Ivan Vazov

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Ivan Vazov
Иван Минчов Вазов
Ivan Vazov Coloured Improved.jpg
Contemporary image of writer, Ivan Vazov
Born(1850-07-09)9 July 1850
Died22 September 1921(1921-09-22) (aged 71)
Occupation(s)poet, novelist, playwright
Known forPatriarch of Bulgarian literature
PartnerEvgenia Mars
Parent(s)Saba and Mincho Vazov

Ivan Minchov Vazov (Bulgarian: Иван Минчов Вазов; 9 July [O.S. 27 June] 1850 – 22 September 1921) was a Bulgarian poet, novelist and playwright, often referred to as "the Patriarch of Bulgarian literature".[1][2][3] He was born in Sopot, a town in the Rose Valley of Bulgaria (then part of the Ottoman Empire). The works of Ivan Vazov reveal two historical epochs - the Bulgarian Renaissance and the Post-Liberation (from Ottoman Empire rule) epoch. Ivan Vazov holds the highest honorary title of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Academician. He acted as Education and People Enlightenment Minister from September 7, 1897, until January 30, 1899, representing the People's Party.

Biography and major works[edit]

The exact date of Vazov's birth is disputed. His parents, Saba and Mincho Vazov, both had a lot of influence on the young poet.

After Ivan finished primary school in Sopot, Mincho sent him to Kalofer, appointing him[clarification needed] assistant teacher. Having done his final exams in Kalofer, the young teacher returned to Sopot to help in his father's grocery. The following year his father sent him to Plovdiv to Naiden Gerov's school. There Vazov made his first steps as a poet.

He returned to Sopot only to leave for Oltenița in Romania, as his father wanted him to become an apprentice and study trade at his uncle's. Ivan Vazov showed no interest in the trade profession whatsoever. Instead he was immersed in literature. Soon he fled from his uncle's place and went to Brăila where he lived with the Bulgarian exiled revolutionaries and met Hristo Botev, a Bulgarian revolutionary and poet.

In 1874, he joined the struggle for his country's independence from the Ottoman Empire. He returned to Sopot in 1875, where he became a member of the local revolutionary committee. After the failure of the April Uprising of 1876, he had to flee the country, going back to Galaţi, where most of the surviving revolutionaries were exiled. There he was appointed a secretary of the committee.

Vazov was probably heavily influenced by Botev, who was the ideological leader of the Bulgarian revolutionary movement. He started writing his famous poems with Botev and some other Bulgarian emigrants in Romania. In 1876 he published his first work, Priaporetz and Gusla, followed by "Bulgaria's Sorrows" in 1877.

Bulgaria regained its independence in 1878 as a result of the Russo-Turkish War and Vazov wrote the famous Epic of the Forgotten. He became the editor of the political reviews Science and Dawn. He was, however, forced into exile once again, this time to Odesa, because of the persecution of the russophile political faction. Returning to Bulgaria with the help of his mother Saba Vazova, he started teaching. Vazov's next stay was in Svishtov, where he became a civil servant.

Ivan Vazov's house, now a museum, in Sofia, Bulgaria

He moved to Sofia in 1889 where he started publishing the review Dennitsa.

Vazov's 1888 novel Under the Yoke, which depicts the Ottoman oppression of Bulgaria, is the most famous piece of classic Bulgarian literature and has been translated into over 30 languages.[4]

Later in his life Vazov was a prominent and widely respected figure in the social and cultural life of newly independent Bulgaria. He died on September 22, 1921.

Other famous works[edit]

Some of the other famous works by Vazov include the novels New Country (1894), Under Our Heaven (1900), The Empress of Kazalar (1902), Songs of Macedonia (1914), It Will Not Perish (1920) and the plays Vagabonds (1894), A Newspaperman? (1900), Borislav (1909) and Ivaylo (1911).

Vazov also wrote the first Bulgarian science fiction story The Last Day of XX Century (1899), the first Bulgarian fantasy poem In the Kingdom of the Fairies (1884) and some other fantasy poetry.[5]

Vazov's grave in the center of Sofia. In the background is St. Sofia Church. The tomb itself is composed of syenite stone, sourced from the Vitosha mountains, where Vazov loved to have walks. (42°41.799′N 23°19.943′E / 42.696650°N 23.332383°E / 42.696650; 23.332383)

Historical site[edit]

Vazov's bas-relief at Vazovova Street, Bratislava

Vazov's home in Sofia has been turned into a museum, containing a restoration of his residence with period furnishings, as well as Vazov's taxidermically preserved dog. Although the museum is ostensibly open Tuesday through Saturday, it is in practice not always staffed, so visitors are advised to call in advance. The museum is located at the corner of Ivan Vazov Street and Georgi S. Rakovski Street in Sofia. Another gem of a museum is his large home in Berkovista. It is filled with poetry combined with old photographs of the area and the revolution, blown up to poster size. The second floor has two large meeting rooms, one for men, the other for women. Platform couches doubled as beds.


The Bulgarian Ivan Vazov National Theatre in Sofia is named after him, the "Ivan Vazov" neighborhood in Sofia, as is the Ivan Vazov National Library (Bulgarian: Народна библиотека "Иван Вазов") in Plovdiv. A park near St. Sofia Church in Sofia features the city's best-known monument to Vazov.

Vazovova Street in Bratislava, Slovakia, and Vazov Point and Vazov Rock on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica are also named after him.[6]

In 1917, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bourchier, James David (1911). "Bulgaria/Language" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 04 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 784–786, see page 786, around line 20. The most distinguished Bulgarian man of letters is Ivan Vazoff (b. 1850), whose epic and lyric poems and prose works form the best specimens of the modern literary language. His novel Pod Igoto....
  2. ^ Grogan, Ellinor (June 1922). "Ivan Vazov". The Slavonic Review. 1 (1): 225–227. JSTOR 4201601.
  3. ^ Robinson, Lucy Catlin Bull (1917). "Ivan Vazov, Critical and Biographical Introduction". In Warner, C.D.; et al. (eds.). The Library of the World's Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. Vol. 26. Retrieved 18 June 2018 – via Bartleby.com (Great Books Online).
  4. ^ See Vazoff, Ivan (1912). Under the Yoke: A Romance of Bulgarian Liberty with An Introduction by Edmund Gosse. London: William Heinemann. Retrieved 17 June 2018 – via Internet Archive.
  5. ^ "Форум Иван Ефремов • Виж темата - Фантастична поезия (2)".
  6. ^ Vazov Point SCAR Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica
  7. ^ "Nomination Database". Retrieved May 27, 2016 – via Nobelprize.org.


  • Bull, Lucy Catlin (1897). "Ivan Vazoff (1850 -)". In Warner, Charles Dudley (ed.). Library of the World's Best Literature. Ancient and Modern. Vol. 26. New York: R.S.Peale and J.A. Hill. pp. 15263–15286. Retrieved June 18, 2018 – via Internet Archive.
  • Tsanov, Radoslav A. (1908). "Ivan Vazoff: Balkan Poet and Novelist". Poet Lore, A Magazine of Letters. New York: AMS Reprint Company. 19: 98–110. Retrieved June 18, 2018 – via HathiTrust Digital Library.
  • Gosse, Edmund (1912). "Introduction". Under the Yoke: A Romance of Bulgarian Liberty by Ivan Vazoff. London: William Heinemann. pp. i–ix. Retrieved 18 June 2018 – via Internet Archive.
  • Keller, Helen Rex (1923). "Under the Yoke ("Pod Igoto)". The Reader's Digest of Books. New York: The Macmillan Company. pp. 868–869. Retrieved June 18, 2018 – via HathiTrust Digital Collection.
  • Ташев, Ташо. Министрите на България 1879–1999. София, АИ „Проф. Марин Дринов“ / Изд. на МО, 1999. ISBN 978-954-430-603-8 / ISBN 978-954-509-191- 9. с. 74–75.
  • Карчев, Петър. През прозореца на едно полустолетие (1900-1950), София, 2004, стр. 274.
  • Михаил Арнаудов. „Македония като българска земя“. (беседа, държана в Битоля на 4 юли 1941 г.)
  • Бачева, Ирина и др. Кратък летопис. // vazovmuseum.com. Къща музей "Иван Вазов" - Сопот, 2013. Посетен на 2013-03-18.
  • Аврамов, Румен. Комуналният капитализъм: Т.II. София, Фондация Българска наука и култура / Център за либерални стратегии, 2007. ISBN 978-954-90758-8-5. с. 22.
  • The Nomination Database for the Nobel Prize in Literature, 1901–1950. // Nobelprize.org.
  • SCAR Composite Gazetteer of Antarctica: Vazov Point.
  • Нацева, Розалина, Любен Иванов, Инес Лазарова, Петя Кръстева. Каталог на българските банкноти. Българска народна банка. С., 2004. ISBN 954-9791-74-2, с. 107

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