Bulgaria Bows to National Hero Vasil Levski
The hanging of Vasil Levski in Sofia.
Bulgaria commemorates Tuesday the 140th anniversary of the death of its national hero, freedom-fighter and revolutionary Vasil Levski.
Levski was sentenced to death by an Ottoman court and hanged in Sofia on February 18 (February 6 old style), 1873.
Since the 50s of the 20th century, Bulgaria honors the national hero on February 19th, despite him being hung on the 18th. The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BAS, quoted by the online news agency Dnevnik, explains that this discrepancy is due to an old technical error that has not been corrected in history books.
Memorial services for Levski are taking place around the country, as people pay tribute to the hero at his numerous monuments, including the Levski Memorial in downtown Sofia.
In Levski's native town of Karlovo, the celebrations began Monday. The town is also the scene of the shooting of a new motion picture about the live of Bulgaria's revolutionary.
A memorial will be held at 6 pm before the monument of Vasil Levski in downtown Sofia with the participation of the President, Rosen Plevneliev, and the Speaker of the Parliament, Tsetska Tsacheva. It is organized by the Sofia City Hall, the Sofia Bishopric, and the "Vasil Levski" Foundation.
Vice President, Margarita Popova, will visit the Kakrina Hanche (Kakrina Tavern) in central Bulgaria, which is the location where the national hero was captured. She will lay flowers there and after that will travel to the nearby city of Lovech to deliver the keynote address at the official ceremony.
Vasil Levski, born Vasil Ivanov Kunchev in 1837, was the leader of Bulgaria's revolutionary movement aimed at national liberation from the Ottoman Empire.
Initially preparing to become an Orthodox monk, Kunchev gave this up in order to dedicate his life to fighting for Bulgaria's freedom.
With relentless and self-sacrificing dedication, Levski created and headed a network of several hundred secret revolutionary committees preparing a national rebellion.
During his participation in the First Bulgarian Legion in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1862, he received the nickname "Levski" - "Lionlike".
After organizing the revolutionary movement all across Bulgaria for several years, Levski was captured by the Ottoman Turkish police in late 1872, and was sentenced to death by hanging for his revolutionary activity.
His progressive political ideas envisaged a "holy and pure" Bulgarian republic based on the fundamental rights of everyone, abiding by democratic principles and based on religious and ethnic equality.
For his self-sacrifice and sublime ideas, Levski has been dubbed "the Apostle of Freedom" by Bulgarians.
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