Historical mosques in Bulgaria awaiting restoration

  • A total of 27 Ottoman-era mosques in Bulgaria are awaiting restoration, as their minarets, walls and doors have either collapsed or suffered considerable damage.
  • But local Muslim authorities complain that Bulgarian officials are not allowing restoration due to the mosques no longer having minarets, leading them to be declared “historic sites.”
  • Due to their being surrounded by archeological sites, some of the mosques have been declared “historic sites,” impeding their restoration and use by worshippers, according to the Grand Mufti’s Office in Bulgaria.
  • Mustafa Izbishtali, the mufti of Sofia, told Anadolu Agency that the mosques’ maintenance is growing more difficult due to bureaucratic hurdles.
  • Officials have blocked restoration of the Fatih Sultan Mehmed Mosque in Kyustendil, built in 1531, for 30 years, said Izbishtali.
  • The Karaca Pasha Mosque, built in the 1400s and left to decay after its dome collapsed in 2011, is also the target for periodic racist attacks.
  • Aydin Muhammed, the mufti of Blagoevgrad, told Anadolu Agency that the local mosque was closed for worship after the officials claimed there were archeological remains nearby.

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