Temples in Plovdiv
The Bachkovo monastery was founded in 1083. It had its heyday during the Second Bulgarian Empire 1185 – 1396 but was ransacked by the Turks in the 15th and 16th centuries. The reconstruction began in the middle of the 17th century. The famous murals were painted in the 19th century. Bachkovo is now the second-largest monastery after Rila. It is a working monastery so therefore no photos are allowed inside the premises. The monastery was found by Prince Gregorios Pakourianos prominent Georgian statesman, military commander in 1083. The only part that has survived from the monastery’s original structure is the ossuary.
The Dzumaya Mosque the second-oldest working mosque in Europe, was originally built in 1364 but was soon burnt down. In 1435 Murad II rebuilt it and named it Muradiye after himself. The mosque was rebuilt and reconstructed in 1784 under the reign of Abdul Hamid and has since then not been changed. With a 23m-high minaret, it was the largest of Plovdiv’s more than 50 Ottoman mosques.
The St.St. Konstantin and Elena Church is one of the oldest Christian temples in Plovdiv. It was built on top of the fortified acropolis wall. The original church – dedicated to Emperor Constantine the Great and his mother Elena – was built in AD 337. During the years, the building was destroyed and rebuilt several times. Its current edifice was constructed in 1832 with the help of local patriots. Its magnificent frescoes and icons were painted by masters of one of the most famous Bulgarian Icongraphic Schools.
Built in 1561, St Marina Church was burnt down 50 years later, rebuilt in 1783, and repaired in 1856. Note the 17 m-high pagoda-shaped wooden bell tower (1870), and the intricate, 170-year-old iconostasis.
The Holy Mother of God Church was built in 1844 but the tower (in Russian style) was added in 1880 after the Bulgarian liberation. The church is dedicated to Holy Virgin like the previous church that was there since 9th century, later became a monastery and demolished by ottomans when the conquered the town in 1371.