The lion became a symbol of Bulgaria and Bulgarians during the Ottoman domination. In the XIX century, the lion was depicted in rebel banners and uniforms. It was present in the seals of various revolutionary organizations. It’s no accident that the Bulgarian national hero Vasil Levski bears that name too.
The first Bulgarian constitution in 1879 regulated the state coat of arms as a golden crowned lion in a dark red field – a shield. Above the field there is a crown. Later, the coat of arms was complemented by two upright crowned lions that supported the shield. Unofficially the three lions are perceived by the Bulgarians as a symbol of the three geographic and historical regions of Bulgaria – Mizia, Thrace and Macedonia. Under the shield stands the inscription “Unity Makes Power”.
During the communist regime, the coat of arms was changed several times and was reduced to a lion with a red pentagon above its head.
In 1997 the coat of arms was restored almost completely in its original form.