The first café was said to have been opened in Mecca in the sixteenth century. The inkeepers quickly spread it across the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt, Syria and all of Turkey. This means that somewhere at the same time the hot drink found its fans in Filibe, ie. Plovdiv.
The oldest establishment was supposed to have been in the spacious courtyard of Kurshum Han. The entrance of the huge stone building was from today's RaykoDaskalov Street. The café was located in the middle of the inner courtyard with stone slabs - a small single-story building with two entrances. The aroma of the freshly ground beans led to ten stone stairs.
There were other famous cafes, located along Dzhumaya and the surrounding streets. The most famous was Konstantin Karamanos'scafé. Above the door, there was a sign with the name "Commercial Café", but everyone called it Karamanovo. The Plovdiv chronicler Nicola Alvadzhiev described how during the day the regular visitors of the Karamanovcafé only drank a cup of coffee and lemonade, while others sat long under the huge sycamore to drink anisette or two. This Stanimaka elixir was available with 12 kinds of appetizers.
At the other end of the Dzhumaya, there was the Dyulger’s Café, where the builders negotiated. A hundred meters further, Petrinos the Greek revived the former café and named his establishment Plovdiv. Popular were also the central cafes Tahta kale (Benkovski Street), Adzhemsko café near the small mosque on today’s Knyaz Bogorodi Street and others.
Cafes were all around the city, and the big people paid a special person to treat the many guests in the vast sarays under the hills. In the middle of the 19th century, the establishments by the Maritza River got a bad reputation. Here came the haytas (that is, the scoundrels) who spent hours in a big company.
Citizens could refresh themselves not only in the city but also up the hill. At Bunardzhika people customarily poured the coffee themselves from the pot, on the rocks near the old clock, visitors could also refresh themselves. On the old bridge (there is now the pedestrian bridge), customers could slowly sip from the cup and simultaneously throw the rods in Maritsa. They talked politics about an hour or two and came home with fresh fish. Viennese tables decorated the establishment under the Metropolis Hotel and the garden in the courtyard of today's Drama Theater, and instead of winking singers and excited belly dance, classical music sounded at these venues, including some of the most famous musicians. The names of the restaurants were Paris, Bongu, Crystal, and while the men played billiards, their companions became enthusiastic about the HalmiViolin Chamber Orchestra, and the repertoire for the evening was written in chalk on a small blackboard. Silk, chic wear, hats, decorated with flowers like a small botanical garden - a setting quite different from that in the smoky cafes.
In the outskirts of Plovdiv, cafes were both groceries and barbers, and everything.
Since the beginning of the twentieth century, cafes have begun to become the center of political life under the hills. In the 20s and 30s of the last century, election meetings were often organized, but party bans in 1934 changed things - civilian agents appeared, and it was dangerous to speak publicly about politics. That's how the star of a new type of establishments has risen. Traders and industrialists opened a café, which offered radio concerts every day. That is, they put a Phillips radio. A little later, the drivers opened their own cafe. It was located on Otets Paisii Street. Unlike other establishments, during the day, they never served alcohol - not only for drivers but also for outsiders. At that time there was no memory of the old cafes in Plovdiv. Only in the outskirts the atmosphere reminded of the past.
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