The defence of the “Shipka Pass” was one of the most heroic and decisive battles during the Russian-Turkish War of Liberation 1877-1878. The combats that took place from 09/21 to 13/26 August 1877 between the pass defenders and the Turkish army, entered the Bulgarian history under the name of the Shipka Epopee.
The task of the small-number Russian-Bulgarian detachment under the command of Gen. N.G. Stoletov, about 7,500 people strong, was to deter the Suleiman Pasha army that was overpowering it by its numbers (approx. 27,000 people and a reserve of 10,000), and not allow it to cross the Balkan Mountains and join forces with the Turkish units in North-East Bulgaria, in help of the Osman Pasha army besieged in Pleven.
The engagements for Shipka began on 09/21 August 1877. For six days Bulgarians and Russians repulsed by fire and bayonets the incessant attacks of the Turkish battalions. The third day was the hardest and decisive for the defence – 11/23 August – when the Turks were increasingly tightening the belt round the defenders, while the ammunition was dwindling to the end. Suleiman Pashalaunched in the afternoon all his reserves to the field, against the centre of the defence.