From the “Bridge of the First Shot” to the “Place of the Scimitar Charge”, there’s hardly a part of Koprivshtitsa that isn’t named after an episode or participant in the April Rising of 1876, a meticulously planned grassroots revolution against Ottoman control that failed within days because the organizers had vastly overestimated their support. Neighbouring towns were burned by the Bashibazouks – the irregular troops recruited by the Turks to put the rebels in their place – and refugees flooded into Koprivshtitsa, spreading panic. The rebels eventually took to the hills while local traders bribed the Bashibazouks to spare the village – and so Koprivshtitsa survived unscathed, to be admired by subsequent generations as a symbol of heroism. Although the home-grown Bulgarian revolution failed, the barbarity of the Turkish reprisals outraged the international community and led to the 1877–88 War of Liberation which won freedom for Bulgaria from over five hundred years of Ottoman rule.

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