Sveti Sedmochislenitsi Church
Right in the centre of today’s Sofia, in the little park between the streets of Tsar Ivan Shishman, Graf Ignatiev, 6-ti Septemvri and Gen. Parensov stands the beautiful building of the Sveti Sedmochislenitsi temple. It was built to be a mosque in 1528 and did function as such until 19 century when it was abandoned. After the Liberation of Bulgaria it was used as a military storage base and then as a prison. Later it became known that there were an old Christian temple and an even older sanctuary in its foundations. A natural consistency what with the fact that Turks had the tendency to build their houses of prayer on top of old sanctuaries.
There is even a legend about the construction of the so called Black Mosque. It says the mosque was built to commemorate the victory of the Turks over the Magyars at Mohacs in 1526 and the siege of Budapest. The sultan had a dream where he saw the conquest would be successful so he ordered that a sign be placed on this spot and, in case the dream came true, that a big house of prayer be built on it. Three centuries later, under Petko Karavelov’s suggestion, the mosque was reshaped into a Christian temple.
Today the church prides with its unique iconostasis. It consists of many and variously sized icons made by some of the most famous artists of its time and is covered with plaster ornaments. The decoration of the temple lasted as many as 70 years and was concluded in 1996.