"FREEDOM" for the locals, embroidered by sisters Mitsa and Kalitsa

Learn more about the first Vratsa flag "Freedom"!

Only the word "Freedom" was embroidered on the flag of the Vrachan co-conspirators from the time of the April Uprising. And if the motto of the rebels was usually "Freedom or death", the two sisters Mitsa and Kalitsa chose to put only one of them. This means that there was no other alternative for the Vrachans and they were sure that the freedom of Bulgaria would be won.

The valuable exhibit can be seen in the halls of the Regional History Museum in Vratsa. Here is the curious story about the sewing and saving of the flag, told on the site: https://kartanavremeto-vratsa.org/ and published by Nikolay Doinov in the collection "From the Danube to the Balkans".

The cowshed gate half-opened slowly, silently, just enough to disturb the treacherous, slave soul who sensed that something was happening in Vratsa. It was early - the shutters of the shops were down. The cobblestone streets are deserted.

The second time, that day, the gate of the inn swung wide back. They were led by the daughters of Hadji Krastyo h. Vasilov – Mitsa and Kalitsa. They were led through the bazaar around noon. The guildmates gaped in astonishment.

- You bought an atlas today from the foremother. You have taken a lot, and different in color. For what?

– I sew bodices for maidens and brides from the villages, kaymakam effendi. Different people - they want them differently: white, green, blue!

* * *

A city was preparing for rebellion. Property and cattle were staked for a rifle. From the first timid co-conspirators, who carried in their souls a flaming coal from the fiery word of the Apostle on that dark August evening of 1872, under the shadow of the Balkans, now had grown a whole revolutionary organization. In a secret room in Iota Savova's house, bullets were pouring, firecrackers were shrinking. The revolutionary intoxication had covered everyone, so that determination had already become audacity, and faith in the success of the people's work - the work of tomorrow.

A flag was also needed. And the committee decided: sisters Mitsa and Kalitsa will sew it. White, green and blue satin fabric, embroidered raging lion and "LIBERTY". In a secluded little room of their father's house, from early in the morning until late at night, the two sisters sewed and embroidered. Only the most trusted knew about it and stopped by often. The lion has already "stood up". The cherished word "FREEDOM" remained. One spring day in 1876, the last tinsel thread came down from the needle, writing with a fine stitch directly on the lower edge of the flag: "Kalitsa and Mitsa K. H. Vasilovi. 1876. Apr. 12 Go back.”

Late in the night of May 18-19, 1876, the streets of the city heard a noise unknown until then, gunshots rang out. The fire broke the darkness of the night and illuminated the unfurled flag. Insurgents flocked to the Church of the Ascension from everywhere. It became cramped and stuffy in the overcrowded temple. Bareheaded, bristling, they all kissed the cold steel of the dagger and pishtova, the gilded cross in the trembling hand of priest Kosta Buyukliyski and the dear pennant, with the same trepidation with which they uttered the word FREEDOM.

And in Srednohoriete, the fires of the April rebellion were burning. The bloody suppressors of the uprising went north, towards the Danube, to meet the belated help - Botev's squad. The Vratsa insurgents retreated before the numerous regular Turkish army. Thirty-three Bulgarians died that day from the scimitars of the Turks.

In the troubled days for the city, Mitsa and Kalitsa put the flag away and hid it between the roof tiles in their father's house.

The hope for freedom remained in the thirsty souls of the Bulgarians, and in the Turks - the suspicion that the daughters of Hadji Krastyo were engaged in Komit affairs. And they were not late in going home. Two uninvited strangers entered the yard. One stayed downstairs and the other went up to the ceiling. And tarnished. The sisters shuddered – the accursed Turk was approaching the hidden flag. They just looked at each other for a moment and agreed: one of them went downstairs, circled around the fence in the yard, talked to him and he just called the other. At that time, the flag was moved to the already searched part of the roof.

The Turkish sisters outwitted this time as well. Hadji Krastyo got scared. It is not a good thing if Turks hang around his house and peep into the basements and attics. His house will burn some night, his family will perish. He called his daughters and ordered: burn the flag! And the father's word is not broken!

Mitsa and Kalitsa "obeyed" their father's command: they took an old silk garment, threw it into the hearth, and when it caught fire, they called him.

- Here, it burned!

And the flag, sewn into an old, useless diaper, hung draped over a long pole under the shed in the yard.


Late afternoon on October 28, 1877, the commander of the detachment that liberated Vratsa, Major General Nikolay Stepanovich Leonov I, entered the newly liberated city with his headquarters. He was greeted by the jubilant Bulgarian population. The intoxication was indescribable. Freedom after five hundred years of slavery! Russian officers also visited the family of Hadji Krastyo Kh. Vasilov. The festive table was rich and noisy, but it was heavy on the pilgrim's soul: cursed slave fear! To make his daughters burn the flag!

And the clever sisters thought of it: they made the little boy take the flag out of his diaper, nail it to a long pole, raise it and call them. When everything was ready they invited their household and guests to come out.

In the middle of the yard, high above everyone, was waving the flag of the Vrachan co-conspirators. The Russian officers asked that the precious relic be removed. Everyone kissed him, hugged him and cried for joy.


Share this landmark with friends


What are you looking for?

Don't forget to visit: