The Dobrich that we know today rises at the beginning of the 16th century. Located in the middle of the Dobrudzha plain, at the intersection of the main roads connecting the center of the Ottoman Empire with the Trans-Danubian lands and Europe, from its very founding, it naturally became an administrative economic and commercial center of the then Dobrich kaza. This is evidenced by the old name of the town, the information provided by foreign travelers, the famous Dobrich Fair that gathered traders from all corners of the Ottoman Empire, as well as the many markets and market squares, preserved until the middle of the last century. Older residents still remember the busy “Odun Pazar” (the “Wood Market”), “Un Pazar” (the “Flour market”) and the small streets that led to them and accommodated craft studios, inns, cafes, two-storey houses with workshops, trade shops and old stone fountains.
In 1979, their place was taken by the “Old Dobrich” Open-Air Architectural and Ethnographic Museum including 32 craft workshops that present home crafts specific to the Dobrudzha region (weaving, embroidery, the making of jewelry from beads, bakery), as well as crafts providing basic tools and instruments (pottery, blacksmithing, wood carving, cutlery, saddlery, leather-working, fur-dressing, millinery , etc.). In each of these workshops tourists can meet masters, descendants of old masters, who, using authentic tools and materials, their hands and old technologies create objects typical of folk culture. In the complex you can also see restored an old inn, a tavern and a clock tower; Tekke Mosque and the typical Dobrich white-stone fountain, built as early as the period of Ottoman rule.
Of particular interest for the site’s visitors is the old clock tower, built in the 18th c. following the development and the activities of the guilds. It is first mentioned by Ruggier Boskovic, who in 1761 visited the town, at that time called Hadzhioglu Pazardzhik. A century later an old Ottoman document reported that the resources of the local population were used to build also a town clock. At that time the tower was constructed with hewn stones, but architecturally it is shaped like a rectangle that ends with a covered čardak (porch) and a conical roof, “similar to a minaret”. In 1872, Felix Kanitz found the building in ruins. Just a few years later, it was restored, this time thanks to Sheikh Arif Hikmet Bey, who donated two workshops with an annual rent of 35 pennies to guarantee its maintenance.
After Dobrich’s liberation from Ottoman rule, the care for the clock tower was entrusted to the City Council. At the end of the century, the tower was adapted as a fire safety watchtower. In 1965, in compliance with the new regulation plan of the town, the old clock tower was demolished. The current tower was restored through sketches, memoirs, documents and pictures from the archives of the Dobrich museum. The tower is 21 meters high, while the clockwork is made following the design of the old Revival era clocks from Elena, Dryanovo and Tryavna. In the “Old Dobrich” one can also see the Tekke Mosque. It was built in the second half of the 17th century. Its construction is widely associated with the cult to an unknown Muslim saint and the activities of some famous mystical Muslim sects or orders in the northeastern part of the former Ottoman Empire. Today Tekke Mosque is the only piece of Muslim religious architecture from the period 15th – 19th c. still preserved in Dobrich.
In the period 2012-2013, the “Old Dobrich” Open-Air Architectural and Ethnographic Museum was renovated under the Dobrich Municipality’s project “Yovkov’s Dobrich – A Modern Tourist Destination”, OPRD.
Where: “Old Dobrich” Open-Air Architectural and Ethnographic Museum
18 “Konstantin Stoilov” str., Dobrich; tel.: 058 602 642
The access to the site is free.
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