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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

The April epic of 1876 - the peak of the Bulgarian national liberation movement

Updated: Apr 17

The April Uprising of 1876 was an armed uprising of the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire. The revolutionary actions of the Bulgarian population during those distant memorable times remain in history as the April epic of 1876.

Freedom or death!


Raina Knyaginia flag

On April 20, summer 1876, the Bulgarians rose up against the enslaver, who brutally suppressed the rebellion. Although it ended in a military failure, the April epic represents a kind of peak of the Bulgarian national liberation movement.


George Revolutionary Committee

After the failure of the Stara Zagora Uprising of September 17, 1875, the Bulgarian revolutionaries, under the chairmanship of Stefan Stambolov, gathered in Giurgevo, Romania on November 11, 1875, and by December 25, 1875 drew up a plan for a new uprising, which was to break out in the following May year.

According to the plan drawn up by the Giurgiu Revolutionary Committee, the Bulgarian lands on the territory of the Ottoman Empire are divided into a total of five revolutionary districts (as in the Vth, the organization is too weak):


  • 1st (Ternovski) revolutionary district - centered on Gorna Oryahovitsa, chief apostle is Stefan Stambolov with assistants Hristo Karaminkov (Bunito), Ivan Panov Semerdzhiev and Georgi Izmirliev;

  • 2nd (Sliven) revolutionary district - chief apostle is Hilarion Dragostinov with assistants Stoil Voivoda and Georgi Obretenov;

  • 3rd (Vrachan) revolutionary district - chief apostle is Stoyan Zaimov with assistants Nikola Obretenov, Georgi Apostolov and Nikola Slavkov;

  • 4th (Plovdiv) revolutionary district – chief apostle is Panayot Volov with assistant Georgi Benkovski, later Georgi Ikonomov and Zahari Stoyanov were recruited as assistants;

  • 5th (Sofia) revolutionary district - practically only planned, with apostles Nikola Obretenov and Nikola Slavkov.


Already in January 1876, the Bulgarian revolutionaries returned to the south of the Danube and began intensive preparations for the uprising.

There is no time, and in reality the uprising was prepared for about two months, which fully explains its future failure.

In practice, the preparation is most active and the uprising erupts most massively in the 1st (Tarnov) revolutionary district, where the future Prime Minister of Bulgaria Stefan Stambolov is an apostle, and in the 4th (Plovdiv) revolutionary district with the apostle Panayot Volov and Assistant Georgi Benkovski.


Georgi Benkovski and Panayot Volov
Georgi Benkovski and Panayot Volov

At the beginning of April 1876, by decision of the Giurgiu Revolutionary Committee, the general meeting was convened. Its purpose is to specify the issues related to the progress of the preparation of the April Uprising.


Oborishte historical area - first Bulgarian great national assembly

Oborishte historical area
Oborishte historical area

At the Oborishte assembly, the date of the outbreak of the uprising was unanimously determined and it was May 1, 1876.


The crossed out name of the traitor
The crossed out name of the traitor

One of the Oborishte co-conspirators, Nenko Terziyski, betrays his brothers. This is also the reason why the uprising broke out prematurely.


Monument to Todor Kableshkov in front of his native house in Koprivshtitsa
Monument to Todor Kableshkov in front of his native house in Koprivshtitsa

The Turkish authorities sent a notice to Koprivshtitsa for the arrest of Todor Kableshkov, who at that time was lying ill in his father's house.


The native house-museum of Todor Kableshkov in the city of Koprivshtitsa
The native house-museum of Todor Kableshkov in the city of Koprivshtitsa

Early in the morning of April 20th, the Curser Darin Nejib Agha and several zaptias began the arrests.


Todor Kableshkov (portrait from Koprivshtitsa station)
Todor Kableshkov (portrait from Koprivshtitsa station)

Faced with the defeat of the uprising even before it began, Kableshkov, despite his illness, decided to declare it prematurely.


Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the First Rifle) in the town of Koprivshtitsa
Kalachev Bridge (Bridge of the First Rifle) in the town of Koprivshtitsa

A group of revolutionaries, led by Georgi Tihanek, happened to meet Kara Husein Hajduk on the Kalach bridge on their way, and Tihanek shot him dead.


Georgi Tihanek (portrait from Koprivshtitsa station)
Georgi Tihanek (portrait from Koprivshtitsa station)

Kableshkov writes the famous bloody letter.


The bloody letter
The bloody letter

The letter was carried by 19-year-old Georgi Salchev, who traveled the 5-hour journey from Koprivshtitsa to Panagyurishte in just two hours.


Tuteva House in Panagyurishte - the place where the April Uprising was announced
Tuteva House in Panagyurishte - the place where the April Uprising was announced

In the afternoon hours of the same day (April 20), Georgi Benkovski, who at that time was in the Tuteva house in Panagyurishte, prematurely announced the beginning of the Bulgarian uprising. This haste surprised the committees for ten days and negatively affected the entire revolutionary action.


Monument to Nikola Karadjov in Klisura
Monument to Nikola Karadjov in Klisura

Another bloody letter was sent by Nikola Karadjov to Klisura.

Staro Novo Selo and Strelcha are also known.

The courier Todor Moskov went to Vratsa to inform the committee and its leader - Stoyan Zaimov, but was captured in the Turkish village of Ladjene (today's Anton village) and taken to Sofia.


4th (Plovdiv) revolutionary district

After the announcement of the uprising, power in Panagyurishte was entrusted to a Military Council, also known as the Provisional Government, headed by Pavel Bobekov.


Memorial complex "Apriltsi" in the city of Panagyurishte

National memorial complex "Apriltsi" is located in the city of Panagyurishte.

It was built on the occasion of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the April Uprising in 1976. Its creators were the sculptors Sekul Krumov, Velichko Minekov and Dimitar Daskalov, as well as the architects Ivan Nikolov and Bogdan Tomalevski.


Memorial complex "Apriltsi" in the city of Panagyurishte

The memorial was built on the historic hill of Manyovo Bardo in the center above the city, where on April 30, 1876, the bloody battles were fought during the uprising. Every year on May 1, a historical reenactment of the April Uprising takes place here - "Courage and Sacrifice".

The reenactment recreates historically reliable episodes from the announcement of the uprising in Panagyurishte, the heroic battles and the ecstatic moments of victory, and the bloody dramatic events accompanying the suppression of the uprising.

The 4th (Plovdiv) revolutionary district was divided into two districts, with Volov and Ikonomov going to the eastern one (Koprivshtitsa, Klisura, Karlovo).


Monument "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign" in the city of Koprivshtitsa
Monument "The Man Who Gave the Fatal Sign" in the city of Koprivshtitsa

With his cavalry detachment, Georgi Benkovski led the western one, taking up arms in the awake Bulgarian villages of Mechka (now Oborishte), Poibrene, Banya, Petrich, Sinjirlii (today "Verigovo" district in the city of Hisarya) and others.


Church of St. Dimitar in Verigovo district, Hisarya
Church of St. Dimitar in Verigovo district, Hisarya

On April 20, Starosel also rose.


The well on Sinjirli Bunar Square in the city of Bratsigovo
The well on Sinjirli Bunar Square in the city of Bratsigovo

Right here on April 21, 1876, Vasil Petleshkov, Bratsigov revolutionary and leader of the uprising in the Bratsigov insurgent region, crying with joy, read the Vocation, the bloody letter, and announced the uprising with the words:

Riot! Riot!

Panagyurishte, Koprivshtitsa, Klisura and the villages have already risen!


Vasil Petleshkov reads the Vocation in Bratsigovo
Vasil Petleshkov reads the Vocation in Bratsigovo

On April 22, freedom was solemnly proclaimed in Panagyurishte and the flag of the insurgents, sewn by Raina Knyagina, was consecrated.


Memorial complex "Apriltsi" in the city of Panagyurishte
Raina Kniaginia carries the flag of the insurgents

Right behind the "Borimechka" there is a small path that will take you to the place from where the Panagyura rebels fired a cherry cannon at the Turkish enslavers.

There is now a small monument on this spot.


The small monument in the town of Panagyurishte
The place from where the Panagura rebels fired a cherry cannon at the enslaver

A detachment commanded by the Orcho Voivode operates against the Bashibozus in Strelcha and its surroundings.


Monument to Ivan Parpulov, known as Orcho Voivode in the city of Panagyurishte
Monument to Ivan Parpulov, known as Orcho Voivode in the city of Panagyurishte

On April 23 and 24, 1876, on Petrina chukara and Slivovka above the village of Petrich, the Hvrkova detachment of Petrichens held the first victory over Bashibozus and Circassians.


The pyramid monument of Petrina chukara and Slivovka above the village of Petrich
The pyramid monument of Petrina chukara and Slivovka above the village of Petrich

Until then, the movement was developing upwards, but from the first days, the insurgents faced a numerous and well-armed opponent.


The small monument in the town of Panagyurishte

The distance from "Borimechka" to the small monument is about two to three minutes and is taken in one breath.

Nizams (regular units) commanded by high-ranking officers and generals, as well as mobilized redifs (reservists) from Edirne, Constantinople and Nis, were soon directed to the insurgent areas.


Memorial complex "Apriltsi" in the city of Panagyurishte

The forces are unequal!

Over 80,000 Bashibozuk and 10,000 regular troops equipped with artillery were pitted against several thousand poorly armed, scattered, and inexperienced rebel forces.


Memorial complex "Apriltsi" in the city of Panagyurishte

To climb to the monument, you have to go up about 250 steps, which start from the "20th April" square, located in the center of Panagyurishte. Climbing them is not difficult, as there are benches where you can rest and enjoy the unfolding panorama around. And when you go up, you will have a wonderful view of the entire city and the surrounding area.


Memorial complex "Apriltsi" in the city of Panagyurishte
View of Panagyurishte

On April 26, a numerous bashibozuk gathered from the Stremska Valley and Kazanlushko, led by the Karlovian feudal lord Tosun Bey, completely covered Klisura. The smaller Bulgarian defenders did not hold back the attacks of the Turks.


Monument in the area of Zli dol near Klisura
Monument in the area of Zli dol near Klisura

The Zli dol gorge area is a kind of cultural monument that has preserved the memories of one of the most terrible battles of the April Uprising, which the city lost in an unequal battle against the cruel enslaver and was completely burned down.


View of Klisura from Shaikovitsa area
View of Klisura from Shaikovitsa area

Near Zli dol, the flag of Panayot Volov's detachment was also saved.


Monument to Panayot Volov in the city of Panagyurishte
Monument to Panayot Volov in the city of Panagyurishte

A copy of the flag is kept today in the church "Saint Dimitar" in the city of Hisarya.


The banner of the troop of Panayot Volov (St. Dimitar Church in Hisarya
The banner of the squad of Panayot Volov, kept in the church "Saint Dimitar" in Hisarya

Karlovsko failed to rise at all.

Expecting serious resistance, Hafez Pasha attacked Panagyurishte according to all the rules of military art. On the most critical days, the insurgents were also hampered by unexpected rain and snow.

On April 30, Hafez Pasha took over and subsequently completely burned Panagyurishte. After the pogrom, the Pasha ordered the population to be slaughtered and everything of value taken.

Houses are looted and set on fire.

Eledzhik*'s camp, despite desperate resistance, was defeated on May 1 by regular Turkish troops and Bashibozus commanded by Hasan Pasha, and the Bulgarians who had gathered there, including women and children, were brutally massacred.

*Eledzhik is a protected area in the Vetren ridge, Ikhtimanska Sredna gora.

It occupies an area of 668.0 hectares around Mount Benkovski (1185.8 meters) in the lands of Ihtiman, Mirovo and Mukhovo in the municipality of Ihtiman, and Gorna Vasilitsa in the municipality of Kostenets.

It was created with the aim of protecting natural beech forests in the area.

Benkovska Polyana and Stenos Fortress (Trajan's Gate) are nearby.


Memorial complex "Apriltsi" in the city of Panagyurishte

The memorial is one of the emblematic places for celebrating anniversaries of the April Uprising. Panagyur residents call it "Borimechka" for short, after the eponymous hero of Ivan Vazov and the central figure of the memorial.


Memorial complex "Apriltsi" in the city of Panagyurishte

The large stone blocks are five in number and symbolize the five centuries of slavery.

The project also included a water overpass that was built in front of the church "Holy Introduction of the Virgin" (between the stairs and the wall of the church), symbolizing the spring tears of the Bulgarian people during the five centuries of slavery, but the overpass has not been functioning for many years.


Church "Holy Introduction of the Virgin" in the city of Panagyurishte
Church "Holy Introduction of the Virgin"

The Church of the Holy Introduction of the Virgin Mary was started in 1818 and completed in 1823. It is a single-nave basilica with a colonnade. The master masons are from Bansko, and the carvers from Debarsko.

Initially, the news arrived from Panagyurishte in Koprivshtitsa that the city was shelled with artillery and its fall was a matter of time.

The local Koprivshten shepherds try to prevent the leaders of the insurgents in every possible way and begin to convince the refugees that if they hand over the rebels, the Sultan will have mercy on them and their homes. Among the traitors are Hadji Ivancho, Chorbaji Benyu and other representatives of the local Chorbajistvo. As a result of their actions, some of the insurgents were indeed captured by the refugees and taken bound to a local church. Some of the leaders of the rebellion were also captured - Tsoko Budin, Father Belchev, Braiko Enev and others.

On April 30, Pavel Bobekov arrived and reported that the Turkish troops had been repulsed from Panagyurishte and the uprising was proceeding according to plan. The frightened chorbadjis free the captured insurgents, but then Bobekov admits that he lied - Panagyurishte was captured, burned, devastated and completely looted by the Turks.


Church "Holy Introduction of the Virgin" in the city of Panagyurishte

Burned during the April Uprising, the church was rebuilt in 1878-1880 by craftsmen from Bratsig and richly painted and decorated with icons by craftsmen from Samokov.

On May 1, the Bashibozuk began to gather around Koprivshtitsa, supported by a regular army that had artillery. The Turks number about 5,000 people. Hafez Pasha is in charge. He has already destroyed Panagyurishte and sends his assistant - Miralay Hasan Bey to take care of Koprivshtitsa as well.

For centuries, Koprivshtitsa was a republic without a senate and ministers, without charters and presidents, ten times more liberal than the French one and a hundred times more democratic than the American one.

Zahari Stoyanov


The ossuary mausoleum in the town of Koprivshtitsa in honor of Apriltsi
The ossuary mausoleum in the town of Koprivshtitsa in honor of Apriltsi

The insurgents were betrayed by the thugs. They entered into negotiations with Hasan Bey, handing over even the wooden cannons to the Turks and paying a huge ransom. However, the Bashibozuk invaded Koprivshtitsa and it was sacked and the inhabitants massacred.


View from Koprivshtitsa
View from Koprivshtitsa

On May 3, Hassan Bey entered the devastated settlement and by his order the captured insurgents were sent to court in Plovdiv. Hafez Pasha soon arrived and sacked the city again.

Eledzhik's camp was attacked by a Sofia division led by Hasan Pasha in two columns. The defenders and the civilian population there were massacred.

Perushtice pale, nest of heroes, glory!

Eternal glory to your children,

on your ashes and on your grave...

Ivan Vazov

On May 2, Peruštitsa was captured by two camps of troops with artillery under the command of Reshid Pasha. About 600 people - mainly women, children and the elderly - are locked in the Church of St. Archangel Michael - the last refuge of the Peruschenites.


Temple-monument "St. Archangel Michael" in the city of Perushtitsa
Temple-monument "St. Archangel Michael" in the city of Perushtitsa

Meanwhile, Ahmed Agha Barutanliyata took over Batak and brutally slaughtered the locals who had sought refuge in the Holy Sunday Church, where more than three thousand people were beheaded or burned alive.


Historical ossuary church "Holy Sunday" in the city of Batak
Historical ossuary church "Holy Sunday" in the city of Batak

In Bratsigovo, the Bulgarians managed to resist the enemy for twelve whole days.


View of Bratsigovo
View of Bratsigovo

However, when on May 6th the regular Turkish army already faced them, the insurgents realized that they had no chance to oppose the Turks, who were armed with modern European weapons.


Memorial complex "Apriltsi" in the city of Bratsigovo
Memorial complex "Apriltsi" in the city of Bratsigovo

On April 26, he (Ahmed Agha) sent a letter to Bratsigovo, in which he called to him some earlier Bratsigovo residents for an agreement.

Since the latter had not yet fallen into a critical situation, they refused the aga and instead of obedient rai sent him a rebel detachment to greet him with the thunder of cherry cannons.

Zahari Stoyanov

On the 7th of May, the bandits of Ahmed aga Barutanlia victoriously entered Bratsigovo. Outside it is surrounded by the camps of two pashas – Hasan aga and Hafuz aga.


Bas-relief of Pope Sokol ("Apriltsi" monument in the city of Bratsigovo)
Bas-relief of Pope Sokol

The defense of the settlement was the longest in the entire IV (Plovdiv) revolutionary district and lasted for sixteen days. It is also the best organized in military terms, given that it is led by a priest - Pope Sokol and an apothecary and merchant - Vasil Petleshkov.


The pyre where Vasil Petleshkov is buried between three fires
The pyre where Vasil Petleshkov is buried between three fires

The battle in Bratsigovo was one of the bloodiest, but the uprising was put down, and Vasil Petleshkov and Pope Sokol were captured alive and tortured inhumanly.

The uprising covers almost the entire Western Upper Thracian lowland and the Northwestern Rhodopes, where free rebel territories are created, albeit for a short time. In the areas of the Troyan and Teteven Balkans, almost all units from the Middle Mountains and the 1st (Ternovsk) revolutionary district were withdrawn, and this part of the Balkans witnessed their defeat and the slaughter of the rebels.


The Bloody Well in the Kostina area near Ribaritsa
The Bloody Well in the Kostina area near Ribaritsa

On May 12, 1876 (May 25, new style), after betrayal by grandfather Valyo, Georgi Benkovski fell into the Kostina River (historical area of Kostina near Rybaritsa), pierced by a bullet of the gunman Ryuzgyar Hadji Ahmed Agha.

His head was sent to Botevgrad, and then to Sofia.


Monument to Georgi Benkovski in the Kostina area near Ribaritsa
Monument to Georgi Benkovski in the Kostina area near Ribaritsa

These events are documented by Zahari Stoyanov in his "Notes on the Bulgarian Uprisings". The author himself miraculously survives their organized ambush.

The premature outbreak of the uprising in the 4th revolutionary district led to mass arrests of committee workers in the other districts, the lightning mobilization of irregular Ottoman units (bashibozuk) and the deployment of military units in all major Bulgarian cities.

1st (Tarnov) revolutionary district

As a result, the uprising was thwarted by the mass arrests and repressions that began. On April 26, Georgi Izmirliev and Ivan Panov were arrested and later hanged.

Stefan Stambolov learns of the failures, but neither cancels the uprising nor leads it. Some of the leaders are trying to follow the original general plan, which is more Chetnik, and not a mass uprising of entire settlements, as was conceived in Giurgievo and was carried out only in the 4th revolutionary district. Stambolov himself hides in an unknown place and leaves the uprising in his district to its own fate. After three months, he appeared in Romania and began agitating again for the immediate preparation of another uprising in Bulgaria.

On April 29, in the villages west of Tarnovo, a large group (about 200 people) was formed - the group of Pope Hariton with assistants Bacho Kiro and Hristo Karaminkov - Bunito. The group heads to Gabrovo at night and on April 29 it reaches the Dryanovsky Monastery. The monastery was surrounded by nearly 10,000 regular troops and bashibozus under the command of Fazl Pasha. The battles lasted for 9 days.

On May 5, Tryavna and the surrounding villages formed a detachment of 80 people with Voivode Hristo Patrev.

On the night of May 7, the insurgents attempted a breakthrough, killing most of them. The defense of the Dryanovsky Monastery was one of the military peaks of the uprising.

After several skirmishes on May 8, it engaged a regular army and was routed. The villages between Troyan and Gabrovo revolt en masse and form a free rebel territory. For nearly two weeks, the insurgents fiercely defended the mountain boases leading to the villages, and then the villages of Batoshevo, Kravenik, Novo Selo and the residents of the surrounding insurgent villages and hamlets gathered in them, and were defeated after heavy fighting. In the presence of many new settlers, the establishment of the Novoselska Republic was announced, which lasted nine days, as insurgents sealed the two passes through which you can enter the hollow - Debnevski and Gradnishki Boaz. In their struggle, the Gabrov band and a small band from Troyan led by Ivan Knigovetsa come to their aid.

From Gabrovo and the surrounding villages, a detachment of about 400 people was formed with voivode Tsanko Dyustabanov. The company moves west and joins the fighting in support of the rebelling villages between Gabrovo and Troyan.

On May 9, the Chetna was defeated and the surviving Chetniks retreated to the Balkans.

On May 11, the detachment was finally defeated after heavy hand-to-hand combat under Mount Maragidik. Tsanko Dyustabanov was captured and later hanged in Tarnovo.

On May 16, a group of twenty people headed by Duke Tanjo Stoyanov Kurtev crossed from Romania. Near the village of Haydar, the squad encountered Turkish troops and Bashibozuk and fought their first battle.

On May 27, a battle took place near the village of Aprilovo. During the night, in heavy rain, the detachment broke through the encirclement and escaped to Kushtepe Height, where it was overtaken by losses and routed.

II (Sliven) revolutionary district

In the Sliven Revolutionary District, preparations for an uprising are weak and Chetnik tactics are adopted.

On May 3, a group of committee workers from Yambol and Sliven was formed, led by Stoil voivoda. The squad was headed by a military council consisting of Hilarion Dragostinov, Georgi Obretenov and Georgi Drazhev. The squad's standard bearer is Stefan Sertkostov.

On May 7, the detachment heads to the villages of Neikovo and Zheravna, which rise up and many villagers join the detachment (about 73 people). It rains, which turns into snow during the night, which helps the chasers who went after the squad.

On May 8, a small detachment of committeemen under the command of Georgi Tumbev was formed in the forest in Yagach near Chirpan, which headed towards the Central Highlands, but was almost immediately defeated after a battle with the Turks.

On May 9, a battle was fought with a battalion and a regular army near Rakovo.

On May 10, the Stoil voivode with 11 Chetniks led a heavy battle with the troops that surrounded him. In the evening, he escapes from the encirclement and heads to the village of Kecidere, and from there to the Vratnik pass.

On May 12, in Satmacheshma district, the detachment was surrounded and captured. After an uneven hand-to-hand fight, Stoil the voivode was beheaded, his head impaled and taken along with the other insurgents to Sliven.

3rd (Vrachan) Revolutionary District

The uprising did not break out in Vracansko due to the large number of Turkish troops concentrated in the region in anticipation of war with Serbia and the cowardice of local committee officials.

At the beginning of the Serbian-Turkish war in June, an uprising broke out in Vidinsko - in the villages of Novo Selo, Florentin, Gamzovo, etc. The insurgents massively participated in the detachments of Mikhail Nikiforov, Stanko Angelov, Mikhail Tepavski, Geno Mihov and others. and gave many victims, especially in the battles around Novo Selo. The inhabitants of 18 villages left their native places and fled to Serbia and Romania.

On June 12, 1876, part of Philip Totyu's Chetniks separated into a new company and, under the command of Voivode Sider Gruncharov, entered Bulgaria along the ridge of Stara Planina in order to join the alleged uprising. After numerous battles, the last groups of Chetniks were finally defeated in the Trojan Balkans.


Monument to Hristo Botev in the town of Kalofer
Monument to Hristo Botev in the town of Kalofer

BRCC is preparing a detachment in Romania, headed by Hristo Botev, whose purpose is to support the uprising in the Vracan Revolutionary District. Its number is 205 people. Nikola Voinovski, who had the rank of second lieutenant in the Russian army, was designated as the military leader. Flag bearer is Nikola Simov-Koruto. Botev took care, through Dimitar Gorov, to inform French and Swiss newspapers by telegraph about the Bulgarian uprising and the passage of an armed detachment of Bulgarians who were going to fight for the freedom of their homeland.

On May 17, 1876, the Chetniks took command of the steamer "Radetsky" and forced it to stop at the Bulgarian coast near the village of Kozloduy, where they disembarked and the steamer sailed without problems. With a quick transition, they head to Vratsa, reaching the village of Butan by the evening. Despite the fatigue, the detachment continued the march during the night and until morning reached the bridge around the village of Ohoden. After a short rest, they continue to the village of Banitsa, but there they are met by Bashibozuk and Circassians. Because of this, the squad retreats to the height of Milin kamak. A battle ensued, in which two companies of regular troops arrived from Vratsa with two cannons joined at two in the afternoon.

During the night, the detachment broke through the hoop and by the morning of June 1 reached Veslets. Here the squad rests, and the scouts sent to Vratsa report that the uprising did not take place there. The leadership decided to retreat to the Balkans. The squad's next target was the Kostalevsky Bridge, where the plan was to gather the insurgents from Dolna and Gorna Kremena and the neighboring villages.


Monument to Hristo Botev in the yard of his native home
Monument to Hristo Botev in the yard of his native home

At dawn, the detachment reached the area of Mount Taushanitsa. Here they are attacked by two battalions of infantry, an artillery platoon with two guns, Bashibozuk and Circassians. The ratio of forces is about 10:1 in favor of the Turks. That's why the detachment heads to Vola peak and takes up defense on Kamarata, Kupen and Okolchitsa heights. Throughout the day, the enemy's attacks were repulsed several times. In the evening, the fighting died down and Hristo Botev together with the staff gathered around a rock to decide the actions of the squad for the next day. At that time, the voivode was killed with a single shot.

Vojnovski was elected as his deputy. Under his leadership, the squad fought in the area of the village of Lyutibrod. Pursued by hunters, Vojnovski's squad made it all the way to the Trojan Balkan. On July 13, and in the area of the village of Shipkovo, it was completely destroyed.

5th (Sofia) revolutionary district

Nikola Obretenov was appointed head (together with Nikola Slavkov) of a separate district - Sofia, which (as he writes) covers the regions and where Macedonia. In the created situation - the arrest of Slavkov and the withdrawal of Obretenov to Vlasko - the actual establishment of an independent revolutionary district there is not enough.

The Giurgiu Revolutionary Committee, based on the existing experience and revolutionary practice, nevertheless organizationally included in the prepared uprising in 1876 a part of Southwestern Bulgaria - more precisely, the Bansko-Razlozh region, which during the preparation of the April Uprising was included in the network of the IV- th (Plovdiv) revolutionary district. The premature outbreak of the rebellion thwarted the uprising of the conspirators in Razlog Hollow. At the end of May and the beginning of June, arrests were made in the villages in the area, as well as in Bansko and Razlog.



The preparations for the uprising were completely thwarted by the Ottoman authorities.

In 1876, there were 30 Ottoman garrisons - nizams - in the territories of today's Bulgaria. The Ottoman Empire was preparing for war with Serbia and for this purpose mobilized part of the army. Parts of the nizam and the redifa travel to Serbia and are actually in the region of the uprising or very close to it.

The presence of troops in many cities greatly influenced the preparation and development of the uprising. It was the Turkish garrisons that forced the relocation of the centers of the 1st revolutionary district from Tarnovo to Gorna Oryahovitsa and of the 4th revolutionary district from Plovdiv to Panagyurishte. The presence of large garrisons in Shumen, Ruse, Razgrad, Varna, Sliven, Vidin, Plovdiv and Pazardzhik did not allow the uprising to break out there. The outbreak of the April Uprising caused such consternation in the Turkish military command that it raised the army, the reserves and the bashibozouk to holy war.

Already on the first day of the uprising (April 20th), the High Gate and the Turkish Ministry of War issued an order for the mobilization of the stock. To quell the uprising, a headquarters was created consisting of: Midhat Pasha, the Minister of War, Husein Avni Pasha and Commander-in-Chief Abdul Kerim Pasha. The main driver is the former Danubian Valia Midhat Pasha, chairman of the Sülerge (broom) committee. The military operations were conducted by senior military commanders, such as the commander of the II Corps Fazl Pasha, the head of the Constantinople garrison Adil Pasha, the commandant of Edirne Hafez Pasha, of Sofia Hasan Pasha, etc.

Already on April 21, the transfer by train of 1 camp (800 people) from Edirne and 2 camps (1600 people) from Tsarigrad to Pazardzhik began. On the 22nd, 4 more camps leave. They are all from the Nizam. On April 23, the regiment of Colonel Hasan Bey left Sofia for Zlatitsa. On the 24th, a cavalry regiment arrived from Chirpan in Pazardzhik, which found the locals already armed. On April 27th, artillery from Edirne arrived in the area of the uprising. The number of the active army in the region of Plovdiv and Pazardzhik alone is 18,000 people plus thousands of Rediffs and Bashibozuk. Separately, the 10,000-strong army of Fazli Pasha is operating against the Dryanovsky Monastery and in Gabrovsko. An order is issued to attract troops from Trebizond and Cairo. Klisura was attacked first by troops of the Sofia garrison and Rediffs mobilized in Kazanlak under the command of Hassan Bey. Then they attack Koprivshtitsa. Peruštitsa managed to repel the Circassians and Chitaks - about 4,000 people against 600 insurgents. On April 27, 2 camps (1,600 people) of troops and 2 cannons were sent against the town. The insurgents hold off the attack until May 31.

10,000 regular army with artillery and about 3,000 Bashibozuk and Circassians were concentrated against the insurgents in the Central Highlands.

The bot squad was already spied on the territory of Romania. There is even a description of the voivode. Military units are on standby. During the landing in Kozloduy on May 17th, a telegram was ordered to send units from Vidin and Ruse. Troops from Berkovitsa and Nis are approaching. Troops from Shumen were also transferred by ship through Ruse. On May 25, Fazlu Pasha also arrived in Lom. The total number is about two divisions against 200 Chetniks. The uprising causes panic among Turkey's rulers. They mobilize a huge part of the available troops, attract parts of Asia Minor and Africa.

Out of 95 villages and towns in revolt, only about 10,000 men armed with firearms participated in the uprising. The hasty announcement of the uprising, the preparedness of the Ottoman authorities for a possible rebellion after the Stara Zagora attempted uprising and after the Bosnian-Herzegovinian uprising, the extremely insufficient supply of weapons and, last but not least, the inexperience of the apostles, their inconsistency and the complete lack of international interest, explain his rapid and a bloody end.

The April epic of 1876 found a strong echo in Europe, due to the ugly news of the barbaric atrocities being committed.


Europe is outraged!

Batak's benefactor - Lady Emily Strangford - and the American Januarius (Jan) Aloysius McGahan - a journalist and specialist war correspondent of the London newspaper "Daily News", have a significant and important role in the formation of British public opinion about the evil and black fate of the Bulgarians.


Monument to Januarius (Jan) A. McGahan in Batak City
Monument to Januarius (Jan) A. McGahan in Batak City

On July 28, 1876, McGahan visited Plovdiv, and on August 1 and 2, respectively, Peshtera and Pazardzhik, and then the village of Batak.


Lady Emily Strangford monument in Batak town
Lady Emily Strangford monument in Batak town

Lady Emily Strangford appeals to the entire British public and Europeans in Constantinople to help the Bulgarians and creates a fund-raising foundation "Bulgarian Present Relief Fund".


Radilovo Village Hospital, built with funds raised by Lady Emily Strangford
Radilovo Village Hospital, built with funds raised by Lady Emily Strangford

Lady Emily Strangford provided funds through which six hospitals were built and equipped - in the settlements of Batak, Radilovo, Perushtitsa, Panagyurishte, Karlovo and Petrich, and new homes for over 5,000 Bulgarian families. He built a dining room in the town of Koprivshtitsa. Provides clothing for over 20,000 people.

According to Bulgarian historiography, around 30,000 people died, while according to external researchers, the number of victims was no more than 15,000. The Russian consul in Edirne, Alexey Tseretelev, estimates that during the uprising, about 200 villages with a total population of more than 75,000 people were destroyed, some of them massacred and others driven away.

The April Uprising is entirely a Bulgarian affair!

Its preparation and its eruption are not supported by any outside force!

To be known!

To be remembered!


И като за финал, мили мои приятели,

не бива да пропускате да разгледате

специалния албум с фото моменти –

открити, изживени, заснети и споделени с вас!



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