Right in the center of the harem (courtyard) of Gazi Husrev Bey’s Mosque, and just a few steps from the entrance off Sarači Street, is a large and lovely šadrvan (covered public water fountain). The water is used by worshippers as they take their ritual ablutions (abdest) before prayers and by thirsty travelers and passersby.
The first šadrvan was built here in 1530, when Gazi Husrev Bey’s Mosque was built from a local stone variety, known as miljevina, and the water was brought from the source, Crvilo, about seven kilometers away in Donje Biosko.
Due to Sarajevo’s severe winters, the water would sometimes freeze and the šadrvan would be out of service. It was for this reason that it underwent reconstruction in 1772 so that it would function as well as it had when it was first installed.
The šadrvan’s current cupolated form dates from 1893, when a new šadrvan, made from marble from the Dalmatian island of Brač, was built to replace the old one and when the fountain was connected to the city waterworks. This new model was based on the šadrvan in front of Ulu Mosque in Bursa, Turkey.
During the last war, the wooden roof was damaged, but was replaced with a new one after the war, in 1997.
The last thorough reconstruction of the šadrvan was completed in 2002, when all of the inner parts were fully replaced, allowing the fountain to serve Sarajevans, as well as travelers who pass through, for many years to come.
At the western entrance, the one coming from Mudželiti Veliki into the courtyard, and next to the wall of the ladies’ abdesthana (a place where ablutions may be made), are the remains of three of the water spouts from the original šadrvan.