Lion’s Bridge

Lion's Bridge

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The river was called Kanla, which means “bloody”

Those who are rushing to cross the traffic lights at the Lions’ Bridge in Sofia, heading for the Central Station or the Central Bus Station, have no time to look at the bronze figures. Few know that they are placed there not just as a decoration, but as a symbol and memorial of the time when gallows arose. Because the bridge was the square where the criminals against the Empire had binded. In 1876 Stoycho Rashkov and Todor Maleev, participants in the April Uprising, were hanging on a gallows. Here was hanged in 1877 by the book-holder Georgi Stoitsev, a psalm in the church “St. King “. In fact four booksellers were sentenced to disseminate rebellious literature, but only three were hanged (the fourth one was miraculously saved): Stoyan Tabakov made a gallows near his shop in the Kapana area, and Nicola Cholaka hanged at the door of his bookstore. At that time it was the “Charien Bridge”, because in the tradition of Eastern art it is lined with red and yellow lines. Its construction is related to the name of the former property king, Halil Sali Effendi. They called him Crazy Khalil, and this nickname is no accident. One summer’s harvest was very good, and it was learned that Khalil bought straw. His carts were riding a car after a car, he did not return anyone, though everyone wondered why he was so straw to this madman that he was giving money for her. He replied to everyone: “Zaman saman satar” – “Time sells straw”.

The next year the harvest was worse and the shoppers came to buy Khalil straw. And he sold – with great profit. With the money he built this bridge, on both sides put two beautifully written inscriptions. On one side: In time, I sold a bridge. On the other, traditionally, he put a text from the Koran: Where there is no fountain – he created a fountain where there is no bridge – he created a bridge! From this inscription, probably Stashcho Rashkov, calls in Turkish before he gets his rope: “Where there is a gallows – create freedom!”. There are old pictures of Chariya Bridge, which give an approximate picture of this part of the city at that time – on one side are the Turkish cemetery, on the other – low, shady houses and shops, winding streets, bullfighting cars, minarets … The idea of ​​”Lion’s Bridge” arises from the Plovdiv book-maker and cultural director Hr. G. Danov as an idea for a monument of the four Sofia bookstores right after the Liberation. It was also supported by prominent Sofia public figures and politicians. The project was to Vaclav Proshek, the cousin of the Proshek brothers, to whom we owe the Eagle Bridge, the execution of the “Brothers Proshek” company, although there are reports and participation of “Todor Velyan and Sie” under the leadership of Eng. The project included the inclusion of other memorial elements besides the Lion Bridge, for example the construction of a large circular square, of individual monuments, but … it seems that the money or the enthusiasm did not come … The lions were made by the Viennese company Vaagner Biro, and even then a fairytale was told that the lions were deliberately left without tongues, not to say how much money from the granted amount (260,000 golden leva) was wasted for no purpose.

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