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THE ASYMMETRICAL HOUSES OF PLOVDIV

After the end of the 17th century, Plovdiv marked the beginning of its steady development as a major economic centre in the Ottoman Empire and around the mid-19th century it became the biggest city in the Bulgarian hinterland. The higher economic potential of the population led to the appearance of a new type of urban dwelling: the "Plovdiv city house". In the course of its development in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was characterised by two principal types: asymmetrical and symmetrical.
The oldest preserved examples of Plovdiv houses are dated to the middle and to the end of the 18th century. These are buildings with asymmetrical plan, on two storeys and not very big. They have expressive facades, broken by bay windows jutting over the street, open porches in the floor and a veranda with wooden columns on the ground floor towards the courtyard. This early residential type has wooden ramshackle structure that was very characteristic of the period, built on a solid stone foundation. It demonstrates the strong influence of the mountain-type houses built in the Balkan Range region and in the Rhodope Mountains from where the master-builders came.
The requirements of life in the big city gradually necessitated glazing of the open porches. This is how the typical rooms for receiving guests appeared - hayets - whose ceilings are richly decorated with wood-carved compositions.
Among the more remarkable monuments of the asymmetrical type of houses are the Fournadzhiev house, the house at 5a, Dr. Stoyan Chomakov Street, the Klianti house, etc.

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