Rousse Regional Museum of History
"All that I experienced afterwards had already been in Roustchouk". Elias Canetti
The Saber of Georgi S. Rakovski

In 1967 a saber was registered under number 682 in the fund of the Rousse Regional Museum of History, with a gilt inscription on it in two lines, saying: “Sava S. Rakovski May 1st, 1854”. The handle was missing. Its length is 96.5 cm, and the length of the cotter is 63 cm. The saber was found in an old house in the village of Novo selo, District of Rousse, in 1955 by Gioko Yordanov. The owner had given the discovered rusty edge to the village’s blacksmith in order to make a knife out of it. When the rust fell it became clear that the poor-conditioned edge is not ordinary. The inscription says undisputedly that this is the private weapon of our notable National Revival hero and patriot, ideologist of the revolutionists’ tactics of the Bulgarian National Liberation movement Georgi Stoykov Rakovski. For the people interested in the biography of this prominent Bulgarian is not a secret that his birth name is Sabi (or its Greek version - Sava). The date, carved on the edge points the attention towards the time, when Rakovski, after the breakout of the Crimean War, decided, in undercover like an interpreter at the Main Headquarters of the Ottoman Army, to help the Russian troops. He headed the “secret society”, formed by him and his friends, and visited several Bulgarian towns with the aim of establishing investigation groups for collecting information. From the memoirs of Nikola Obretenov we know that this was the time when he made a visit to the family of the legendary woman from Rousse – Grandmother Tonka and with his passionate words he won the family for the “sacred deed”. In 1854 Rakovski has been exposed, arrested and sent to Constantinople, but he managed to escape on the road. He spent a while waiting for the Russians with a band of 12 people at the Kotel Balkan mountain, and after that he went to Novi Sad. As a Serbian subject (from November 1861), Rakovski received a document in addition to his passport, which allowed him to carry a revolver, a saber and a double-barreled gun and to travel with his servant. Armed this way, and fulfilling different orders of the Serbian government, he traveled around the Balkan countries, he visited Athens, Cetinje, Bucharest, etc. It can hardly be answered for certain on the questions when and how did this saber separated with its owner. One of the possible hypothesis is that during his arrest in 1854 the private armament of Rakovski has left at some of the Turkish clerks and during the transmutations of time it reached the village of Novo selo in the region of Rousse. It is not very unlikely that this saber has served him in the Balkan mountains, when he led a group of 12 fellows of his, after his escape on the road to Costantinople; as well as in Serbia during the leadership of the Legion, established by him in 1862. The thesis for some (indirect however) relation of Rakovski with a relative of Gioko Yordanov, for it is known in his family that the has been a revolutionary, appears to be unprovable at this time

Reneta Roshkeva