The Banya Bashi Mosque was designed by the renowned Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan and completed in 1566 during the Ottoman rule of the city. The mosque derives its name from the phrase Banya Bashi, which translates to “many baths” in Turkish. The mosque is on top of natural thermal springs, and sometimes in the winter, you can see steam rising from vents near the walls. The mosque is known for its large dome with a diameter of 15m and its elegant minaret.
The Banya Bashi Mosque is a significant historical site. It has a religious significance as it is currently the only functioning mosque in Sofia and is used by the city’s Muslim community. This mosque serves as a reminder of the Ottoman rule of Bulgaria that lasted nearly five centuries and is an essential architectural landmark in Sofia.
The Banya Bashi Mosque is part of the Square of Tolerance. It is located near other religious buildings, such as the Sofia Synagogue, a Catholic cathedral, and an Orthodox church, showcasing Sofia’s tolerance and co-existence of different religions.