WWWWhen Khan Krum ruled over Bulgaria, The Byzantine Em-
peror Nikephoros suddenly attacked and sacked the
Bulgarian capital Pliska with his huge army. The Bulgar-
ian Khan was forced to retreat and withdrew to the Madara plateau.
Messengers of the Khan brought a letter to the Emperor with a pro-
posal for peace. It said: “You occupied Pliska, you took whatever you
wanted, now go in peace.” But the Byzantine Emperor was so greedy
and arrogant that he didn’t care about the letter at all. For several days,
he ate and drank together with his soldiers, and then he burnt the capital
Khan Krum watched the fire from the Madara plateau, standing on a
rock over the Great cave.
Although he was famous for his tough character, the Khan’s heart started
crying at the sight. His tears pervade the rock and dripped in the cave. In
tears, the Khan said: “You’ll pay for this, you haughty man!”
While the Emperor feasted, Khan Krum gathered his troops. The
Byzantine army was suddenly attacked and ambushed in the mountain
passes near Madara. Just a few Byzantine soldiers managed to escape,
and Nikephoros himself was cut down. When they brought his head to
the Khan, he said: “You didn’t want peace, so you deserve the axe!”
Then the Khan ordered Nikephoros’ skull to be covered with silver and
according to an old Bulgarian custom he and his soldiers drank wine
Since then, there is a famous toast: “Cheers, fellows, with Ni-
Not far from Madara, there is an area that today people call “The
But the tears of Khan Krum are still dripping in the Great cave.