Vasil Levski National Military University is the oldest and the largest military educational institution in Bulgaria. It was first established on September 6th, 1878 in the town of Plovdiv in the wake of Bulgaria’s Liberation War from Turkish rule. Alexander Dondukov Korsakov, the Russian imperial commissary in Bulgaria at the time, signed order No. 14 on September 1st 1878 of the Military Command of the Bulgarian Land Force Army, appointing the first commanding staff of the future military school. Guards Captain Nikolai Fleisher was assigned the post of Commandant of the school. On September 6th (September 18th New Style) 1878, he issued order No. 1 and announced the first commanding staff. In two months’ time, in mid-November, the school was moved to the capital city of Sofia. It was formally inaugurated and consecrated on November 26th 1878—the day on which the Russian army pays tribute to St. George the Victor and commemorates Russia’s military medal for bravery.
A turning point in the history of the school came when it was granted the status of a specialized higher-education institution. This crucial event materialized on April 9th 1924, at the first regular session of the 21st National Assembly when a special law was passed attendant upon the report of the Minister of Defense. The law was approved by King Boris III, by virtue of royal decree No. 12 dated April 23rd the same year. Thus, the alumni of the school enjoyed the status of higher education graduates throughout the whole Kingdom of Bulgaria.
On February 18th 1945, the War Minister Lieutenant-General Damian Velchev issued order No. 45, naming Vassil Levski, the Apostle of Bulgarian Freedom, as the patron of the school. The old capital of Bulgaria, the town of Veliko Turnovo became the seat of the school in the autumn of 1958. Starting September 1979, it was transferred to its current campus. On August 15 1991, by virtue of decree of the then President of the Republic of Bulgaria, a final change in the name of the school was enacted. Since then it bears the name Vassil Levski Land Forces Academy. Throughout its long history, the school has been a key player on the military, social and political scene in the country. Its nearly 123 years of existence have been marked by numerous turning-point events. Over this period of time, 122 batches of graduate have been awarded degrees and commissioned as officers to serve in all branches and services of the Armed Forces in wartime and peacetime. Furthermore, representatives of more than 10 foreign countries from Europe, Asia, Africa and America, have been trained at one point or another at the school.
During its entire history, the school has been relocated in three different garrisons and five barracks facilities. Seven battle flags have been in its possession. Over 60 people holding various ranks have been in command of the school—from First Lieutenant to Lieutenant General. Many distinguished military commanders, politicians, and honoured citizens start their career at the school. Officers and generals, graduates of the school, lead the Bulgarian Armed Forces in the wars Bulgaria fought in the 19th and 20th centuries. Among the eminent graduates of the school are five Bulgarian Prime Ministers: Racho Petrov, Pencho Zlatev, Kimon Georgiev, Ivan Bagrianov and Konstantin Muraviev. Twenty-one Defense Ministers, twenty-three Chiefs of the General Staff and scores of Ministers in charge of other Departments fall into the ranks of the school’s alumni as well.
Despite all ups and downs of history, our school has outlived five strenuous years of war, two national calamities, and a couple of coup d’etats. Hence, we have every reason to claim that, in spite of its 123-year long history and in the face of the challenges and adversities of the present day, dictated by the restructuring and reforming of the military-education system and the entire Bulgarian Armed Forces; it will undoubtedly continue to be the “alma mater” of Bulgarian Officers’ Corps.
In the 2002, the 62 issue of the “State Newspaper”, a decision of the 39th National Assembly was announced. By virtue of this decision, under Article 86 (1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, Article 9 ( 2) (1) of the Law of Higher Education, and Article 26 (12) and Article 215 (2) of the Law of Defence and the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria, Vasil Levski Land Forces Academy, Panayot Volov Artillery and Air-Defence Academy, and Georgi Benkovski Air Force Academy were transformed into Vasil Levski National Military University (NMU). NMU is a public higher education institution, stationed in the town of Veliko Turnovo, having its own flag, seal and holiday—November 26th.
University website: Veliko Tarnovo Higher Military School - Vasil Levski