Dimitraki Hadzhitoshev Museum

Dimitraki Hadzhitoshev is one of the most intriguing personalities of the Bulgarian Revival, whom most Bulgarians have never heard of. Don't miss the chance to learn about his life and martyrdom and pay a visit to his house, which is part of Vratsa ethnographic Compound.

Dimitraki Hadzhitoshev was born in 1780 in Vratsa, to the eminent Hadzhiyski family that played a particularly important role in the economic, social and political life throughout North-western Bulgaria during the Revival period. In the early 19th century Dimitraki Hadzhitoshev was a well-known manufacturer and trader, having spread his operation to Wallachia, Serbia, Austria, and even Italy and Russia. He commanded a great deal of influence both among the Turkish administration and among the Bulgarian locals. As the museum represents him, "a guardian who was rather different to those lionised by our national folklore: instead of hiding in the forests, he strutted around Vratsa's commercial district and commanded respect with the tyrant."

During Hadzhitoshev's time, Vratsa became an important administrative, commercial and educational centre. Through letters to the official authorities in Constantinople, local activists managed to have the Turkish Governor replaced five times until they got someone they approved: something unheard of across Bulgarian-populated lands up until then.

In 1824, for the first time in occupied Bulgaria, Hadzhitoshev stood up against the Greek Metropolitan (Hilarion of Crete in Tarnovo), demanding that he be replaced by the Bulgarian Bishop, Gavrail Bistrichanin. This courageous act commenced the struggle for an independent Bulgarian church, which grew into a nationwide movement and ended up with the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate in Constantinople. Hadzhitoshev was also a trustee of the Vratsa Bishopric and a benefactor of the largest Bulgarian monasteries, e.g. Rila, Khilendar, and Zograf, as well as of several churches.

Influenced by Sofronii Vrachanski's cause, Hadzhitoshev was also among the initiators of the first Zambin-Nekovich diplomatic mission to Russia in 1804 during the National Revival.

An avid Russophile, Dimitraki Hadzhitoshev provided valuable intelligence to the Russian troops command during the Russo-Turkish War of 1806-1812. On the eve of the following Russo-Turkish War (1828-1829), he even dared to agitate the locals to assist the Russian troops with the aim of achieving Bulgarian national liberation. For the same purpose, he built a tower with turrets and a weapon store in his estate near Kunino. But his preparations did not go unnoticed by the Ottoman authorities. The Greek bishops were also working against him and all this led to his arrest. In 1827 the Sultan issued a farman for his beheading. On April 24, 1827 Hadzhitoshev was slaughtered near Vidin.

Bereaved by the death of their patron in those troubled times, the locals immortalised his deeds in a folk song.

Useful information:

See the info about Ethnographic and National Revival Compound "St. Sofronii Vrachanski"

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