Author: Сдружение РТИ

Demir Baba Teke

Demir Baba Teke  is situated within the borders of the historical-archaeological preserved area “Sborianovo”.
The preserved area covers the territories of the western part of Ludogorsko Plateau, the valley alongside the river Krapinets and the territory between the villages Malak Porovets and Sveshtari in the Municipality of Isperih.
The place, where the “teke” was built, is considered sacred by the various tribes and people who have been residing in this region more than 2000 years before its building.  Here the remains of different periods interact with all the rituals, beliefs and symbolism. According to the legends, in Demir Baba Teke once there was an ancient Thracian settlement, a Bulgarian consecrated ground and a monastery. Of the numerous constructions, only the “turbe” (the tomb) of Demir Baba has survived. The sacrificial rock by the entrance of the internal yard of Demir Baba Tekke is also preserved.
Each year, thousands of people from all religions visit the tomb of the alian 16th century saint Demir Baba. There is no precise historical evidence about him, however, there are a lot of legends telling about his power and the wonders he created. 
The legend tells that during years of unprecedented drought the saint Demir Baba appeared and  helped the people. As he touched the ground nearby the rocks a spring of life-giving water flowed.  Since then the spring is called “Besh Parmak” (The Five Fingers). For centuries, people from near and far places have come to enjoy the abundant water, to pay tribute to the dervish, to pray for happiness, to wash away their pain and to recover from diseases. This spring can be seen today on the left side near the entrance of the Teke.
The excavations, conducted in the 80s of the last century,  in the courtyard of the Teke and in the nearby surroundings reveal interesting facts. 
The tomb has been built over an ancient Thracian sanctuary (IV century B.C – II century A.D) Part of the huge boulders from the altars of the sanctuary were used and built in as the tomb’s walls reaching 1.2 - 1.5 m. thickness.
In the sanctuary, at the time of the Thracians, the people worshiped the deities of water, earth and the underworld. 
There is a likelihood that during the First and the Second Bulgarian Kingdom, at this place a Christian chapel existed, because at the end of XIX century the first archeological studies conducted by brothers Shkorpil in that region tell about a large stone cross on the hillside. Later, unfortunately, no traces of the presence of such cross were found.
Bushes and trees along the pathway to the tomb are full of hanging pieces of tied clothing. It is believed that leaving part or all of a garment that has covered an ill part of the body will bring healing.
The Teke itself is surrounded by large boulders placed here many centuries ago. The building is also made of stone. The tomb represents a heptagonal building with a dome and a square hall with an entrance facing the east.
Next to the tomb, there is a courtyard in which a special energizing square rock is located. There the pilgrims have to lay with their heads upside down. This is a ritual, which according to some is believed to help women suffering from infertility, and others claim that it has an overall healing powers.
“The eyes of the witch” are two holes with a diameter around 4-5 cm. located at the height of a middle-sized man and at the width of his shoulders. The aim of this test is to put your thumbs into the two holes. This has to be done starting from a distance of 4-5 meters where a man straightens his arms, concentrates and having closed his eyes has to move forward thereby hitting the two holes . According to the legend, only a righteous man can put his fingers into the holes.
After the Liberation, and more specifically after the Balkan wars, the region was inhabited by refugees from Belomorska Trakiya. Soon after the Treaty of Neuilly, dobrudzhantsi from Northern Dobrudzha also settled there. The massive influx of Christian population in this region, which also had the tradition of honoring sacred springs / mainly known as “ayazma” /, began visiting the Teke and its springs, moreover because of the fact that this was the only place full of plenty of water throughout the whole dry area. 
Each year, on the 2nd of August (also known as Ilinden), traditionally a lot of people meet at the meadows near Demir Baba Teke. Christians, Muslims, Kızılbaşes, believers and atheists all get together to celebrate, to eat, to meet friends and relatives, to watch the fights, to listen to some songs and to share their success and sorrows.  

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