There were 200 inside the monastery and 6000 outside but they held out for 9 days. The guide said the ongoing brutality of the Turks and this dramatic slaughter instigated a European outrage so Russia entered into a war with Turkey that freed the Bulgarians. He said the Russians were ready to take Istanbul and restore Hagia Sophia and take down the minarets and restore the cross and Christian worship but the British said if they did such a thing they would enter into war with Russians.
Although the village of Tryavna has been inhabited since Thracian times, the village today is noted for its well-preserved neo-revival architecture. During the Ottoman occupation the locals defended the pass and so were given privileges such as no Muslims would live in the village and they could build a church under certain conditions.
And today [May 24] is a special and a national holiday in Bulgaria called Alphabet Day when they commemorate Saints Cyril and Methodius who created an alphabet known today as the Cyrillic alphabet.
The church is dedicated to the Assumption. As we were leaving the guide pointed out a large meadow and remarked each year on the feast or saint to which a church is dedicated people come and grill and enjoy each others’ company.
The church played a role in the April uprising against 500 years of Islamic domination. The monastery housed resisters and in fact in the Russian-Turkish war in 1877-8 it was a hospital.
Today I have come to a deeper appreciation of the Bulgarian people who have held on to their identity through 500 years living under the yoke of Islamic domination then for a brief period of freedom before 70 years of Soviet tyranny.
The Shipka Memorial church was dedicated in 1903 to the 14000 Russian soldiers who died in the Russo-Turkish war for Bulgarian freedom.