On January 16 we celebrate the anniversary of the Liberation of the city thanks to Captain Burago and his detachment


After striking the Turks in Sofia in early January 1878, General Gurko and his army set off for Plovdiv. Suleiman's 25,000-strong army was concentrated there, boasting that it would turn the city into a second Pleven. The Battle of Plovdiv was the last of the great battles in the history of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878. The victory opened the way for Russian troops to the Aegean and Edirne and to a successful end to the war.

On January 15, General Dandeville occupied the northern part of Plovdiv - Karshiyaka, but was stopped by the burning bridge of Maritsa and the Turkish batteries on the hills. Along with the Russian troops were the Bulgarian spies Georgi Tsarigradski, Petar Gatev and dozens of other nameless heroes. The battle between the Ottoman and Russian troops was on several fronts - near the present-day villages of Tsalapitsa, Orizare, Parvenets and Brestnik.

Huge flames and dozens of fire spots were observed on the hills from the headquarters of the Russian troops, located west of Plovdiv. Deafening thunders were heard, followed by the sharp ringing of bells in Christian churches. The burning of the city began. During these hours, foreign consuls tried to save one of the most beautiful cities in the Orient. Their intervention before the Ottoman authorities ended with the words of the Turkish governor of Plovdiv: "You'd better leave the city, which is already under the rule of Circassians and Bashibozouks." Then the French Vice-Consul Boase provided weapons for Christians who organized themselves in defense detachments.

Captain Burago commanded the Second Dragoon Squadron. On the night of January 15-16, 1878, he was given the task of conducting reconnaissance by fighting at the enemy's location in Plovdiv. For this purpose, he passed with his 63 cavalrymen across the ford of the Maritsa River and entered Plovdiv from the south. The Bashibozuk and the Circassians had already started burning houses and shops in different neighborhoods. The unexpected appearance of Russian dragoons prevented the burning and looting of the city, as well as the destruction of the Christian population in it. The rescue squad then took over the telegraph and post office, the railway station and the Turkish cannons located on the Three Hills, and began clearing the neighborhoods. The captain attacked the Marasha district, Bunardzhika hill, drawing in other Russian units.

In the early hours of January 16, 1878, General Gurko received a report that Plovdiv was liberated and at noon was greeted by the Bulgarian population on Saborna Street under the solemn ringing of bells on the Three Hills. There he announced the Liberation of the city. A prayer service was held, and Captain Burago was awarded the Order of St. George, 4th degree, and was promoted to the rank of colonel. He then took part in the pursuit of the Turkish army, retreating to Edirne and Constantinople.

In 1884, at the age of thirty, he died on the Portuguese island of Madeira from tuberculosis, which he contracted during the Russo-Turkish War of Liberation. He was buried in the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in the Russian capital St. Petersburg.

In honor of the brave Russian officer, on March 3, 1969 in the Dondukov Garden in Plovdiv was unveiled a bust of him, made by sculptor Victor Todorov.