Bulgaria Rebuilds Liberation War Fort of Legendary Russian General
Bulgaria has restored and reopened for visitors the fort used by legendary Russian general Nikolay Stoletov in the Shipka Pass Battle during the Russian-Turkish War of 1877-78, which resulted in Bulgaria's national liberation from the Ottoman Empire.
Stoletov's fort, including his dug-out, at the Shipka Pass was reopened Tuesday, after it was originally made accessible to visitors in 1956 but was later neglected and robbed by vandals.
The Russian-Turkish War of 1877-1878 was declared by the Russian Empire on the Ottoman Turkish Empire in order to liberate Bulgaria, in the wake of 1876 April Uprising, which was crushed in a bloodshed by Ottoman troops and irregulars.
During the war, the Russian Army included a sizable force of Bulgarian volunteers (opalchentsi) reaching about 14 000 soldiers by 1878.
Renowned Russian general Nikolay Stoletov (1834-1912) was put in command of the Bulgarian volunteers, and in the course of the war it was some of their units that fought the most decisive battle, the Shipka Pass Battle, on August 21-23, 1877.
In the Shipka Pass Battle, some 6 000 Bulgarian volunteers and Russian troops were pitted against some 40 000 Ottoman soldiers but nonetheless managed to hold on to their positions until Russian reinforcements arrived, including by using rocks, tree trunks, and even corpses, as weapons when they ran out of ammunition.
The Shipka Pass Battle is celebrated as the greatest Bulgarian military contribution to the victory in the Russian-Turkish Liberation War, as it is called in Bulgaria, and it was during this battle that Gen. Stoletov was in charge of the Bulgarian-Russian forces.