The insurgent hat of Nikola and Prodan Bozhkovi
The hats, made during the preparation for the uprising in 1876, are an essential element of the clothing of freedom fighters. According to Grigor Grigorov, in its entirety, the revolutionary uniform performs as much a utilitarian as it does a symbolic function - among its main goals is the announcement of the transformation of the oppressed into a free man. That is why it is constructed as a symbolic negation of everyday clothing.
Today in the Historical Museum, along with the original and restored chicken of Spas Lachkov, is presented a second authentic exhibit from the period - astrakhan hat of the participant in the Perushtitsa uprising Nikola Bozhkov. His name appears in the monograph of the historian Ivan Kepov, in which he is recorded under №10 (out of a total of 44 defenders) on the 3rd position, on the left bank of the river, under the very top of Valkovishte, under the leadership of Nikola Ivanov (Kolokman) and Atanas Hadji Tilev.
In 1956 Descendants of the Bozhkovi family donated the hat to the History Museum and clarified a number of details about it. The exhibit comes without a preserved bottom, with a surviving lateral worn astragan base of the circumference (7 cm), covering the head. At one end there is our baptismal sign made of darkened golden braid, and at the opposite end there is a metal emblem depicting an upright and furious lion with a crown on his head, adorned with a Christian cross. Beneath the crown is the text "FREEDOM OR DEATH", which ends at both ends again with Christian crosses. Until recently, it was considered that this was the insurgent hat of the Perushtitsa defenders with all its attributes. Additional research revealed that our metal emblem was placed after the Liberation and in particular with the participation of Perushtans in the Marash detachment during the action of the Union (1885). According to the memories of the heirs, the hat in this form was worn by Prodan Bozhkov, son of the April Nikola, and the sewing of the late symbol was the work of his wife Spasa Delcheva.
Like Prodan Bozhkov, probably other people from Perushtitsa have reused the whitened caps kept by their fathers, on which they sewed the emblem with the standing lion with the royal crown, together with the obligatory symbol of Orthodox Christianity. They were also worn during the brief revolt against the government of Stefan Stambolov (1886). The reuse of these precious relics is indicative of the respect, love and attitude of the local population in the stated, occupied and defended decisive positions of the 80s of the XIX century.
Author: Mario Jasim
1. Stoyanova, Kr., "The unknown about the famous events in life in Perushtitsa" In - Perushtitsa voices from the past, present and future, volume XI, Plovdiv, 2016.
2. Kepov, Iv., "The Uprising in Perushtitsa in 1876", Perushtitsa, 1998.
3. Grigorov, G., "Heroic declarations: swearing, self-nomination, photography, disguise".