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New church and Rectory and Shrine of St. John the Baptist

Podmilačje, Bosnia and Herzegovina
1 of 6Book: Restart 1995-2010 - Arhitektura u Bosni i Hercegovini

The new church - designed by Marko Mušič - substitut the large church that was destroyed during the war. Together with the old church of St. John it forms the monumental “portal” of this famous Bosnian shrine.

To ensure that the shrine remains intact, and that its legendary beauty is preserved for all time, the church is set back into the steep hillside. The new building consists of a crypt with four pillars in the form of concrete trees symbolizing the four Evangelists, and the church, defined by the main façade facing the valley and the old church. The roof, abova a network of concrete girders resembling a pair of hands, metaphorically creates an illusion of the sky high above the congregation, as does the longitudinal presbytery with its glazed shell roof. The day chapel in the church has crosses cut into the walls and a ceiling that introduce mystical daylight and a religious atmosphere. The rectory flanking the church was conceived as the plinth of the bell tower, which is surmounted by a spiral motif of thirty-three pillars, symbolizing the years of Christ’s life, and a high cross, complementing the great cross carved into the west front of the rectory, welcoming travellers and pilgrims coming from Banja Luka, while for those arriving from the direction of Jajce, the traditional first encounter is the old church of St. John.