija and all of its beautiful features.


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