The Bulgarian National Bank has launched in circulation a silver commemorative coin to mark the 150th anniversary since the completion of the bridge near Byala designed and built by the great master Nikola Fichev (Kolyu Ficheto, 1800-1881). It is sold at the BNB front office at 66 leva (33 euro) and its nominal value is 10 leva (5 euro). On its face the coin features a detail from the decoration of the bridge that was built on the River Yantra in 1865-1867 on an order by the Governor of the Danube Vilayet Midhat Pasha. Polish engineer Lyudmil Rola who served with Midhat Pasha budgeted the project at 3 million grosh (liras). In the meantime, Bulgaria’s top architect and builder of the National Revival era Kolyu Ficheto came up with a cost estimate of 700,000 grosh (liras) and in addition the great master put at stake both his reputation and life. The stone bridge at Byala is a remarkable work of architecture from the era of the National Revival. Its length is 276 meters and its width 9.5 meters. It is supported by 13 props and has 14 semicircular arches. At its center stands a column with a marble plate that has an inscription in Arabic. The bridge’s columns are decorated with symbolic sculptures: a griffin, lion, nymph and swan. Until then such ornaments had been used for decorating buildings exclusively. This fact makes the bridge a genuine work of art, a unique combination of architecture and sculpture. In 2000, the bridge was declared an architectural monument of culture.
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