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Medal "For the Liberation 1877-1878"

Date established: 19th/31st July 1880

Number of classes: one

Being awarded for: to members of the Bulgarian Voluntary Corps for their participation in the war of 1877-1878

Shape and dimensions: Circular, 32mm in diameter

Ribbon: Red in colour, with a white stripe near both edges.

Obverse: The obverse depicts the crowned royal cypher of Prince Alexander I. In a circle along he edge of the medal are inscribed, in Bulgarian language, the names of the three locations where the most fierce fights of the war took place - ЕЗКИ-ЗАГРА, ШИПКА and ШЕЙНОВО and the date 19. ЮЛIЙ 1880 / 19. JULY 1880 /. All of these four sections are being separated from one another via a six-pointed star.

Reverse: On the reverse there's a text in Bulgarian language - НА ОПОЛЧЕНЦИТѢ ЗА ОСВОБОЖДЕНИЕТО 1877-1878 / translation: To the volunteers for the Liberation 1877-1878 /, written on five lines. The text is depicted in between an oak (left) and a laurel (right) branches bound together with a ribbon at the bottom, forming a circular wreath.

The commemorative medal "For the Liberation 1877-1878" has been specifically introduced on the day of the third anniversary of the bloody battles which took place in Eski-Zagra (now Stara Zagora) during the Russo-Turkish war or 1877-1878.

The medal has been struck of yellowish metal alloy.

This is practically the first mass-awarded decoration in Bulgarian history. During the last quarter of 1880 and the first months of 1881, all surviving members of the Bulgarian Voluntary Corps, including those who are resident in Eastern Roumelia, have been decorated with this medal. It's highly possible that a small number of Imperial Russian army men have also been presented with this medal, even though that the official procedure for receiving the medal was far too bureaucratic. Nevertheless, calculation based on historical data estimated that a total of between 7,000 and 8,000 medals have been awarded.

The medal has been designed by the Russian engraver K. Piccolo and struck in the Russian Empire.