“Welcome to the celebration of our city of Plovdiv on the day of the 137th anniversary of the brightest event in modern Bulgarian history – the Unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia on September 6, 1885.
The hateful sentence of the Berlin Treaty, which artificially tears the entire Bulgarian people apart through violent borders, has been condemned by reason and history from the very beginning. We Plovdiv residents are proud that the idea to oppose the Berlin Treaty was first born in Plovdiv. The national pulse has been beating strongest here since the time of the church struggles. The memory of the Turkish atrocities during the April Uprising is incurable here.
And on this population, which has been on edge since the time of the massacres in Batak and Perushtitsa, Europe wants to impose an Ottoman valya as a guard in the Balkans. Plovdiv is not satisfied with the title of the capital of the fictional Eastern Rumelia, but once again becomes a symbol of the Bulgarian spirit and longing for unification. For the people of Plovdiv, it is not important to be from the capital, but to be Bulgarian. That is why Eastern Rumelia is called “Second Bulgaria” in Europe.
Already in the first years after Liberation, Bulgarians showed that they did not trust their political parties without reservation. Therefore, in the years of trial, the people find another means to protect their home and the opportunities for progress – national unification.
Then, when their permanent interests are questioned, the Bulgarians build a strong united body and achieve their great victories in a new era. Therefore, the label “Unificationists” of the largest party in Eastern Rumelia was soon, due to its cowardice, changed to “false Unionists”, and in the hot months of 1885, the idea of Unification gripped the minds and hearts of the Bulgarians.
The revolutions were conceived by the romantics and the spiritual elite of the young nation gathered in Plovdiv raised the flag of the Union. In the words of the national poet Ivan Vazov, at that moment Bulgaria felt young, idealistic, capable of great self-sacrifice. This life-giving breath of cheerfulness and faith touches all corners of the people’s soul and elevates it to the greatness of fateful events.
The years after the Berlin Congress show that a peaceful way out of the division of the Bulgarians is impossible. Therefore, at the beginning of February 1885, the revolutionary activists gathered in Plovdiv accepted the inevitability of violent revolution. The preparations for the Unification resemble the popular agitation before the April Uprising. Any revolution that does not take place in morals and ideas is doomed to failure.
We are proud not only of the romanticism of our ancestors in Plovdiv 137 years ago, of their daring in pursuit of the great goal, but also of their wisdom. The Bulgarians do not have the experience of the French or other European revolutions, but they show enviable tactical maturity.
Historical sources testify that the Prime Minister Petko Karavelov, the Speaker of the National Assembly Stefan Stambolov and Prince Alexander First were informed about the popular movement in Rumelia in the summer of 1885. The change of rulers must be sudden and unexpected. A revolution delayed by a day may never happen.
The act of Unification is a recklessness, an audacious display of a people who do not even think for a moment that they are violating the dictates of the Great Powers. In Europe, even in the following days, the events were called the Plovdiv Revolution, because the most indisputable feature of the revolution was the direct intervention of the people in the historical events.
And the Bulgarians on both sides of the Balkans support their Union with all their heart and soul.
The words of the regional governor, Gavril Krastevich, when he was informed at dawn on September 6 that the people and the army had announced the end of Eastern Rumelia and the union with the Principality remain memorable. He is a high official of the Ottoman Empire, but he declares: “Unification! Yes, gentlemen, I am also Bulgarian and I am for the Union!” And with just one telegram to the High Gate in Constantinople, he could have changed the course of Bulgarian history!
And so, as Levski showed his extreme modesty and declared that he did not want power and posts after the Liberation, after September 6, 1885, the apostles of the Union, with the feeling that they had finished their historical mission, withdrew with dignity from the hot scene of events . The next day, the Bulgarian prince Alexander the First, faced with the dilemma of whether to take the crown of the united fatherland or the road to Darmstadt, replied: “I choose the road to Plovdiv and if God loves Bulgaria, he will protect me and her!” The defense of the Union became the destiny of the most worthy statesmen and the young Bulgarian captains, who, after the treacherous retreat of the foreign officers, took command of the army.
And in just three months in the fall of 1885, the new positive image of the Bulgarians and their restored state was being built in Europe. And God is on the side of the holy cause of the Bulgarians”.