Archaeology: Street repair in Sofia uncovers late Ottoman wall

Ahead of a scheduled official briefing by Sofia’s deputy mayor and an archaeologist, some media had reported the finding of a Roman-era wall in the centre of the Bulgarian capital city.

At noon on July 31, a large number of reporters crowded around Dr Todor Chobanov, deputy mayor in charge of culture, and the Sofia Regional History Museum’s Dr Alexander Stanev, in the narrow confines of Malko Turnovo Street – otherwise best-known as the shortest street in the capital.

There was perceptible disappointment among the journalists wilting in the July heat when Dr Chobanov underlined that contrary to media reports, the wall was not Roman, but late Ottoman, believed to be part of a building, possibly from the 18th century.

Dr Stanev said that there appeared to be no documentation about the building, which unlike details of mosques preserved in the record-keeping of the time, had passed into history until its – very – fleeting fame in July 2019.

Work on renovating Malko Turnovo Street began four days ago and led to the uncovering of the wall. Also found was a beer bottle, believed to date from the early 20th century.

“Did you find anything else interesting?” asked a reporter, hopefully. “A bullet, we think its from a Mauser pistol,” Dr Stanev replied. The bullet has been sent for forensic examination.

The 130 000 leva renovation of Malko Turnovo Street will conclude, on schedule, in September, Dr Chobanov said.

Underground infrastructure will be replaced – “the sewer system has been around since 1906 and we still owe it to (Tsar) Ferdinand,” Chobanov said. The renovations will result in new (and less hazardous in winter) steps, surfacing and lighting. Paving at the upper end will be yellow and on the lower side, grey granite, better to blend with Dondukov Boulevard.

Perhaps it says much about the archaeological wealth of Bulgaria that the uncovering of a late Ottoman building remnant in the capital city left some of the journalists, departing after the briefing, muttering that they didn’t think it worth writing a word about it.

(Photos: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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