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Dryanovo MonasteryThe Dryanovo Monastery of the Holy Archangel Michael is at a distance of 4 km from Dryanovo and 32 km from Veliko Turnovo, in the gorge of the Dryanovska Reka River. Founded in the early 12th century, throughout its history of many centuries it had repeatedly been destroyed and ravaged by the Turks. On its present-day site it was built in 1845. The big monastery church is from 1861. During the April 1876 Uprising, the monastery was damaged by fire and destruction. It was rebuilt in 1889. In the years of Ottoman rule it had been one of the major book depositories and literary centres in the Bulgarian lands. The Dryanovo Monastery was among the spiritual strongholds of the Bulgarian people, where they found refuge in the obscure years of Ottoman domination. Here in this monastery, Vassil Levski and Matei Preobrazhenski, the two great patriots, established the headquarters for the preparation of the people’s revolt in the Turnovo revolutionary district. When the April Uprising broke out in the spring of 1876, one of the most heroic pages of the Bulgarian people’s struggle for national liberation was written in the Dryanovo Monastery. For nine days and nights, about 200 rebels, members of a rebel detachment, led by Priest Hariton, popular teacher Bacho Kiro and military commander Petur Parmakov, encircled by hordes of irregulars and regular Turkish troops, defended themselves in the monastery. On May 1, by an unlucky chance a barrel of explosives burst and Priest Hariton was burnt and lost his sight. The attacks continued. On the suggestion to surrender, the rebels answered by a letter, written by Bach Kiro: “Pasha, we demand from the government to recognize our rights as a people and until that happens, we shall not surrender alive into the hands of you torturers; we have decided to die and we shall keep our pledge! And you will be responsible to Europe for your tyrannies…” After fierce battles, the monastery was destroyed and put to fire, the detachment was crushed, Priest Hariton died together with most of the insurgents. Some 47 people survived, among which also Bacho Kiro. Captured after some time, he took all the guilt on himself; he was condemned to death and hanged in Turnovo.

 

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