Legend Of Tsar Ivan Shishman's Last Battle And His Death

The Bulgarian tsar raised numerous troops and set off for his last battle with the Turks. The big battle took place not far from the town of Samokov. The Turks suffered heavy losses but there were more killed among the Shishman’s warriors than the Turks. On the battlefield, there were so many bones that people called it Kostenets (,,kost” in Bulgarian means ,, bone”) and the river carried for a long time the traces of the big bloodshed. Ths Bulgarian tsar was killed exactly there. He had seven wounds and from the blood shed by him, seven wells gushed out. People called them The Tsar’s Wells. The Bulgarians believed that the water was holy and used it to cure ill and weak people.
All nightfall the wounded tsar drew back to the nearest fortress, called later Shishman’s Kale, and died there. They buried him in a place, called Pogledets, and it became well known as the Shishman’s grave. That grave was nearly six meters long and faced east according to the Christian tradition. The Turks called it Kassum Effendi that means St. Dimitri. The battle took place on St. Dimitri’s Day and the Turks believed the saint helped them to overcome. They respected the grave and thought it was holy. On Friday they lit candles and brought gifts to the grave. They put a stone on it in order to prevent the Bulgarian tsar from rising and recapturing his kingdom. Bulgarian people, in their turn, went there at nights and threw the stones away. Thus, many years passed…
The people grieved for their brave tsar and the ruined Bulgarian kingdom. They wrote a nice song to praise the Shishman’s troops that fought to defend the Christian tradition and the glory of their country.

Since the day broke, dear mother,
An army has been marching on, dear mother,
Horse close to horse, hero close to hero.