Bulgaria Commemorates Death of National Hero Vasil Levski
Bulgaria commemorates on Wednesday the 141st anniversary of the death of its national hero, freedom-fighter and revolutionary Vasil Levski.
Vasil Ivanov Kunchev (better known as Vasil Levski), was sentenced to death by an Ottoman court and hanged in Sofia on February 18 (February 6 old style), 1873.
Bulgaria honors the national hero on February 19th, despite him being hung on the 18th. The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences 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.
A memorial will be held at 6 pm before the monument of Vasil Levski in downtown Sofia, at the spot where he was hung. The service will be attended by the President Rosen Plevneliev.
Levski was born in 1837 in Karlovo. He went on to become the leader of Bulgaria's revolutionary movement for 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 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.