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St Archangel Michael Dryanovo Monastery

Object type: Uprising, Ossuary, Monastery, Holy Places, Church, Personalities
location: Drjanovo

St Archangel Michael Dryanovo Monastery occupies a special place in the chronicle of the April Uprising of 1876 in the First Tărnovo Revolutionary District. It is connected with the nine-day heroic defense of 192 insurgents from Priest Hariton’s detachment besieged in the monastery by three thousand bashi-bazouks and Circassians and by about 10,000 strong Turkish army with artillery under the command of Brigadier General Fazil Pasha.

The road of battles of Priest Hariton’s detachment began from the village of Musina just after midnight on April 29, 1876. On the way to the Balkan Mountains’ passages at about 2 p.m. the detachment entered the Dryanovo Monastery. Here Priest Hariton understood that the pursuit-party of bashi-bazouks and Circassians sent after the insurgents had started to surround the monastery. Under these circumstances the detachment decided to stay inside and organize circular defense. Despite the Turks were significantly superior in number of troops and portable firearms and had also two modern German Krupp guns, from April 29 to May 7, 1876 the rebels successfully struggled in defense and offered adamant resistance rejecting the Turkish proposals to surrender. In these nine-day fights in the ruins of the entirely destroyed Dryanovo Monastery and in its vicinities 137 rebels got killed, the seriously wounded leader Priest Hariton included. From those who managed to escape after the break-trough of the siege in the night of May 8, 55 rebels in total, nine were subsequently captured and killed, the famous Bacho Kiro Petrov among them.

After the Liberation of Bulgaria these cherished victims on the altar of freedom were not forgotten. As early as during the war by the order of Nedyu Zhekov who was appointed governor of Dryanovo and Tryavna a full list of the participants in Priest Hariton’s detachment was made and the bones of all rebels who had been killed in the battles at the Dtryanovo Monastery were gathered. In 1880 the destroyed monastery was restored. On the initiative of the Tărnovo District Council in 1895 a decision was taken that the feat of the heroes from the Dryanovo Epopee of 1876 should be immortalized by a monument-ossuary in the yard of the monastery where their bones should be laid. The project was commissioned to the Italian architecture Giovanni Musutti who at that time worked for the Tărnovo municipality. The monument-ossuary was built of white stone. The figure of the insurgent was made of white marble by the sculptor Luca Argini in Rome. The monument was officially consecrated on May 8, 1897.

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