Unique Portrait of Bulgaria's Freedom Apostle Found in School Attic
One of the most authentic portraits of Bulgaria's national hero Vasil Levski has been accidentally discovered in the attic of the school in the village of Kovachevo.
It has been painted using the last known photograph of the Apostle of Freedom and has been printed in Vienna 130 years ago.
Last summer repairs and renovations were conducted at the only school in the Pazardzhik village of Kovachevo in southern Bulgaria. Dozens of dusty and faded portraits were found among the unwanted old stuff in the attic. One of them was that of Levski.
The portrait has been printed several years after the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in the printing shop of the father of Bulgarian publishing Hristo Danov.
The lithography of the Apostle of Freedom is not the only discovery made by the school principal. He also found an unknown until now portrait of another revolutionary - Hadzi Dimitar.
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.