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Ottoman fountain center-piece of Bulgarian city

Bayrakli Mosque

Source : Worldbulletin.net / 10 Dec 2013

A large fountain and Bayrakli Mosque are among the many Ottoman landmarks in Samakov, a Bulgarian town close to the capital, Sofia. The large fountain, built in 1660, is the center-piece symbol of the town.

The town of Samakov, which is 60 km away from Sofia, is located on the Rila Mountain and known for its historical and cultural richness. It was one of the important settlements in Ottoman times and the town is still economically significant in terms of income from tourism, since Samakov is in the list of one hundred touristic destinations in the country.

Bringing the country’s deep historical background and wide cultural wealth to this day, another important characteristic that makes Samakov strategically crucial is its large sources of iron, steel and water.

The 17th century fountain, which has clear references to classical Ottoman architectural style, was built by the chief of Ottoman palace, Mehmet Efendi, with its water flowing down from the Rila Mountain. As the legend goes, anyone who drinks water from the mountain will return to Samakov. Having a quadrilateral construction, it was declared as a national cultural monument in 1928 and since then has attracted local and foreign tourists.

Samakov's Bayrakli Mosque, which was built in the beginning of 19th century, is the largest mosque in the town. The mosque’s gigantic dome and hanging balcony’s unique wooden carving are two distinguishing properties of the mosque.

The walls of the mosque are embellished with the drawings of two famous Bulgarian painters - Ivan Ikonopisets and Hristo Yovevich - which distinguishes the mosque from most others in Bulgaria.

The Christians who contributed to the architectural richness of the Bayrakli Mosque is not limited with these two Bulgarian painters. In 1966, architect Nikola Mushanov and Georgi Bestoynev participated actively to the renovation work. Today, the mosque is closed for prayers and used as a museum. The large fountain stands in the yard of the mosque which is a gathering point for the people of Samakov. The garden of the mosque hosts “The Pictures of Old Samakov Exhibition”. The pictures unveil Samakov’s past, including the bridge, old mosque and the church, which no longer exist.

Steel and iron source of Ottoman army

The museum of Samakov has a mission to preserve the historical heritage in the town. The museum revives the grand historical background from ancient ages to the Ottoman period is brought to the future. The concept of the museum is very much influenced by the steel and iron production made in the town.

Samakov has always had an effective position in terms of iron and steel production. It was among the first choices for the Ottoman army in fulfilling its iron and steel needs. Therefore iron-made products are among the items exhibited in the museum. Additionally, traditional costumes, archeological remnants and some examples of local hand-made products made by wool are presented. Another significant characteristic of Samakov is the first printing house which was established in the town in 1828. Numerous books printed with the country’s first printing machine are also displayed.

 

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