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Muslims attend 508-th traditional Ajvatovica gathering

Thousands of Muslims, some on horses, some on foot, climbed a mountain in central Bosnia to pray at a place where, according to legend, a huge rock split after an old man prayed in front of it.

The traditional Ajvatovica march to the split rock near the village of Prusac is organised every year and by now has turned into the biggest Islamic gathering in Europe.

"Ajvatovica is a place where we can learn that true determination and persistence can move rocks and mountains and when that happens, a well of God's mercy will open and it will reach every town and every house and every person," the head of Bosnia’s Islamic Community, Husein Kavazovic, said.

It is the 508th time believers have climbed this rock and prayed, this year defying drizzling rain. Over 250 people rode to the rock on horses from different parts of the country. Believers from Turkey and other countries also joined the march to the spot where they believe an old, deeply religious man by the name Ajvaz-Dedo had prayed to God for 40 days and nights.

Legend says he asked for water to come to the village of Prusac, as there was a heavy drought, and on the last day, a rock split and a well appeared.

"We have come here to this spiritual Bosnian gathering, to Ajvaz-Dedo’s rock, to renew our intention and our prayer for God to accept the fruits of our efforts," Kavazovic said.

"We have come to renew our dream about a peaceful Bosnia and good old times," he added.

The tradition is engraved into the Muslim Bosniak national identity, he said.

"We come here carrying an awareness of our people and our country," he said.

"This is a place where we come to dream our dream, the same one Ajvaz-Dedo dreamed. We come here to hear what he has to tell us and that is the following: Bosniaks, every dream can become true if you really want it to, if you are persistent and if you rely on God," Kavazovic said.

He said that everybody should dream their dream and recognise what they have to do in order to turn it into reality.

"Bosnia is our dream, a peaceful and strong Bosnia. A country of all of our people and our traditions, respected, humane and developed within the union of European states," Kavazovic said.

Source: Anadolu Agency and N1 Sarajevo