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Sarajevo Canton (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Sarajevski kanton, canton 9

Last modified: 2005-02-19 by dov gutterman
Keywords: bosnia and herzegovina | federation of bosnia and herzegovina | sarajevo | coat of arms | proposals | bridge | olympic games |
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by Željko Heimer, 15 January 2005

by Željko Heimer, 15 January 2005

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The new flag and Coat of Arms are supposedly adopted sometime in 1999, and are reported seen in use on flags in Sarajevo during summer 1999. I believe that the white flag with Coat of Arms in the middle is the only natural representation of the flag. Until someone confirms it, I would rather designate it as "reconstruction based on written evidence". I guess that we can safely assume that the flag ratio is 1:2.
Željko Heimer, 13 July 2000

Jos Poels located a document on the Sarajevo Canton government website <> being amendemnts to the law on the flag of the Canton: Zakon o izmjenama Zakona o upotrebi grba i zastave Kantona Sarajevo, 26. 06. 2003, Službene novine Kantona Sarajevo.   The changes introduced with these amendemnts are quite minor and of little concern to us. Namely, the canton has made some changes in the organizational structure, abolishing the function of the president and vicepresident to accommodate with the higher legislation (Constitution of the Federation). For that reason the prescriptions mentioning those functions are now removed from the text of the flag law, replacing, for example determination that the original of the flag and the Coat of Arms shall be preserved with the president, to the chairman of the assembly (parliament). Also, the two abolished functions are removed from the list of presons that may use the Coat of Arms on their letterheads, and finally they are also removed from the right that the flag be hoisted on buildings where they offices are. Unfortunately, we do not have the original 1999 flag legislation. However, at least we now learn the full name and official gazette where they were issued: Zakon o upotrebi grba i zastave Kantona Sarajevo, Službene novine Kantona Sarajevo, br. 9/99.
Željko Heimer, 19 August 2004

A few days ago Jos Poels sent me the legislation on the Sarajevo Canton flag he received from the cantonal officials. The Coat of Arms fields are coloured differently then we have before (there was obviously mix up with heraldic left and right), and the stars are golden (as clearly determined both in the text and images). However, the number of points of the stars is still a mistery, and even on the construction sheet provided the are more or less just "blobs"...
On another matter, the ratio is 3:5. The Coat of Arms is: per pale azure and gules overall nine mullets or, four and three and two and dimidiated rosette and doorknob argent. The shield is bordered golden.   The flag is white with the coat of arms in the middle. Raio 3:5. Both horizontal and vertical versions are prescribed.
Željko Heimer, 15 January 2005


Here is a transllation (in RTF format) of the texts of the 1999 and 2003 legislation regarding the Sarajevo canton symbols:
Zakon o grbu i zastavi Kantona Sarajevo, 28. 04. 1999, Službene novine Kantona Sarajevo, br. 9, 11. 05. 1999.  
Zakon o upotrebi grba i zastave Kantona Sarajevo, 28. 04. 1999, Službene novine Kantona Sarajevo, br. 9, 11. 05. 1999.
Zakon o izmjenama Zakona o upotrebi grba i zastave Kantona Sarajevo, 10. 07. 2003, Službene novine Kantona Sarajevo, br. 16, 10. 07. 2003.
Željko Heimer and Christopher Southworth, 15 January 2005

Privious Flag (1998 - 1999)

by Željko Heimer, 13 July 2000

The date of adoption was 23th of March, 1998.
Velid-aga Jerlagic, 13 April 1998

As this flag was used very shortly (if ever?) we have very little info on it. The ratio is given as 2:3~, but I don't know based on what. I would expect it 1:2, to match any other flag used in Sarajevo. The blue used on shield is described by Velid as "electric blue".
Željko Heimer, 13 July 2000

Coat of Arms

by Željko Heimer, 15 January 2005

The Coat of Arms has changed. Unfortunately, I haven't drawn it, but I remember that the Coat of Arms has blue and dark red combination with white devices on it.
Ivan Sarajcic,, 3 September 1999

I saw the official gazette of the canton of Sarajevo; I didn't find the law about the flag and Coat of Arms, but htis last appears in black and white on the gazette I took in the stand. Here is its scan.
The Coat of Arms is divided per pale ?? (maybe green) and ?? (maybe red) with eight very little roundel in white (unless these are little stars with many rays), 4-3-2  , and in the bottom a thing made in dexter (=left) of rosace from a Cathedral and on the right of a thing which is probably linked to Muslims but which reminds me of the "napperons" of my Grandmother. The two parts of that thing are linked with a ring. I think the whole means that there are Croats and Bosniacs in the canton (red and Cathedral rose for the catholic Croats; green and ??? for the Bosniacs), the ring is binding the two, and the eight roundels (or stars?) are the communes or the districts of the canton. One roundel is at the same time on the green and on the red field, and is probably the city of Sarajevo. The Serb seem not to be represented here. But all that is only my hypothesis.
Pascal Vagnat , 17 October 1999

Being in Sarajevo last summer, I saw lots of cantonal flags on the streets in the center of the city. The colors are: dark blue, and very dark red [bordeaux - just like colour of football club "Sarajevo" (champion of former YU in 1985)] Background and devices are white.
Ivan Sarajcic , 19 October 1999

According to Velid-aga Jerlagic , the Coat of Arms is red and blue. That is the new Coat of Arms, adopted and confirmed by the contitutional court . However, a previous Coat of Arms above was also adopted and confirmed!
The 8 "dots" are in fact eight-pointed stars.
The "thing" in base is supposed to represent a door-knocker . If there is a connection with ornaments from cathedral or some other building, we shall yet have to learn.
Željko Heimer , 23 October 1999

I was contacted by Velid with some additional info on the symbols of the new Sarajevo canton Coat of Arms. The ornament that makes out the door-knocker is indeed, as Pascal was told from some buildings. One half is from the Cathedral, and the other from a house called "Svrzina kuca"
As an interesting detail, the ornament that is now part of Sarajevo Cathedral was once built in a sinagogue of Sarajevo (. It is not known if the designer of the Coat of Arms knew that and if they did include it with that thought also. Anyway, Sarajevo was (and probably still is) proud of being the city of four religions, with largest Jewish community in the area (about 20 000, IIRC) before the WWII.
Željko Heimer 29 October 1999

In this page there are flags that I have never seen before, and I was wondering if these maybe referr to the City of Sarajevo, rather the Sarajevo Canton. They are most certanly variations of the old city flag. I have visited Sarajevo in August and they have just had addopted the new Canton symbols, of which I only have a very poor copy . The circle-looking objects are actualy six-pointed stars. The official web-page of Sarajevo Canton also shows the new symbol. To my knowledge, Sarajevo City's symbols have not been changed yet .
Haris Delalic, 1 November 1999

The elements of the Coat of Arms are not very well defined either. Even if they are explicitly stated to be white on coloured images available on the Net they seem possibly yellow/golden. But, thay may be product of dihtering. We have contradictory description of the 9 stars regarding the number of points: 8 and 6. In all the images they are so blurred that it is beyond countablity. In my drawing I made them 8-pointed - such are easier made blurred by dihtering then the 6-pointed stars. Indeed, on the flag imag the stars are already so small that the points are already blurred.
The field is divided in dark red (called "Bordeaux") and matching more or less to R++, and blue (probably B++). The scanned Pascal's image was good enough to provide good base for drawing the rosette/knocker. None mentioned the golden/yellow outline of the shield, but it is cleary visible on all images I have seen.
Željko Heimer, 13 July 2000

Privious Coat of Arms (1998 - 1999)

by Željko Heimer, 13 July 2000

The coat of arms consists of 9 triangles, my assumption is that they stand for the communities within the county (am I right?). The bridge is of the same shape as on the coat of arms of Sarajevo (by the way, is there a bridge of such shape in Sarajevo? I believe it is, but it's better to ask), and In my humble opinion those two elements are rather good. The thing in the base is the symbol of the Sarajevo Winter Olimpic Games in 1984. In my humble opinion, it should not be there, as it represents something rather different, but this is also a way of overriding the national symbols. If it was up to me (and if it must have been there), I would have made it bigger.
Željko Heimer, 13 April 1998

The triangles represent roofs. 9 roofs are for the 9 municipalities of Sarajevo Canton: Stari Grad (Old Town), Centar, Novo Sarajevo (New Sarajevo), Novi Grad (New Town), Ilidza, Vogosca, Ilijas, Hadzici and Trnovo.

The bridge stands for the "Latin Bridge", or ex-bridge of Gavrilo Princip, but my guess is that it could also stand for Kozja Cuprija (Goat's Bridge) that's an eastern entrance to Sarajevo, and it's important because people who would go to hajj used to gather there from ancient times until 1945.

Perhaps the "finnish feeling" is because of colors. It said: "...shield, colored in electric blue (!!!), and nine triangles..."

Velid-aga Jerlagic, 13 April 1998

Other 1998 Proposals

Proposal with blue field

[Proposal for the Sarajevo Canton]
by Velid-aga Jerlagic and Jorge Candeias

Proposal in a canadian pattern

[Proposal for the Sarajevo Canton]
by Velid-aga Jerlagic and Jorge Candeias

Proposal with blue border

[Proposal for the Sarajevo Canton]
by Velid-aga Jerlagic and Jorge Candeias