Religion and Identity (on the Example of Towns and Villages in the Region of Gerlovo)

Nevena Nedelcheva


In the paper, the author concentrates her attention upon two villages in the region – Ak dere yakasý (present-day Byala reka) and Alvanlar (present-day Yablanovo), which appear to be indicative for the religious identity of the Muslim population that inhabited them. The religious symbiosis was expressed in a local interlacement between the orthodox Islam and its heterodox variation within the boundaries of a given town or village. Nowadays they are an example of a typical orthodox Muslim centre, such as Byala Reka village, and of a heterodox centre – such as Yablanovo. These two villages were an original demonstration of a widespread religious phenomenon, which occurred in other towns and villages in the whole region during the 16th – 17th centuries. They broke up the traditional notion of the meeting of Christianity and orthodox Islam and posed the interesting problem about the religious identity of the people living in Gerlovo.


türbe, Turkic colonization, mosques, Islam


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