08.19, Sunday (82 km)
Vama Veche – RO/BU border – 6 km Dourankoulak – 11 km Vaklino (after the village biking is forbidden, you take a gravel road, which turns left 500 m after passing a bridge and a little forest) – 17 km Krapets (1,5 km far from the city take a country road to the left, after passing a group of trees on a little hill, direction to buildings, along an electric line) – 22 km Ezerec – 29 km Shabla – 34 km N. Shabla (a lighthouse, petrol smells) – 39 km Tjulenovo – 43 km Kamen Briag – 48 km Sveti Nikola – 51 km (close to the road to Rusalka, on the right side there is a preatty view) – 70 km Balgarevo – 75 km Kavarna – 82 km Tuzlata
(on the left the sign to the camping; camping with a beach, showers, 2 bars, a restaurant, a barbecue)
Situated less than 6 km south of the Bulgarian-Romanian border, the Durankulak Lake is famous for hosting more than 250 rare species – fish, reptiles, amphibians, marsh birds and plants, many of them included in the Red Book of Bulgaria. The lake is declared protected area. But it is not only nature that attracts experts and tourists to this place. On the Big island, in the lake, is located an archaeological park called by the scientists „Bulgarian Troy”. The stone architectural complex (the oldest monumental structure in Europe) and the temple of Kibela – The great goddess-mother, date some 7000 years back to the prehistoric times. Here is the largest, found in the world, Eneolithic settlement, which existed permanently more than 1500 years (5300-3800 BC) and was inhabited, with some interruptions, more than 6000 years. The excavations revealed over 1200 funerals. The numerous gold and copper objects in the necropolis and the decorations from Spondylus and Dentatum are witness for active commercial relations with distant regions. The remains found there prove that the ancient inhabitants of this settlement possessed high level of economical, technological and cultural development.
Durankulak Lake is 446.5 hectares. It is one of the best-preserved coastal wetlands in Bulgaria with international importance for the protection of over 260 endemic, rare and endangered species of plants and animals. The lake is a Ramsare Convention Site. A part of Shabla lakes complex, which is the biggest wintering ground of the Red-breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis) in the world and one of the most important sites for the wintering of the White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons) in Europe; A habitat of the most numerous population of the Ferruginous Duck (Aythyanyroca) along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast; The only preserved population of the Wild Carp (Cyprinus carpio) in Bulgaria.
Location: The Dourankoulak Moor is the farthest northern place of interest along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Its distance to the Dourakoulak village and the border with Romania is less than 6 km. The distance to Varna 82 km. A gritty natural mound separates the moor from the sea, though these still remain connected via a canal.
History and General Info: It is famous for hosting a number of marsh birds, including such enlisted in the Red Book of Bulgarian fauna. Unfortunately, the beautiful fauna makes the moor a very attractive place for hunters regardless of the fact that some of the bird species are protected. It is not only nature that attracts visitors to this place – the remains of the largest Eneolithic settlement in Europe have been excavated on the big island in the Dourankoulak Moor. Another attractive moor for hunters – the Shabla Lake – is located a few kilometers south of Dourankolak, between the village of Ezeretz and the town of Shabla.
Location: The village of Krapets lies about 10km to the north of Shabla and only a few kilometers away from the Bulgarian-Romanian border. Krapets is a typical rural settlement, with small one-storey houses and yards filled with livestock. Yet tourism has started to develop in recent years and a large 3-star hotel with all the needed facilities has just emerged at the seaside edge of the village. The village has a great potential to grow as a holiday place for those tired of crowded resorts thanks to its calamity, bird life, and surrounding natural reserves. Moreover, the fine and unpopulated beach of the village appeals to naturelovers with its authentic wilderness.
History: The area can boast for its rich history. To start with, the Kibela Temple, which is the oldest prehistoric necropolis in continental Europe for its remarkable age of 2500 years, was discovered during excavations in the nearby island in the Dourankulak Lake. Besides, the stone settlement found by archeologists near the temple is believed to be no less than 8,000 years of age. The Eneolithic settlement is considered by its discoverer, Dr Dimov, to have existed from 5400 to 4100 BC. Excavations have also come across other remains of historical value dating back to various periods, which are exhibited in the Historical Museum of Dobrich.
Places of Interest: Besides the Dourankulak Lake with its historical and natural sites, a can visit two more lakes with rich wild life – the Shabla lake and the Ezerets lake – both of which lie to the south of the village. These lakes are populated by various bird species, including ibises, herons and grebes. Between Krapets and the Shabla cape naturelovers can bask in the sun on deserted beaches, enjoy the view of steep cliffs all around.
Location: The town of Shabla, the population of which is 4,451 people, is situated in the northern part of the Black Sea coast and boosts with a clean and beautiful beech. It is only 24km away from the Bulgarian-Romanian border and 66km away from the country’s third largest city, Varna.
History: The settlement’s emergence dates back to Thracian times. Later on, the town became a Greek colony, followed by a Roman settlement, named Karia, with an adjacent harbour in the vicinity of the Shabla cape. The town’s apogee was reached in early Byzantine times, when trade and crafts underwent brisk development. However, this prosperous period was followed by a downturn, during which Shabla decayed to a mere settlement of fishermen.
Places of Interest: The archaeological excavations at the Shabla Cape (about 5km east of the town) are the most popular place of interest in the neighbourhood. These reveal the remains of an ancient Roman fortress, which has served as a commercial hub for a number of settlements along coast. The fish-rich Lake of Shabla, situated only 3km away from the town, is another nice place to visit. It is genuine natural habitat, and a home to more than 100,000 wild geese. The Dourankoulak Moor, situated to the north of Shabla, is yet another must-see location for naturelovers. It is famous for hosting a number of marsh birds, including such in the Red Book of Bulgarian fauna. It is not only nature that attracts visitors to this place – the remains of the largest Eneolithic settlement in Europe have been excavated on the big island in the Dourankoulak Moor.
Economy: Besides fishery and tourism, the town’s inhabitants earn their living from agriculture. In addition, one of the few oilfields in the country, situated offshore the nearby village of Tyulenovo, offers employment to a large number of Shabla’s working age residents.
Location: The Shabla Cape is situated about 5km east of the town of Shabla. It is the farthest eastern point of Bulgaria.
History and General Info: A lighthouse stands out on the cape. Built in 1856, it is the oldest Bulgarian lighthouse. The small gulf nearby is known as Karon Limen and was discovered by ancient Greeks. The Shabla lake (else known as ‘moor’) which is semi-salty and deep up to 9.5m, is located near the cape. Next to it is the Shabla Touzla used for mud therapy.
Location: The Stone Coast (Kamen Bryag in Bulgarian; known also as ‘Yaylata’) is situated about 60km north of Varna. It lies on the sea coast between the beautiful Kaliakra and Shabla capes. A village by the same name of Kamen Bryag (Stone Coast) is located 2km north of the Yaylata area.
History and General Info: Although Yaylata is a bit far from the most popular resorts and hence is little known as a tourist attraction, it is one of the most amazing places along the Bulgarian coast. It represents an oval ledge, broken off the Dobrudja plate by the coast. The big cliffs make this area almost unaccessible, except via a few narrow paths among the rocks. About 40 caves can be found in the vertical cliffs hanging over the sea. Their smoothened walls and niches dug deep into the rock speak about the existence of an ancient cave settlement there. There are also remains of a stronghold dating back to Roman and Byzantine times. A 90 ha region is declared a protected archeological area. Most of the caves can be reached only by professional speleologists.
Location: Kavarna is one of the relatively bigger towns along the Black Sea coast: its population is 12,225, while the town’s port handles passenger and cargo vessels of medium size. The town is situated 48km north of Varna and just 12km away from the picturesque Kaliakra cape. The coast to the north of the town is high and steep, shining with its limestone rocks against the sea while the south of the town boasts with an excellent beach.
History: The town dates back to Thracian times. In ancient Greek times, the area was dominated by the Greek fortress of Bizone established in the 5th century BC. In the 1st century BC, however, the town was almost completely ruined down by a severe earthquake. Later on, it was rebuilt and grew into a strong Bulgarian fortress – Karvuna, only to be destroyed again soon afterwards by an invasion of Tatar tribes in the Middle Ages. Following a thorough reconstruction by the Boyar Balik, the town became an independent principality named Karvounska Hora. After the foundation of the Bulgarian State the town changed its name a few times, from Karvuna to Karbona and then to Karnava, before it eventually received its current name, Kavarna. The Turks conquered it in 1393. Shortly before the liberation of the Bulgarian state from Ottoman yoke, Kavarna’s witnessed a ruthless suppression of a rebellion of the local Bulgarian population, which ended up with setting the town on fire and a death toll of about 1,200 people. The town of Kavarna was once again rebuilt into agricultural and fishing centre.
Places of Interest: The high hill of Chirakman keeps the remains of Roman villas and walls, medieval buildings and churches. There is a town museum hosting interesting exhibits of the town’s history, including an impressive Thracian collection, and also an Art Gallery and an Archeological Museum. Old buildings dating back to the Ottoman era, as well as remains from Greek and Roman times, are also preserved. Six kilometres away from the city to the east is the Kaliakra cape, where an ancient fortress called Tirisis was located. According to legends the fortress was guarding the treasuries of Lyzimah, successor of Alexander the Great. Today there are quite many remains of those ancient settlements. One can also reads there a legend telling the story of several Bulgarian girls who chose to jump from the high cape into the sea but not to be captured and converted to Islam by the Turks.
08.20, Monday (71 km)
Tuzlata – 7 km Balchik (uphills: 11,5 % – 300 m, 10% – 200 m, a sign „Albena 8 km” to the left, uphill 500 m) – 15 km Albena (from Balčik a heavy traffic, a lot of tourists, uphills, on the traffic-circle to the left, 2 km no permission for biking) – 17 km Kranevo (don’t take a main road nr 9 E 87, entering the city turn right, 2 km to the crossroads, on the left to Varna, uphill, downhill) – 42 km Varna (the Asparuhovo beach, the direction Galata) – 62 km Priselci – 67 km Bliznaci (turn left) – 71 km Kamchiya
(the sign to the left to camping „Neptun”)
Location: Similarly to Kavarna, the town of Balchik is also a relatively large settlement along the Northern seaside with its population numbering 13,766 people and a harbour used for medium-sized passanger and commercial vessels. It is situated 31km north of Varna in a beatiful inlet.
History: The place was first inhabited by lonians in the 5th century BC. At that time, the settlement was called Kmuni or Krounoi after the Greek word for springs, due to the abundance of karst springs in the area. Later on it was renamed Dionisopolis after the name of Dionisius, the Greek god of wine and feasts. According to one of the most popular explnations, the town received this name after a statute of Dionisius was dragged there by the sea. The god’s image appeared also on the the coins minted there. Noteworthy, the town was a rather important centre on the northern Black Sea coast till the beginning of the new era and it was second in significance only to Varna (named Odessos at that time). Later on the town was included in the territory of Bulgaria. Around the 13th – 14th century AC it was moved to a natural fortification, called Dzhina Bair. Following tis rule by the Boyar Balik, it received its present-day name of Balchik. The town flourished and grew into a big corn-trading centre after the Crimean War (1853-1856). Yet after the Balkan War which ended 1913, it was annexed to the territory of Romania. Struck by the natural beauty of the place, The Romanian Queen Maria built a summer palace and a botanical garden there. The royal complex also included a chapel and a villa for Romanian aristocrats. The town turned into a luxurious resort at the time. After 1940 Balchik was again included in Bulgarian territory.
Places of Interest: Apart from the palace complex and the botanical garden, which is the biggest and most diverse on the Balkans, the town also appeals to tourists with its ancient spirit, reflected into steep pebbled streets and houses made of stone and adobe. The palace complex consists of a central palace with a high tower, numerous buildings, a terraced park, summer houses made of stone and propped up on marvellous columns facing the sea, a throne under an old tree where Queen Maria loved to watch the sunset, and a small chapel where her heart is preserved. There are more than 3,000 rare and exotic species of plants in the botanic garden, which has made it a part of the teaching facilities of Sofia University. The whole complex was called Tenha Yuva (Quiet Nest). Besides the palace and the botanic garden, the Art Gallery of the town, which houses also the town’s museum, is also an interesting place to visit. There is also a small ethnographic museum and a beautiful old church called St. Nikola Church. A Renessaince complex with the old school, which is quite well preserved, can be other possible destinations of a walk. The coastal alley, which is about 4km long, is also a nice place to stroll, the same way as the harbour and the small streets of the town are.
Outside the city, the area of Touzlata is located 4 km east of the town. It is well known for its curative mud, which was the main reason to build a balneological centre there beside two lakes, formed by old landslides. A large recreational complex, a lot of villas, bungalows and a camping site are can be also found there. There is a mineral spring with water temperature of above 30 C degrees. Two big camping sites – Sandrino Camping and Beliyat Bryag Camping are also located near Balchik. They offer various opportunities for rest and water sports, clubs, bars, numerous bungalows for tourists having no camping equipment, small restaurants and snack bars for seafood and continental food. Fifteen kilometres away from rhe town in south-west direction is the village of Obrochishte with a well-preserved fortress dating back to the early Ottoman rule, which travellers of that time used to compare it with the beauty of Baghdad.
Location: The Botanic Garden of Balchik lies in the heart of the town, which in turn is situated 31km north of Varna in a beautiful inlet.
History and General Info: Struck by the natural beauty of the area around Balchik, the Romanian Queen Maria built a summer palace and a botanical garden there. This happened 8 years after the end of World War I in 1918, when Balchik was annexed to the territory of Romania. Besides the high-towered palace and the surrounding garden, the complex also includes a chapel, which still keeps the heart of the queen after her will, a villa, originally meant to host Romanian aristocrats, and a beautiful stone throne under an old tree where Queen Maria loved to watch the sunset.
The picturesque park, called Tenha Vuva in Romanian (Quiet Nest), was designed and arranged in 1924-1936 after the project of a French garden designer, Jules Janine. The queen, nicknamed poetically as Karmen Silva, died in 1938, just 2 years before the area was annexed back to the territory of Bulgaria while the complex was declared a monument of culture.
The complex combines old Bulgarian, Moldavian, Mauritanian and Oriental styles in a marvelous way. The park itself is an imitation of the Famous Cretan labyrinth, with each stone of the church being brought from the very island of Crete. Most people claim that the Garden of Allah is the prettiest, though no doubt, the Silver Well, the alleys paved with millstones and the huge earthen jars, brought from Morocco, are also breathtaking.
More than 3,000 rare and exotic plants, including more than 200 tree species, fabulous flowers and a unique collection of about 250 cactus species (the latter representing Europe’s second most important collection) grow currently in the botanic garden. Thus, it is not surprising that the park was included as a part of the teaching facilities of the Sofia University in 1955. Besides students, the complex welcomes more than half a million tourists per summer season.
Location: The resort of Albena is situated 32 km north of Varna and just 12km south-west of Balchik on a long sand stretch in the open northern part of Varna Bay. The resort’s erection was started in 1968, which makes it one of the most modern holiday cities along the Bulgarian coast. The complex lies beneath a relatively high hill and is given particular charm by the near-by forest of Baltata, a part of which is declared a protected area. The latter is also called Batova Gora (Batova Forecast) after the Batova river, in the valley of which it grows. The resort’s architecture resembles one of Walter Gropius’ urban models as most of the hotels have a terraced structure aimed at providing as much sun as possible in summer days. To the north the coast is steep, featuring yellow sandstone and limestone typical of the area. It is in fact this stone slope that was the main source of construction material for the resort.
History: According to some legends, Ovidius came here on his way to the country of his exile – Tomi (present Kyustendzha in Romania). The resort was given its present-day name by Albena, a female protagonist of the great Bulgarian writer Yordan Yovkov, gifted with extraordinary beauty.
Places of Interest: Besides the nearby village of Obrochishte with its well-preserved fortress dating back to Ottoman times, the village of Kranevo with remains of the ancient fortress used in Roman times and the Middle Ages is also located close to the Albena resort. Beside the fortress, Kranevo is also attractive for its mineral springs. The coast between Albena and Kranevo is high and extremely picturesque with steep rocky formations. Kranevo can be a good accomodation alternative to Albena with its prices being far lower and its great capacity of private lodgings. At the same time, its proximity to Albena makes it easy for holidaymakers to bask in the sun at Albena’s beautiful white-sand beaches during the day. Besides Kranevo, there are also three big camping sites located on the way between Kranevo and Albena and offering accommodation to tourists in bungalows and tents.
Infrastructure: The resort has modern sport facilities that apart from summer holidaymakers, are used by local and foreign sportsmen around the year. The complex is rich in tennis courts, swimming pools, children playgrounds, golf courses, etc. Places where tourists can rent bikes, cars, cutters, sail-boats, yachts, waterwheels an jets, or take a horse ride also abound.
The resort boasts with its well-organised spa and medical centres, staffed with highly qualified personnel. The mineral water springs in the resorts are hypothermic with temperature of around 300 C and low level of mineralisation (calcium, magnesium and sulfur compounds being its main elements).
Accommodation: At present the resort has about 40 hotels open for tourists, with categories ranging from 1 to 4 stars. Albena is one of the most expensive places in terms of accommodation along the Black Sea coast, alongside with Duni and Roussalka. One of the most popular hotels there is the Dobroudzha Hotel, built in Swiss style. The newly erected Maastricht Hotel, built with joint Bulgarian and Dutch financing, is also notable. Other famous hotels are Dobrotitsa, Drouzhba and Zdravets. There is an accommodation bureau and small private reservation agencies.
The holiday city has a number of tennis courts, bars, casino, restaurants with night shows, children playgrounds, swimming pools, and a golf playground. One can hire a bike, cars, cutters, sailboats, yachts, waterwheels and jets or give it a try with horse riding. The whole range of water sport facilities is on offer with instructors available for those in in need of them. There is an annual auto-rally called Albena and held at the beginning of May, a folk festival for singers and dancers from the Dobroudzha region, the Zlatnata Antena (Gold Antennae) Festival for TV programs, a bridge competition (in June), beach volleyball competition (in June or July), Vladimir Grashnov’s Annual Football Tournament, etc.
Location: A nice little village situated in a sheltered bay, Kranevo is 25km north of the city of Varna. It lies just beyond the northern end of Golden Sands and at the southern part of a long beach, which extends towards the luxurious resort of Albena to the north. The vast beach, clean sea, gently sloping sea bottom and curative mineral water have propelled the swift growth of the village into a competitive tourist destination.
History: Kranevo has succeeded an ancient Roman stronghold, known as ‘Ekrene’ or the harbour ‘Kraneia’. Traces of the Roman fortress, which was exploited during the Middle Ages as well, have been found on the southern plateaus above the village.
Places of Interest: Relatively close to Kranevo is the famous Aladzha rock monastery. On the opposite direction are located the town of Balchik with its beautiful palace and Botanic Garden.
ST. ST. KONSTANTIN and ELENA (Св. св. Константин и Елена)
Location: The oldest resort along the Bulgarian seaside is only 9 km away from and Varna. History: The resort’s construction began almost a century ago, in 1908, and the origin purpose of the resort was to host patients ill with tuberculosis. The resort is named after the nearby St. St. Konstantin and Elena Monastery, built at the beginning of the 18th century. Today the monastery also offers tourist accommodation and a high-quality restaurant.
Places of Interest: The Evksinograd government residence is located south of St. St. Konstantin and Elena. The residence is built in a New Baroque style with a beautiful garden, fountains, and a staircase going down to the beech though access to it is restricted to particular hours and days of the week.
Location: The holiday complex of Kamchia lies at the Black Sea mouth of the Kamchiya river, in the heart of the Kamchia natural reserve. It is about 20km to the south of Varna following the seaside road to Bourgas.
History: The complex is relatively new and is a typical holiday city with no permanent population. Most of it was built during communist times with each of the villa and bungalow complexes having been managed by a state-owned company. Now the situation is different and most of the villas are run by private concessionaires while the standard of the sub-complexes ranges from relatively low to high.
Places of Interest: The entire natural reserve on both sides of the Kamchiya river is a great sight for naturelovers tired of big city-type resorts. Most of the villas lie in the midst of a tropical-like forest, called ‘Longoz Forest’ with more than 40 different types of bushes and trees, including liana-type ones. In some of the hard-to-access parts of the river banks one can come across rare representatives of the flora which have already found their place in the Red Book of Bulgaria’s nature (such as the white and yellow water lilies). The fauna is no less diverse with about 40 different fish and 156 bird species including the rare black stork. For those willing to immerse in the local nature, local entrepreneurs offer unforgettable boat trips down the river at relatively low prices.
Location: The mouth of the Kamchiya River is situated 34 km south of Varna, or in the middle of the coast line stretching out to the town of Byala.
History and General Info: The mouth of the Kamchiya River is one of the most beautiful sights along the Bulgarian coast. The region is known for its wide beaches, starting from an area called Paletsa (The Thumb) to the north and ending to the Black Cape near the village of Shkorpilovtsi to the south. A recently-built holiday complex is situated at the river’s mouth.
The merger of two small rivers springing from the Eastern Stara Planina Mountain – Louda Kamchiya and Golyama Kamchiya – gives birth to the Kamchiya River. Running down through the Balkan Mountain, Kamchiya meanders through a grove called Longoza, which features tropical flora. Besides various trees and bushes, ferns, reed and yellow water lilies also grow here. The frequently flooded place is protected by UNESCO. The reserve is 40km long (stretching throughout the Longoza forest to the river mouth) and 5km wide at some places. One can see here does, deer, sea hawks, eagles, wild boars and wild cats, among others. Once, Kamchia was called Panisos. Later, Slavs gave it the name of Ticha. Its contemporary name is considered to be of Kouman origin. The Romans built a stronghold called Erite on its left bank. Later, the Lipovani tribe settled along its banks. The tribe was an offspring of Russian followers of the Gregorian Calendar who came here from the mouth of the Danube.
Places of Interest: The Shkorpilovtsi Holiday Complex is located near a village of the same name, and it spreads to White Cape to the south. There are two campsites in it, the Izgev Campsite, and the Horizon Campsite. One can find restaurants and pubs in both the village and the camping sites. Naturelovers can go on foot to the Black Cape, which hangs over the sea with its old oak forest, and its spring of cold water. Further to the south there is a wide inlet with a drinking water fountain, while the White Cape with its lime rocks can be seen just opposite to it.
Transport: There is regular transport from Varna and villages in the vicinity of Kamchiya during the holiday season. Water transport along the river is regular and offers a great experience at low fares.
Rest day. Visiting Varna.
Location: The city of Varna is the third largest city in Bulgaria with its population of 314,539 people. It is widely called the seaside capital of Bulgaria as it is the biggest city at the Bulgarian coast. The city lies in the Bay of Varna, nestled in a deep valley between the Frengen Plareau and the Avren Plateau. Varna is over 11 km long, while its width, including newly erected residential quarters, is nearly 9km. 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.
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 13lh century during the reign of King Kaloyan. 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.
Places of Interest:
In the city: A restored Roman spa built in the 2nd century during the reign of Antony Pii and a Roman Bath dating back to the 3rd century can be found in the downtown. The Holy Virgin Cathedral, considered to be the most impressive monument of the city, rises in the very centre of the city. The cathedral’s construction started in the second half of the 19th century but it was not sanctified until 1910. Another church, the St. Nikola Church is located near the Sea Garden Park and dates back to 1866. The Clock Tower, built in 1880, rises just across the cathedral. The Theatre of Drama, where the first-ever Bulgarian theatre performance was held, is also a must-see place in the city centre. It was built nearly a century ago and resembles Vienna buildings of that time. It houses a theatre, an opera and philharmonic halls and stages performances during the entire summer season. Not far away from the Theatre of Drama is the Puppet Theatre, where the Golden Dolphin Festival of puppets takes place each year. The city also has a number of museums, including the Archaeological Museum, the Museum of National Renaissance, the Naval Museum, the Vladislav Varnenchik Park-Museum, the Ethnographic Museum, the Museum of Nature and Science, the Aquarium and the Black Sea Museum, the Museum of Medicine and the Museum of Art and History of Varna. The latter has a particularly rich collection including the Gold Treasure of Varna, dating back 6,000 years ago, weighing some 6kg and containing the oldest gold works found in the world. Besides, the city’s Art Gallery, opened in 1950, exhibits paintings of outstanding Bulgarian artists as well as works of a number of foreign artists, donated to the gallery by private persons. There are about ten cinemas functioning in Varna with the best ones being in the city centre, including the Mustang Cinema.
The Sea Garden is another favourite place of visitors of Varna. The garden, finally completed in 1908, shelters an amphitheatre, an astronomic site with an observatory, planetarium and a tower, children playgrounds, and a small channel, where one can practice rowing, a pool with water wheels and a zoo. The beach, where one can find mud and water therapy complexes, two quays, numerous restaurants and disco clubs, is also just beneath the Sea Garden Park. The Dolphinarium is one of the favourite attractions for children and guests of Varna for its regular performances of talented dolphin artists. The Festival Complex can be found just opposite the entrance of the Sea Garden Park. It is a modern building of aluminum, stone and glass and has several stages, conference-halls, and a big bazaar. Another noteworthy place is the Asparouh Bridge (named after the founder of the Bulgarian state, Asparouh), which connects the city centre with the residential quarters of Asparouhovo and Galata. It is the longest bridge in Bulgaria and risklovers can even try a dreadful Bunji jump here.
Outside the city: The famous village of Vinitsa, inhabited by so-called Gagaouzi people, is situated 10 km north-east of Varna. The Gagaouzi are Christians who speak an ancient Turkish dialect and have very interesting traditions. Besides, the Galata Cape is attractive to naturelovers for its meadows, groves, natural water springs with drinking water, and rocks convenient for fishing. Remians of the rampart of Khan Asparuh can be seen close to the famous Asparuh Bridge situated at the Varna lake. The founder of the Bulgarian state built the rampart 13 centuries ago in order to resist the raids of the Byzantine fleet. One can also visit the Dzhanavar Hill, located to the south of the lake of Varna and sheltering a basilica from the early Christian times. Another place of interest close to the city is Pobitite Kamuni (Rammed Stones), 18 km west of the city. The stone figures were formed by erosion about 50 million years ago and hold in various forms of fossils. Many of them were used as places of worship during Thracian, Slavonic, and ancient Bulgarian times. The nearby industrial town of Devnya holds the remains of the ancient town of Marcianopolis, the second biggest town in ancient Bulgaria after Philippopolis (the latter currently named Plovdiv and being the second largest city in the state). These include defence walls, a rampart, turrets, and a forum. The Petrich Kale (Petrich Fortress) rises just opposite the railway station of Razdelna close to the city. The fortress was built in the 5th century, but was rebuilt in the 13-14th century following its destruction. The rocks near the fortress are perfect for mountaineering.
08.22, Wednesday (83 km)
Kamčija – 12 km Staro Orjahovo (a heavy traffic, but a wide road) – 17 km Rudnik – 26 km Gorica – 32 km Byala – 38 km, befor Obzor, on the crossroads turn to the right, the sign to Popovič – 48 km Djulino – 55 km Panicowvo – 65 km the Djulinski pass – 66 km Gjuljovica – 68 km Orizare – 73 km Eskikšla – 76 km Tankowo – 81 km Aheloy
(2 km to camping „Aheloy”, close to the lake, on the left side)
Location: The town of Byala is slightly bigger than the near-by Obzor. It is situated 54km away from Varna.
History: Once there was an ancient Greek fortress, named Aspro, in the neighbourhood. Before the reunification of the Bulgarian state in 1885, the border between the Bulgarian Principality and Eastern Rumeliya passed through the town of the Byala.
Places of Interest: At the coast, one can see a protective bank, dating back to the early years of the Bulgarian state (8th-10th century), while the area around the St Atanas Monastery holds remains of an ancient fortress. The wine of the extremely fine Dimyat vintage is also produced in the village.
Location: The village of Aheloy has about 5000 inhabitants and is located 7km southwest of Nessebar. It lies on the motorway to Bourgas near the mouth of the Aheloy River.
History: In the vicinity of Aheloy village the Bulgarian Tsar Simeon I destroyed the armies of the Byzantine emperor Lion Foka. The field of the landmark battle, which made the Bulgarian state the uncontestable dominion of the Balkan peninsula, is called nowadays Kokalos (having its root in the Bulgarian word for ‘Bones’) after the scattered corpses of killed soldiers.
Places of Interest: The village of Ravda is situated just a few kilometers away from Aheloy. The picturesque town of Nessebar lies 7 km northeast from Aheloy, as its newly built houses to the north almost merge with the resort. One of the most luxurious resorts along the Bulgarian coast – Sunny Beach (Slanchev Bryag) – is located next to Nessebar. Noteworthy, lots of excursions in the country and abroad are organised for holiday-makers and tourists during the weekends or at the end of their holidays.
We stay in the camping „Aheloy” and visting Nessebar i Sunny Beach.
Location: The town of Nessebar has about 10,000 inhabitants and extends over a small peninsula. It lies 37km northeast of Bourgas. Its beach is considered to be one of the finest along the Black Sea coast due to a large sandy strip of land between the town and the village of Ravda, covered with clean golden sand.
History: The present-day town is the successor of a Thracian fishermen’s settlement named Menabryia (meaning literally ‘the town of Mena’), the foundation of which dates back to the 2nd century BC. Later it remained the only Doric colony along the Black Sea coast, as the rest were typical Ionic settlements. The Greeks named it Messembria (which was later transformed into Nessabar by the Slavs), and it grew into a big and well-fortified town-state. The town benefited from natural protection from both the land and the sea. Remains suggest the existence of aqueducts, a sewerage system, fortified wails, an amphitheatre and numerous cult edifices (including an impressive temple of Apollo) at that time. The town became a popular commercial centre as a variety of goods from the Aegean and the Mediterranean regions were traded there and it also minted its own coins in the 5th century BC. Two centuries later, it founded its own colony called Navlohos near Obzor. The whole land between Nessebar and Obzor used to be a granary that supplied the two colonies with food as well as goods of exchange. In the 1st century BC the town surrendered to Marcus Lukulus’ legions and was subjected top Roman domination, during which the construction of a second colony of Messembria began and was finished. The second colony, built to the south of Nessebar, was named Anhialo (present-day Pomorie).
In the early Middle Ages the town rebuilt its fortress walls and stayed part of the Byzantine Empire until 812 when the protobulgarian Khan Kroum conquered it, including it in the territory of Bulgaria. During the reign of Ivan Alexander the town went thorough a cultural and economic boom, and occupied substantial territories beyond the stretch of the peninsula. It was around that period when most of the churches of Nessebar, remains of which are to be found in the present-day town, were built. In 1366 the knights of Amadeus of Savoy conquered the town, and then sold it to Byzantium for 15,000 golden ducats. In 1453, shortly after Constantinople fell under Turkish domination the town was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and went through a period of decay. The Liberation found Nessabar as a small fishermen’s settlement, with well-developed viticulture on the hills above the town.
Places of Interest: Nowadays, Nessebar is one of the most popular resorts among foreign tourists for its ancient spirit and well-preserved remains. According to legends, the churches of Nessebar were no less than 41, which, when compared to the small population of the town, make the latter one of the world’s settlements with the highest number of churches per capita. One of the oldest sanctuaries is the Basilica built on the coast most probably around the beginning of 5th century. The Old Bishop’s Residence located in the centre of the town is probably the most impressive church in Nessebar. It is more than 25m long and 22m wide while its three naves were decorated with a colonnade and arches. St. Ivan the Baptist Church was built much later, in the 11th century, and is a typical cross-domed church with three naves, and four columns supporting the dome. One can see there fragments of frescoes dating back to the 13th century. The St. Stefan Church or the so-called New Bishop’s Residence, situated in the vicinity of the harbour, was built in the 10th century. Its decoration is so picturesque that it marked the beginning of a typical local style, seen in the construction of churches of later times. The facade of the church is ornamented with built-in glazed ceramic figures of different colours and tiles. The same style was followed in the construction of St. Todor Church, though only two original facades have been preserved until present days. The St. John Aliturgetos Church perching high above the harbour is considered to be the most beautiful one. It has three naves and the decoration of the facades is of unique beauty.
Besides well-preserved churches, one can see the remains of fortress walls (best preserved at the old town’s gate and the port), authentic medieval, Roman and Greek street pavements, fortifications of different epochs, administrative and other buildings. Some of the typical houses of Nessebar built in a unique style of the 16th-19th century are real architectural monuments (e.g. the houses of Diamanti, that of Panayot Mouskoyani, which hosts an ethnographic exhibition, the one of Captain Pavel). The old quarters of Nessebar show remarkable taste and mastership in the construction of houses, stone walls, and streets. The Turkish bath and the windmill at the beginning of the causeway are of particular interest.
Outside the town, one can visit the village of Aheloy, in the vicinity of which the Bulgarian Tsar Simeon I destroyed the armies of the Byzantine emperor Lion Foka. Aheloy is situated on the motorway to Bourgas near the mouth of the Aheloy River. The field of the landmark battle, which made the Bulgarian state the uncontestable dominion of the Balkan peninsula, is called nowadays Kokalos (having its root in the Bulgarian word for ‘Bones’) after the scattered corpses of killed soldiers.
SUNNY BEACH (Слънчев бряг)
Location: Sunny Beach (Slanchev Bryag) Resort is situated 42 km north of Bourgas. Practically, the resort occupies the entire territory stretching from the village of Vlas to the north and the town of Nessebar to the south. The resort offers more than 120 hotels and two camping sites, and is rich in entertainment facilities.
History: The resort’s construction began back in communist times, in 1958. Construction works began at a site, where two old wells supplying Nessebar with water in ancient times and during the Middle Ages, had been.
Places of Interest: The village of St. Vlas and the Elenite holiday city are situated just a few kilometers away from Sunny Beach. The forest along the Hadzhiiska River and the dunes stretching between the road and the resort are very attractive to naturelovers. The picturesque town of Nessebar is also extremely close to Sunny Beach, as its newly built houses to the north almost merge with the resort. Noteworthy, lots of excursions in the country and abroad are organised for holiday-makers and tourists during the weekends or at the end of their holidays. Not far from Sunny Beach is located the beautiful Emine cape.
08.24, Friday (79 km)
1st alternative: Aheloy – 8 km Pomorie – 16 km Sarafovo – 26 km Burgas (a beautiful beach with an asphalt path for biking) – 40 km Marinka – 56 km Novo Paničarevo – 62 km Jasna poljana – 73 km Primorsko (6 km to the camping „Jug”)
2nd alternative: Aheloj – 6 km Kableškovo – 11 km Laka – 27 km Burgas (a beautiful beach with an asphalt path for biking) – 48 km Rosen – 57 km Veselie – Jasna poljana – Primorsko
(6 km to the camping „Jug”)
Location: The town of Pomorie (population: 15,000) is situated on a narrow and rocky peninsula, bordered by the sea on one side and by the Pomorie lake – on the other. It is situated some 18km north of connecting Bourgas and roughly the same distance south of connecting Nessebar.
History: Pomorie’s establishment dates back to the 4th century BC. At that time, Apolonia (present-day connecting Sozopol) built its own colony under the name of Anhialo. A colony of the metropolis of Messembria (present-day connecting Nessebar) was founded here in the 5th century BC. The town gradually worsened its relations with Messembria because the population of the latter was Doric while Anhialo was inhabited predominantly by Ionic people. At that time, the town lived on fishing, mining and salt trading. The shallow waters of the bay secured ideal conditions for that – it was where the town’s first settlers discovered layers of salt in the sand. The ancient town was stretching further inland over an area called Paleokastro (meaning Old Fortress), which still holds remains of that time. Anhialo suffered barbarian invasions and in the 8th century it was rebuilt by the Byzantine empress Irina. The town’s frequently changed hands but all in all, it was for a longer time under Bulgarian than under Byzantine domination. Similarly to connecting Nessebar, in 1366 Anhialo was conquered and resold to Byzantium by Amadeus of Savoy and his knights. It fell under Ottoman rule together with connecting Nessebar in 1453. After the Liberation the town regained power and was of utmost importance in the Bourgas Bay, having in mind that connecting Bourgas grew into a big city only in the 20th century. At the time of the Liberation, Pomorie had around 12,000 inhabitants or about 4 times the then-population of connecting Bourgas. In 1906 the town caught fire and was almost entirely ruined down save for an ensemble of a few old houses in the eastern part of the town. It is widely known as a salt-mining centre. Abundance of fruit and vegetables has spurred the development of wine production and canning industries.
Places of Interest: Besides its lovely beaches, the town appeals to tourists with its mud-cure sanatorium built about 2km away from the town on the banks of the Pomorie lake. The curative features of the lake’s mud were discovered already in the 3-4th century BC, though the first mud-cure establishment was built here in 1902. The mud eases bone and muscular disorders, radiculitis, rheumatism, sciatica, lumbago, discal hernia, etc. As regards historical monuments, two old churches – the Transfiguration Church (dating back to the 18-19th century) and the Assumption Church (19th century) – are well preserved. The Transfiguration Church has a valuable wood-carved iconostasis. Moreover, a stone bas-relief of St. Georgi is preserved in the St. Georgi the Victorious Monastery of Pomorie, located in the very centre of the town and build in the 17th century. Outside the town, a domed tomb-mausoleum (3rd-4th century) built to host the corpse of a high-ranking Thracian, can be found in the area of Kouhata Mogila near the Europa Camping. It is interesting for its construction, as it consists of a tunnel leading to round camera. The tomb is open to visitors. The village of Sarafovo is 6km south of Pomorie. The village is situated on the coast and offers pleasant beaches as well. The natural reserve of the Atanassovo lake is located to the south of Sarafovo in a large lagoon. Once the lake was nestling place for hundreds of birds, though the construction of the Bourgas Airport on one side and the development of the city of connecting Bourgas on the other have gradually reduced this role of its.
Location: The city of Bourgas has a population of almost 200,000 people according to recent data, and is the second largest city at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. It is also the fourth largest city in the country, following Sofia, Plovdiv and connecting Varna. It is situated in the farthest western part of the Bourgas Bay and 390km east of Sofia. Due to the low level of the coast in the area, three lagoon-lakes (the Atanassovo, Bourgas, and Mandren lakes) lie in the area surrounding the city.
History: Bourgas is a successor of the small Roman town of Deultum (later named Develt), founded by Emperor Vespasian as a military colony for veterans. Besides Deultum, the present-day city expands over the area of three other ancient settlements, i.e. Kastiacion, Skafida and Rossokastron. In the Middle Ages a small fortress called Pirgos was erected in the place and was most probably used as a watchtower. It was only in 17tn century that a town named Ahelo-Bourgas grew in the present-day area of the city. This, renamed into Bourgas, had only about 3,000 inhabitants at the time of the Liberation. Soon it became the centre of the Southern Black Sea coast, and a city of well developed industry and trade. A number of oil and chemical works producing more than 30 products were gradually built. Salt and iron are also mined here and traded far beyond the borders of the country. In 1903 the railway station in Bourgas started functioning as well, giving an additional boost to the city’s expansion.
Places of Interest:
In the city: The District Museum of History, founded in 1925, is one of the most impressive tourist sights in the city. Today it houses an archaeological hall with a rich collection of items dating back to the old colonies along the Black Sea coast. The Ethnographic Museum is also of particular appeal to foreigners for its exhibitions of masks of koukeri, traditional costumes, ritual accessories, fabrics and embroidery. The museum is hosted in a house built in 1873 and later declared a cultural monument. The Museum of Nature and Science is another place of interest to visitors of the city. It contains more than 1,200 exhibits of insects and reptiles and more than 140 species of fish, plants growing in the district of Strandzha, protected and endemic species. Another such place is the Art Gallery, established in 1945 with halls exhibiting foreign and of Bulgarian artists’ works, and icons painted by renowned Renaissance artists. Among the church buildings, one may wish to visit the St. St. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, which raises near the marketplace. The cathedral is interesting for its marvelous frescos and wooden altar. Another impressive sight of Bourgas is the Armenian Church located close to Bulgaria Hotel. It was built in 1855 by the local Armenian minority supported by Bulgarians. Finally, a philharmonic hall, an opera house, a drama theatre and a puppet theater are hosted in beautiful buildings and function during the entire season.
Away from the busy centre of the city, the shady Sea Garden is a lovely place to stroll in hot summer days. The park is situated on a hill next to the coast, and is rich in flowers, trees and sculptures. Within the park there is a casino, a small zoo and an open-air theatre, which houses the annual International Folklore Festival, and where participants in the Golden Orpheus Pop-Festival perform. A beautiful forked staircase in verdure leads from the park down to the central beach of the city. The sand is a mixture of various alloys of magnetite, which is the reason for its dark colour. The city also has a northern beach, located close to the Izgrev Quarter, and adjacent to the city’s salt-mines.
Outside the city: The lake of Pomorie is located 20 km north of Bourgas. The lake is surrounded by salt-mines and balneo-resorts. The Atanassovo Lake is to the north, too, between the airport and the city. It is 10 km long and once was a nestling site of many marsh and sea birds migrating from Gibraltar and the Bosphorus. Part of the lake is a natural reserve. There are sites for fishing, swimming and having a rest. The Bourgas Lake is a nestling site of pelicans, ibis, and herons. It offers many opportunities for having a rest as well. The Mandren Lake is 10 km south of the city and is also an important ornithological reserve with a large bird population in the summer. It is also appropriate for rowing tours and recreation.
The St. Anastassia Island is 3 nautical miles east of the city. The island has a well-preserved old church and was used for the exile of left-wing revolutionaries in 1923-1925, and anti-Fascists in 1943-1944. That is why the island was named Bolshevik for some years during communist times. The salt-mines of Bourgas may be also a sight of interest. They border the Bourgas Lake, and some of them even stretch to the Atanassovo Lake. Mineral water baths can be found 13km north-west of the city on the way to Aitos. The baths are built over the remains of an old Roman town called Aetos. The present-day baths were built in the 16th century during Ottoman rule and are still functioning. There is curing mud, a balneo-spa, a polyclinic, and a holiday house.
The village of Kraimorie (once named Kafka) is to the south of Bourgas on the way to the old fortress of Pirgos. There is a nice beach near the village, as well as rest homes and private lodgings for holiday-makers. The Otmanli Park is 15 km away from Bourgas near the Choukalya caape. It comprises over 6,000 decares of thick forest and holds in a hunting area and bungalows for recreation.
Two famous Bulgarian resorts rich in history and architectural monuments are located close to Bourgas – Nessebar to the north and Sozopol to the south.
Location: The town of Primorsko is relatively small as it has population of about 2,500 people. 52km south of Bourgas, the town lies on a cape jutting out between the Stamopolo Bay and the Dyavolski (Devil’s) Bay. The town has two beaches, the Northern and the Southern ones. The former is more open and offers rough sea, which makes it treasured by surfers, while the latter is smaller and calmer, and hence preferred by families. Traditionally, the Southern Beach gets overcrowded during the top season, which makes holidaymakers sunbathe at nearby beaches, such as the one of the International Youth Centre. The youth centre is situated only 1-2 km to the south of the town and represents a typical holiday city for young people with plenty of villas, bungalows, hotels, bars, discos, and various sports grounds. The area is forested with deciduous trees and vegetation and is arranged as a cultivated park in an old oak wood. The centre was built in socialist times in a bid to promote interaction among youngsters from Soviet Bloc countries.
History: The Ottoman-time village of Chenger (later known as Kyupria) grew into a modern resort only after the Liberation in the second half of the 19th century.
Places of Interest: The most popular nearby place is the river of Ropotamo, famous for the thick (‘Longoz’) forest, otherwise typical for tropical climates, along its banks. The marsh of Arkutino also falls within the boundaries of the natural reserve. Besides its attractive rocky formations, the right-hand bank of the river also features one of the largest natural reserves of Water Pelin – a rare and treasured herb – in the country. Unfortunately, the commercialisation of the Black Sea coast in the last few years is widely fuelling concerns about the future of the flora and fauna of the natural reserve.
08.26, Saturday (57 km)
Primorsko – 3 km Lozenetz – 11 km Tzarevo – 15 km Izgrev – 25 km Balgari – 30 km Kondolovo – 39 km Gramatikovo – 57 km Malko Tarnovo 51 km – 7,5 km BU/TU border
Location: The village of Lozenetz is about 60km south of Bourgas with the village of Kiten neighbouring to the north and the town of Tzarevo – to the south. The village has a long and beautiful beach, while two nearby campsites and small inlets around Lozenets offer their own beaches as well. Lozenetz has just about 250 local families as similarly to other towns and villages along the coast, more and more houses and land plots are being bought out by well-off Bulgarians (mostly from the capital city of Sofia) and foreigners for holiday villas.
History: The village was founded in 1924 by romantic sea-lovers from the nearby inland village of Velika. The settlement was first named ‘Emberli’ after a popular grape variety. Later, it was renamed into Lozenetz after the many vineyards around the village.
Places of Interest: The village saw its first church being built about 4 years ago with a donation of one of its newcomers from the city of Sofia. One of the village’s local attractions is a rather high chimney with a couple of storks arriving here each and every spring to breed their offspring. Outside the village, one can take a boat trip down the Ropotamo river, famous for the thick (‘Longoz’) forest along its banks, otherwise typical for tropical climates.
Accommodation: Choice is rich among many private hotels and houses, while prices are moderate. Besides, a beautiful holiday complex of high-class villas lies at the northern end of the village. The complex is built in Scandinavian style and offers rooms and flats in luxurious 2- and 3-floor villas, equipped with various facilities, such as air-conditioning, minbars, cable TV. The holiday complex has a bar, restaurant, bistro, coffee house, stores, sports grounds and a computer club. In addition, for those seeking less expensive accommodation, two camping sites lie at just outside Lozenets in northern and southern direction respectively. Catering: The fact that Lozenets is a typical fishermen settlement ensures the supply of fresh fish and the abundance of fish specialties at the village’s restaurants. Locally produced wine adds to the charm of most restaurants’ and pubs’ menus. Veleka River (Велека)
Location: The Veleka river springs from a region in Turkey, situated very close to the Bulgarian-Turkish border. The river meanders through the virgin nature of the Strandzha mountain before flowing into the Black Sea. Its mouth is particularly beautiful for the way the river sinks underground to flow into the sea beneath a relatively wide strip of sand. The mouth of Veleka is only 4 km south of Ahtopol and at the very northern end of the village of Sinemoretz.
History and General Info: The Veleka river is one of the most romantic and ecologically clean rivers of the country. The misty shroud over it in the early morning is an unforgettable sight. Veleka is an inseparable part of the Strandzha natural park and is one of the key charms of the region, together with the Rezovska river. The mountain was declared a natural park in 1995 (in fact being the largest one in Bulgaria) and is one of the least explored in Bulgaria, which explains the richness of its wildlife. The mountain also has a lot of caves (particularly in its western part), traces of ancient civilisations (such as stone figures, sun discs carved in stone, Thracian dolmens, fortress walls, protobulgarian sanctuaries, etc).
Once, the road to Turkey passed along the banks of Veleka and according to local legend , the area still hides unfound treasuries and gold. Its waters are rich in fish, while similarly to the entire Strandzha mountain, its wild banks give shelter to game, with field birds, waterfowl and raptors being a usual sight. One of the most famous settlements on its banks is the village of Kosti, which appeals to tourists for its authentically ancient spirit and way of living, including the preservation of old customs such as barefoot dancing on glowing embers (so-called called ‘nestinarski’ dances). The villa complex of Chuchurinkata, which lies 5 km away from the village of Gramatikovo on the banks of the river, is also popular among holidaymakers for the serenity of the surrounding nature and the primitive comfort the villas offer. The villas’ electricity is generated by big batteries, while water is supplied from a nearby spring. The villas are equipped with stoves and fireplaces and are used during all around the year.
Location: The town of Tzarevo has above 6,000 inhabitants, and lies 72km south of Bourgas. Similarly to other nearby towns and villages, Tzarevo is situated at the very border between the Strandzha Mountain and the sea. It lies over two small peninsulas, bordering a beautiful inlet. The peak of Papiya, which is 502m high and shows traces of an old fortress, stands out to the south of the town and is an additional attraction of Tzarevo. The town is an administrative centre and has a lot of specialised stores (e.g. for vehicle spare parts) and a hospital.
History: In ancient times, the place was inhabited by a colony named Vassiliko. The town of Tzarevo was included in the territory of Bulgaria only in 1912. The name of Tzarevo dates back to the 1930s. With the communists’ taking power in September, 1944 it was renamed into Michurin in honour of the renowned Russian biologist, and bore this name until the fall of socialist rule. It is an international port for medium-sized passenger and cargo ships.
Places of Interest: Once one gets into Tzarevo, it is worth spending a (cloudy) day away from the beach, deep into the Stradzha Mountain. The mountain was declared a natural park in 1995 (in fact being the largest one in Bulgaria) and is one of the least explored in Bulgaria, which explains the richness of its wildlife. The mountain also has a lot of caves (particularly in its western part), traces of ancient civilisations (such as stone figures, sun discs carved in stone, Thracian dolmens, fortress walls, protobulgarian sanctuaries, etc). The mountain’s villages are also unique in terms of spirit and architecture. Two such authentic villages to the southwest of Tzarevo on the road to Malko Turnovo are Kolodovo (22km away from Tzarevo) and Bulgari (17km away). The village of Bulgari is particularly famous for its ‘nestinarski’ dances (barefoot dance on glowing embers), held on the occasion of village fairs or holidays, such as the one of St. St. Constantin and Elena on the 21st of May. Two natural reserves, Silkosiya and Tisovitsa, which fall within the boundaries of the Strandzha Natural Park, can be found to the south and west of Bulgari respectively. Trees of some 200 years of age can be seen there. Another attraction in the neighbourhood is the village of Gradishte where Thracian mounds were discovered.
Municipality of Malko Tarnovo town is situated in southeastern Bulgaria and it is the third largest city in Bourgas region. Disposed in the heart of Strandzha mountain at a surface area of 798.5 square km which is 10.3 % from the territory of Bourgas region and 0.76 % from the territory of Bulgaria. It is completely over the territory of Natural Park “Strandzha”.It consists from its administrative center – Malko Tarnovo town and 12 villages, two of them are municipalities – Grammatikovo and Zvezdets villages, and the others municipality vicarages.
In the municipality live totally 4896 persons – an index which shows that the region is sparsely inhabited.
It borders to the municipalities of Sredets, Sozopol, Primorsko and Tsarevo, to the south with the republic of Turkey.
The municipality is crossed by an international road which is the shortest connection to Europe countries and those from the Near East.
The municipality center of Malko Tarnovo town is at about 76 km away from the region center of Bourgas town – the fourth largest town in Bulgaria important and perspective transport center.
Main transport thoroughfares:
Main road: Bourgas town – road fork “Poda” – Marinka village – Krushevets village – Bosna area – Zvezdets village – Malko Tarnovo town:
Bourgas town – Tsarevo – Bulgari village – Grammatikovo village – Malko Tarnovo town
Harmanli town – Topolovgrad town – Elhovo – Bolyarovo – Tagarevsko harche – Varovick village – Bosna area – Zvezdets village – Malko Tarnovo town
Public transports are accomplished by transport companies from Bourgas town, Malko Tarnovo town and Tsarevo town. Malko Tarnovo town reaches neighbor Turkey through Malko Tarnovo customs and Istanbul town is only 290 km away from the border.
Distances from the municipality center of Malko Tarnovo town to other neighbor populated areas:
- Tsarevo town – 56 km
- Architectural-historical reserve Sozopol – 60 km
- Border point and a customs – 9 km
- Kurklareli (Turkey) – 45 km
Distances to villages and towns in the municipality by second-class and third-class roads:Stoilovo village – 9 km, Bliznak village – 41 km, Evrenozovo village – 28 km, Brashlyan village – 15 km, Bosna village – 37 km, Vizitsa village – 35 km, Zvezdets village – 25 km, Byala voda village – 43 km, Zabernovo village – 44 km, Mladezhko village – 32 km, Kalovo village – 54 km, Grammatikovo village – 24 km, Slivarovo village – 16 km.