site.btaTraces of Bulgarian History in a Romanian City

Traces of Bulgarian History in a Romanian City
Traces of Bulgarian History in a Romanian City
33, Nicolae Balcescu Str. with the memorial plaque paying tribute to Bulgarian national hero Hristo Botev who lived here in 1871 and 1872, Galati, Romania, June 21, 2024 (BTA Photo/Martina Gancheva)

In the turbulent 19th century, the Romanian city of Galati was home to Bulgarian revolutionaries. Among them was poet, freedom fighter and Bulgarian national hero Hristo Botev.

Traces of that time can be found at 33, Nicolae Bulcescu Street. Here once stood a Bulgarian school. It was established in 1858 in the courtyard of what was then the Bulgarian Church of St. Panteleimon under the leadership of Archimandrite Maxim Raykovic - the first Bulgarian priest and teacher in Galati, and founder of the church. 

In 1871-1872, Hristo Botev lived in the school, invited by his friend Veliko Popov who was a teacher at the time.

Today the building is deserted, but a memorial plaque on the facade remembers those long-gone times. The memorial plaque reads, "In 1871-1872 the great Bulgarian poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev, born 1848 and died 1876, lived in this house". 

In 2019, students from the German-language school in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas and a partner school in Galati re-painted the letters on the memorial plaque but the fresh paint has since washed off from half of the letters. The house has been abandoned in oblivion and its yard is fenced with barbed wire. 

By contrast, the gate to the yard of the former Bulgarian church is wide open. It was built in 1861 by the then numerous Bulgarian community that emigrated to Wallachia during the Ottoman rule, taking advantage of the opportunities for economic and spiritual development provided by the autonomy that Wallachia was granted by the High Porte. The church was built on a property owned by the Bulgarian community in Galati, which has since melted down. There is no Bulgarian left in the parish of the church.

Figs and roses grow in front of the church, reminding of Bulgarian summers. The church was closed on an early weekday afternoon but a random passerby stood at the front and began to pray. Right next to him was a large memorial plaque, commemorating Archimandrite Maxim Raykovic who died here. He was born on 1801 in the town of Dryanovo, and died on February 25, 1874 in Galati.  

The inscription on the back of the plaque reads, "Archimandrite Maxim Raykovich was the first Bulgarian priest and teacher in Galati, the first and most important founder of this Bulgarian Church of St. Panteleimon. He spent and donated all his property in his homeland and here for spiritual and educational purposes. His whole life was spent in tireless toil for the good of his brothers". 

Beneath the memorial plaque are the remains of Maxim Raykovich after they were brought here from the city cemetery on June 12, 1916. 







By 18:45 on 21.07.2024 Today`s news

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