125 Bloody Buzludzha

As an experienced and well led band of cheta revolutionaries enters Bulgaria, what will they find? In this episode Bulgaria's revolutionary movement enters a new phase and clandestine committees are set up, pleas are made to the great powers, and the church question moves towards its conclusion.



Major Characters in this Episode

Vasil Levski

Hristo Botev

Sultan Abdulaziz

Lyuben Karavelov

Hadzhi Dimitar

Stefan Karadzha

Ivan Kasabov

Rahil Doshanova

Petar Berkovski

Grand Vizier Ali Pasha

Panaret Pogoniyanski

Stanislas St. Clair

Charles Brophy


Timeline for this Episode

  • 8th February 1868, an assembly gathered in Thessaloniki with representatives from local Bulgarian tradesmen from the Bulgarian neighborhoods of the city. They decided to create an independent Bulgarian municipality in the city.

  • 4th March 1868, despite the protests of the Bulgarian people living in Plovdiv, the Patriarch appointed a Greek metropolitan for the city.

  • 10th June, the Porte offered a 6 point plan to the Patriarchate to resolve the church issue

  • 19th June 1868, Lyuben Karavelov was arrested in Novi Sad Austria-Hungary on the orders of the Serbian government in connection with the assasination of Prince Michael. This was because he had connections with the leaders of the Serbian group in Novi Sad which carried out the assasination.

  • End of June 1868, the Second Bulgarian Legion was disbanded in Belgrade

  • End of June/ beginning of July 1968, Levski visits Zaichar but is detained by local authorities and imprisoned because he was accused of spreading propaganda

  • 6-18th July 1868, The Cheta of Hadzji Dimitar and Stefan Karadzha crossed into Bulgaria near Vardim and Svishtov (Ilchev 144-145, Jelavich 137). There were plans to move more cheti but the plans were intercepted by Romanian authorities who stopped it to preserve their standing in front of the great powers.

  • 8-20 July 1868, The Cheta go through a difficult battle near Mishovgrad. There’s more fighting the next day and Stefan Karadzha was wounded and captured

  • 30th July 1868, the final battle of the cheta occurred on Buzludhz and Hadji Dimitar died

  • 3rd August, Austro-Hungarians authorities move Lyuben Karavelov to Budapest

  • 1st September 1868, the Imperial Ottoman Lycee was opened in Galata-Sarai in Constantinople, 46 Bulgarians sign up

  • September-December 1868, Levski spends a few months in Bucharest where he meets Botev and they live in an abandoned windmill near the city.

  • 7th October 1868, the Porte puts forward another proposal for the solving of the church question. It points out that this fight has been going on for ages and it’s about time it was resolved.

  • 15th October 1868, the Bulgarians of Constantinople organized the printing of a brochure with government proposals around the solving of the church question. It’s eventually circulated in Bulgarian towns and is presented as a final solution to the issue despite them only being proposals.

  • 16th November 1868, the Patriarchate sent their official objections to the two proposals put forward by the Porte. In response, a suggestion is made for another church assembly to resolve the issue,

  • 6th December 1868, Levski arrives in Turno Magorele and gets in touch with Danail Popov and Todor Kovachev. With their help he prepares to cross the Danube.

  • 6th December 1868, The Vidin metropolitan gave a liturgy in which the name of the Patriarch is not mentioned

  • 7-10 December, Levski takes a steamer to Constantinople

  • 11th December, Levski begins his first tour of Bulgarian lands from Constantinople, lasting until Feb 24th of the next year. His goal was to gain real information on the political inclinations of the Bulgarian population.

  • 1868, Botyo Petkov published his textbook on world geography (Hristo Botev’s father)

  • 1868, the Porte created a higher court with two components for civil and criminal law. The person administering it has a ministerial rank and its members are appointed by the Sultan.

  • 1868, the first brewery opens in Bulgaria

  • 2 January 1869, the third Serbian constitution (often called the Regent’s constitution)

  • 4 January 1869, Lyuben Karavelov is freed from prison in Budapest due to a lack of evidence

  • 9 January 1869, an international conference concerning Cretan question convenes in Paris. The members of the Virtuous Society use this forum to convey to the representatives of the Great Powers their political program concerning the options for the Bulgarian question to be solved.

  • 1 February 1869, The satirical newspaper Tapun was published in Bucharest.

  • 24 February 1869, Levski passed from Nikopol to the Romanian side, finishing his first tour of Bulgarian lands.

  • February 1869, the Porte created a mixed Bulgarian Greek commission (3 of each), which was tasked to prepare a final solution to the Bulgarian church question. Grand Vizier Ali Pasha oversaw the meetings and they continued until June. (Crampton, 73)

  • 9 March 1869, Ivan Kasabov published the program of Lyuben Karavelov titled “My Brothers” in his Narodnost newspaper

  • 12 April 1869, At a meeting of the virtuous society, they accepted a rulebook for the board of trustees of the Bulgarian church and school St. Kiril and Metodi in Bucharest

  • April 1869, “Proclamation to the Bulgarian Peoples” was published in Bucharest by a group calling themselves the temporary government in the Balkans written by Ivan Kasabov

  • 1 May 1869, Levski began his second tour of Bulgaria by crossing to Nikopolis, traveling through dozens of villages in northern and southern Bulgaria. During this tour he spread the proclamation Kasabov had just published. The Bulgarian population was called to take part in the fight to free themselves from foreign political dominance. It’s also believed that Levski formed his first revolutionary committees on this tour (in Lovech, Pleven, Karlovo, Sopot, and others).

  • 2 May 1869, Lyuben Karavelov arrived in Bucharest.

  • 4 May 1869, A Bulgarian school opens in Galets

  • 6 May 1869, Levski stops in Nikopolis to pick up packages with the proclamation.

  • 11 May 1869, During the St. St. Kiril and Metodi holiday, at a specially organized event the Metropolitan Panaret Pogoniyanski consecrates a chapel that was created on the second floor of the Bulgarian school in Bucharest. During the following years it would function as an independent Bulgarian church.

  • 11 May 1869, a Woman's society was formed in Kazanluk

  • May 1869, Levski creates a revolutionary committee in Karlovo

  • 23-24 May 1869, Levski forms a revolutionary nucleus in Plovdiv

  • 25th July, The Virtuous Society began publishing a newspaper in Bucharest, it’s slogan was “Work and Hope”

  • 6th August 1869, another women’s society was formed in Gabrovo

  • 20th August 1869, the Romanian ministry of education and religion allowed the formation of a Bulgarian school in Bucharest.

  • 26th August 1869, Levski crossed the Danube back into Romania.

  • 27th August 1869, Another women’s society is formed in Tulcha

  • 29th August 1869, in Ohrid, an independent Bulgarian church/school was formed

  • 1 September 1869, the Sultan accepted the law for the common education in the Ottoman Empire

  • 7 September 1869, a new Bulgarian school was opened in Thessaloniki with 110 students of both genders

  • 8 September 1869, a women’s society formed in Tarnovo

  • 14 September 1869, the Skopje Echarchate filed a plea to a church body in the city and to the head of the Vilayet and the Grand Vizier in which it announced that the Eparchate renounces the Patriarchate and recognizes the Bulgarian church in Constantinople

  • 23 September 1869, in a Bucharest youth center, an assembly took place which authorized Dimitar Tsenovic and Lyuben Karavelov to take part in the Constituent Assembly of the Bulgarian Literary Association in Braila (which was formed on the 25th). This organization later became the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

  • 14 October 1869, under the initiative of Rahil Doshanova and Petar Berkovski in Haskovo, the National Bulgarian Women’s Society was formed.

  • October 1869, Franz Joseph visits Bulgaria

  • October-November 1869, a band of revolutionarily-inclined Bulgarian emigres headed by Karavelov and Levski formed the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee (БРЦК) in Bucharest. Their goal is to free Bulgaria through an uprising.

  • 7 November 1869, Lyuben Karavelov published the first issue of his newspaper “Freedom” listing its goals as protecting Bulgarian interests and showing the Bulgarian people the path they should take to advance morally to reach political independence.

  • 9 November, a youth center was formed in Kalofer

  • 6 December 1869, In the church in the village of Gaitaninovo an assembly takes place and representatives of nearby municipalities take part and they decide to break ties with the Patriarchate.

  • 29th December 1869, a women’s society was formed in Ruse

  • 1869, Bacho Kiro formed a youth center in a village called Селско Любов, which is hilarious

  • 1869, death of Mehmed Faud Pasha leads to Midhat Pasha taking up the mantle of Tanzimat reforms. The Sultan also begins tiring of it because it restricts his powers.

  • 1869, 111 Bulgarian books and 13 periodicals were published

  • Late 1860s, “British diplomats and travel mates Stanislas St. Clair and Charles Brophy described in their Residence in Bulgaria, based on observations from the late 1860s “the Zapatiehs [Ottoman police] prefer their coffee and cigarettes at their guard house to scouring the countryside in search of brigands."


One of the leaders of the Cheta Band, Stefan Karadzha
One of the leaders of the Cheta Band, Stefan Karadzha

The second leader of the Cheta band, Hadzhi Dimitar
The second leader of the Cheta band, Hadzhi Dimitar

The path of the Cheta detatchment
The path of the Cheta detatchment

The standard of Stefan Karadzha
The standard of Stefan Karadzha

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