A monument to a dying warrior, head bowed over his weapon, has admired Europe for more than a century

There are hundreds of monuments to heroes from different eras in the old capital of Vidin and the region, BTA informs.

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Some of them are over a century old and have preserved their grandeur over time. Their luster has faded due to the negligent attitude of their owners, but it’s nice to have them. Because there are not one or two monuments that fell “without a fight” because of the political situation – they were destroyed or moved to another place.

In its history, Vidin is a typical example of the attitude of the Bulgarians towards the monuments of their heroes – often forgotten, sometimes insulted and destroyed, third times vandalized and sent for scrap.

94 are the military monuments in the Vidin region, included in the National Register of Military Monuments, published on the website of the Vidin Regional Administration.

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The initiative to build these monuments in the Vidin region arose after the Serbo-Bulgarian war in 1885. It belongs to the participants in the war. In the city of Vidin and the region, a large part of the monuments are dedicated to the Serbian-Bulgarian war, says historian Zahari Zahariev.

Among them, that of the “Mourning Warrior” stands out, where every year on September 6 – the Day of Unification, citizens of Vidin pay tribute to the heroes who created a united and indivisible Bulgaria.

The classics of Bulgarian sculpture have met over time in Vidin, and each in his own way has recreated significant personalities, ideas and plastic avant-garde solutions that have remained for generations. Such are the monument to the “Mourning Warrior”, erected in 1911, the work of Andrey Nikolov and Arnaldo Dzoki, and that of the Third Bdin Regiment by Ivan Lazarov.

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The idea for the monument to those who died in the Serbo-Bulgarian War came from the officers of the Third Infantry Regiment of Bdino. In 1909, the Vidin community entrusted its creation to the sculptor Andrey Nikolov, and the funds for the construction were collected from donations from officers, charitable societies, public organizations and citizens.

On November 15, 1911, the monument to the “Mourning Warrior” was solemnly opened in the central square of Vidin.

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In the thirties of the last century, the Vidin officers and veterans of the Society of Fighters from the Front took the initiative to erect another monument to perpetuate the military exploits of the people of Bdin. A Construction Committee and a Fund for the construction of the monument were established.

This led to the construction of a monument to the people of Bdin who died in the wars, which stands on the square in Vidin, at the place of the “Mourning Warrior”, which turned out to be not majestic enough for the bravery of the Bulgarian wars. The monument, 32 years after its opening, was moved in 1943 in front of the train station in Vidin, where it remains to this day.

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The unique military monument of a dying warrior, head bowed over his weapon, has admired Europe for more than a century. His story is even more interesting and strange. The monument is also an ossuary of the Bulgarian soldiers who died in the Serbo-Bulgarian War in 1885 from the Third Bdin Regiment, Vidin historian Zahari Zahariev says.

It depicts the grenadier – a Bulgarian soldier who has just fired his last cartridge in the fratricidal war. Vidin was besieged, a fierce battle was fought to capture the fortress, which preserved its integrity, and thus the city remained within the borders of the Bulgarian state, the historian recalls.

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In honor of those who died in the defense of Vidin, Belogradchik, Trun and Slivnitsa and in memory of the heroes who took part in the capture of Pirot in November 1885, the citizens of Vidin erected the monument to the “Mourning Warrior”, depicting the Bulgarian fighter who does not celebrate the victory, but regrets for this fratricidal war.

He does not feel the joy of the winner, because he has realized the meaninglessness of every single war, adds Zahariev.

The history of this monument is curious, says the historian who studied the documents preserved to this day about the construction of this unique monument not only for Bulgaria, but also for Europe.

The figure of the soldier was originally sculpted from plaster by the great sculptor Andrey Nikolov. Years passed before she and the bas-reliefs were transported from his studio in Sofia by train to Ruse, by boat across the Danube to Giurgiu in Romania and from there again by train to Paris, where in 1886, they were cast in bronze by the Italian master foundry. Arnoldo Dzoki.

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The return journey of the figure and the bas-reliefs turns out to be much longer in time. It is not known how they were brought to the Romanian city of Calafat, but they stayed there for a whole year. It turns out that transporting the figure and the bas-reliefs across the Danube is difficult and expensive, Zahariev said.

There are Vidin fishermen who voluntarily transport them across the river. For this purpose, they fixed a platform on several boats and managed to land the entire composition on the Vidin coast. She was taken to a safe place in the barracks of the Third Infantry Regiment of Bdin, where she again served nearly a year, according to the documents stored in the State Archives-Vidin.

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The foundation stone of the monument was laid in 1908. For a long time, an initiative committee collected donations from the citizens for the erection of the pedestal, and on November 15, 1911, the monument was opened in the central Vidin square, adds Zahari Zahariev to his story.

To this day, a letter from the famous English military journalist Berlin, dedicated to the Vidin monument, has been preserved.

Berlin, who visited Vidin in 1919, wrote: “Bulgaria has a monument to victories, the likes of which cannot be found anywhere in enlightened Europe. The dying grenadier, although victorious, regrets the fratricidal war with the Serbs. Only the Bulgarian is capable of this self-denial… “

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In 1930, the rulers of Vidin decided that this monument shows us that the figure is not militant, mobilizing, does not arouse patriotism, and therefore it should be removed. There are sober-minded people who appreciate the value of the soldier’s monument.

They created a Committee for the Protection of the Sad Warrior, Zahari Zahariev continues his story. Frightened by public opinion, the rulers decided not to destroy it, but to move it from the central Vidin square in front of the railway station, where it is still today.

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The fate of the “Mourning Warrior” monument has not been better in the years since its relocation.

During the time of socialism, the monument was forgotten, few citizens placed flowers next to it. This period of Bulgaria’s history is not talked about in the name of good neighborly relations with the former Yugoslavia.

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After 1989, the monument regained its glory. Every year, the Day of the Unification and Independence of Bulgaria is celebrated in front of it. The appreciative generation pays tribute to the brave Bulgarian soldiers who gave their lives for the freedom of the motherland.

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