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Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a small country offering white sandy beaches, white snowy mountains and lush green valleys. Million cities are pulsing with their night life and medieval villages are cuddling in high mountain folds. Food is amazing and value for money is just great.

Bulgaria Map

VARNA

Varna is the largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and the third biggest city in Bulgaria, known as the seaside capital of Bulgaria and the queen of the Black Sea. The city’s structure resembles an amphitheatre as it follows the curves of the Bay of Varna. It is surrounded by gardens, vineyards and groves.

Varna is a truly great beach side city, making a serious case for entertainment capital of Eastern Europe. Walking through the seaside parks, watching the dolphins preform in the aquarium, enjoying one of the many free water parks or just relaxing at a cafe on the beach, whatever you do in Varna, it’s going to be fun, cheap & entertaining. Varna isn’t Bulgaria’s largest city, just its best. This is after all the "Party Riviera".

Varna’s city center is built entirely for pedestrians with networks of walking streets several kilometers long. Thousands of shops & sidewalk cafes, there aren’t many better ways to spend a day shopping on a pink tiled street next to the Black Sea in Bulgaria. Downtown Varna has a great outdoor market, it’s a great place to buy quality, yet really cheap clothes. The market is at the end of the pink tiled walking street, just across the street from the gold domed cathedral, that so dominates the city skyline.

Beaches

Varna has one of the most interesting & entertaining beach fronts in the world. Something is always going on. Going to the beach in here isn’t an action, it’s an experience. With plenty of bars, restaurants, carnival games, water parks, open air discos & some of the best looking, sexiest dressed or undressed men and women you have ever seen!

Nightlife

Night time in Varna has more of a time than any other night you’ve ever seen. The beach area comes alive as the crowds flock to enjoy the warm summer nights. Nightclubs, discos, restaurants & cinemas, the carnival games are a whole lot of fun. There’s even archery, which may be isn’t a good idea to try because vodka is practically free in this country. If you hit the bullseye this qualifies you for a stuffed animal, Woo Hoo!

http://www.programata.bg/ – search for city of Varna

Landmarks

More than 150 cultural and historical monuments of different historical periods have been preserved in the territory of Varna.

Most outstanding among them are:

  • Remains of Roman thermae(2 nd -3 rd century)
  • The cathedral church of the Holy Virgin (1883-1886)
  • The church of St Athanasius (13th century) with interesting frescos and an exhibition of a collection of prints, lithographs, church service books from the Bulgarian Revival Period, etc.
  • Dolphinarium can be visited in the Marine Garden (with an interesting performance)
  • Planetarium of Nicholas Copernicus (part of an astronomical compound)
  • The Summertime Theatre, the Festival Complex (at the entrance to the garden)
  • The Museum of the Black Sea
  • The Aquarium
  • The Archaeology Museum (with the unique collection of finds from the Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis)
  • The Museum of History of Medicine (the only one in the Balkans)
  • The Museum of Maritime Economy
  • The National Museum of the Navy (in the Marine Garden), where Kor Karoli yacht is on show, on board which Captiain Georgi Georgiev made the first Bulgarian round-the-world voyage (1976-1977), included in the Guinness book of records
  • Ethnographic Museum
  • Museum of the National Revival Period
  • Museum of the History of Varna
  • Natural History Museum
  • Museum of Tourism
  • Wladislaw Varnenchik Museum Park
  • Asparouhov Bridge in Varna is the longest in Bulgaria (2 km).The local club of extreme sports organizes bungee jumps here

Day Trips

GOLDEN SANDS RESORT

Golden Sands Resort is little farther north up the coast from Varna lies the resort complex of Golden Sands. While it was built mainly for tourists & the prices are higher than in Varna, it’s still possible to have a great time here, in fact it’s impossible not to. Just don’t go tripping out on some ethical issues or anything, Golden Sands is dirty, but dirty in the really really good way.

Golden Sands is a great place to spend the day, it’s a nice change of pace from the, well not really all that stressed city life of Varna. It’s an even better place to spend the evening, hundreds of bars, dozens of dance clubs & a few strip clubs.

Golden Sands has award winning beaches, 4 water parks, dozens of bars & restaurants, it’s has even got mechanical bulls on the beach! How great is that?

THE ROCKY ALADZHA MONASTERY

The Rocky Aladzha Monastery is 4 kilometers North West from Golden sands and 12 kilometers and 12 kilometers north east of Varna within the borders of the Natural Park Golden Sands. It is announced to be a protected historical site. The monastery is naturally carved among the picturesque mosaic of rocks, trees and bushes. 20 meters above the ground, carved in the rocks today can be viewed the still standing parts of rooms, monks’ cells and a chapel with partly standing medieval mural paintings from the 14th century. The monastery was founded in 13th century in rocky caves, which were used since 4th-5th century by hermits and minks’ brotherhoods. It used to be inhabited till the 18th century.

THE EUXINOGRAD PALACE

The Euxinograd Palace is about 5 km northeast of Varna, by the seashore amidst a beautiful park of numerous exotic plants. Initially, it served as the summertime residence of Knyaz Alexander I Battenberg (1879-1886), and later it became a government residence. It has a port, a wine cellar, a medicinal and a sports complex. Entry into the residence is restricted, whereby visitors are admitted only in certain days and hours.

POBITITE KAMUNI

Some 17 km west of Varna (by the side of the road to Devnya) is the Pobitite Kamuni natural sight, one of the most frequented in the country. These are unique rock formations, whose age has been determined to be about 50 million years. The hollow rock columns up to 7 m high with a diameter of 2 m have a sand and limestone covering and are located amidst sands. Numerous theories have been brought forward regarding their origin. The impressive landscape serves as a natural backdrop of various film productions. Right by the side of the road is a small, improvised museum.

THE VALLEY OF KAMCHIYA RIVER

The Valley of Kamchiya River is among the most naturally beautiful places along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The distance from Varna to the mouth of the river is about 25 km along the motorway.

The entire natural reserve on both sides of the Kamchiya river is a great sight for naturelovers tired of big city-type resorts.

Running down through Stara Planina mountain, Kamchia river meanders through a grove called Longoza which features tropical fauna. Besides various trees and bushes, ferns, reed and yellow water lilies also grow here. This frequently flooded place is protected by UNESCO. The reserve is 40 km long (stretching throughout the longose forest to the river mouth) and 5 km wide at some places. There one can see does, deer, sea hawks, eagles, wild boars and wild cats, among others.

For those willing to immerse in the local nature, local entrepreneurs offer unforgettable boat trips down the river at relatively low prices.

TOWN OF BALCHIK

A town and seaside resort, situated terrace-like on a small bay on the Black Sea, 31 km North of Varna, third in significance Bulgarian port after Varna and Bourgas, used for medium – size passenger and trade vessels. Population of 13 500.

It springs to life towards the end of the 6th C. B.C. as the ancient Greek colony Crunoi (later Dionysopolis) in place of a Chalcolithic (4th-3rd millennium B.C.) and a Thracian (1st millennium B.C.) settlement.

The exceptional view of the town from the sea impressed the great Ovid who exclaimed: "O white stone town, I salute thee for thy inimitable beauty!". The Milesian colonists believed that the goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, was born there out of the sea foam. The spouting karst springs gave the town its first name Krunoi (meaning spring or source in Old Greek). The next name was Dionysopolis. During the Middle Ages the town was named after the local feudal lord, Balik In Roman times it has the statute of a municipius. Later on it was included in the territory of Bulgaria. In 13th – 14th century it moved to Dzhina Bair, a natural fortification. It was ruled by the Boyar Balik, and so it was called Balchik. After the Crimean War (1853 – 1856) the town flourished and grew into a big corn-trading centre.

After the Balkan War in 1913 it was included in the territories of Romania. Struck by the natural beauty of the place Queen Maria built a palace and a botanical garden, a chapel and a villa complex for the Romanian aristocrats.

The town turned into a luxurious resort at that time.

After 1940 Balchik was again included in Bulgarian territory.

The town has many historic and natural attractions, narrow beach strips, hotels, camping grounds.

Apart from the palace, the palace complex and the botanical garden – the biggest and most diverse in the Balkans, the town is attractive to tourists with its ancient atmosphere that has been preserved for centuries now.

It is interesting to walk along and observe the Tatar Quarter with the pebbled streets and the houses made of stone and adobe.

The old palace – built in 1924-1931 by the request of the Romanian queen Maria. The authors of the construction design are Italian architects.

The main component buildings (10 villas and a chapel) freely combine elements of various architectural styles. The Palace Complex consists of the central palace with a high tower, numerous buildings in a modern style at the time, a many-terrace park, lanes and paths, stone summer-houses propped on marvellous columns facing the sea, a throne under an old tree where Queen Maria loved to sit and watch the sunset, a small chapel where her heart is preserved.

The picturesque park is arranged in 1924-1936 on the project of the French garden designer Jules Janine. It comprises more than 200 tree species, numerous flowers, boasting of a unique collection of cactus plants (more than 250 species).

There are more than 3000 rare and exotic species of plants in the botanic garden.

The coastal alley, 4 km long, is a nice place to stroll, so are the harbour and the small streets around. There is a small ethnographic museum and a beautiful old church called St. Nikola Church (1866). The Revival complex with the old school in the town is quite well preserved.

Apart from the big restaurants in the palace, in the hotels and downtown, there are a number of small private restaurants, coastal stalls offering seafood, pizzas, spaghetti and other kinds of European cuisine. The grocer’s shops are a good opportunity for practical tourists who cook for themselves.

History

The city of Varna is about thousand years old. Due to its favourable geographic location, the place was first inhabited by an ancient Thracian tribe, Corbisi, which had a small fishermen settlement there. In the 6th century BC a Greek polis, named Odessos, emerged there. The town became a fishing and farming colony, which soon turned into commercial hub. The town fell under the siege of Alexander of Macedonia’s troops in the 4th century BC, but after the siege did not succeed to subject it, the town was given autonomy within the limits of his Empire. Up to the 1st century BC it was an independent polis, which minted its own coins with the image of its god. Later on, conquered by Mark Lukulus” legions, it became a Roman centre though gradually it lost supremacy in the region. In the 9th century it was already called Varna. The town was included in the territory of Bulgaria in the beginning of the 13th century during the reign of King Kaloyan.

During the 13th-14 th century it was a big and well-appointed port – it engaged in busy trade with Venice and Genoa. The town has also been associated with the name of Polish King Wladislaw Varnenchik, who perished in the historic battle at Varna on November 10, 1444, when together with Janos Huniadi, a chieftain of Transvaal, he headed the campaigns of Poles, Chechs, Bulgarian, Romanians, Croats and Hungarians against the Turkish invasion in Europe. Despite its strong defence system, the town was conquered by the Turks in 1391 which gradually transformed it into an oriental city with konaks (town-halls), Turkish baths and mosques. In 1878 Varna was finally liberated from Ottoman rule and became the most important Bulgarian seaport. Even if the city was industrialised, it also developed into a seaside resort, and a favourite holiday place for the Bulgarian cultural elite. The city carried the name of Stalin for a short time, but after 1956 it returned the name of Varna.







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