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The Russian-Turkish Liberation War

 

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During the Russian-Turkish War of Liberation (1877-1878), a major battle took place in the vicinity of Stara Zagora on July 31st, 1877. A fifteen-thousand men strong Turkish army was launched on the city, which was defended only by a small number of Russian soldiers and Bulgarian volunteers (Opalchentsi). The town was completely destroyed down to its foundation by fire and 14,500 citizens were killed. A small mausoleum was erected in 1910 on the place where their remains were laid to rest. In 1912, to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the battle, a bell tower was build for the Holy Trinity Church, a place where 2500 citizens had been slaughtered while seeking refuge behind the church walls.

 

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There are numerous monuments, built by Stara Zagora's grateful citizens, in memory of their liberators:

  • Monument to the Third Bulgarian Volunteer Battalion and their commander, lieutenant-colonel Pavel Kalitin, erected on the site of the fiercest battle of July 31st, 1877, for safeguarding the Samara banner. 
  • Monument to the Stara Zagora Defenders in the City Park (5th October Park), inaugurated for the 25th anniversary of the battle for Stara Zagora.
  • Monument to the Russian and Bulgarian solders who perished in the battles near Stara Zagora and Dzhurnali village (located today on the road to Kalitinovo village), built with funds sent from Russian relatives and inaugurated on July 26th, 1881.
  • Monument to lieutenant-colonel Pavel Kalitin, who was killed defending Samara banner, in the vicinity of Dalboki village.
  • Monument for the victims of the Russian-Turkish Liberation War, erected on Valyov rat, in the vicinity of Sladak Kladenets village.