Feb 27, 2015

Old legend about the grave of the Turkish soldier

On the territory of Sanski Most there is no place that so many myths, legends and folk tales are related to it like the place Kamengrad, a tame Bosnian village located next to the motorway which connects Sanski Most with Bosanska Krupa. On a steep ridge which rises above the village are the remnants of a medieval fort. At first sight one can see that the builders took care where to build the fort. The place where the fort is located is accessible only from one side, which states that Kamengrad was difficult to occupy. It was built by the Hungarian princes Babonić which lived on the mouth of rivers Sana into Una, on the place which is today called Bosanski Novi.

540 years ago, this area was a scene of bloody battles. In the valley underneath the fort in Kamengrad was a large army camp of the Turkish sultan Mehmed Fatih. Some time before that, Ključ was occupied, the last city of medieval Bosnia. That's when the last Bosnian king Stjepan Tomašević was executed. An old legend claims that the battle lasted shortly, but it was bloody. Hungarian crew which defended the fort was cut down until the last person. The Turkish army also suffered losses. The old Shahid (martyr) cemetery bellow the fort. Grave stones are still standing which were built more than five centuries ago.

The attention of visitors is drawn by the stone sarcophagus. Folk tales say that this is the resting place of a Turkish soldier - carrier of the flag (bajraktar - flag carrier) which showed great courage. He obtained over fifty wounds during the battle, but he still boldly charged the Hungarian fort. In the heat of the battle the soldier's head was cut off. Legend says that he descended the hill carrying his severed head under his arm. Only when a woman saw him and screamed in terror did the soldier fall to the ground. That's where he was buried.

Bad luck for evil doers

Inhabitants of Kamengrad always paid special attention to this grave. Close to this sarcophagus a Bajraktar's (flag carrier's) mosque was built which was destroyed by the Serbian army during the aggression onto BiH. It is considered that this place was blessed by special mercy by God, since the man in the sarcophagus died on the road of Allah's faith. That's why since the old days Bajraktar's graveyard is a place of pilgrimage. From this place in the last hundred years countless prayers were sent. The diseased prayed to be cured, soldiers to return alive from the war, parents for their children to be happy in life, agricultural workers for a fruitful year...

Legend claims that everyone who tried to destroy the soldier's grave was struck by god's wrath. In WWII the grave was desecrated two times. Both men which committed this died soon. And at the time of aggression on Bosnia (1992-1995) the Serbian army placed explosives into the stone sarcophagus which failed to explode. The man who was placing it, was struck by a stroke the next day. The grave of the Turkish soldier remained untouched.

The older inhabitants claim that the ghost of the soldier appeared a couple of times. It always happened during the night. The apparition, holding its head under its arm, radiated with a weird glow climbing the hill towards the old fort - it happened the inhabitants claimed, always before large wars. That's what happened prior to the aggression onto Bosnia in 1992.