The Public Baths as a Factor in Local Identity Construction, 20th–Early 21st Century (The Case of Gorna Banya Quarter in Sofia) Cover Image
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The Public Baths as a Factor in Local Identity Construction, 20th–Early 21st Century (The Case of Gorna Banya Quarter in Sofia)
The Public Baths as a Factor in Local Identity Construction, 20th–Early 21st Century (The Case of Gorna Banya Quarter in Sofia)

Author(s): Stamen Kanev
Subject(s): Anthropology, Social Sciences, Customs / Folklore, Oral history, Social history, Recent History (1900 till today), Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology, Culture and social structure , Rural and urban sociology, 16th Century, 17th Century, 18th Century, 19th Century, Social Norms / Social Control, Globalization, Identity of Collectives
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН
Keywords: cultural heritage and identity; public baths; restoration

Summary/Abstract: This article is part of ethnological research on the role and function of the public baths in the urban space. Fieldwork was done in 2017 in the Gorna Banya quarter of Sofia. In this publication, the public baths are seen as one of the markers that construct local identity. At the beginning of the 20th century, the old Ottoman baths in the centre of Gorna Banya are destroyed and new ones are built, which are preserved to the present day. The baths are part of the everyday life of the local people, who use their resources for drinking, cooking, washing, but also for trade and medicinal purposes. Furthermore, the inhabitants continue to observe some traditional family and calendar customs around the public baths. Although the baths are closed, the square in front of them continues to playa central role in public life. This is evident, on the one hand, from the annual celebrations, and on the other hand, from the gatherings in front of the public baths summoned via Facebook. The public baths continue to be a central place around which life in the quarter is organized. The local authorities are looking for different ways to fund the restoration of the old building.

  • Issue Year: VI/2019
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 121-138
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: English