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Ottoman Rule

In the course of almost four decades the Bulgarian people were fighting against the ruthless hordes of the Ottoman Turks but could not preserve their state. The enemy was too strong and the disunity among the Christians additionally contributed to the success of the Muslim conqueror. The long night of foreign domination fell on the Bulgarian lands. It brought with it the oblivion of national belonging, the forcible conversion, the lack of education and the sharp cultural and economic regress.

And yet the sparkle of people’s memory did nod fade away. The small churches, dug into earth, the monks and the well-to-do people, the craft guilds and different societies, the common people who left behind an inscription or a marginal note kept the Bulgarian lineal memory and the values of the Christian faith. No help came along, no hope came into view and yet the Bulgarian spirit did survive to shoot up from the black soil of yoke.

As the years went by the powerful Ottoman Empire declined while processes of national and cultural emancipation developed among the dependent peoples. The moderate in size “History of the Slavs and Bulgarians” by Paisii Hilendarski awakened the sleeping national feelings of the Bulgarians and made them become aware as one people, one nation. This new energy gave incredible strength for the search of national identity. The struggle for independent Bulgarian church, separated from the influence if the Constantinople Patriarchy, the efforts for the creation of modern Bulgarian school logically led to the idea of national independence. The revolutionary movement was a result of the endeavors of thousands of priests opposing the Greek clergy in temples and monasteries, of thousands of teachers and cultural figures who spread Bulgarian language and called for awakening. The genius of Vasil Levski and Hristo Botev, the self-sacrifice of the April insurgents, the feat of arms of the Bulgarian volunteers at Mount Shipka – all that was set up on a peculiar pyramid built up by the people’s pursuit of liberty and restoration of statehood.