September 22 - Bulgaria Independence Day

Independence Day in Bulgaria takes place every 22 September to celebrate the nation’s official declaration of independence from the Ottoman rule on this date in 1908. The declaration formalized autonomy that had already existed for three decades since 1878, giving Bulgaria equal status amongst nations on the world stage.

What do Bulgarians celebrate on September 22?

The successful military actions of the Russian army and the Bulgarian volunteers of 1877 and 1878 forced the Ottoman Empire to acknowledge its defeat. In March 1878, peace talks began in San Stefano, leading to the signing of the Preliminary Treaty of San Stefano. According to it, the Bulgarian state is recovering its original boundaries, which were about 180 000 km2.

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The Berlin Treaty of 1878, however, defined the Principality of Bulgaria as a vassal of the Ottoman Empire, which slowed the economic development of the country. The Ottoman Empire imposed preferential imports of European industrial goods and that way stopped the development of Bulgarian domestic production. After the unification of Eastern Rumelia with the Principality of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian political elite started thinking about proclaiming independence.

The Independence of Bulgaria was announced on 22 September 1908 in the "Forty Martyrs" Church. With this act, the Bulgarian state rejected its political and financial dependence on the Ottoman Empire. It is not only a great success for the Bulgarian diplomacy, but after the Independence, the vassal principality began to be called the Kingdom (Tsarstvo) of Bulgaria, and the Bulgarian ruler was already titled - the King (Tsar).

On this day Bulgarians organize festivals around the country. You can attend bicycle, civilian, military parades and other types of festivities. The largest celebration actually happens in Veliko Tarnovo - it is where Bulgaria’s Independence was announced. One of the most popular attractions is the "Sound and Light" show, which is held annually in Tarnovo. This is one of the events, that gathers hundreds of Bulgarians.

The National Museum of Military History in Sofia announced that there will be a free entrance for visitors on 22 September. A 110th-anniversary exhibition will be opened at the National Museum of History in Sofia and will include rare exhibits, including the Manifesto (Declaration).

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Petya Petrova

Petya Petrova is a journalist, believer, and traveler.

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