The former battlefield is converted into an open museum – the National Park Museum “Shipka”. It was created in October, 1956 and covers the area of historic sites related to the defence of the Shipka pass during the Russo – Turkish war of 1877 / 1878. It consists of a complex of monuments, reconstructions of battle positions, batteries and dug – outs. The first monuments are Russian and are built in the period 1878 – 1881. The Bulgarian monuments on the battlefield are dedicated to the Third and Fifth Volunteer corps (1910) and the Monument of Liberty on the mount St. Nicola (now mount Shipka), opened in 1934. Annually on the 3rd of March and trough August, thousands of Bulgarians gather, to honor the memory of the fallen heroes and to celebrate the victory, that gave birth to the freedom of Bulgaria.
On the ground floor of the memorial monument, under a marble sarcophagus with four lying lions, are kept the bones of the defenders of Shipka. In front of the sarcophagus stand still on an eternal vigil the stone figures of a Russian soldier and a Bulgarian volunteer. The exposition, located on the upper seven floors of the monument, reveals the heroism of Russians and Bulgarians during the five-month defence of the pass. It includes a rich collection of decorations and medals, photographs and documents, personal belongings of the participants in the fighting and weapons. There is also a copy of the Samara flag – the first battle flag of the Bulgarian volunteers. From the uppermost platform is unveiled a panoramic view of the countryside with the restored batteries, trenches, marked battle positions, monuments and common graves, which preserved the memory of the heroism and sacrifice of the Shipka heroes.
Translation Yordan Georgiev - trainee