Today we know it as the party place of Plovdiv, but a little over a century ago the old charshiya stretched within its borders


From the mosque to the east began the old Plovdiv charshiya of retailers, shopkeepers and craftspeople of all trades. The masters used to unlock the padlocks early, and while the apprentices prepared the workplace for the day, they used the time to sip their coffee loudly and exchange gossip with the neighbor. Tailors, coppersmiths, shoemakers, tinsmiths and various other craftspeople coexisted peacefully side by side.

Among them were the shops of the retailers. On the shelves of their shops, you could find everything: rings, bracelets, earrings, crosses, buckles, alter lamps. Today, almost nothing of the former professions has survived. One by one, they slowly died and disappeared.

On the night of June 13-14, 1906, a wildfire broke out in the old charshiya and burned almost the entire area. It was said that this was intentional and that a whole past which will never happen again burned in the fire.

In the very center of the neighborhood proudly stood the building of the largest bath Tahtakale, and in it between four streets was the Bezisten, ie. the trading house. Evliya Chelebi described it in 1062 as follows: “…. made of brickwork (solid), with strong doors. The valuable goods of the whole city are in it…“ It stretched to today’s Hristo Dyukmedzhiev Street from the north, Pavel Kurtevich Street from the south, Zlatarska Street from the west and Altseko Street from the east. The outer doors opened at a certain hour and the merchants entered first. Then the sales started, but first there was the morning coffee. Again, at a certain time in the evening the duty officer closed the door, and before that the merchants ordered their goods to be ready for the morning. There was no internal guard, but no thefts took place in Bezisten. It was demolished in 1920 in connection with the regulatory plan.

To the east of Bezisten began the then Kapana. It covered the space between today's streets Konstantin Stoilov, Tsar Boris III Obedinitel and the northern foothills of the Three Hills. On a market day there was a very big crowd. Many villagers came, and after unloading the bags of wheat and other grains and unharnessing the cattle, they returned for bargains, sales, and treats that lasted all day. As it got dark and they left, the whole Kapana looked like a manure pit. In the morning the sweepers cleaned, but the stench remained. During the digging of the tunnel, almost all the old houses and all the shops that had not been burned in the fire were demolished.

Today, the small streets are again filled with noise, but not only on market days. The old charshiya is now a real party area, where you can hardly find a place in the evening. Instead of small shops, almost every house is a different bar or restaurant, and instead of bargains, music and loud laughter are most often heard.

The text is based on information from the book Plovdiv Chronicle by Nikola Alvadzhiev.