Its been 145 years since the battle of Shipka pass during the Russo-Turkish war in 1877-78. The Bulgarian people celebrated in the memory of soldiers who fought fearlessly and sacrificed their lives for the freedom of Bulgaria. The festival is marked under the guidance of President Rumen Radev. Vice President Iliana Yotova also attend the festival and climb Mount Shipka on Saturday. People paid tribute to the fallen soldiers in the battle of Shipka pass in Gabrovo with a fireworks display on August 20.
The battle of Shipka pass was fought between the Russian and Turkish empires in (1877-1888). The ottoman empire had control over the Shipka pass situated in the Balkan mountains, Bulgaria. It was an essential pass during the Russo-Turkish war. The crucial;l moment of the war came in August 1877 when more than 5000 Bulgarian volunteers, known as Opalchentsi and 2500 Russian soldiers, repelled an attack against the solid Ottoman army of 40000 soldiers.
Major General Mikhail Popov, commander of the Land Forces, received the fireworks displays in Gabrovo. The official celebration will take place at the monument of freedom built over the historic Shipka peak tomorrow, August 21.
The battles for Shipka began on August 9, 1877. 7500 men of Russian and Bulgarian detachment under the command of Gen. N.G. Stoletov were given an important task to stop the army of Suleiman Pasha from crossing the Shipka pass, which included more than 27000 men and another 10000 in reserve. For six days, Bulgarians and Russians fought back the constant attacks of the Turkish camps with fire and bayonets. The third day was the most challenging for the Russian and Bulgarian armies defending the Shipka pass from the enormous Turkish army. They were also running out of ammunition.
At the most critical moment, when the battle was almost lost, and it was believed that the Shipka would fall, the first reinforcement sent by Gen. Radetski arrived from Gabrovo. Until evening all troops of the 16th Rifle Battalion arrived, and after a vicious battle, the Turks were defeated.
In the memory of Bulgarian soldiers who lost their lives while defending the Shipka, a monument was laid on August 26, 1922. The construction of this monument was completed in 1930. The monument is 31.5 meters high, and a bronze lion, the symbol of Bulgarian statehood, stands above the central entrance.