Bulgaria Marks 180th Birth Anniversary of Vasil Levski
On July 18th, at 21.00, a solemn ceremony followed by fireworks display will take place at the Vasil Levski Square.It will be attended by Bulgaria’s President Roumen Radev: Vice President Ilyiana Yotova and Deputy Chief of Defense, Lieutenant General Plamen Atanasov, according to BNT.
The President and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces will salute the guard of houour of the representative units of the Bulgarian Army and will give a solemn speech. Radev will lay a wreath at the monument to Vassil Levski.
Earlier in the day, Vice President Iliyana Yotova will visit the town of Levski. At 10.35 she will held a meeting with the mayor Lyubka Alexandrova in the building of the municipality and from 11.00 will take part in the ceremony in honour of Vassil Levski. At 18.00, Vice President Yotova will visit the village of Lesichovo and will participate in a ceremony for the opening of a commemoration sign dedicated to Vassil Levski.
The anniversary will also be marked in other places in Bulgaria including Veliko Turnovo, Sofia and Berkovitsa.
On July 18th, honour guards of the Navy Forces, the 68th Special Forces Brigade and the Land Forces will take part in military rituals for laying wreaths and flowers in Varna, Bourgas, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Haskovo, Yambol, Shumen, Pleven, Assenovgrad, Lovech, Kazanlak and other places in the country.
Born on 18 July 1837, Levski became known as the Apostle of Freedom for his efforts on organizing and developing a strategy for the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule.
He fought for equal rights between Bulgarians and other subjects of the empire in a new republic he aspired to, but was sentenced to death and hanged during the preparations for the April Uprising of 1876.
He was the founder of the internal revolutionary organization which run a network of secret regional committees and sought the liberation of Bulgaria through a nationwide revolution.
Levski was also among the founders of the the Bulgarian revolutionary central committee run by Bulgarian emigrants in Bucharest.
He was captured by the Ottoman authorities in the Kakrina inn near Lovech on 27 December 1872. He was first taken for interrogation to Veliko Tarnovo and then sent to Sofia where he was tried and sentenced to death.
He was hanged close to Sofia in 1873 but his bravery inspired the people and eventually Bulgaria managed to secure its freedom during the Russo-Turkish War of 1878.
A monument was later built in his honor at the site of his death, which was back then on the outskirts but is now near the center of Sofia.
After the revolt, Russian forces joined the Bulgarian efforts and the Third Bulgarian Kingdom was established on March 3, 1878.
Far-right groups and other organizations have repeatedly been trying to use Levski's name as a symbol in the name of which a call for more nationalistic policies has to be made.
However, far more than being just a hero, Levski was a visionary who fought for replacing, through a revolution, "the current despotic and tyrannical system... with a democratic republic" where "Bulgarians, Turks, Jews, etc. will be equal in all aspects, be it in faith, be it in ethnicity, be it with regard to civil [rights]... all will be subjected to a common law which will be elaborated upon the agreement of all ethnicities."
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