Places of Interest on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast
Information on the main tourist attractions, places of interest and sights to see on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast...
The Black Sea Coast region is one of the most visited areas of Bulgaria, with many interesting sights and places to see.
Poda: This nature conservation site on the outskirts of Burgas is home to many rare birds and plants and is managed by the Bulgarian Society for the Preservation of Birds. A Nature Conservation Centre is open to visitors who can follow a nature path, use the centre's binoculars and telescopes or participate in guided tours. The zone and the three lakes surrounding it, Vaya Lake, Mandra Lake and Atanasovsko Lake, are referred to as the Burgas Lakes or the Burgas Wetlands. Recreational facilities available include swimming and fishing.
Cathedral of the Assumption: Designed by the Russian architect from Odessa, Maas, Varna's cathedral is one of the main landmarks in the city. Construction began in 1880 and although completed in 1886 it was not sanctified until 1910. It was built to commemorate Russian soldiers who died in the fight to free the country from Ottoman rule. Inside are stained glass, murals, carved iconostasis (icon screens) and a bishop's throne. A spiral staircase with 133 steps leads to the bell tower which provides spectacular views over the town.
Roman Baths: These public baths date back to the period when the town (then named Odessos) was an important and wealthy part of the Roman Empire. Built in the second half of the 2nd century and covering an area of 7,000 m2, it is supposed that the height of the construction was 20m.
Varna Sea Gardens: The public park houses a dolphinarium, planetarium, aquarium, terrarium and zoo. The gardens were completed in the early 20th century and feature plants and trees from Bulgaria and the Mediterranean. A sandy beach, lined with restaurants and bars lies just below the sea gardens.
Stone Forest: Situated just west of Varna, this site is filled with seven clusters of limestone pillars, some as high as 6m. The stones are approximately 50 million years old and there are different theories as to their origin. These include that they are the result of fossilisation of a forest; that they were formed by coral reefs; that the area was a sea bottom; and that they formed when layers of chalk merged with a layer of sand.
The old town of Nessebar is a World Heritage site, popular with visitors. First settled by the Thracians, the town was formerly known as Messembria until it became part of the First Bulgarian Kingdom and was renamed Nessebar in the 9th century. Sites of particular interest in the town include a fortified wall dating back to the 3rd or 4th century and churches dating back to the 10th up to the 14th century.
The historical town of Pomorie dates back to the 4th or 5th century BC and was a colony of Apollonia, now known as Sozopol. The town is renowned for its white wine and its salt pans. The Salt Museum is situated not far from Lake Pomorie and features a working salt pan and an exhibition on the salt trade. Other attractions include an ancient Thracian beehive tomb dating back to the 3rd century AD and the Church of the Transfiguration with 17th century icons.
Nature and Animal Protection Centre: This centre is unique in Eastern Europe and covers 16 hectares. On the site is a zoo with over 100 different animal species including deer, roe, llamas, mouflons (a species of wild sheep), horses, exotic and water birds, goats and bison. The zoo's priority is the reproduction and re-introduction of endangered species.
St George Park: Opened in 1867 the park provides recreational and sports facilities. In 1999 the park was registered as a monument of landscape design and in 2003 it was entirely renovated as part of the Beautiful Bulgaria project.
Tombul Mosque: This active Muslim temple is one of the largest mosques on the Balkan Peninsula and the largest mosque in Bulgaria. Built between 1740 and 1744, the interior is richly decorated with wall paintings of vegetation, geometric figures and inscriptions from the Koran. The huge dome measures 25m and the minaret, 45m.
- At: 21 Pakovski St., Shumen
Tel: 054 371 63
Open to the public: Monday to Friday, 09:00-18:00
Madara National Historical and Archaeological Reserve: This reserve, one of the most visited sites in Bulgaria, is home to archaeological monuments dating from 4000 BC to the 15th century. Recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage site the most famous monument is the Madara Horseman, a unique rock relief carved in the rock face just above the village. Inscriptions in Greek have been written around the horseman, referring to military campaigns of three Bulgar Khans, Tervel, Krum and Omurtag. Guided tours of the site take place each day.
- Tel: 054 806 26
Open: Daily from 09:00-17:00
The Shumen Monument 1300, also called the "Founders of the Bulgarian State", was built in 1981 to celebrate the 1,300th anniversary of the Bulgarian State. The monument is situated on the plateau of Shumen and has spectacular views over the region for those who climb the 1,300 steps to the top.
Shumen Fortress: Built over three thousand years ago and destroyed in 1444 at the time of the crusade of Vladislav III Yagelo, the fortress was built to defend the capitals of the First Bulgarian Kingdom, Pliska and Preslav. This open-air museum is one of the most excavated sites in Bulgaria and is home to thousands of monuments showcasing the different periods in Bulgarian history. It is situated 3 Km west of Shumen, on the Shumen Plateau.
- Tel: 054 554 87 / 054 580 51
Open: Monday to Friday 09:00-17:00