Kardzhaliystvo

   With the decay of the Ottoman feudalism in the second half of the eighteenth century started severe days for the Bulgarian people.For two decades the peaceful and creative work was held back by violent Kurdjaliiski attacks in towns and villages.The weak central government was not able to oppose the rebellious pashas and beys, and was not able to guarantee the safety of the population. At the end of the eighteenth century in parallel with the central government, which continued to operateon spot”, the different settlements began to "choose" their state representatives.Once chosen the ayanin got unlimited power in the area.This power wasn`t delegated to him by the government, which only confirms or dispels the "choice", and even less by the local population.Itwas based solelyon theforce of arms.Ayanite held significant troops supported by them.In the power struggles that led between themselves, they steadily increased their battalions.This was the close relationship between Ayanstvo and kardzhaliystvo. Troops commanded by ayanin were irregular. The only possible composition of Ayanski troops were robbers, and the only way for the maintenance of these parts remained robbery. End of kardzhaliystvoto represented in practice end of Ayanstvo. In huge part kurdjalii chiefs themselves were former or future ayani.

    The fighting between ayani for the usurpation of power in Tarnovo was cruel and rough.Every new ayanin was imposing new taxes and performing unrestrained abuses.In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, after major attacks of Teteven, Tryavna, Gabrovo, the population of Elena was object of the invasions of Kurdzhalii, too.

    In the so-called "Elena Chronicle" of Bobchev one can read: "1793 became Chieftain Kara-Hassan and many rebels beat on a stick and hold Tarnovo 3 years. 1796 became Chieftain Mehmed Efendi-Stambolu. 1797 and this year came Kyupryulyuolu with pasvantski army and entered Tarnovo and got three chieftains urtatsi- Kyupryulyuolu Ibrahimaa, Haji Pasha and Haji Ibrahim... 1798 Usain pasha killed Kyupryulyuolu in Karamanovo and became urtak ... 1799 made to Elena population a donation with Kuazanlak`s population and bring off Saba Dobryuva and Indje Chieftain. 1800 came Memesh chieftain from Vidin and sit behind Turnovo 3 months in this year Trastenikliyata Smail-aa, had taken Tarnovo in a battle chased Memish-chieftain and he became chieftain and people paid their taxes two times...in 1800 in this year came daaliytsite with the Sultan in Elena on Gergyovden and burned "St. Nichola" church.

    The population was preparing for the attack. From the surrounding hills were sent people to look for the arriving of Kurdzhalii.The wooden clapper of the church was beating continuously. On St. George day, year 1800, at the end of worship the clapper stopped beating - a sign that Kurdzhalii appeared.The three priests - Pop Stoiko from Razpopovtsi, called by the Turks Giaour, pop Doino and pop Marco quickly finished the liturgy.Then pop Stoiko called worshipers at the altar: "Take arms, Christians! To push back the robbers! "People went to their homes to take up arms and occupy the heights.Defenders as recorded in memories did heroic resistance of Kardzhalii robbers, but could not stop the enemy, which devoted to bloody excesses and robberies.The church andthe whole town of Elena were burnt.

    The danger of Kurdzhalii united in one front the whole population. After the Kardzhalii`s attack was decided a defensive fortress to be built."To be known when went to Constantinople pop Doynu, John Karshuv and Hadji Panaiot forkaleto” on the Ascension of Our Lord 1800".

    The fortress was ready in 1801 on the hill south of the town.It was originally a stone fortress, about 85 meters in diameter, with a high wall and meterizi from where to shoot. Inside there was a draw- well and homes in which to live temporarily all residents of the town of Elena. A large trench was enclosing the fortress.

    "With high and thick stone walls was surrounded the entire height, with large gates on the southwest side, overlooking the room of the subaşı. Inside the fortress were built a deep draw- well and under a common roof many homes in which in case of danger were settled all the families of the town of Elena and ... surrounding neighborhoods. "

    Kardzhalimen attacks continued to disturb the peaceful work of the population of Elena. In "Elena Chronicle" one can read alarming news: "1804. This year daaliytsite burned Plakovo. 1804. This yearbastisa” Mustafa Takakchikliyata in Tuzluka as he ran ...

    For a new, unknown until now attack of Kurdzhalii in the town of Elena in 1812 is implied in an old marginal.

    Still referring to these turbulent times, is built in 1812 Clock Tower acquired a view of cupola with meterizi. (Such fighting holes have some older Elena houses - Pop Mihov house, Illarionov house, Kisyovi house).

    Kardzhaliystvo was liquidated in general in 1815-1820. In one Damaskin from Elena was noted that in 1816 Feyziaga was expelled from Tarnovo (4 March 1816). Originally Feyzi-aga was on the side of Elena landlords. With his material support were built the clock towers in Elena (1812) and in Tryavna (1813). In 1816 for unknown reasons, among them became a break and the chorbadji did everything the possible to get rid of him. He was removed from the position ayanin in Turnovo and on his place came stamboliyata Silimno Kara-aa-Gyumrukchiyata. Gradually the life of the population began to normalize. Only the painful memories remained.

   One song from this region began with the words and reminds these turbulent times:

“Зачули са се задали, дъълии кърджалии.
Редум по света ходиха, току усталу, усталу
Елена селу гуляму, чи са в Елена утишле
Утишле и кундисали... на голям ден, на Гергьовден”.