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Byala Cherkva

Post code: 5220
Intl dial code: +359 06134

Byala Cherkva

St. James Church
St. James Church

The territory of Byala Cherkva still bears the marks of antiquity when Thracian tribes settled here, attracted by the fertile and beautiful land.

The later inhabitants of the region - Romans, Slavs, Proto-Bulgarians and Ottoman Turks - left a heritage of fortresses, settlements, monasteries, antique furnaces for structural clay products, roads, coins, votive tablets, ornaments and tools. The Roman road from Nicopolis ad Istrum (the village of Nikyup) to Melta (Lovech) and Serdica (Sofia) passed through the area.

The first settlement - Belinska Byala Cherkva - emerged on the other bank of the Rositsa River, in the area Selishte. The legend says that its inhabitants took part in the first uprising against the Ottoman rule - the Tarnovo Uprising in 1598, after which the Turks burnt down the settlement.

The present Byala Cherkva was founded on the site of the small village of Mourad Bey, which was founded by Turkish colonizers in c. 15 to bring an economic revival to the landed estate, donated to an Ottoman feudal lord. Christians from the destroyed medieval settlement Belinska Byala Cherkva and from the neighbouring villages settled here in c. 16 and 17. The Bulgarians gradually became the largest part of the population. The name Byala Cherkva was restored after the National Liberation in 1878.

During the National Revival period, the village had a spiritual upsurge connected with the struggle for independence of the Bulgarian Church from the Greek Patriarchate and liberation from the Ottoman rule.

The inhabitants of Byala Cherkva built the first church - St James' - in 1832, building into it pillars from the antique town Nicopolis ad Istrum. A second church, which still exists, was built in 1866. One of the sources through which that time's ideas reached the village was a copy of Paissiy's History. The first cell school (a primitive semi-religious school) in the village was opened in 1835. A new school building was built in 1858, and the first secondary school in the region was opened in 1874.

The revolutionary and cultural worker Bacho Kiro founded in Byala Cherkva the first village cultural club in Bulgaria in 1869, and the first travelling theatrical company in Bulgaria in the following year.

The inhabitants of Byala Cherkva took active part in the struggles for national liberation. A revolutionary committee presided by Bacho Kiro was founded here in 1872 and serious preparation for an uprising started. 101 rebels under the command of Bacho Kiro went to the gathering point in the village of Mousina during the April Uprising in 1876, where a detachment was formed under the command of Priest Hariton, Petar Parmakov, Hristo Karaminkov and Bacho Kiro. The detachment (of over 200 people) was defeated after nine days' heroic fighting with the Turks in Dryanovo Monastery. 75 young men from Byala Cherkva fell dead among the ruins of the monastery. Bacho Kiro managed to escape, but was caught later and was brought to trial in an Ottoman court. He was hanged on 28 May 1876. Three inhabitants of Byala Cherkva fought in the detachment of another revolutionary leader - Hristo Botev - in 1876.

Byala Cherkva met liberty on 24 June (old style) 1877. Economic and cultural progress began. The teacher Nikola Bakev founded a subdivision of the Bulgarian. Social-Democratic Party in 1895, and Tsanko Tserkovski founded a Youth Educational Society, which lay the beginning of the organized agrarian political movement in Bulgaria.

The main livelihood of the population is agriculture and vine-growing. The first threshing machine was brought into Byala Cherkva as early as 1900, and another 108 followed – as many as in the whole Northern Bulgaria. A vine-growers' association was set up in 1903, and the Zashtita (Protection) Credit Cooperative - one of the first in the country - was established in 1905. The village was supplied with water and electricity in 1922. There were a mixed secondary school, a pedagogical institute and a school for carters and smiths here in the twenties of c. 20.

Byala Cherkva was the birthplace of great Bulgarians - Bacho Kiro, Tsanko Tserkovski, Raiko Daskalov, and the eminent Bulgarian historian Prof. Alexander Bourmov.

There is a Monument to Liberty, with the names of the inhabitants of Byala Cherkva who fought in the wars written on it, erected at the centre of the settlement.

Byala Cherkva was proclaimed a town in 1976 in honour of the 100th anniversary of the April Uprising. The grateful generations have erected 11 monuments and put up 94 memorial plaques. 4 museums tell the history of the settlement.



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