Grandfather Panjo’s copse


On June 22 1868 after the battle in the vine around Karajsen villages the band of Hadji Dimitur and Atefan Karadja reached early in the morning to the Grandfather Panjo’s copse, in the region Pojara, 4 km. west from Gorna Lipnitsa. They were tired of the battle and rambling in the previous day and decided to stay in the copse for the night. After the leaders of the band walked around the place and reconnoitered the direction they had to move toward the Balkan on the other day, they slept calm. It was long day that was coming. In the morning, on sunrise, they were found by the harvesters, who were scared and run to the village. After some time, the Turks that were fighting in a battle the previous day, in the Karajsen vine, came there. Their calmness was short. Some time then it was new fight. This time it was a regular Turkish army. The warriors were too many against the band. The July sun was shining cruelly. The band was tired of the sun and the thirsty made them suffer. Even in the worst moments of the battle, Karadja behaved as brave, resolute, tactful and dexterous. The enemy came closer. Some of them reached the copse, near by a field and succeeded in shooting against some members of the band. Then they hurt Karadja.

The command station of the posse was 300-400 m. north-east from the copse of the Dobrev mound. The cruelest fighting of the Turks was this one in south part of the copse for crossing the road of the band toward the Balkan. At the front Aha Gaga from Russe came with a regular army and also Ali Bey from Veliko Turnovo. They edit a command for digging trenches. Long time the offensive of the enemy was stopped with a precise shooting by the band men.

The Turks decided to build enclosed belts of rush-mats and unwashed wool. The command for their gathering was given to the teacher Cvjatko Benev. He suffered long time of their tortures because the Turks saw him to slower the gathering. According to the memories of Grandfather Parashkev Atanasov, Kirov and CvjatkoBonev the bashi-bozouks were strolling around the village and they robbed any jewelry as well as wool and mats from the unprotected people.

The battle near Grandfather Panjo’s copse prolonged up to the evening. In the notes of Hristo Makedonski (a band member of the Stefan Karadja and Hadji Dimitur band) is written that there he was injured in his head badly. Penjo Hadjipenev and because of Karadja’s command, killed him for not suffering. Hristo Drjanovski was also badly injured. Because he did not want to be captured by the Turks he drunk a poison. In the battle some other Bulgarians died.

Under the cover of the night, the leaders of the band succeeded in bringing out the band men from the occupied zone as they left toward north and through the forest Manasha. They went down to the place Gorno Livadi. They stopped to the fountain Domuzbonar, where they could drink and bandaged the injured men. After some days the local people found there blooded bandages. Then, passing through the villages Patesh, Nedan, Bjala Cherkva, the band moved toward the Balkan.

Hristo Makedonski tells about how during the leaving, the band men Petur Kunchev-The Gold-man turned back to take his bag and he never came back to the band. Grandfather Ilia Ivanov Indjeto said that a man of the Hadji Dimitur band had left and lost the signs of steps of the band and on that morning he found himself near by The Thick copse. He found that Gorna Lipnitsa is not far away; he hided into some of yard parts in the village, and the owner welcomed him well.

Not until a week did the Turks allow to the Bulgarians to burry the killed band men. After the Liberation over the local graves people put a wooden Christ and in the day of the anniversary, they visited the place of execution for salute the perished men. The teachers in Gorna Lipnitsa and the local villages brought their pupils to visit the memorial place.

Not until 1925 was a committee built that aimed to gather financial means for the communes and the schools in the local villages for building a monument. In 1950, with the Ministry of the war support, there was built a monument that exists today. Every year on June 22 the people in Gorna Lipnitsa village and the local villages fete the anniversary of the battle with a liturgy and ceremonies in the Grandfather Panjo’s copse.

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