Historic building burns down in Plovdiv’s former Jewish quarter

A building that formerly housed a public baths in what used to be Plovdiv’s Jewish quarter, Orta Mezar, was destroyed in a huge fire on the night of February 18.

Six teams of firefighters and three fire engines failed to extinquish the inferno before the building, used in recent years as a furniture shop, was devastated.

The cause of the fire has not been established and arson has not been ruled out. No one was injured in the fire.

The fire in the building, at the corner of Plovdiv’s Ruski and Shesti Septembri boulevards, was reported soon after 11pm.

The Orta Mezar baths, as the building is commonly referred to, had been declared a cultural monument but there had not yet been a decision whether it was of local or national significance. The building had not been used as a public baths since the 1970s. It dates to the 15th century.

Local media pointed out that the building and the area are important to Bulgarian Jews because it was there that on March 10 1943, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church’s Plovdiv Metropolitan Kiril intervened against the deportation of Bulgarian Jews to the Nazi-run Holocaus death camps in which more than six million Jews were murdered.

Nearby the building is a monument put up by the Plovdiv Jewish community expressing gratitude to Kiril for his intervention. The monument was defaced with red swastikas in 2013. No one was arrested.

(Photo via podtepeto.com)



The Sofia Globe staff

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