Banya Bashi Mosque often becomes a reason for social conflicts in Sofia and Bulgaria. The Cristian Community here thinks that the Islamic one demonstrates its presence in a too intrusive way because of the powerful loudspeakers of the mosque and the crowds of Muslims who gather here, in the very center of the city. That is why the nationalistic movements in the country often call for closing the mosque or forcing it to reduce the power of its loudspeakers. It is true that if you pass nearby during a religious service, you will feel like you are in Istanbul or somewhere else in Turkey, because of the Islamic songs that you will distinctly hear.
The mosque is located in the center of Sofia, near the Sofia Synagogue and the Orthodox church ‘St. Nedelya’ and a Catholic cathedral. These four buildings show the religious variety in the country.
‘Banya Bashi’ is considered to be built in 1566-1567. It was a project of the Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan who also made a mosque in Istanbul and the one of sultan Selim in Odrin. The mosque follows the standards of the architecture in the 16th century.
A few renovations of the mosque have been made through the years. The last major one was made in the 20s of the 20th century.
The name of the mosque – ‘Banya Bashi’ means ‘many baths’ and it was built over natural thermal springs. You can see the fountains with drinkable thermal water nearby.
Nowadays, the mosque gathers around 500 pilgrims every Friday.
The fastest way is to use the subway. You need to get off at 'Serdika' station.