Bedestan (Covered Market) – Yambol, Bulgaria

The bedestan (bezistan; bedesten), (i.e. a covered market in the Ottoman Empire), in the southern Bulgarian city of Yambol is a historical monument from the period of the Ottoman Yoke when Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Turkish Empire (1396-1878/1912).

Ottoman bedestans were centrally located commercial buildings based on the Greco-Roman basilica but their architecture was modeled after the design of mosques. Because of the importance of the bedestans, Ottoman cities were classified as cities with or without a bedestan.

The Yambol Bedestan, which was built in 1509 AD, is the only preserved Ottoman covered market in today’s Bulgaria.

In 1667, Ottoman traveler Evliya Celebi wrote about it that there was no such lively and decorated bedestan in any other country as the Yambol Bedestan.

In 1941, the Yambol Bedestan was declared “a monument of culture of national importance” by the government of the Tsardom of Bulgaria (the Third Bulgarian Tsardom).

In the 1970s, i.e. during the communist period, it was rehabilitated as a monument of culture. After the end of Bulgaria’s communist regime in 1989, the Yambol Bedestan was abandoned and remained closed for visitors for 25 years.

It was restored in 2014-2015 under a project of Yambol Municipality with funding from EU Operational Program “Regional Development” worth over BGN 5 million (app. EUR 2,55 million).

The restoration unveiled in September 2015 has turned the Yambol Bedestan into a cultural and information center with performance, exhibition, and museum sections.

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