Contemporary Art Halls - Banya Starinna (the Ancient Baths)


Banya Starinna (the Ancient Baths) Contemporary Art Halls provide a stage for performances of visual artists from Bulgaria and abroad, creating contemporary art.

Concerts, performances, happenings and contemporary theatre and dance events take place every year in the unique atmosphere under the bathhouse domes.

The labyrinth of its numerous rooms and corridors attracts film and music video directors.


Chifte Hammam is a building of the Ottoman period. Built in 1582 by order of Sultan Murad III, it is a fine example of early Ottoman architecture. As the name Chite Baths suggests, it had separate facilities for men and women (çelebi kadı hamam). The spacious anteroom had a large pool in it. There were small rooms around it with hot and cold water continuously flowing and an underfloor heating system (hypocaust). Such heating was very popular in Roman and Byzantine cities and was later borrowed in the Ottoman Empire. The interior walls still have carved inscriptions and structural drawings of the building, as well as the remains of a fresco with floral and geometric ornaments. The external walls of the building are decorated with the typical of the early Ottoman period “cell-like” masonry technique. Marble fragments from earlier buildings are incorporated in the masonry. The bathhouse performed its original purpose until the 1980s.