Although it is now one of the most densely built-up neighborhoods, where parking problems and the constant emergence of new buildings began fifteen years ago, in the past Karshiyaka was a very sparsely built-up neighborhood and there were vegetable gardens where the Fair Town is now.
Its name literally translates as "beyond the shore", and its proximity to the banks of the Maritsa River implied numerous floods, even at the slightest rise in water. For a long time, there was no afforestation, water supply network and sewerage in the area. Water for irrigation was used from the wells that were in every house or inn.
Throughout the neighborhood, the buildings were almost the same - crumbling from old age and even the same height. The streets were narrow and the squares dusty and dirty.
Between Karlovska and Brezovska streets there was a large empty space, which in summer served as threshing floors and a field for the autumn and spring fairs. It was visited by people from all over the country - traders, manufacturers, sellers, buyers and onlookers.
There was a mosque on each side of the bridge, which was completely set on fire in 1877 by the retreating Turkish army. On the very shore, right next to the bridge, there was a cafe. A large sandy island divided the current, and the arm on the left was called Little Maritsa. There were a lot of fish on it. Some visitors, while drinking their coffee, cast their line and fished for several kilograms of fish each day. The cafe had a balcony for warm weather and a covered part, which was used in winter. From the balcony you went down to the river.
Right next to the café there was a shop where various folk remedies were sold. On the island there was a workshop for repairing motorcycles, and once there was the foundry of Hristo Dyukmedzhiev. It was reached by kayak, and behind the restaurant was the hammam.
During these years - around and after the Liberation, Karshiyaka was known for its many inns. On Karlovska Street was the Turnev Inn, where Levski and many revolutionaries from the Plovdiv Committee hid. There was also an ammunition depot. In front of it was an apartment with a bay window room, known as Levski's room. Convenient place for hiding and secret meetings. Unfortunately, the site was affected by regulation and demolished more than half a century ago.
The inn, the wine cellar and Stoyan Peev’s pub were located on the same street in the smaller rooms. He was a great master of the mugwort wine, whose recipe he kept a great secret.
Another street with many inns was Sredets. There were Bayraktarski inn, Peshterski inn and others. They all had spacious courtyards and many rooms. The street started from the bridge and went to the left, where the buildings were very close to each other, so close that they looked like one big building. There were also painting workshops, whose masters were able to dye all kinds of fabrics, canvases and yarns.
Apart from inns, pubs and workshops, Karshiyaka was also known for its "hot" party passions. Democrats, Stambolovists, supporters of the people were in eternal enmity and constantly quarreled with each other. On election days, it took a lot of courage to go and vote in the section. Everyone knew to which party someone belonged and a person's behavior depended on whether it was in power or in opposition.
The text is based on information from the book Plovdiv Chronicle by Nikola Alvadzhiev.
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