Today marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of sculptor Vasil Vichev, author of the monument to our patron Hristo Botev. A monument whose symbolism and significance are an integral part of the DNA of our beloved club and the city of Plovdiv.
On June 2, 1927, in a solemn atmosphere and in the presence of prominent Plovdiv public figures and club activists, in front of the main entrance of the newly built club stadium was unveiled the Monument to Hristo Botev. The historic decision taken by the club board a year earlier to build it has been of paramount importance to the yellow and black club and an integral part of its identity over the years.
The fact that this is the first Bulgarian monument built in Plovdiv is a reason for additional pride for all Botevists. Until that time the only post-liberation monument in the city was the one that Russia built on the Liberators’ Hill (Bunardzhika) in honour of the Russian Tsar Alexander II.
Part of the story associated with this patriotic work is the choice of sculptor. A week before the end of the deadline set by the club management there is only one candidate. This is the sculptor Kiril Georgiev, who three years later will design the monument to Hristo Botev in Kalofer, which is currently located in the courtyard of the historical museum in the sub-Balkan town.
At the last minute, several more candidates came forward, prompting the club’s leadership to organize a competition where a special committee, as well as club members, made their choice. Among the members of the committee are the legendary artist Tsanko Lavrenov, architect Stoyko Stoykov – the most significant figure in the Plovdiv architectural guild, as well as Georgi Atanasov – chairman of the Society of South Bulgarian Artists. After a review of the proposed options, the project of the sculptor Vasil Vichev was unanimously chosen.
Vasil Vichev was born on October 2, 1899 in Sliven. He completed his secondary education in Plovdiv, and in 1922 entered the Industrial Drawing School in Sofia, which he later left due to material difficulties. Works on the architectural design of facades and the interior design of ceilings.
In 1923 he made his first sculpture – that of “Santa Claus” in Tryavna. He participated in a number of competitions, and after the first prize he received after winning the competition of S. К. “Hristo Botev” for the construction of the bust-monument of Hristo Botev, was appointed sculptor in the Plovdiv municipality.
He also created the busts of Hristo Botev and Georgi Rakovski in the Tsar-Simeon Garden of Plovdiv, as well as the first monument to Hristo G. Danov on the hill of the same name.
Vasil Vichev is the author of numerous monuments in different cities of the country, some of his most famous works are those of Vasil Levski, Hristo Botev, Lyuben Karavelov and Hadji Dimitar in the Sea Garden of Burgas, of Dimitar Naumov in Stara Zagora, and of Georgi Ikonomov in Sliven. The great sculptor also won the second prize in the competition for the construction of the monument on Shipka Peak.