Saturday, 21 April 2012 22:46
Varna is the third largest city in Bulgaria and the largest one on the Black Sea shore with population of about 330 000 people.
The town was established in the 6th century BC under the name of Odessos by emigrants from the town of Milet in Asia Minor. For a short time it turned into a polis and one of the most important ports and commercial centers on the Black Sea.
For a few decades Odessos was within the borders of the Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great, but later it reestablished its independence and again rose as an economical, commercial and cultural center. The city was coining its own money which is an evidence of its development. In the 15th year AD Odessos was included within the borders of the Roman Empire. In 1201 the Bulgarian tsar Kaloyan (born 1168– died 1207) integrated the town to Bulgaria, and in 1366 Varna was given to the Dobrudzha ruler Dobrotitsa, and it had served as his capital. In 1398 Varna was conquered by the Ottoman conquerors. During the Revival (18th – 19th century) it was developed as a cultural and commercial center.
Today Varna is a modern city with a rich cultural calendar. Two of the most modern multifunctional halls in the county are situated here – the Palace of Culture and Sports and the Festival and Congress Center, which allow the conducting of multiple international cinema festivals, scientific forums and sport events, among which are the following: International Theater Festival "Varna Summer", Ethnic Festival, International Jazz Festival "Varna Summer", International Folklore Festival of Varna, International Film Festival "Love is Folly", International Festival of Puppet Art "Golden Dolphin", International Photographic Saloon, Bulgarian Film Festival "Golden Rose", etc.
With its modern port, railway connection and international airport providing connection with 35 states and more than 100 world cities, Varna is one of the largest transport centers in Bulgaria.
The strategic position of Varna on the map of south-eastern Europe has turned the city into one of the largest settlements on the Black Sea shore since antiquity. Multiple monuments presented today in the city Archaeological Museum date back to this period. The museum’s impressive collection includes the finds from the Varna chalcolythic necropolis – the oldest golden treasure in the world found by now, dating back to six thousand years ago.
Among the rest of the museums, some of the most interesting ones are the Maritime Museum and the Ethnographic Museum. As a cultural center, Varna has built one of the largest and richest fine arts galleries in Bulgaria.
Another tourist site which deserves attention is the Aquarium. It is a center for popularizing the Black Sea flora and fauna. It presents the first and only biological exposition in the country. In the Dolphinarium, situated in the Park by the Sea, the tourists can enjoy a unique dolphin show, presented in an interesting way by the dolphins and their trainers. It is conducted in four languages simultaneously: Bulgarian, Russian, German and English, and includes multiple attractions, such as acrobatics, balancing, music, singing, dancing, and games with the audience. Its duration is 40 minutes.
The central sea baths and the beach are situated below the Sea Garden. They were constructed in the beginning of the 20th century and include policlinic, water and mud-curing complex, two quays, a few restaurants and discotheques.
Various water sports can be practiced on the beach – beach volleyball, surfing, diving, jet skiing, boat trips, banana boat rides, etc.
Varna is a city which is very appropriate for health tourism. It successfully combines resting at the sea side with healing camps, pre-hospital and hospital treatment, recreational services and healthy way of life.
A training golf course is situated in close proximity to Varna, in Asparuhovo residential section, and other 3 large and modern golf courses are also situated not far from the city, by Kavarna and Balchik.