Bulgaria // Sofia //

The Banya Bashi Mosque and the mineral baths

The Banya Bashi Mosque was built in 1576 by Mimar Sinan, who also designed the great mosque at Edirne in Turkey. The mosque is not officially open to tourists but modestly dressed visitors may visit outside of prayer times. Behind stand Sofia’s mineral baths, housed in a splendid yellow-and-red striped fin-de-siècle building, closed since 1986 and still being restored. Locals gather daily to bottle the hot, sulphurous water that gushes from public taps into stone troughs outside, opposite ul. Exzarh Iosif.