The Mosque of the Seven Maidens

In the village of Podkova, municipality of Kirkovo, stands the famous “Mosque of the Seven Maidens” in the Kardzhali region. The mosque is built entirely of logs without using a single nail, and is an example of ancient building technology. This Muslim temple is one of the oldest in the Balkan Peninsula and was built in 1428. This unique construction has been declared a cultural monument. Legend has it that in a long – lost nearby village lived seven young girls in love with boys who went to war and fell in battle. When the girls learned the sad news that their loved ones had died, they decided never to marry and devote themselves to their faith. They sold their collected clothes, textile and jewelry for the marriage, and with the money they bought logs for a temple. The mosque was built in one night. The girls disappeared and were never seen again. However, the power of the legend and the belief that the place is healing remained – especially on May 6. The date is sacred both for Christians and Muslims, who then celebrate Hiderlez – the day of prophet Khidr. On May 6, thousands of people from all over the world gather there to perform a different ritual, which, according to scientists, dates back to pagan times. On this day, pilgrims sneak through the “Pierced Stone” which is located in the old cemetery next to the temple and leave some of their clothes on the branches of trees in the surrounding area to keep them healthy throughout the year. On another adjacent stone they must lean three times with their backs and touch three times with their foreheads. All this is with the idea that the diseases will remain there and the people will be healthy. This is told by local people, specifying that it has been so since time immemorial. The mosque is operational and has been restored with materials that are as close as possible to the original ones from the 15th century.