This mosque, known as Bayrakli Mosque, is one of dozens of surviving Ottoman structures in Bulgaria – a heritage landmark in the centre of a small town not far from Sofia.
It first appeared in the 15th Century but was extensively refurbished in 1845, sponsored by a local magnate, Hüsrev Pasha, with a penchant for the arts. Apart from manufacturing and trade, whence he made his fortune, he was a philanthropist who routinely sponsored local youths to study drawing in Europe. The pasha also founded perhaps the richest library in Ottoman Bulgaria – the only detail that survives from it, however, is its building inscription which is kept in the local museum. The library's books are now in the Oriental Department of the National Library in Sofia.
Bayrakli Mosque belongs to a little known if still controversial 500-year period of Bulgarian history variably referred to as "Ottoman domination" or "Turkish yoke."
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