Veliko Turnovo Municipality presents the project
The funding for its implementation is provided by the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area 2009-2014. The project is implemented in accordance with the signed Grant Agreement № 24-10M1-44 with the Ministry of Culture, in the capacity of Programme Operator of Programme BG 08. The period for implementation of the project activities is 23.04.2015-30.04.2017.
The project envisages the conservation, restoration and shielded exposure of “Shishman’s Bath” in the town of Veliko Tarnovo. The site is a public municipal property and holds the status of a “standalone cultural treasure of national significance”.
“Shishman’s Bath” in the town of Veliko Tarnovo is located in “Asenova Mahala” neighbourhood between the churches “Dormition of the Mother of God” and “St. Peter & St. Paul”, at a distance of 30 m to the north of the east eastern entrance to the Bishop Bridge. It is one of the very few preserved edifices of this kind in Bulgaria. It was called after Shishman, because it was believed to have been erected during the reign of the last Bulgarian King before Veliko Tarnovo fell under the Turkish yoke. Coins dated XV-XVI century were found during excavations.
The bath was first mentioned by Karel Škorpil (1893). He noted its location, to the north of the east pillar of the Bishop Bridge, with the designation “bath”. The author of the first publication about the bath was the town architect Georgi Kozarov. According to him, the bath had been unknown until that time though lying on the major town street leading to the church of St. Peter and St. Paul. The alleged reason for that was that it was half-ruined and houses were built over its remains. For a long period the bath was believed to represent the left pillar of the old Bishop Bridge. “Shishman’s Bath” is the only bath from the Second Bulgarian Kingdom with an original architectural plan which distinguishes it from other famous baths from the Antiquity and the First Bulgarian Kingdom, as well as from the later Turkish baths (hammams).
Another major project activity foresees the inclusion of long-term unemployed persons with continuous registration with the Employment Office in the repair works in order to achieve the requirement for improving the situation of Roma. The revitalisation of the site will be enhanced by organising a Festival of Roma culture and “open” history lessons. The project implementation will result in the restoration of a cultural heritage site and its subsequent socialisation.