Valchan voivoda is one of the most legendary freedom fighters in our history. There are many myths, legends, songs about him. Although there are not enough historical documents about his life path or they are quite contradictory, information about his life reaches us.
His real name is not exactly known. There are two theories according to which his name is Valko Bimbelov or Valchan Pandurski. It is assumed that he was born in 1770-1780 in the village of Paspalevo, Lozengrad region, and was a shepherd in his youth. His favorite Rada was liked by a local Turk – something that often happened in those days. This angered the young shepherd and predetermined his fate. The Turk called Valchan and threatened him not to look for the girl anymore if he wanted to save his life. The young man did not put up, gathered his squad and went to save the girl. One evening the Chetniks waited for a Turk and killed him. Valchan saved his beloved. But soon the Bulgarians were attacked, a battle ensued in which Rada died.
Pursued by the Turks, the young man was forced to flee his homeland and reached the White Sea. Here he befriended the Greek Spiros and the two of them gathered a group with which they stopped the Turkish caravans in the passes and robbed them.
Who are the greatest Bulgarian voivodes that we do not know well?
The riches of the Wolf Duke
In almost all the stories about the outlaw, there is talk of the untold wealth he possessed. A wolfish voivode robbed the caravans of passing Turks. More and more Chetniks joined him. His company reached about 300 people and operated mainly in Eastern and Southeastern Bulgaria. His company attacked the caravans that came from Constantinople to collect local taxes. Apart from brave Chetniks, Valchan had another great advantage. He had a spy embedded in the entourage of the Sultan himself. It is believed to be the mythical Kara Emin Aga, who sent information to the voivode when and how the caravans would pass. In just a few years, the Chetniks accumulated enormous wealth. In addition to robbing traveling caravans through the passes, they discovered ancient Roman treasures.
With the riches found, the voivode helped the poor Bulgarians, built churches and monasteries. His wealth was so great that it is said that the bandit sent his men to the Russian tsar to persuade Russia to start a war with the Ottoman Empire, and the voivode would pay all the expenses. Another legend says that Valchan gave a huge sum of money to Evlogi and Hristo Georgievi to build the University.
How does Valchan Voivode die?
The mythical voivode is believed to have died in Braila sometime around 1863, where he went to live with his closest associate Pope Martin. According to Petko R. Slaveikov, the Valchan voivode was captured by the Ledenish spakhia Ahladoolu, and then Rada voivode became the leader of the squad.
Mystery surrounding the treasures of the Wolf Warden
Even today, treasure hunters are trying to find the immense wealth of the Wolf Duke. There is talk of several caves where it may have been buried. Over the past two centuries, treasure hunters have excavated all the supposed caves in search of the treasure, whose fate is still unknown.
Rumor has it that the Wolf Lord’s treasure is shrouded in a curse that haunts treasure hunters. In the 1920s, a French expedition managed to enter the tunnels under Belintash in search of the treasure and never appeared again.
Where are the Wolf Lord’s treasures?
In the 1970s, the Communist Party sent a team to dig for the outlaw’s treasure. For several weeks, the specialists go around the forest around Arcutino with a metal detector and question the local residents. Finally, they reach the fisherman Bai Yane, who claims that when he was a child, a former bandit associate revealed to him where the estate was. The old man led the team to the site. The next morning he found only a large trap there, and there was no sign of people.
Before he died, the Wolf Lord left a sheepskin map with the location of his estate. It is unclear how this document mysteriously disappeared. Another document sought by treasure hunters is the notebook of Father Martin, his companion, in which it is described where the property is buried
Monument to Valchan Voivode
The personality of the mythical outlaw inspired the sculptures Dimo Boychev and Vlado Manikov, who made a monument in the village of Rayuvtsi, about 11 km from the town of Elena. The monument was erected in 2015 in a picturesque area known as Valcha Polyana above the Jovkovtsi Dam. It is assumed that the Chetniks of Valchan voivoda often stayed at this place during their many journeys through the Balkans. The voivode is depicted full-length, dressed in traditional Hajdush clothes and standing on 3 chests of golden treasures.