Samara flag
The Samara flag is one of the most important military symbols of the Bulgarian 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,...

. Sewed by local nuns and given to the Bulgarian volunteers
Opalchentsi were Bulgarian 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 meaning "volunteer combatant"....

 in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 by the citizens of the Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n city 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...

 on 18 May 1877, it became famous when it was heroically prevented from being captured by the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 forces in the Battle of Stara Zagora, with many soldiers perishing while protecting it from the enemy.

The flag, a tricolour
A tricolour is a flag or banner more-or-less equally divided into three bands of differing colours...

 1.85 × 1.90 m in size, was sewed from thin silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

 cloth and has the pan-Slavic colours
Pan-Slavic colours
The Pan-Slavic colors, red, blue and white, are colors used on the flags of some Slavic peoples and states in which the majority of inhabitants possess a Slavic background. Their use symbolizes the common origin of the Slavic peoples...

 (red, white, blue). Icons of the Holy Mother of God and Cyril and Methodius were drawn on it in a golden cross by the Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 artist Nikolay Simakov. It has a silver point designed by Graf Rochefort. The flag, originally intended for the rebels of the April Uprising
April Uprising
The April Uprising was an insurrection organised by the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire from April to May 1876, which indirectly resulted in the re-establishment of Bulgaria as an autonomous nation in 1878...

, was handed to the Bulgarians
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

 near Ploieşti
Ploiești is the county seat of Prahova County and lies in the historical region of Wallachia in Romania. The city is located north of Bucharest....

 on 18 May, having been transported through Chişinău
Chișinău is the capital and largest municipality of Moldova. It is also its main industrial and commercial centre and is located in the middle of the country, on the river Bîc...

, where it was on 1 May. A delegation from the city of Samara, headed by Efim Kozhevnikov and Pyotr Alabin, handed the Samara flag to the volunteers in a special ceremony, with the flag being nailed using gold nails to its pole. The last nail was nailed by the old voyvoda Tseko Petkov, a leader of a band in the Troyan
Troyan is a town in Lovech Province in central Bulgaria with population of 21,997 inhabitants, as of December 2009,. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Troyan Municipality. The town is about 160 km away from the country capital Sofia. The nearest civilian airport is Gorna...

 part of the Balkan Mountains
Balkan Mountains
The Balkan mountain range is a mountain range in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. The Balkan range runs 560 km from the Vrashka Chuka Peak on the border between Bulgaria and eastern Serbia eastward through central Bulgaria to Cape Emine on the Black Sea...

 for 30 years, who, with his fur cap taken off and with his eyes fixed at the sky, exclaimed:
His words were followed by a storm of cheers and a cap toss.

The flag, entrusted to the third battalion of the Bulgarian volunteer corps, was part of the battles at Stara Zagora
Stara Zagora
Stara Zagora is the sixth largest city in Bulgaria, and a nationally important economic center. Located in Southern Bulgaria, it is the administrative capital of the homonymous Stara Zagora Province...

 and Nova Zagora
Nova Zagora
Nova Zagora is a town located in the southeastern plains of Bulgaria in Sliven Province. It is the administrative centre of Nova Zagora Municipality. As of December 2009, the town has a population of 23,625 inhabitants , while the entire municipality has a population of 45,111. The first traces...

, where a number of colour-bearers perished protecting it (including Lieutenant-Colonel Pavel Kalitin), as well as the Battles of Shipka Pass and Sheynovo.

The Samara flag, initially kept in Radomir
Radomir is a town in the Pernik Province of Bulgaria with a population of about 16,503. It is located at .- History :The town was first mentioned in a 15th-century source as Uradmur. The current form appears for the first time in a source from 1488...

 from where its last bearer Pavel Korchev descended, was housed in the royal palace in Sofia
Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria and the 12th largest city in the European Union with a population of 1.27 million people. It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of Mount Vitosha and approximately at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula.Prehistoric settlements were excavated...

 (now the National Art Gallery
National Art Gallery (Bulgaria)
The National Art Gallery is Bulgaria's national gallery and houses over 50,000 pieces of Bulgarian art. It is located on Battenberg Square in the capital city of Sofia, occupying most of the historic and imposing edifice of the former royal palace of Bulgaria, having been established in 1934 and...

) between 1881 and 1946, when it was transferred to the National Museum of Military History (NMMH). It has remained there ever since, preserved in a chamber under special conditions.

Two copies of the flag were made in 1958, one of which was sent to the Central Military Museum in Russia. Another two were made afterwards, one of which in 1978 in the NMMH restoration workshop by Mihail Maletski. The nuns of the Russian-founded Knyazhevo Nunnery of the Shroud of the Most Holy Mother of God gave the NMMH another precise copy made by them in 2006.

The Samara flag is the only flag awarded the Bulgarian Medal for Bravery, the medal being implanted in its pole's richly decorated point. The flag has been portrayed numerous times by noted artists, the most famous paintings featuring it being arguably The Samara Flag by Jaroslav Věšín from 1911 and Handing of the Samara Flag to the Bulgarian Volunteer Corps in Ploieşti by Nikolay Dmitriev-Orenburgsky. The contemporary flag of Russia's Samara Oblast
Samara Oblast
Samara Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . Its administrative center is the city of Samara. Population: In 1936–1990, it was known as Kuybyshev Oblast , after the Soviet name of Samara .-Demographics:Population:...

 (image) was based on the Samara flag when it was adopted in 1998.

The Flag Monument of Stara Zagora is a concrete replica of the Samara flag and commemorates the deaths of Bulgarian soldiers in the Russo-Turkısh War of 1877-78.
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