Thursday, 12 July 2012

12th July in Bulgaria, day of the National Guard Unit of Bulgaria

The National Guard Unit of the Republic of Bulgaria was established on July 12 1879 as a personal guard unit of prince Alexander I Batenberg. On this day, the first official escort of the Bulgarian prince was made. Through the years, the structure of this unit underwent different changes – from a conduct of the prince, it was transformed into a squadron, regiment, and in 1942 – division.

By a decree of Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers dated May 14 2001, the National Guard Unit was officially proclaimed representative military formation of the Bulgarian army and is currently one of the symbols of the state authority, the others being the national flag, the state emblem and our country’s anthem. The unit includes saluting army units, representative national guard band, as well as an artillery division “Salute”. This army unit has its own flag, seal, distinctive mark and uniform.
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The guards’ uniform was created in 1883 and includes elements, symbolical of the Bulgarian nation. Though undergoing some changes through the years, two of the symbols in the uniform have remained unchanged: the eagle’s feather on each of the guard’s cap, as well as the Alexander star.
The current insignia was introduced in 2002 and concists of the Alexander star, which is part of the royal medal "St. Alexander" and is worn on the Guard's hat since 1883. It is placed over a shield in colours of the Flag of Bulgaria. The current war flag, which follows the pattern of the traditional Bulgarian war flags, dates from July 12, 2003. In 2003 in the eve of 6 May or St George's Day, the biggest Bulgarian military holiday, the Bulgarians saw for the first time the solemn show-ceremony "Iskra" ("Sparkle").
This performance is combination of spectacular demonstration of non-standard combatant positions, movement with and without weapon and saluting battle flags and the heroes, who gave their lives for the freedom and independence of Bulgaria. The ritual "Solemn changing of the sentry of honour in front of the Presidency" first took place on November 5, 2003.

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