Interesting Facts from the Life of Bulgarian Revolutionary and Poet Hristo Botev

Society » CULTURE | Author: Adriana Petrova |June 2, 2022, Thursday // 12:30
Bulgaria: Interesting Facts from the Life of Bulgarian Revolutionary and Poet Hristo Botev

Hristo Botev is one of the brightest figures in Bulgarian history - a great national hero and revolutionary who dedicated his life to the freedom of our country. We also know Botev as a publicist and poet with amazing works that to this day touch our hearts and which Bulgarians recite by heart. Born and raised in the family of the teacher, writer and public figure, teacher Botyo Petkov and Ivanka Dryankova, Hristo Botev went through an important period of self-awareness on the way to his heroic deeds. He lost his life only at the age of 28, but his memory remains alive forever.

On the eve of the day of Botev and those who died for the freedom of Bulgaria, we will present you some interesting facts from the life of the revolutionary - some famous, others less known, but still interesting.

Where was Hristo Botev actually born?

Bulgarians have known since their school years that Botev was born in Kalofer. He himself stated this in his document from 1868. Here is what he wrote in his application for admission to the Bucharest Medical School:

"I, the undersigned, Orthodox by religion, ethnicity - Bulgarian, born in the town of Kalofer, Karlovo district, Plovdiv region, I want to learn the medical art…"

However, there is a legend according to which Botyo Betkov taught in the village of Osen and it was there that his first son was born. Botev was baptized in the church in the neighboring village of Devene due to the lack of a church in Osen. Unfortunately, this very page of the register was torn off and the only evidence remained in Botev's publications.

Historians claim that the hometown of Botev and his father is Karlovo. The proposals were prompted by stories of a relative of the revolutionary, according to which after the Liberation Hristo Botev's brother went to the Karlovo municipality and asked to buy his father's house to build another in Sofia. They refused. Then he replied: "You will need it, because if you do not buy it, I will say that my brother is from Kalofer." They refused again and the promise was kept, and the same man claims that Botev's father mentioned Karlovo as his birthplace when he wrote a letter of recommendation to a high school in Odessa.

What kind of child was he?

Botev's contemporaries describe him as a smart child, but he was quite violent and had a hard time fitting into the otherwise peaceful town of Kalofer. However, information about the poet's childhood is not much. We know about Botev that he was the leader of the children's gang and took his friends to bathe in the Tundzha river. His grades at school were not always high, and this caused great dissatisfaction with his father.

On poetry

Botev's poetic heritage includes 20 eternal poems, 16 of which are printed in the only collection of poems of the poet, published during his lifetime in 1875. It is a joint collection of Botev and Stambolov and is entitled “Songs and poems by Botyova and Stambolova.” His first published poem in the Gaida newspaper was “Maitse si”.

In Botev's poetry, we most often find the notions of "freedom", "struggle" and "self-sacrifice." They are key to his work and embody his ideal, namely absolute freedom - spiritual, social and political. For Botev, heroic death and heroic self-sacrifice are on the highest mission of a worthy man.

Apart from being an unsurpassed poet, Hristo Botev is also considered to be the most brilliant Bulgarian Revival publicist. He is the author of political commentaries and articles, editor of his own humorous newspaper “Budilnik”, as well as a translator of textbooks and Russian literature.

Who was Botev's first love?

The poet's first love is still debated. Historians and researchers of his life link three beauties to his "first libe" - two sisters from Karlovo and a teacher from Kalofer. Many historians claim that Maria Goranova is the poet's first secret love. Under his poem "Do moeto parvo libe" a dedication that reads "dedicated to Miss G." but was later erased. It is said that both "Ney" and "Pristanala" were also written for the beautiful lady from Karlovo.

Kalofer teacher Parashkeva Shushulova is Botev's other alleged first love. The poet has repeatedly visited the nunnery where Parashkeva lived and gave out books that have been discussed for a long time. It is alleged that during a public exam of her students in the municipality, he watched her for so long that his superiors scolded him.

However, Botev's great love is Veneta Stoyanova Vezireva, whom he fell in love with at the age of 27. The feelings between them arose in a difficult moment for the revolutionary when he sank into poverty and debt because of the purchase of the printing house. Their love turned out to be misunderstood, as Veneta chooses a poor man over a well-organized life. And among the revolutionaries, wealthy girls like her were not well looked after. However, their love life entered into a civil marriage, cemented by Botev's words, which he said weighed more than the church rite. Then they lived together and were happily in love, their daughter Ivanka was born on April 12, 1876 in Bucharest. She was only a month old when she saw her father for the last time.

Friendship with Levski

The paths of the two great revolutionaries crossed by chance in the autumn of 1868. The two lived in extremely difficult conditions in an abandoned mill near Bucharest and undoubtedly influenced each other. Botev was very impressed by the personality of the Apostle.

Zahari Stoyanov was the first to write about the friendship between Botev and Levski and about the strong influence of the “Apostolе” (Levski’s nickname) on the poet. He published the famous letter of Hristo Botev from the winter of 1868 to his friend Kiro Tuleshkov. The original of the document has been lost, and in the first publication, the letter is not complete and is unsigned.

"My friend Levski, with whom we live, is an unheard of character! When we are in the most critical situation, he is as happy even then, the same as when we are in the best position. The weather is cold, wood and stone crack, we are hungry for two or three days, and he still sings and is happy!… It's nice to live with such people… "

However, it is interesting that many sources claim that Botev and Levski have never met, and the beautiful story is entirely invented by Zahari Stoyanov.

The first banknote

The first Bulgarian banknote of BGN 5,000 printed in Bulgaria was issued in 1924 - under unprecedented security measures. A banknote of this denomination was printed only ever once.

The face of Hristo Botev is printed on the first Bulgarian banknote, which depicts the Bulgarian national hero. The population calls in slang term "botevka".

/Adriana Petrova,

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Tags: Hristo, Botev, Bulgaria, revolutionary, poet

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