Opalchentsi were Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

n voluntary army units, who took part in the Serbo-Turkish War of 1876 and the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878. The people in these units were called opalchenets-pobornik (опълченец-поборник) meaning "volunteer combatant".

The Bulgarian voluntary army units for the Russo-Turkish War were gathered after the manifesto
A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds. Manifestos may also be life stance-related.-Etymology:...

 of Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

, announcing the War. The meeting point of the Bulgarian volunteers in Russia was the town of Samara
Samara, Russia
Samara , is the sixth largest city in Russia. It is situated in the southeastern part of European Russia at the confluence of the Volga and Samara Rivers. Samara is the administrative center of Samara Oblast. Population: . The metropolitan area of Samara-Tolyatti-Syzran within Samara Oblast...

. The Bulgarian Opalchentsi were given the Samara flag
Samara flag
The Samara flag is one of the most important military symbols of the Bulgarian Army. Sewed by local nuns and given to the Bulgarian volunteers in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 by the citizens of the Russian city of Samara on 18 May 1877, it became famous when it was heroically prevented from...

 bearing the images of the Holy Mother
Mary (mother of Jesus)
Mary , commonly referred to as "Saint Mary", "Mother Mary", the "Virgin Mary", the "Blessed Virgin Mary", or "Mary, Mother of God", was a Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee...

 and Saints Cyril and Methodius
Saints Cyril and Methodius
Saints Cyril and Methodius were two Byzantine Greek brothers born in Thessaloniki in the 9th century. They became missionaries of Christianity among the Slavic peoples of Bulgaria, Great Moravia and Pannonia. Through their work they influenced the cultural development of all Slavs, for which they...

 (the flag is kept in the National Museum of Military History in Sofia). The Opalchentsi took an active part in the Second and Fourth Battle of Shipka Pass and after the end of the war went on to form Bulgaria's army
Military of Bulgaria
The Military of Bulgaria, officially the Bulgarian Army represents the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria. The Commander-in-Chief is the President of Bulgaria . The Ministry of Defence is in charge of political leadership while military command remains in the hands of the General Staff,...


One of the poems in Ivan Vazov
Ivan Vazov
Ivan Minchov Vazov was a Bulgarian poet, novelist and playwright, often referred to as "the Patriarch of Bulgarian literature". He was born in Sopot, a town in the Rose Valley of Bulgaria ....

's Epic of the Forgotten
Epic of the Forgotten
Epic of the Forgotten is a Bulgarian poetic saga written by Ivan Vazov to commemorate the Bulgarian fight for freedom against the Ottoman Empire and to criticize the moral decline of the Bulgarian nation after the Liberation, in comparison to the heroic figures and events of the then recent past...

, namely "Opalchentsite na Shipka", is dedicated to them. Opalchenie Peak
Opalchenie Peak
Opalchenie Peak is the peak rising to 4500 m at the south extremity of Vinson Plateau, Sentinel Range in Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica. It has precipitous and partly ice-free south slopes, and is of low prominence except to the south, where two parallel ridges descend steeply southwestwards...

 in Vinson Massif
Vinson Massif
Vinson Massif is the highest mountain of Antarctica, lying in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains, which stand above the Ronne Ice Shelf near the base of the Antarctic Peninsula. The massif is located about from the South Pole and is about long and wide. At the highest point is Mount...

, Antarctica is named after the Bulgarian Volunteer Force in the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War and the Macedonian-Adrianople Volunteer Force in the 1912-1913 Balkan Wars.
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