The house represents an architectural work of high artistic and aesthetic value. It testifies to a family that saw all its wealth in the Church. Today, it houses a wine store, a gallery and a small museum where the family’s exhibits such as paintings, costumes and furniture are displayed.
The Ceković House in Pale, the construction of which began in 1902 and lasted 13 years, is one of the most beautiful and well-preserved from the beginning of the 20th century, still reflecting the spirit of that time.
The Ceković house was built by the Serb merchant family Ceković – Risto and Vasilija, which they used as their summer house. It is located in the southwestern part of Pale in Romanijska street, belonging to the Metropolitanate of Dabar-Bosnia.
Svjetlana Samardžija, East Sarajevo-based historian, told SRNA that the Ceković family originates from Montenegro, more precisely Bijelo Polje, where Petar Ceković immigrated from at the end of the 19th century.
According to the testimonies of old residents, the Ceković family were good hosts who did not stand out from the rest, except for their typical city clothes.
Samardžija stated that Petar’s son Risto and his wife built a summer house at the foot of the Kalovita Hills in Pale. The house was built on a piece of land with a considerable slope, measuring 20 by 11 meters.
According to her, this one-story house with an attic, with symmetrical facades with wooden partitions on the veranda, wooden stairs, a ground floor built of stone, a gable roof made of tiles and sheet metal, with windows of equal dimensions – represents an architectural work of high artistic and aesthetic value.
Two out of Risto’s six children, witnessed the end of the World War II, and one the end of the recent Defensive-Patriotic War. Risto’s two sons, Petar and Žarko, continued to trade between the two world wars.
Žarko became attached to Pale, he together with his mother Vasilija ran a store in the summer house.
“Žarko, who was taking care of the summer house, was killed during WWII in 1943. The remaining two children of Risto Ceković, Petar and Milojka, had no children. Milojka, who witnessed the Defensive-Patriotic War, spiritually bound to the Orthodox Church like most of the prominent Sarajevo Serbs, was giving in her old age her gold coins to those who were going to the Holy Land to mention her Ceković family, as well as the Đokić family, since her mother Vasilija was from a respectable and wealthy Serb family from Mostar,” said Samardžija.
She stated that Milojka donated part of her family valuables, among which her mother’s wedding dress with gold embroidery, to the National Museum in Sarajevo, but, unfortunately, today the legacy of Ceković family is registered as “Bosnian cultural heritage”.
“It is most likely that Milojka knew it because before her death she was saying that she would never sell the house in Mula Mustafa Bašeskije Street to the National Museum. And she didn’t. As the only descendant of the merchant family Ceković, she donated all her property to the Metropolitanate of Dabar-Bosnia and the Serbian Orthodox Church Municipality of Sarajevo,” said Samardžija.
SERBS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN BOUND TO THE CHURCH
The summer house together with the then newly built Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Pale, which was completed in 1909 by priest Đorđe Grabež, father of Trifko Grabež, formed the beginning of the Pale settlement.
“History wanted it that way, so the Ceković summer house served as a refuge for refugees in all three wars, and together with the Pale church shared the historical events of the 20th century,” added Samardžija.
Samardžija pointed out that, although the family line of this special Serb family from Sarajevo was extinguished with Milojka Ceković, the key to their heart was preserved by the Metropolitanate of Dabar-Bosnia.
After the renovation of the Ceković summer house in Pale, rare pieces of walnut and rosewood furniture are exhibited on the first floor. The spirit of that times has been preserved, which through Milojka’s diary, old photographs, war letters, and parts of a worn hair clip testify to a family that saw all its wealth in the Church.
“Through the memory of the prominent Sarajevo Serbs, the church preserved from oblivion not only the prominent Ceković family, but also the history of a city on the banks of the Miljacka river which the Serbs carry in their hearts with pride,” said Samardžija.
Sarajevo Serbs have always been bound to the church, reminds Samardžija, stating that the ties of Sarajevo with the Holy Land was recorded in the records of the Library in Jerusalem. Sarajevo had the largest number of pilgrims to the Holy City.
Ceković’s house in Pale was declared a national monume nt of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2004, and was completely reconstructed in 2007. Today, it houses a wine shop, the Art Colony’s gallery and a small museum where the exhibits of the Ceković family, such as paintings, costumes, furniture and dishes, are displayed.