Dzhumaya Mosque is the main Muslim shrine in Plovdiv. The mosque is with dimensions 40 by 30 meters and is situated in the center of today’s pedestrian zone, west of the Old Town. People used to call it Muradiye, in honor of the ruler. The mosque was built on the site of St. Petka Tarnovska Plovdiv Cathedral Church soon after the conquest of the city by the Ottoman army (1363-64). During the reign of Sultan Murad II (1421-1451) the old building was demolished and today’s mosque, called Ulu Dzhumaya Mosque, meaning Main Friday Mosque, was erected in its place.
The Dzhumaya Mosque is one of the oldest cult Ottoman buildings of the Balkans. It is among the largest ones with its impressive rectangular building, whose salon dimensions are 33 to 27 meters. Its construction shows the influence of Byzantine and Old Bulgarian architecture technique – two layers of bricks were built up after each layer of stone.
Unlike the later mosques with one dome, the Dzhumaya Mosque is amongst the multiple domed ones. The domes are nine and they are covered with lead sheets. In the northeast corner of the main facade is erected a minaret decorated with diagonal square grid of red brick on a background of white stucco.
The amazing wall decorations inside the mosque are filled with rich plant ornamentation – twigs, flowers and garlands, sandwiched between medallions with quotations from the Koran. The frescoes probably date from the end of XVII and beginning of XIX century. Analogies of the external and internal architecture of Dzhumaya Mosque in Plovdiv can be made with one of the oldest Ottoman cult monuments in Bursa, Edirne and Sofia, built between XIV and XV centuries.
Dzhumaya Mosque was planned as a large three-nave building. The middle wider nave is covered with three hemispherical domes, done by pendants, built in the spaces between the pointed arches. The lateral, narrower naves are covered with trough vaults. The main entrance opens up to an impressive view, finishing at the bottom of the temple space with richly decorated altar niche – a mihrab.
Initially, there was access to the prayer room through two entrances. While believers entered the mosque through the eastern one, the northern one, now serving as the main, led from the market in front of the mosque to the inside of the building through the portal. Today the entrance on the east side is walled up. During the renovation works (1785, 1818) an additional west door was made, which is no longer used. The minaret is in the northeast corner.
Today Dzhumaya Mosque is an active Muslim temple and is visited not only on religious holidays, but also during the week by the Muslim religious community in Plovdiv.