Vijećnica - City Hall / National Library

Vijećnica Today
        Last night the National Library , "Vijećnica", one of the simbols of our city which was burned down in war, was shining with bright different color lights, proud of it's new looks. Front side entrance was lighted with red giving a impression of  curtain in theatere. It's nice to see building repaired, that was one of the reasons form me to write this post today and tell you something about Vijećnica.
Vijećnica - City Hall

        The National Library or City Hall, is the largest and most representative building of the Austro-Hungarian period in Sarajevo. It was built with purpose, to be the headquarters of the city and authority. Design was composed in 1891 by the architect Karl Parik, but criticisms by the minister, Baron Benjamin Kallay, caused him to stop working on the project. Next in line was Alexander Wittek, who worked on the project in 1892 and 1893, fell ill and died in 1894 in Graz, and the work was completed by Ćiril Iveković. The edifice was built in a stylistic blend of historical electisim, predominantatly in the pseudo-Moorish expression, for which the stylistic sources were found in the Islamic art of Spain and North Africa. Building works began in 1892 and were completed in 1894. It was formally opened 20 April 1896, and handed over to the City Authority, which occupied the property until 1949, when it was handed over to the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Postcard of City Hall Vijećnica

Vijećnica in a stormy night
        During the war, on the night of 25 to 26 August 1992 the City Hal was hit by Serbian shelling during the Siege of Sarajevo, which caused the complete destruction of the library; among the losses were about 700 manuscripts and incunabula and a unique collection of Bosnian serial publications, some from the middle of the 19th century Bosnian cultural revival. Before the attack, the library held 1.5 million volumes and over 155,000 rare books and manuscripts. Some citizens and librarians tried to save some books while they were under sniper fire, at least one person died.

         During  quantites of heavy artillery and incendiary bombs, burned out and largely destroyed, causing incalcuable dmage to the physical structure of the building and to the library holdings.The majority of the books could not be saved from the flames.

City Hall in flames
         The structural repair of the building was planned to be carried out in four stages: 1996-1997 (financed by a donation from Turkey), and 2000-2004 (financed by a donation from the Turkish Commission). The third stagewas predicted to end sometimes this month, with an estimated cost of 4.6 million KM (about €2.37 million) and will return the city hall to its former grace. The fourth stage is slated to begin following the completion of the third stage and will last about 20 months, with a predicted finish at the end of 2013 and cost of 14 million KM (about €7.23 million) which are secured through the IPA. In this stage the whole interior will be built and reconstructed (paintings, sculptures, books), meaning the building will be brought back to function. Everything that was possible to restore has been done so, while those things that were not possible to save have been made anew through special molds. The whole reconstruction and restore process is predicted to cost about 25 million KM (about €13 million). The opening of the reconstructed building is scheduled in the first half of 2014.

Vijećnica before the war
        After it is repaired, the building, now a national monument, will be used for variety of events. The national and university library of Bosnia and Herzegovina will be placed in it, as well will be the City Council session hall. Its space will be also used for various protocol events for all levels of government, concerts and exhibitions.