Vasil Levski is the national hero of Bulgaria who laid the groundwork for Bulgarian independence from Ottoman rule. Born to middle class parents, Levski first became an Orthodox monk before emigrating to Serbia in 1862 to join the Bulgarian Legion, a group of Bulgarian ex-pats plotting the overthrow of the Ottoman Empire.
From May 1864 until March 1866, he worked as a teacher in Karlovo and gave shelter to persecuted Bulgarians and organised patriotic groups among the population. Levski traveled throught the region establishing links with local patriots. He founded the Internal Revolutionary Organization through a network of secret regional committees.
On December 27, 1872 Levski was arrested by Ottoman authorities and later hung. It was not until five years later after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 that Bulgaria was recognized as an autonomous principality.
Vasil Levski was born on February 18, 1837 and died on February 18, 1873, but he is commemorated on February 19 due to the erroneous calculation of 19th-century Julian calendar dates after Bulgaria adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1916.
Summarized from Wikipedia.
This image is of a relief of Vasil Levski at the Bulgarian embassy in Paris. It has been released into the public domain by its author, Miehs at Romanian Wikipedia.
This map of Bulgaria was created by NuclearVacuum and made available throuh GNU Free Documentation License.