Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Cultural Corridor Eastern Trans-Balkan Road / Eastern Trans-Balkan Road

Demir Baba Teke

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Demir Baba Teke

About the site

Corridor: Danube Road, Eastern Trans-Balkan Road
Country: Bulgaria, Isperih
Type: Islamic religious centre, Cultural Landscape, Intangible Heritage
Epoch: Middle Ages
Theme: Islamic Culture
World Heritage:
Middle AgesIslamic CultureIslamic religious centreCultural LandscapeIntangible Heritage

Demir baba tekke (the tomb of Demir baba) is one of the most remarkable sites in the large religious complex “Sboryanovo”, North Eastern Bulgaria. The complex covers the territory of the biggest Thracian religious and political centers dating back to the 1st millennium BC, mentioned by Ptolemeus as “Dausdava” (the town of wolfs). Proof of the deep roots and continuity among cultures from various periods is the discovered prehistoric Eneolithic mounds, Thracian tumuli, traces from the Roman, late-Antique and Medieval periods.
In Sboryanovo (whose name came from “sbor” – assembly), since ancient times Christians and Muslim gathered on various feasts, offerings for health (“kurban” – boiled mutton), decorated the trees with pieces from their dresses ( a ritual – remote repercussion of the cult to the Holy Mother) and stuck burning candles (remnant of the ancient sun cult). Sboryanovo is still a religious center both for the Muslim alevits (also called alians, kazalbashi), as well as for the Christians. Demir baba tekke is situated some 3m to the south-west of the tomb of Sveshtari (the most outstanding of all Thracian tombs in Sboryanovo – World heritage. The tomb of the Sheikh Hassan Demir baba Pechlivan – gifted with divine power saint who lived in the 16th c., was built by his order right under the cave, where he spent most of his life. A long stone staircase leads down to the tomb. Next to the entrance there is a huge stone with magic power, in the vicinity there is a spring believed to be also miraculous, and across the tomb is the stone building of the imaret (shelter for the pilgrims). The tomb itself is a heptagonal building, erected over the ruins of an ancient Thracian sanctuary. A wooden coffin was discovered inside, covered by the gifts of the numerous pilgrims, for whom Demir baba tekke was a sacred site.

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