Bulgaria Bows Head to Poet, Revolutionary Hristo Botev
Bulgaria marks on January 6 the 164th anniversary since the birth of one of its most revered heroes - the poet, publicist, and revolutionary Hristo Botev.
The official ceremony in Sofia is scheduled to start at 12.30 and will be held in front of Botev's monument in the city's central park - "Borissova Gradina". Solemn ceremonies are scheduled in many other Bulgarian cities and towns.
Hristo Botev was born on January 6, 1847 (December 25, 1847, according to the "old style" calendar) in the town of Kalofer, in the family of the teacher Botio Petkov and Ivanka Boteva.
Since a young age, Botev was noticed for his intellect, talent and rebel spirit. He left Bulgaria to study in Russia where he became strongly influenced by Russian revolutionaries. He was expelled from school and started working as a teacher as well as newspaper publisher, collaborating with the entire revolutionary immigration.
Botev began writing poetry while still in school, under the influence of the Bulgarian folklore and songs glorifying the "haiduts" - rebels and outlaws fighting the Ottoman oppressors.
His first poetry book was published in 1875, together with Stephan Stambolov, under the title "Songs and Poems from Botev and Stambolov."
Botev's poetry soon became very popular and his poems turned into folklore - they were sung as folk songs without people even knowing their author's name.
After the start of the April Uprising, which had the goal to liberate Bulgaria and is considered the apogee of the fight for independence, Botev began organising a troupe to enter Bulgaria and help the rebels.
Botev and part of the troupe boarded the "Radezki" ship in Gurgevo (Romania) on May 30, 1876. From the ship Botev sent articles describing the grave situation of the Bulgarian people to several foreign publications as well as his famous goodbye letter to his family.
The troupe convinced the German captain to let them leave the ship at the Bulgarian port of Kozlodui and started moving in the direction of the Balkan Mountains where most of the battles of the April Uprising were taking place.
On June 2 Botev's troupe engaged in its heaviest fight with the Turkish army. Botev was hit by bullet and died at the foot of the pick "Vola" in the Balkan, near the town of Vratza.
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