Rousse Regional Museum of History
"All that I experienced afterwards had already been in Roustchouk". Elias Canetti
The revolver saber of the revolutionary Stefan Karadzha

A revolver saber entered as a donation at the Rousse Museum of History in 1988, about which its owner, Georgi Zhelev Georgiev from Silistra, states that it belonged to the revolutionary Stefan Karadzha. It is made in Belgium. The company “Henry Gusens and Sons” is pointed to be the manufacturer of this type of weapons. On the left side of the upper joist, which holds the revolver to the sword, is marked: H.G.& F.BREVETES, and on the right side – the production number 346. The revolver is of the “Lefaucheux” type. These revolvers are a French system and they were used as examples for others, produced in various countries. The largest in number are the Belgian imitations – so large in number that sometimes the “Lefaucheux” system is considered to be Belgian.
As early as 1982 an expertise was conducted on the saber by specialists criminalists from the Ministry of Interior in Sofia, which investigated the presence of combinations of letters, carved into the metal. It was determined that it has undergone chemical cleaning and has been nickeled through electrolysis. Due to the additional metal layer the letter, which have been previously carved on the surface, are hardly visible. Optical tools and ultraviolet rays were used in order for an accurate examination to be stated. The presence of combinations of letters on the guard, on the cock and the cartridge, has been undisputedly stated. The same letter combinations are also noticeable on the bullet cap, the barrel, the sheath and on some places on the saber. On the facial side of the guard the letters “ัาส” (STK) were shaped like a monogram – a combination of larger letter C and smaller T and K, with the letter C being formed by tiny images of the letters c and k. There are also numbers on the cock, shaped like a year – 43. A comparison has been conducted between the letters and the handwriting of Stefan Todorov Karadzha and a large degree of similarity has been determined. There is a lack, however, of conditions for an overall identification investigation in order to be stated whether the inscriptions have been made by the owner of the gun.

In 1983 materials came out in the periodicals, commenting on the possibility this to be a gun of the Karadzha and its eventual path through the years. The version that the sword has been stored by the authorities sounds reasonable. The citizen of Rousse Nikola Popov, son of the revolutionary Chernio Popov, states that around 1910-1920, during the demolition of the old building of the former Turkish “kesaci” office, a revolver saber was found, which was given personally by his father to Dimitar Mantov (the Regional Governor of Rousse at the end of the 19th century), who is considered to have had in possession the described arms representative. It is also known that the sword of the Karadzha and that of Hadzhi Dimitar, kept in the Museum of Varna, are the same and have consecutive manufacturing numbers.

Reneta Roshkeva