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Travel Ottoman Bulgaria to see, taste and feel a past not forgotten. No doubt it’s not forgotten. How could it be?! It’s 500 years of ‘common coexistence’. Coexistence not very peaceful most of the time. However, by far these are the most controversial times of Bulgarian history. These were the times when Bulgaria had its indisputable heroes.

”We are within time and time is within us, it changes us and we change it”

Vasil Levski together with Hristo Botev and a lot other Bulgarians are our heroes. Heroes who fought for a free Bulgaria. And they made it. They granted a state with “freedom of the people, of every individual, and of every religion” to us.

We, today’s Bulgarians live in a country of great heroes and inheritance from those days. Travel Ottoman Bulgaria and you can be surprised how often locals and even tourist signs refer to some bridges as ‘Roman’. This, probably, is normal because everything is so old that its true history has been forgotten. In that sense, it’s easier to think that ‘everything-old-is-Roman’ rule.

However, many are that things that stayed on Bulgarian lands after the Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria’s largest and also quite probably the most beautiful mosque is in Shumen. Its name is Tombul Mosque. The mosque’s name comes from the shape of its dome. Tombul Mosque is the second largest on the Balkan Peninsula after the Sultan Selim Mosque in the Turkish town of Odrin (Edirne).

When you do tours Sofia, you shouldn’t miss the National Archaeological Museum. It’s in the centre of Sofia and it occupies the building of the largest and oldest former Ottoman mosque in the city. Originally, people knew it as Koca Mahmut Pasa Camii.

The mosque of the seven girls

When we talk about wonders and mysteries, we surely mention the Rhodope mountains. This completely wooden mosque, an example of an old construction technology, is located in the Rhodopean village of Podkova. Although it is a mosque, people of different religions visit it. It’s, in fact, the temple of belief. Due to that, most probably, this mosque was constructed without the use of nails. For such places there are usually many legends. The legend here is of seven girls who sent their beloved ones to the battlefield to never see them again. As their fiances didn’t come back, the girls sold their trousseau to buy materials. They built the mosque for a night and nobody saw them ever again. The legend doesn’t finish here. But I am not going to tell you more.

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