Mining and metalworking

Mining and metalworking have a millennial tradition in the Balkans and occupied an important part of the economy during the Ottoman period. In the XNUMXth - XNUMXth centuries, iron mining was on the rise due to the need for iron throughout the Ottoman Empire.

Smelting of mined ore takes place in furnaces, which in Samokovsko were called visible. The furnaces are coal-fired, and the fire in them is fanned by a large blower powered by water. A major process in the processing of mined iron ore is its forging. Pig iron is processed in large forges called madani or self-made. They are built near running water that powered the blacksmith mechanism. A water wheel drove the large hammers (self-propelled). As the hammer begins to forge, the forge grips the heated iron with long tongs and holds it firmly on the anvil while the forge strikes the iron and forges it into bars. An echo of those times can be found in the present-day names of the towns of Madan and Samokov, which were old centers of ore mining and iron processing.

The practice of blacksmithing and ironwork took place primarily in an urban environment, in the bazaar, where blacksmiths made implements of labor needed in agriculture and the household, tools and implements. Wrought iron also has its own artistic expression through decorations on house doors and windows, fences, grills, candlesticks, hearth torches, etc.

Coppersmithing and precious metalworking are different trades. In some city centers, there are even separate copper or goldsmith's bazaars. Other trades related to iron processing, which developed independently, are swordsmithing, gunsmithing, foundry, nalban (horseshoeing), bellsmithing.

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