Contrary to common beliefs, Bulgaria is not just a beautiful destination when it comes to going to the seaside or experiencing city life in nice bars and cafes. Bulgaria`s history is long, rich, and has definitely left a mark in the history of the world. One of the most heroic acts of bravery in Bulgaria`s history is commemorated at the Shipka Monastery and the Shipka Monument. The war heroes who fought here are honored yearly and their sacrifice won't ever be forgotten.
The first stop of this trip is at the Memorial Church or Shipka Monastery. This church is located about 230km from the capital city, Sofia, in the village of Shipka near the town of Kazanlak. Its opening coincided with the 25th anniversary of the Shipka Battles, mentioned below. The original reason behind its appearance was to celebrate the bravery of the Bulgarians, Russians, Greeks, Serbs, and many others who participated in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. In its basement, there is a special place, where the bones of Russian and Bulgarian soldiers, who died in this war, are preserved.
The church is a fully functioning orthodox one. It is included in the list of monuments of national importance. The funds to build it mainly came from the Russian folk, while the initiative for building it came from the families of Russian generals who participated in the Russo-Turkish war.
The second stop on this walk is the Shipka Monument of Liberty, which is another important national symbol. It is located on Shipka Peak, which is part of the Stara Planina mountain range, also called the Balkan mountain range. The monument was built to commemorate the hill where a battle between the Bulgarian revolutionaries and the Osman army took place. Interesting about this military battle is that the Bulgarians were about 7500 people in total, while the Osman army had 27 000 soldiers. The Bulgarians` task was to fight the Osmans and not let them conquer Shipka Peak. Otherwise, the Osmans would have gone north, surprised the Russian army, and all would have been lost. The Bulgarians succeeded though, and this monument commemorates their heroism.
If, after you visit both places, you have more time, I suggest you go back to the town of Kazanlak. Here you can enjoy a nice stroll around this beautiful town and visit its rose garden, called “Rosarium.” If you are visiting this part of the country in May, you might be lucky enough to take part in the Rose Festival in Kazanlak. During this festival, tourists get to witness the parade and the fireworks.
Bulgaria has much to show, it is a destination which hides a lot of gems under its surface. The country`s rich history and its war heroes are commemorated through many monuments, as well as in stories and legends about heroes. Therefore, the Shipka Monastery and the Shipka Monument are both important places to visit in Bulgaria!
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