Like in the summer I visited my friends again. As you can see on the map, Kazanlak is located quite in the middle of the country. The trip by bus from Sunny Beach to there takes about 3,5 – 4 hours. However, I went to Stara Zagora, as agreed. My friends picked me up from the bus station and we went on to Kazanlak. The distance is about 30 km.
This had its reason: my friends are actually two families, one from Stara Zagora, the other one – from Kazanlak. As I’ve already been to Stara Zagora in June, it was time to visit the friends in Kazanlak. We have been together the whole time, during the day we were going on trips, evenings and nights we were spending in Kazanlak. The both families can offer sleeping accommodations for a good many people.
Of course there were good Bulgarian dishes and drinks, that’s clear.
from left to right: Bojedar, Marianna, Radka und Stefan
Now I joined
In the evening Pencho (left) and Stefan’s daughter Antoinetta joined us too
We don’t have to forget Rosen too!
In any case everyone was thirsty!
All the trips we took have something to do with the Bulgarian history, here are some further notes:
For almost five centuries (1396 – 1878) Bulgaria has been under Ottoman domination. During all these years Bulgarians were constantly raising rebellions, which unfortunately were far from success because they were localized in small areas and were more spontaneous than organized. At about 1760 we can speak about a beginning of a National awakening of Bulgaria. Slowly a new national self-confidence has been formed, aimed for at a state independence.
Bulgarians will never forget the following three names: Vasil Levski, Christo Botev and Ivan Vazov. Vasil Levski (1837 - 1873) did not live to see the Bulgarian liberation, although he tirelessly had fought for it. As a monk he decided to leave the monastery and started crossing the Bulgarian lands, establishing a network of revolutionary committees, which had to prepare an organized nationwide uprising. However Turkish authorities captured him and in 1873 he was executed by hanging.
Christo Botev (1848 - 1876) was not only THE National poet of Bulgaria, but also a revolutionary. Due to his anti-ottoman activities he had to find an asylum in Romania, where he lived in exile. There he started publishing the newspapers “Word of the Bulgarian Emigrants” and “Alarm clock”. To support the legendary April uprising with a rebel company he crossed the Danube River in May 1876. In fact, he overestimated the dimension of the uprising and the group was crushed by the superior Turkish forces. Botev was killed. At that time Europe’s attention was caught by the fact that he and his rebel company conquered the Austro-Hungarian passenger steamship “Radetzky” in order to reach homeland.
Ivan Vazov (1850 - 1921) became immortal through his novel “Under the Yoke”. There is no Bulgarian who has not at least heard about it. In the novel Vazov describes the preparation, the run and the failure of the legendary April uprising in 1876. Other famous short stories by Vazov are “One Bulgarian” (“Edna bulgarka”), “Grandfather Yozo is watching” (“Dyado Yozo gleda”) and “Does he come?” (“Ide li?”). Vazov actively participated in the uprising of Stara Zagora (1875) and after the liberation of Bulgaria as a result of the Russo-Turkish War (1877/78) he held important public positions.
I wanted to visit the houses where the three Bulgarian heroes were born. Of course there are other Bulgarian freedom fighters like Hadschi Dimiter, Georgi Rakovski und Luben Karavelov. But it’s impossible to see everything at once.
“The one who dies in a fight for freedom never dies!”. This sentence from the Botev’s poem "Hadschi Dimiter" is written here near the portrait of the poet.
“Freedom or Death!”
A statue of Botev near his house in Kalofer
In the garden of Botev’s house there is another museum:
This is the machine Botev used to print his newspapers during his exile.
Model of the “Radetzky’ ship
The monument of Botev in Kalofer
In the middle you can see the highest top of the Balkan mountain named “Botev” (2.376 m)
In front of the Balkan mountain
With this letter Levski has informed and explained to his mother his decision to become a revolutionary.
In front of the house where Levski was born
Books by Vazov
“Under the Yoke” in French and in German
This town is famous for two reasons: Ruins from Thracian and Roman times are still visible everywhere and as people say there is the best mineral water in Bulgaria. You can also find several Spa-Hotels.
Here you can tap mineral water free of charge. Some people fill even canisters.
On the second day we went through the Shipka Pass into the museum village of Bojentzi and to Tryavna with its picturesque old town.
Shipka Pass had a crucial role during the Russo-Turkish war. For a while there were only about 5.000 Russians and Bulgarians in a battle against about 30.000 Turkish. Because of lack of munitions they had to “fire” the Turkish only with stones and the bodies of the dead. The National holiday of Bulgaria – the Liberation day – March 3rd is celebrated every year at the Shipka Pass.
The drive up to the monument
Thankful to the Russian soldiers and Tzar Alexander II.
After work has been done…
Then we went further to the museum village of Bojentzi. There we visited houses from the National Awakening times.
At a restaurant in Bojentzi
The fairytale figure of Baba Jaga
At the end of our trip we visited Trjavna with its picturesque old town and houses from the National Awakening times.
On the morning, after another pleasant evening with my friends, I left by bus back to Sunny Beach. There my “normal” holiday continued.