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(Bulgarian: опълченци)
Participant in the Serbo-Turkish War and the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878
Flag of Stiliana Paraskevova.svg
The standard of the Bulgarian Opaltchentsi
Active 1877-1878
Ideology Bulgarian nationalism
Leaders Collective leadership
Area of operations Bulgaria
Size 40,000
Originated as Bulgarian Legion
Became Bulgarian army
Allies  Russia
Serbia Serbia
Opponents  Ottoman Empire
Battles and wars Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878
Reenactors dressed as Opalchentsi at the official commemoration of the 133 anniversary of the Liberation of Bulgaria

Opalchentsi (Bulgarian: опълченци) were Bulgarian voluntary army units, who took part in 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 of Alexander II of Russia, announcing the War. The meeting point of the Bulgarian volunteers in Russia was the city of Samara. The Bulgarian Opalchentsi were given the Samara flag bearing the images of the Holy Mother and Saints Cyril and Methodius (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.


One of the poems in Ivan Vazov's Epic of the Forgotten, namely "Opalchentsite na Shipka", is dedicated to them. Opalchenie Peak in Vinson Massif, Antarctica is named after the Bulgarian Volunteer Force in the 1877-1878 Russo-Turkish War and the Macedonian-Adrianopolitan Volunteer Corps in the 1912-1913 Balkan Wars.[1]

See also[edit]



  • С. Кисьов. „Българското опълчение в Освободителната руско-турска война 1877–1878 г.“

Coordinates: 78°34′02″S 85°34′53″W / 78.56722°S 85.58139°W / -78.56722; -85.58139