Varna Maritime Museum Presents Series on Bulgarian Ships that Left Mark on History


YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 3, ARTSAKHPRESS. The Varna branch of the National Museum of Military History is launching a series, entitled “Under the Bulgarian Flag across the Sea”, said the Varna Maritime Museum on its Facebook page.

The series will feature Bulgarian warships and some of the commercial vessels that have left their mark on history. The column will be featured on the the Varna Maritime Museum Facebook page. 

The first post in the series features the steamship Simeon Veliki, one of the first vessels of the Danube Flotilla. She was built in Newcastle, UK in 1870 as a merchant-passenger vessel and was then acquired by the Ottoman Empire and became part of the Turkish Danube fleet. During the Russian-Turkish war (1877 – 1878), she was captured by the Russian troops. In 1879, Russia handed it over to Bulgaria for the needs of the newly created Danube Flotilla.

The steamer is among the vessels that, on July 31, 1879, established the beginning of the Bulgarian military fleet after the Liberation. She was renamed to Simeon Veliki in May 1887.

The hull of the vessel was iron. The displacement tonnage was 200 tonnes; the length – 40 metres; width – 12.5 metres; the draft – 1 metre. It consumed 500 kg of coal per hour and carried 48 tonnes of coal. The ship could develop a speed of 18.5 km/h upstream, and 13 km/h against the current, and could transport up to 700 people.

During the Serbo-Bulgarian War (1885) and in the weeks immediately preceding the military conflict, the steamer made 28 voyages along the Danube, transporting personnel, armaments and food supplies for the needs of the Bulgarian army.

Simeon Veliki was part of the Danube Flotilla during the First Balkan and Second Balkan Wars. On July 2, 1913, during the Second Balkan War, it was sunk in the Danube River together with the other steamers of the Flotilla, so as not to fall into the hands of the enemy. She was subsequently salvaged and later decommissioned.

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