The Altun Alem mosque from the XVI century is the work of the famous architect Muslihudin Abdulghani. It represents one of the most beautiful buildings of Islamic architecture in Serbia. It is located in Prvog Maja Street, which used to be the route of the imperial carriage, the road to Mitrovica, Skopje and Istanbul.

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The mosque was built by two groups of masters. Some of them did masonry work on the building itself, while the minarets, cladding of the facade of the porch and plastic decoration were done by craftsmen called taschije.


It had been traditional custom to tell legends around beautiful, especially sacred buildings, so one of them is connected to the Altun-alem mosque. Altuna, Hajira and Halima, the Pasha’s three daughters, as beautiful as the gentile hurries, were born and grew up in Novi Pazar. Because of the beauty, wealth and reputation these three sisters possessed, no one dared to propose to them, “because they were born only for Istanbul”, for the imperial palaces, not for Novi Pazar. The days went by, time passed and did its thing, and Pasha’s three daughters, three beauties, remained unmarried.

In the years before their deaths, they agreed to leave their enormous wealth to charity. Altuna gave the funds to build the mosque and bear its name, hence the Altunalem mosque. Hajira gave the land for the city cemetery in the southwestern part of the city, so that part was then called Hadzet. The youngest of the sisters, Halima, provided funds for the construction of a fountain in the city, and that fountain is still called Halimaca.

Muslihedin Abdul Ghani, better known as Muezzin Hodza Al Madini, is considered the founder of the Altun Alem Mosque. This is evidenced by the preserved endowment charter, which shows that, in addition to buildings in other areas, he also built a school in the courtyard of the Altun-alem mosque, three houses for imams, an inn, several shops next to the hammam, and seven mills in Novi Pazar. The builder of the mosque was not only wealthy, but also an educated man. This is proven by his title – mevlana, an honorary title worn by famous scholars and philosophers.

The Altun-alem mosque is by far the most valuable of all Novi Pazar mosques in terms of architecture. The Altunalem mosque is one of the smaller one-room domed mosques with a two-story porch. The prayer area is covered by a low and spacious dome. The transition from the square base to the circular ring of the tambourine is made with pendants, the edges of which are outlined by shallow arches that are broken at the top. The interior space is lit by 4 windows on each of the extensive walls, except towards the porch where there is only one. There are three more windows in the tambour of the dome. The walls were made of alternating stone and brick and partially plastered on the outside, probably in places where the masonry was bad or where repairs were made. Those parts of the facades are processed in such a way as to imitate the regular alternation of stone and brick, which in some places has been preserved in its original state. The construction of doors and windows is without decorative elements, except for the stone  which is slightly better and more precisely carved. The cornice under the roof consists of two rows of interlocking bricks. In the interior, a simple minber and a beautifully profiled mihrab frame with a niche ending in stalactite decorations are carved from that stone. Mahvil was placed along the entire length of the northwest wall, and it was made of wood.

The time of construction of the Altun-alem mosque dates between 1516 and 1528. The founder is Muslihedin Abdul Ghani, better known as Muezzin Hodja Al Madini. His founding is confirmed by the endowment charter. The basis of the mosque is a one-room domed building with two aisles porch covered with two domes. This type of mosque is not characteristic in our area, but the influence was transferred from Ottoman centers such as Edirne and Istanbul. It is a cultural monument of exceptional importance.