The town of Bourgas (population: 210 260) is the second district centre on the Black Sea coast. It is situated in the farthest western part of Bourgas bay and is 390 km east of Sofia.
Due to the low level of the coast there are three lagoon-lakes: Atanasovo lake, Bourgas Lake and Mandra lake. The town is situated between the sea and the first two lakes.
The climate of Bourgas is suitable for recreation – mild winter and long sunny summer. The beaches are covered with dark black curable sand.
Bourgas ranks fourth in size in the country after Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna.
Bourgas is a successor of the late Roman small town called Deultum – a military colony for veterans. Later it was called Develt, which served as a name for the present day village of Debelt. Later a curative settlement was built called Aqua kalidae, arranged around the mineral springs well known in the area. Thracian tribes used to live here before the commencement of this construction work.
In the Middle Ages a small fortress called Pirgos was erected, most probably used as a watchtower.
It was only in 17th century that Bourgas was given its present name. It was called Ahelo-Bourgas. After the Liberation it was called Bourgas, and was a small settlement. Ever since the town has grown and became the centre of the Southern Black Sea coast, a town of well developed industry and trade.
Museums and theatres
The District Museum of History, founded in 1925, houses an archaeological hall with a rich collection of old colonies on the Black Sea coast. There are exhibits of modern history, and photos of eminent Renaissance leaders.
The Art Gallery and the Fine Art Gallery exhibit foreign and Bulgarian art.
The Ethnographic Museum has an interesting collection of traditional masks of Koukeri, costumes typical of the region and ritual accessories.
The Museum of Nature and Science contains many exhibits describing the geological characteristics of the earth, the region, the flora and fauna.
The Philharmonic, the Opera House, and the Theater of Drama are housed in three different buildings and function all through the season. Together with the Puppet Theater they outline the cultural atmosphere in the town.
Away from the busy centre of the city, the shady Sea Garden is a lovely place to stroll in hot summer days. 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.
The St. St. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral is interesting with its marvelous frescos and wooden alter.
Also interesting sights of Bourgas are the Armenian Church, the Catholic cathedral, the church “St. Holly Mother”, and the church “St. Ivan Rilski”.
• Five days of the Classical German and Austrian music – at the end of April
• International Theater Festival of Small Forms called “Theater in a Case” – May and June
• Three-week Festival of Opera and Classical Music in memory of the conductor Emil Chakurov – July.
• International Folk Festival and Week of the Arts for Children – August
• International Pop- and Jazz- Meeting called “Bourgas and the Sea” – September
• International Tournament for Standard and Latin American Dances – December.
The city is full of restaurants, pubs, beer-houses, taverns, and refreshment stalls and groceries. The most famous restaurants are National, Staryat Pristan, Starata Gemiya, Bourgaska Sreshta as well as the hotels' restaurants. Most of the high-class restaurants have live music, while some offer show programmes, too. 2 courses and several beers cost about £5(13lev), the portions are a decent size and although the service sometimes not 100%, the staff is friendly. Food in the city is generally cheap, especially if one goes shopping in the suburbs or at marketplaces.
The lake of Pomorie is located 20 km north of Bourgas and is surrounded by salt mines and balneo-resorts, as well as the town of Pomorie.
The Atanasovo lake is to the north too. It is a home for many marsh and sea birds migrating from Gibraltar and the Bosphorus.
The Bourgas Lake is near the town. Pelicans, ibis, and herons nest there.
The Mandra lake is 10 km south of Bourgas and is also an important ornithological reserve.
The island of St. Anastasia is three sea miles east of the town. There is a well preserved old church.
The salt mines of Bourgas are a sight of interest. They border the Bourgas Lake, and some of them even stretch to the Atanasovo lake.
The Mineral public baths are 13 km north-west of the town in the direction to Aitos. There are the remains of the old Roman town built around the mineral springs.
The village of Kraimorie is to the south of Bourgas on the way to the old fortress of Pirgos.
The park Otmanli is 15 km away from the town near the Chokalya cape.
Warnings or Dangers
Burgas is quite a safe place but beware of gypsies who pose as beggars but are pick pockets. Changing money on the streets should be avoided. You may encounter people around the railway station offering better rates than the banks and hotels, but don't be tempted by this. You should only change money at Banks or Hotels.
The airport of Bourgas receives flights from the country and from abroad all through the year. There are flights to Sofia every day. The flight is 40 min.
The railway station in Bourgas has connections with all main directions around the country. The bus station is located next to the railway station. Buses to almost all directions including Sofia leave there.
Distance (in hours) from Sofia:
by airplane : 30 min up to 1 hour
by car : about 5 hours
by train : direct train - 6 hours; express train - about 8 hours
Other places of interest in/near Burgas