Dessislava Nicolaidou

European Influences on the Rich Balkan Home in the 18th and 19th Century

(On Examples of Bulgaria and Greece)



The 18th and 19th centuries mark the beginning of a period of wide-ranging Revival in the Balkan countries under Turkish Rule, marked by the advance of the new capitalist economic relations, industrialization, manufacturing, banking capital and expansion of the trade and economic relations with Europe. Part of the Balkan population who had emigrated received European education and, when they came back, brought with them European influences in the public life, fashion, arts, material culture, architecture.

A new class emerged, the bourgeoisie, which had different demands to their way of living and environment. The functional design of the home changed. The external appearance and interior design of the home needed to be more representative.

The paper will focus on the above changes in the rich Balkan home during the 18th and 19th century, highlighting the following aspects:

  • Tradition and its revival as preconditions for change:

    • Greek islands on the Adriatic coast which did not lose their connections with Europe;

    • emergence of archaeology and the interest in the Greek and Roman classics – return towards the Balkans;

    • development of national identity, going back to one’s own tradition, refined with the modern and European novelties;

    • migrations and bearers of European influences.

  • Emergence of the bourgeoisie: demands to the living conditions, change in the functions of the home, new functional elements and connections. Representative features of the home’s exterior and interior.

  • Essential (functional) elements and connections.

We will try to identify the changes and striving to Europeanization in the rich Balkan home in the 18th and 19th century, which opened the road to stylistic renewal in the architecture in the Balkans.

The paper will benefit scholars of the history of architecture during the Revival and contribute to the comparative studies on the Balkans and Europe.


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