One conspicuous feature of the Bosnian land-system is the Moslem Vakuf, or ecclesiastical property, consisting of estates dedicated to such charitable purposes as poor-relief, and the endowment of mosques, schools, hospitals, cemeteries and baths.
The Vakuf tenants were at that time extremely prosperous, for their rent had been fixed for ten years in advance on the basis of the year's harvest, and so had not risen proportionately to the value of their holdings.
So long as the reserve was available it was drawn upon to supply the void; but when that also was exhausted recourse was had to expedients, such as the borrowing, or rather seizure, of the vakuf revenues (1622) and the sale of crown properties; then ensued a period of barefaced confiscation, until, to restore public confidence in some measure, state budgets were published at intervals, viz.
Real property is held in one of four various ways: either mulk, emiriye, vakuf or khaliye.
(3) Vakuf is " all property dedicated to God, of which the revenue is consecrated to His poor "; or " property of which the usufruct, such as tithe, taxes and rents, is attributed to a work of charity and of public interest."
When once a property has been registered as vakuf it can never be withdrawn.
There are two classes of vakuf: (a) Land so declared either directly by the sovereign or in virtue of imperial authority; (b) lands transformed by their proprietors from mulk into vakuf.
The laws and regulations concerning vakuf are too intricate to be described; generally it may be said that they form a great obstruction to dealing with a large proportion of the most valuable property in Turkey, and therefore to the prosperity of the country.
The effect of the original system was that a vakuf property became the inalienable property of the state, and the original proprietor a mere tenant.
All fundamental repairs thus fell to the charge of the state, which could not afford to effect them, and the vakuf revenues decreased so rapidly that already in the reign of Selim I.
The guedik, then, had the right to erect buildings on vakuf property and supply it with the tools, &c., necessary to exercise a trade.
The various special dues payable on vakuf form too long a list to be inserted; the highest is 30 per mille.
If a mining concession is granted within lands which are private property or which are " real vakuf lands " (arazii-mevkufe-i-sahiha) only one-fifth of the proportional rent is payable to the state, the other four-fifths reverting to the land-owner or the vakufs, as the case may be.