On September 22, Bulgaria celebrates one of the most significant events in its recent history. On this date in 1908 the Bulgarian state, one of the oldest in Europe, declared its independence. With this act the Bulgarian state rejected its political and financial dependence on the Ottoman Empire, imposed on it by the great European states with the Berlin Treaty, and the Bulgarian knyaz Ferdinand accepted the title of tsar. The day was declared an official holiday by a decision of the National Assembly of September 10, 1998.
There were several reasons that led to the favorable development for the hitherto vassal Bulgaria. In the summer of 1908, the Young Turk Revolution broke out in the Ottoman Empire, and at that time Austria-Hungary, one of the Great Powers that imposed the Treaty of Berlin, was preparing to annex two of the empire's provinces, Bosnia and Herzegovina, i.e. to break it. That is why during a visit to Vienna the Bulgarian knyaz Ferdinand turned directly to Emperor Franz Joseph to coordinate their actions. At the same time, a strike broke out on the railways and the Bulgarian government used the moment to confiscate them. This, as well as an incident in late August in which the Bulgarian official in Constantinople, Ivan Geshov, was demonstratively ignored by the Ottoman authorities in celebrating the sultan's birthday, led to a deterioration of Bulgarian-Ottoman relations.
On September 16, the Bulgarian government finally decided to declare independence. The initial date was set for September 21, 1908. This was provoked by fears of collective action by the Great Powers against Bulgaria, especially given the disputes over the railways. On the day the knyaz returned to Bulgaria after a visit to Vienna and on September 22, with due solemnity, the independence of Bulgaria was announced in the Holy Forty Martyrs church in Tarnovo. There, in the presence of the ministers before the assembled crowd, the tsar read the pre-prepared manifesto. The whole Bulgarian people rejoices. Bulgaria was now an independent kingdom, and Ferdinand received the title of tsar. The news quickly reached all parts of the country, where joyful processions took place. The act of September 22 made Bulgaria a full member of the international community, and also gave hope for the achievement of national unification. After Veliko Tarnovo, the knyaz and the ministers headed south through Gabrovo, Shipka, Kazanlak, and Stara Zagora and arrived in Plovdiv. They were greeted by a specially erected triumphal arch next to the Officers' Club at the beginning of Ivan Vazov Street.
The declaration of independence is one of the greatest achievements in the history of Bulgarian diplomacy. Although we are used to taking it as a completely formal act, it is one of those moments we should remember and be proud of.