The Kurt Pasha Tower

Kurt Pasha Tower is a prominent Vratsa landmark. It is located in the south-western end of the central Hristo Botev square, right in front of the History Museum building. Eleven meters high with walls rising to 5.90 m, it is easy to see.

With its original silhouette, Kurt Pasha Tower looks like a medieval castle remnant, which to a large extent is true as it was used as a fortified dwelling place by a local feudal lord, being a part of his mansion. Legend has it that the tower belonged to Kurt Pasha, whose Bulgarian name was Valcho or Valko, which in Turkish translates as "kurt"(wolf). Kurt Pasha may have been one of the so-called Ayans, local boyars who, after the Ottoman invasion of the Balkan Peninsula, embraced the Muslim faith in order to keep their possessions and status, among them the privilege to collect local taxes. This made them enemies among the dispossessed locals. The towers also served as a refuge for those fleeing external attacks: in the years of Turkish rule, Vratsa was a garrison and a road settlement, repeatedly devastated and rebuilt. numerous gun ports are visible at the tower's top known under their Turkish name of 'mazgali'. hot oil or tar was poured through them on the enemies trying to invade the tower.

The tower itself dates back to the 17th century, but its elements and construction method suggest continuity with Bulgarian 14th century fortress construction. This might be the time when the tower's foundation was built.

From the outside it is hard to see that the tower has four floors. The first one was intended for living quarters as well as for defence. The second floor is separated from the first floor by a double beam structure filled with mortar and stones as means of fire prevention. the walls are 1.50 m thick in the bottom section whereas further up the floors they taper off to 90 cm. Access to the tower's interior was secured with a portable ladder, which used to be taken inside every time a dangerous situation emerged.

Useful information:

Kurt Pasha Tower has been open to visitors since 2012, with a shop on the ground floor selling souvenirs and copies of museum exhibits.

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