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The Saraf house

The story is too romantic to trust completely. Mr. Moshe Abraham Arie lived in Vienna with his three sons. They were very beautiful, but one of them was extremely beautiful. The handsome man was one day met on the streets of the imperial city by Empress Josephine herself. Dizzy with his beauty, she ordered her bodyguards to take him to the palace. Josephine herself visited him twice a day. These cares were opposed by the emperor and in 1744 the whole Arie family was expelled from the world city and settled in the city of Vidin of the Ottoman Empire.

семейство Арие

Arie was indeed destined to live in palaces, but they gained this privilege on their own, attaining enviable prosperity. They started trading, but soon the riots in Kardzhali drove them out of the Danube city. One of the members of the family, Abraham Moshe Arie, came to Sofia, where he was spotted by the ayana of Samokov, Ahmed Emin Aga. Emin Aga not only caused Arie to come to Samokov, but helped him with money and gave him one of his houses. Because, as the chronicler claims, at that time in Samokov there was no one to trade in manufactured goods. The heirs of the old Arie developed even greater activity in Samokov. They traded in iron, necklaces and skins. They bought the tithe of whole districts - Samokov, Sofia, Nis and Prizren.

From the middle of the 19th century they were the owners of several madanas and were already thinking about building a modern blast furnace for steel production. They bought 100 glasses of braid from Vienna. Their trade extended to the fairs of Uzundzhovo and Serres, Thessaloniki and Macedonia. But they saw all this as a side issue. Most of all they liked to exchange coins and give money at interest. As they admit, "trading in currencies (old coins) was very clean and pleasant", "and whoever needs money, resorted only to us". From 1844 they began to be called "Sarafis" instead of Arie. They had their trading house in Constantinople, as well as credit in many European countries.

In 1858 the Arie brothers became the initiators of the construction of the Synagogue, so on the outer door in golden letters are the names of Judas, Gabriel and Abraham Arie. Even more wonderful were the houses of Arie, which in a way fit into the harmony of the Revival. Samokov. "They were all very big and all with gardens, fountains, trees." In Celebi Yeuda's house there was a fountain in a large hall. In Davichonachi's house there was such a fountain, the water of which rose to a height of 10 m. In 1866 an engineer from Plovdiv was brought to the house of Celebi Abraham, the masons were also from Plovdiv, and the architect was master Stefan from Edirne. The house was on two floors, with a large hall and two smaller ones. The great hall was raised and looked like a dome. "All salons were painted with oil paint, each in a different color. The furniture was from Vienna, from the best and the most beautiful. And so it was very well placed and arranged like a small palace. All the visits and banquets that he arranged for the governors and pashas coming to Samokov took place in these halls.

Today's "Saraf House", the only one left of this amazing construction, is one of the small ones - with an area of 380 sq.m. Although with a more intimate, residential character, it is the brightest representative of the so - called. city symmetrical or "Plovdiv" house.

Six large rooms and three other smaller ones located around the vestibule make up the only floor of the house. They all have rich interior decoration, with intricately profiled ornaments and carving motifs. In these elements the house suggests a direct resemblance to the neighboring Synagogue. The external architecture of the building corresponds to its symmetrical distribution. The facades are calmly and harmoniously laid.

Author: Dimitar BALABANOV