On 6th of September Bulgaria celebrates its Unification Day. The anniversary of the unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia. That’s why 6th of September is always a non-working day. Despite this fact, Free Sofia Tour would still be running. We would expect you every day, twice a day.
Perfect occasion to tell you the story of the Unification, although the bigger celebrations would be held in Plovdiv.
The medieval Bulgarian empire was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1396 AD. Bulgaria was formally restored as a nation-state on March 3, 1878, after the war between the Russian empire and the Ottoman Empire of 1877-78.
Under the San Stefano treaty between Russia and Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria was set up as a state on a territory of 170 000 square kilometers.
Three months later, in July 1878, the Great Powers from the so called “European Concert” met in Berlin to finally determine the borders of the new country. As a result, the Principality of Bulgaria was set up in present day Northern Bulgaria and the Sofia region on a territory of 63 000 square km. About half of Thrace, or Southern Bulgaria was made an autonomous Ottoman Province. It was called Eastern Roumelia. Its territory of 36 000 square km. The rest of the lands under the San Stefano Treaty were returned to the Ottoman Empire.
Bulgaria’s entire political and social life in 1878-1944 was marked by the desire to unify all Bulgarian-populated lands in one nation state – leading the country to participate in five wars in that period. The Unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia at the time was hailed as a crucial and successful but only a partial step towards this goal.
On September 6, 1885, the Principality of Bulgaria unified with the autonomous Ottoman province of Eastern Roumelia.
The Unification was prepared by a network of secret revolutionary committees in Eastern Roumelia. It was backed by the Bulgarian ruler, Knyaz (Prince) Alexander I Batenberg. The historical proclamation was made in the city of Plovdiv – capital of Eastern Roumelia.
As other Balkan countries objected to Bulgaria’s Unification, Serbia attacked Bulgaria in November 1885. In a grand national effort to defend the Unification, the young Bulgarian Army repulsed the attack, and defeated the Serbs. This solidified the Unification of Northern and Southern Bulgaria.
But it was not until 1886 when the Great Powers recognized the state of Bulgaria with a Bulgarian-Ottoman treaty.
The celebrations of Bulgaria’s Unification Day are traditionally held the night of September 6 in Plovdiv.
The Unification was a precursor to something we would celebrate in a couple of weeks (22th of September) – the de jure Independence of Bulgaria. Another four holidays then but the tour would still run every day.