Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy is the oldest technical educational institution in Republic of Bulgaria. Its history and past and present achievements establish it as the most prestigious center for training of maritime specialists in the country. Its development over time resembles a navigable river, into which flow many tributaries, the “prototypes” of the present-day faculties, departments, and vocational colleges constituting the Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy.
The foundations of maritime education in this country were laid in the town of Russe pursuant to Circular order №7/January 16, 1881 of the Ministry of War of the Principality of Bulgaria. The circular order announced the establishment of a Maritime School, as of 9 January 1881.
History has retained the name of the founder of the institution, lieutenant commander Alexander Egorovich Konkevich, “superintendant” of the Fleet and the Maritime Unit (the official name of the Bulgarian Navy in the 19th century).
The first commandant of the Maritime School was Pavel Alexeevich Mashnin, second lieutenant in the Naval Engineers Corps, who remained at this post until March 1882.
The Maritime School was entrusted with the task of training machinists and stokers for the navy of the principality. After 1883, official documents refer to the school “Machine School”, “Technical School”, “Machine Class”, but it did not change its status and continued to train successfully technical specialists for the Fleet and the Maritime Unit. In 1885, graduates of the school fought in the Serbo-Bulgarian War and two of them received awards for their gallantry.
Under the influence of the reforms of the Minister of Education Georgi Zhivkov, the last decade of the nineteenth century is characterized by the development of educational institutions in Bulgaria. This process also affected many aspects of the maritime education.
As a result, in 1892 the school was reorganized and renamed “Sub-officer Maritime School” which trained boatswains, ratings, artillerymen, miners and machinist mates. That same year the first diploma of the naval alma mater preserved for posterity was awarded.