SOFIA, May 6 (Xinhua) -- A military parade involving more than 1,600 soldiers, 52 combat vehicles and 14 helicopters and airplanes, was held here on Sunday to mark the Day of the Bulgarian Army.
The parade, attended by country's President Rumen Radev and Parliament Speaker Tsveta Karayancheva along with cabinet ministers, ambassadors, military veterans and thousands of citizens, was opened by a Mi-17 helicopter carrying the national flag.
The helicopter was followed by a march of army units, the National Guard and the Guard Brass Band, as well as a representative unit of the Macedonian Army.
Meanwhile, Mi-24 and AS-532 AL helicopters, and C-27J, L-39ZA, PC9M, Su-25 and MiG-29 aircraft flew over them.
Right after that, the parade was joined by T-72 tanks, self-propelled howitzer 2S1, various armored vehicles, as well as tactical operational missile complex Tochka, and anti-aircraft missile system Osa-AK, among others.
"At the crossroads of geography, Bulgaria has survived for 13 centuries," Radev said while addressing the parade.
"Bulgaria is a pillar of peace in our historically burdened region," Radev said, adding that sovereignty can be secured by enough strength and valor.
Bulgarian army was officially established in July 1878, shortly after the country's liberation from Ottoman rule, and May 6 was officially pronounced as the Day of the Bulgarian Army in 1880.