Bajrakli mosque is my favorite monumental building in the city. The fact that it was built around 1690 and that it’s the only mosque remaining in Belgrade (out of more than 250 in the 18th century) has always made me think of it as sensitive and precious. It is still an active Muslim place of worship.
I spent my childhood in the same quarter where the mosque is and clearly remember evenings when a prayer song could have been heard streets away. I also remember elder men, wearing white prayer caps, sitting in the area on Sunday afternoons and watching us, kids, play. Even nowadays, when I have to explain to a taxi driver where to drive me home, I use to say: “To the mosque”. Recently I’ve started to think, maybe they don’t actually know the mosque… but, I don’t care.
And over the years, as I’ve been traveling and seen bigger and much more spectacular mosques, I realized how tiny and local the Bajrakli is. For instance, Istanbul’s Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Central Mosque in London or mosques in Sarajevo, they’re beautiful, shiny and important. But they didn’t fascinate me – I was looking and comparing them only to the small and not so known mosque and its minaret, somewhere far in Belgrade.