The Bulgarian national heroes live in the Renaissance. They were brought up in a patriotic spirit and profess the most progressive humanistic values of their time. National heroes are close to the heart of every Bulgarian. Every Bulgarian knows them more or less from the "songs" of the "patriarch of Bulgarian literature" Grandfather Ivan Vazov. Levski, Benkovski, Rakovski, Kableshkov, Karadzhata, Volov, Kocho Chestimensky, Shipka's rebels - all heroes from Vazov's "Epic of the Forgotten", all national heroes. And if Botev is added, the list would be almost complete.
What else connects all these people? They gave their lives for the sake of the Bulgarian people, they sacrificed themselves for their homeland and died in the name of Bulgarian freedom.
However, there are other celebrities who also sacrifice themselves, participate in the national liberation movement, but survive, not die, but await Liberation. Therefore, they are also national heroes in a sense. Two striking examples in this regard are Stefan Stambolov and Zahari Stoyanov.
Zahari Stoyanov was born by the name of Gendo Dedev Dalakchiev in the village of Medven, Sliven. He always seemed to stay a little away from the historical focus on the Bulgarian uprisings, though he himself was at the same time a major contributor to them and their chronicler. Zahari Stoyanov's credit for knowing and comprehending the events that led to the Bulgarian Liberation is enormous. However, it seems to me that it is not sufficiently known to the wide circle of lovers of our glorious historical past. Therefore, it would be interesting to emphasize again.
It is important to emphasize that only the creativity of Zahari Stoyanov conveys to us with such immediate completeness the events around the Stara Zagora (1875) and April (1876) uprisings. And one more important thing. When Zahari Stoyanov started work on "Notes on the Bulgarian Uprising" (1884), the mood in Bulgaria for the fighters being freedom was not at all what it is today. Here is what the author shared in the preface to his work:
"We have heroes, our national pride, such as L. Karavelov, Levski, Hadji Dimitar, Karadzhata, Botev, Benkovski, Volov, Kableshkov and many others; but few are known, few know where the sacred dust lies, nothing has been done to perpetuate their memory when their homeland, for which they were sacrificed, is free today. (…)
"These, the rebels, were crazy and misunderstood heads, nerds!", Etc. - shout out some of our prudent brothers. Yes, but these were honest and blameless as angels, perfect as Bulgaria is unlikely to give birth to a second like them. In addition, we ask these prudent worshipers of reason to date us at least one small event in their social life (Chorbadji, commercial, and scholar) that bears little or no charity of sacrifice, heroism, etc. "
Ivan Vazov wrote his famous 12 ode from the cycle "Epic of the Forgotten" almost at the same time as Zahari Stoyanov, who even drew inspiration from it. After Zahari Stoyanov's "Notes" and Ivan Vazov's "Epic of the Forgotten" came to light, only then could it be said that the Bulgarian national heroes were given the necessary respect for their work, and their feat was presented as covenant to posterity.
Zahari Stoyanov is one of the ideologists of Bulgaria. There are many evidences of this. Interesting to note is his reaction from a visit to his acquaintance, Georgi Zhivkov, Minister of Education. The Minister turned to Zahari Stoyanov sharply about the recently published book about Botev.
"What book did you write about Hristo Botev? Don't we really know what he really was? "
To which Stoyanov objected: “Let us be silent! The younger generation needs good examples. "
At the end of the preface to the Notes, the author sends his emotional message:
"At last, brethren, simple poor, I turn to you. I have worked hard for you to write this book to show you that the hottest fighters and defenders of our country were not the proud wealthy and inflated scientists, but the simple and ignorant brothers who knew no more than you! It will be enough to remind you only the names of Levski, Benkovski, Kocho Chestimenski, the Zhekov brothers, bye Ivan Arabadzhiya, Ivan Vorcho, etc., all people esnaflias and workers. These and no one else washed Bulgaria's face and protected our shameful glory; these made him sound the name Bulgarian on the four corners of the world; they stepped contemptuously on all their private, proudly and fearlessly raised their heads against the strong tyrant, for whom the scholars of our heads interpreted that we should not anger him, with a tickle only to look for the appeasement of his gaze. All this they did, not that they had gone to Paris to sharpen their minds, but that they were honest, had an iron will, an indomitable character, loved their homeland dearly — a sacred position for each one; and these few qualities each of you can have, as long as you wish. Let these folk lights of ours serve as an example for you. "
During the April Uprising, Zahari Stoyanov was part of Georgi Benkovski's "The Hurricane Company". He is very close to his voivode, testifying to his instructions to the rebels and the development of hostilities. The consequences of the pogrom of the Bashibozois over the town of Panagyurishte are described as follows:
"All convincing assurances that if enough force were gathered, this and that would be done, they would have to serve the eyes of the Panagyuris for simple ridicule. A man who had experienced his weak powers in the unequal struggle, had already seen his defeat in all his nakedness, did not help himself when he should have - and now convince him if you have no job. It is true that many Panagyur rebels, including Rad Kaymak, Nedyu, etc., said, "From now on, we have become rebels!" - but most were of the opposite opinion.
'The rebellion, the kingdom, and the voivode are all gone!' Said the latter, sighing as we invited them to the Fox. - Why do we already have freedom and life? Who would we live for when we became cowards without women, children and mothers?
Both were right. (…)
I forgot to say that when we first appeared above Lisets and Panagyurishte presented himself before our eyes in all his ugliness, Benkovski stopped his horse at the top of the mountain and pointed his finger at the burning village.
- My goal has already been achieved! In the heart of a tyrant, I have opened such a fierce wound that you will never heal; and to Russia, let her command! He said, and went to sit at the root of a beech tree. "
Benkovski's immortal words, along with his exceptional insight into the coming events (Russian-Turkish War of Liberation), have been sealed forever in the Bulgarian historical memory thanks to Zahari Stoyanov.
The chronicler of the Bulgarian uprisings is side by side with the voivode and in his tragic demise. Trapped by Grandpa Valyu, a beefman from the Teteven huts, Georgi Benkovski and his few associates are ambushed and killed by the Turks. Zahari Stoyanov miraculously survives. He later wrote:
“Needless to say, Benkovski is a saint both in Panagyurishte and in Teteven where he fell. The population says that at night, against Saturday and other more celebrated holidays, a burning place burns at the place where he was killed. After his murder, his mortal remains were removed from a pious grandmother, grandmother Udrenitsa, who buried them in the tomb of the church "St. All Saints. " She did all this in secret because the government, of course, punished those devotees who paid homage to the remains of his sworn enemies. "
After the Liberation, Zahari Stoyanov became involved in Bulgarian political life. He participates in the Union of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia (1885). He is a party activist. uprisings, a unique historiographical and literary contribution. As Zahari Stoyanov himself writes:
"Every nation has its past, which is carefully studied by posterity. If one undertakes to write the history of the Bulgarian people from its disappearance under the Turkish yoke to its liberation, what event should hold the first place in its pages? In our view: the Bulgarian uprisings, most notably the April Uprising (1876), through which we tried to take the chains of slavery off our backs. "