DONATIONS FROM THE CRAFTS ASSOCIATION IN TATAR Pazardzhik Through the Revival for the Construction of Churches and Schools in the City by Penka Nikolova
















The craft organizations that emerged during the Bulgarian Renaissance are the form of public organization in which Bulgarians retain their national consciousness, seek protection at the institutional level and preserve the idea of ​​resurrecting the state. Throughout their long existence, they have undergone complex transformations, changing their functions and tasks. However, their character as the second most important institution after the church-religious community, which exercised relatively independent management of the Christian population during the Ottoman rule, is invariably preserved. Their contribution as a basic structural unit that unites the population at local level and contributes to its cultural and economic progress is indisputable.

The favorable geographical location of Tatar Pazardzhik and the highly developed agriculture created the prerequisites for its transformation into a prime craft center in the Balkan lands of the Ottoman Empire as early as the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The economic development and the formation of the local trade and crafts layer in the second half of the 19th century created objective prerequisites for the dynamic development of the Renaissance processes, which resulted in the consolidation of Bulgarian society in the city. An economically powerful group of people, representatives of local guilds, is formed, with a clear national consciousness and aspiration for national formation. Her efforts to build two of the most important institutions for the Bulgarian Revival society – churches and schools – stand out.

This exhibit will feature the most significant, documented acts of donations made by craft organizations to build Christian temples and schools in Tatar Pazardzhik. The exposition will be illustrated with examples from the archives of the Regional History Museum – Pazardzhik memorabilia, memorials, single documents of the school students and the church community 1 .

           Tatar Pazardzhik is a relatively new city and the beginning of the Esnaf organizations should be sought at the end of the XVII and the beginning of the XVIII c. In the travelogue of the Jerusalem patriarch Hrisant Notaras, visited the town in 1720 to collect alms for the Jerusalem monastery, saying that donors are 160 individuals and 18 guilds 2 . Historical documents show a gradual increase in the number of Bulgarian craftsmen. The differentiation of the crafts began, the quality of the handicrafts was improved, which also led to their increased demand in the domestic and foreign markets. The Bulgarian church community has been marked in the condiment of 1803 with 22 Bulgarian essaymen3 , and in the middle of the 19th c. Zahariev reports that there are 24 such 4 . If we trace the collected tax liabilities of the city guards in the first quarter of the nineteenth century and take them as an indicator of their economic status, the most powerful are the Abadzhi, groceries, mechantshiyas, kaftandzhii, fur-breeders. The most numerous is the Abadzhiy Esnaf, with its considerable production and exuberant cover of rich craftsmen, who elected their own board of directors as early as 1789. 5

Economically entrenched, the Esnaf organizations have also established themselves in the socio-political and spiritual life of the city. During the first quarter of the nineteenth century, members of church epitropes and school boards of trustees emerged from their circles. The first masters of the Abadji, Grocery and Mechanismal Esnafs are the first representatives of the local Bulgarian municipality. To overcome a number of complications in the activity of the municipality, due to the strong existing in the city

Greek Party, contributed by the first masters of the Abadji and Gshkala esnafs x. Valcho Peshev and X. Stoyan Georgiev. Gradually expanding the tradition of the Esnaf organizations to undertake the construction of Christian temples and school buildings will take care of the educational work in the city.

The accounting records of the Tatarpazardzhik Church-School Board of Trustees from 1860-1870 show that, among other items of revenue, the contributions that the Esnaf associations should give for the general purposes of the municipality are determined. The amount of taxes, contributions and donations raised covers the cost of the school work, the salaries of teachers, builders and painters are paid. Patriotic craftsmen are, in most cases, church epitropes who, with particular zeal and zeal, take care of the construction and decoration of Bulgarian churches.

At the end of XVII and beginning of XVIII century in Tatar Pazardzhik the Christian temple “St. Our Lady. ” Destroyed and built several times, it is the work of the entire Bulgarian population, with the local Abbas guild playing a leading role in this endeavor. The detailed account for the period from 1767 to 1878 shows that the necessary funds and building materials were obtained mainly from donations. During the cathedral assembly in 1765, a silver cross and two rapids were donated to the local church, and in 1815, 810 pennies were earmarked for flooring and 500 pennies for painting the church 6 . After its burning in 1834, the local Dülger Esnaf built a small chapel in the churchyard “St. Sunday, which served until 1838.7

Contemporary, impressive in size and architecture, St. The Virgin Mary “was built on the initiative of the representatives of the grocery, tavern and dyeing esnaf, who act as proxies of all the esnaf organizations in the city. The documents stored in the church community’s archive, compared to the preserved Esnaphic logs, refer to the construction of the temple in the years 18 36-1840 8 . Its construction was carried out according to plan and under the direction of master Peter Kazov of Cave. Members of the local Dülger Esnaf are also taking part in the construction. Funds are mostly donated. About 328,000 pennies have been spent on the rough construction of the building 9 . The city’s Esnaf organizations make collective donations totaling $ 51,080 10. The largest share in this amount includes the Esnafs: Abadzhiyskiy – 9677 gr., Fur-breeders – 7933 gr., Groceries – 6051 gr., Innkeepers – 5130 gr. town, Bakardzhiyski – 1770 and so on. Another great source is the funds collected by the Christian population in the neighborhoods, from which 62,553 are paid. A considerable part of the amount was obtained from loans. According to the teacher of the Bulgarian National Revival I. Nenov for the construction of the building, the Bulgarian municipality is concluding a loan with a Viennese bank for the amount of 60,000 dollars. The guarantors of this loan are all Bulgarian esnafs in the city – a fact too indicative of the economic stability, confidence and authority of the esnaf organizations. “

          The participation of Bulgarian craftsmen in the furnishing and interior decoration of the church over the next two decades is documented by the file between the church board and the administration of the grocer, potter, dulger and bacchardi esnaf. The unique ecclesiastical iconostasis cost more than 170,000 gr. Its construction work lasted 4-5 years. For remuneration of the masters, we find information in the condition of the grocer. The carver Makriy Negriev from the Esnaf’s fund was paid in 1832, and to the master Dimitar Sharenkov for the production of curtains of the iconostasis – 676 ​​gr. 12With the elegance and richness of the subjects, the precision of carving the iconostasis is one of the finest examples of Renaissance art. Over the next decade, local masters of painting, including Stanislav Dospevski, created custom icons for the decoration of the church. In the period 1854-1857, the Mehandi, Kurkish, Abadzhsky esnafs donated the icons to “St. Mine, on “St. Elijah “, on” St. Our Lady. ” In 1852 the Abadzhna Esnaf made the decision, with her own funds, to support the church singer at the cathedral church “St. The Virgin Mary “ 13 .

The economic prosperity of the Esnaf organizations in the first two decades of the nineteenth century, their affirmation in public life, made it necessary to raise the level of enlightenment in the city. The establishment of the first public cell school in Tatar Pazardzhik is associated with the name of Bishop Dionysius Agathonikis. In 1823 he built his own funds in the yard of the church “St. Theotokos “is the first independent school building. Known as the “Bishop’s School”, the school consists of two rooms with two Holy Mountain monks, and there are several RODINs after the death of Dionysius in 1827. 14

Simultaneously with the construction of the church building in 1836-1840, a large room was built with the help of the Esnafs, which was used by Caesarea n. Vasilev for school.

The increase in the number of Bulgarian students puts the issue of a more comfortable room on the agenda. The school board, headed by Hadji Mihalaki Kostadinov, starts raising funds. It is temporarily decided to move the Greek students, numbering about 35, to the smaller rooms and to give the larger room to the Bulgarian students. After long and persistent sedition between the Bulgarian leaders and the Greek party in the city, it was agreed to make a new room for the Bulgarian students in the schoolyard.

Appreciating the benefits of education, in 1842, with the voluntary assistance of the esnafs and some of the more prominent citizens, a new large school, later called the Principal, was built in the churchyard. It has two floors and consists of seven rooms. The donation for the school building amounted to about 9,000 fines in the city. The biggest cash donations made by the tailor’s guild – 2000 g., Grocery – 1250 g., Horticultural – 500 gr., Kaftandzhiyskiya – 500 gr., Fur -750 gr. And so on.. 15 The new building allows students to be divided into classes, which facilitates the work of teachers and students. As the first master of the Abadzhna Esnaf, Hajji Mihalaki Kostadinov takes great care and devotes a great deal of money to the success of the school work in the city.


        He buys school supplies, and at the end of the school year, donates books and supplies to successful students.

A real turning point came in the school business in 1845, when the first school was opened, and in 1848 – the first girls’ school. The efforts of the donors have been appreciated by Konstantin Fotinov, who in 1848 notes in the journal “Geography” that “the citizens of Tatar Pazardzhik and the school created quite well” 16 .

Lively correspondence was made in the period 1848-1850 between the representatives of the Bulgarian municipality, in which the first masters of the Esnafs were members, and the two figures of the Bulgarian educational movement, Dr. Peter Beron and Alexander Exarch. Both support the idea of ​​locals opening a girls’ school and building a school. In 1847 Dr. Peter Beron sent 1000 pennies and 20 parcels. from his Fish Letter. At first, the girls’ school was housed in the Main Building, but later moved to the Zograf Monastery Method. Local guilds even set aside funds to buy a yard for the construction of a new building. To this end, Alexander Exarch sending them 2,000 pennies to help 17. In 1871 the school board allocated from the bequests of the Tatarpazardzhik school 3,000 a penny to buy an old house for the needs of the girls’ school.

At the initiative of the first masters of the Bakal, Kurtchyk and Abadzhsky esnafs, the neighborhood church “St. Constantine and Helen. ” For its construction, the fur-dress esnaf contributes 3750 gr., The papuchian esnaf donates 423 gr., And the grocer-esnaf – 2400 gr., Designated for the production of the iconostasis and icons. In 1866 the temple was burnt down and the people of Pazardzhik started raising money again. The building was built by Bratsig masters and completed in 1872. The amount paid for the construction of the church is 6233 pennies. More than 500 people have been raised to build it, donating a total of 22,765 dollars. As bigger donors we will mention Mihalaki Trendafilov – donated 5000 gr., Dimitar x. Velev – 2000 gr., Velcho Angelov -2000 gr., Mihalaki Karailiev – 1500 gr., Etc. Regardless of the amount collected, more money is needed at the church board. The two guilders – Papukchi and Shepherd – donate icons for the church’s interior decoration18 .

With the material support of the grocer’s esnaf near the church building, a mutual school was opened in 1847, with over 70 students studying . 19

In pursuance of the will of Kostji x. Volkov, who left the church epitropes the sum of 800 rubles, in one of the new quarters of the city in the autumn of 1852 began the construction of the church “St. Petka. ” The completion and furnishing of the building is carried out in the coming years. In addition to personal donations, citizens also record collectively collective organizations. The two guilders – furrier and grocer – lend to the church board and borrow money, respectively. 5000 pennies and 1500 pennies. For the furnishing of the church, the Bakerji esnaf donated 1500 pennies, and the Bostanjian – an expensive church utensil 20 .

Only two years later, a building and a local school were built in the churchyard, which opened in 1854. The zealous supporters of the education of their children, Pazardzhikli provided teacher Dimitar Vasilev (Dragan Manchov).

In 1860 the building of the church “St. Archangel. ” The grocer’s grocery donated tile flooring on her floor, donated an icon to the church, whose work paid the painter 800 pennies; the papuchian esnaf contributes 100 pennies, the abadji esnaf donates silver for the production of a silver cross and two rapids 21 .

In 1864, the Tatar Pazardzhik schoolwork was reformed. The district schools remain only elementary schools and all older students go to the Varoshka school. In the same year, with the material support of the grocer’s esnaf, another neighborhood school was opened in the courtyard of the church “St. Archangel. “

The preserved documents of the Pazardzhik craft organizations, as well as those of the churches and schools during the Renaissance, are full of information about donations in support of the poor students, to provide the schools in the city with the necessary school supplies, to buy books. It turns out that there is no esnafic association that has not set aside a certain amount for the construction of a school or church building in the city.

       In conclusion we can say that by initiating, directing and contributing to the construction of the material base of the churches and schools during the Bulgarian Revival era, the Pazardzhik episcopacy became a unifying center for the Bulgarians and an expression of their desire for spiritual independence. Representatives of craft organizations are members of the Bulgarian municipality, have a strong influence in the society of Pazardzhik and with their active folk-useful activity help in the development of the revival processes in the city.

Having emerged as an urgent need for the promotion of Bulgarian craftsmanship in the socio-economic life of the city, donation during the Renaissance period became a national affair, a pillar of Bulgarian education and culture. Knowledge of what our ancestors have accomplished will enrich the notions of the contemporary Bulgarian about the past, and will make him a more active participant in the preservation and enrichment of the Renaissance donation tradition.


1 Regional Museum of History-Pazardzhik, Revival Department, Funds – Main, Documentary, Kondiki.

2 Zlegov. D. Crafts and Crafts Associations in Pazardzhik (15th-19th c.), Scientific Archive at RIM – Pazardzhik.

1 NBKM – BIA, f. 7732, p. 148.

* Zahariev. S. Geographical-historical-statistical description of the Tatar Pazardzhik kaaza. 1973, 20-21.

5 ROME – Pazardzhik, f. In (k), 1, p. 54.

6 Ibid., F. In (k), 2, p. 378.

7 Ibid., P. 379.

«NBKM – BIA, II A, f. 7724, f. 7732.

9   Ibid., F. 7724.

10 There.

Nenov, Y. About the Bulgarian National Revival in Tatar Pazardzhik. P. 90, p. 12.

12 ROME – Pazardzhik, f. In (k), 17, p. 20. “Ibid. In (k), 84.

Batakliev. I. Tatar Pazardzhik City. Historical and geographical overview. C, | 23, 184-185.

15     NBKM – BIA, f. 7732; ROME – Pazardzhik, f. In (k), 9, p. 38.

16     Batakliev, I. Cit. cit., p. 342.

17     Ibid., P. 348.

11 Zlegov, D. Churches and Priests in Pazardzhik during the Renaissance. ROME-Pazardzhik, Revival Department – Scientific Archive.

19     Zhlegov. E. Education in the Pazardzhik Region during the Renaissance.
I.Iarjik, 1996, p. 37.

20     NBKM – BIA, II A-7732.

21     ROME – Pazardzhik, f. In (k), 17, 5.

In conclusion we can say that by initiating, directing and contributing to the construction of the material base of the churches and schools during the Bulgarian Revival era, the Pazardzhik episcopacy became a unifying center for the Bulgarians and an expression of their desire for spiritual independence.