The research is directed towards the formation, the internal stratification and the culture of the market community in Kardjali, as well as the permanent ethnical (subethnical) and cultural interactions in it. From the community of ‘the people of the market’ begins the knowledge and the acceptance of locals and foreigners long before the real demographical changes occurred. During the first half of the 20th century, Kardjali is present with several small crafts. The communities of the artisans and the merchants in Kardjali are a mosaic of representatives of different nationalities and religions – Muslims, Christians, and Judaists; Turkish, Bulgarians, Jews, Greeks, Albanians. Gradually the artisanal-merchant community turns into a coherent group with its own elite and means of communication. It has its own identity, parallel to the local, ethnical and confessional dimensions of a certain construct. The mutual market places are part of the public image of Kardjali, its most characteristic spaces, through which the visitors perceive the town and which are often the only ones they are able to experience. They are also the main places of communication, the contact border zone in which the outlines are not as clear and the differences lose their stereotypical meaning. The memories are maintaining their sensory dimensions through the culinary smells and tastes, which are perceived by the masculine aspect merchants and clients have invested in them; auditory perceived by the language of the market. These sensory outlines are not thought of as political signs with a key meaning to the national identity; they possess the meaning of signs of the multitude, ‘the cultural exoticism’, the memories of the idealized past and ‘the cultural nostalgia’.
Keywords: Kardjali, Muslims, Christians, Turkish, Bulgarian, market, communities, identity.