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The Ship “Radetzky”, KozloduyCod 2742

The “Radetzky” was an Austro-Hungarian passenger steamship built in 1851 in the shipyard in Óbuda, Hungary, and used for regular services on the Danube, mainly between Orşova, Austria-Hungary and Galaţi, Romania. Named after Bohemian nobleman and Austrian general Joseph Radetzky von Radetz (1766–1858), it is most notable as part of the history of Bulgaria as the ship which revolutionary and poet Hristo Botev and his band bloodlessly hijacked and used to reach Kozloduy, Bulgaria. The captain wrote of Botev’s “civility, energy and temperament”, and agreed to transport the band to Kozloduy. Upon arriving in Bulgaria, the revolutionaries dropped on their knees and kissed the earth, saying goodbye to the captain and the passengers, who saluted them by waving his peaked cap.
The Radetzky was decommissioned in 1918 and destroyed in 1924, although most of its relics were preserved, such as the flag with a coat of arms, a seal, the original licence, etc., which were handed by Adolf Engländer, a brother of the captain, to Boris III of Bulgaria. Between 1964 and 1966, On the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Hristo Botev’s death, money was collected by 1,200,000 Bulgarian pupils on the initiative of the journalist Lilyana Lozanova, and the steamship was reconstructed based on the original design and technical data given by the ship’s dyer Király József. The reconstructed Radetzky was officially opened as a museum ship on 30 May 1966 at Kozloduy. It is a composite of a 1953 soviet paddle tug, and pieces of the original Radetzky saved in 1918.
The steamship Radetzky is a national relic of Bulgaria. A village in Sliven Province bears its name, Radetski, and national writer Ivan Vazov wrote a poem based on the events of May 1876, which is today a popular patriotic song called Still White Danube Undulate.

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