The national hero of Bulgaria, Vasil Levski , is born as Vasil Ivanov Kunchev on 18 July 1837.
Dubbed the Apostle of Freedom, Levski created the ideology and strategy of the revolutionary movement to liberate Bulgaria from Ottoman/Turkish rule. Founding the Internal Revolutionary Organization, Levski sought to foment a nationwide uprising through a network of secret regional committees.
18.07.1837 (Karlovo) – 19.02.1873 (Sofia)
Born in one of the most beautiful places of the Sub-Balkan (town of Karlovo), Levski became an Orthodox monk before emigrating to join the two Bulgarian Legions in Serbia and other Bulgarian revolutionary groups. Abroad, he acquired the nickname Levski, “Lionlike”. After working as a teacher in Bulgarian lands, he propagated his views and developed the concept of his Bulgaria-based revolutionary organization.
During his tours of Bulgaria, Levski established a wide network of insurrectionary committees. However, Ottoman authorities succeeded to arrest him near Lovech and executed him by hanging in Sofia on 19 of February, 1873.
Vasil Levski looked beyond the act of liberation: he envisioned a “pure and sacred” Bulgarian republic of ethnic and religious equality. His concepts have been described as a struggle for human rights, inspired by the progressive liberalism of the French Revolution and 19th century Western European society. Levski is commemorated with monuments in Bulgaria and Serbia, and numerous national institutions bear his name.
One of the greatest sentences of Levski says: If I win, it is a win of a whole nation – if I lose, I only lose myself.”