Nessebar, North Black Sea coast

The picturesque town of Nessebar (population 9437 inhabitants), one of the oldest European towns is situated on a small peninsula, 37 km north-east of Bourgas and 429 km east of Sofia. The beach is considered to be the best along the Black Sea coast.
Today Nessebar is one of the resorts most preferred by tourists.
The old town of Nessebar is under the protection of UNESCO. The old building were restored and new houses in ancient style were built.


The town of Nessebar is one of the oldest towns in Europe. It is the successor of the ancient Thracian settlement called Mesambria founded in the Second century AD. Its name means town of Melsa. Since 510 AD it was turned into Greek colony town by Dorian settlers. They called it Mesambria. There was a theatre and a temple of the Greek God Apollo in it. Brass and silver money were coined there, and in the third century AD - golden ones. It was occupied in 72 AD by a Roman garrison. It started to play important role again in III-IV century.
In the year 812 Khan Krum conquered the town. In 864 Boris I yielded the possession of the town to Byzantine, but King Simeon captured it again. Since XI century the Slav name Messebar or Nessebar has been used together with the original name Mesambria.


Nessebar is best known for the Old town on the peninsula. No one can say for sure whether the isthmus is natural or man-made. The largest number and best known buildings date from 11th to 14th centuries. Almost all of them are churches built in the so called "picturesque" style: walls intersected by pilasters and lunettes, with stone, brick and ceramic ornaments and arches along the cornice.
The churches in Nessebar are 41. Not all of them have preserved their full brilliance but even their present condition strongly impresses tourists. The churches were built during the early Byzantine period (V-VI) and during the middle ages (X-XIV). The oldest of them are the basilicas, cruciform, single nave. The murals from the XIV-XVIII c. have an exceptional historic and artistic value, displaying the traditions and craftsmanship of the artisans and icon - painters of that time. Old Nessebar was included in the World Register of Historical Sites in 1983.
One of the oldest sights is the Basilica situated on the seashore, built probably at the beginning of 5 th century.
The St. John the Baptist church was built in 10 th century and is a typical cross domed church with three naves.
The St. Stefan church, the St. Todor church, the St. Paraskeva church, the Pantocrator church. The St. John Aliturgetos church is considered to be the most beautiful one.

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.
Check out the two-storeyed period houses with stone-built ground levels and wooden upper floors jutting above the streets and external staircases. Nesebur houses have small yards facing the street. A wooden staircase leads up to the second floor which is lightly structured and completely faced with wood. The central living quarters are occupied by the parlor from which numerous doors lead to the remaining rooms. Wooden ceilings and whitewashed walls characterize the interior. The upper floor windows are wide, those on the ground floor are narrow and few in number.
The Turkish bath and the windmill at the beginning of the causeway are of particular interest.


The town greets you with its cafes,where you can take a rest under the shades of the trees before you start with your shopping marathon. Here you will see 2 streets one left and one right. Take the left if you wanna visit the endless shops and souvenirs ,and the right if you wanna take a walk through the old houses and beautiful renaissance architecture. Here on the right side of the Tatoo studio and the hotel is located the archeological museum of Nessebar.

You should take a day to just walk around the old part and check out the little shops built in the old building of this part of the city. There are many souvenir and craft stalls in the streets of Nessebar in addition to the many shops. The stalls sell hand-made pottery and jewellery, as well as paintings, clothing and more tacky souvenirs. Prices are very reasonable for all goods.

Warnings and Dangers

Fines for throwing trash on the beach
Nessebar shares its beachline with Sunny Beach. Since this is one of the cleanest beaches in Bulgaria, the local government has decided to protect it. There are heavy fines for littering that range between 400-1000 levs. You are also forced to clean up your mess.

Watch out for the heavy sun.
Temperatures in Nessebur can become very high. You should use a lot of protective oil on the beach. Also drink a lot of water. You should also wear cool clothing especially during the time between June and August.


There is a regular transport connecting town Bourgas and Pomorie to Nessebar and Sunny Beach.
There is also water transport to Bourgas.

Open air Train around Nessebar
Nessebar isn't very big and you can actually go everywhere on foot. However, if you don't feel like it, there are these cute little trains that will take you from one part of town to the other in less than 10 minutes.The ride costs about 1 euro.

The water route
A boat ride from Nessebur to Sunny Beach can be a lot of fun. There are different boats located at the dock in the old part of Nessebar. Some are more upperscale and will offer cocktails and drinks on board. Others are just plain old modified fishing boats. A ride on the more upperscale boats and yachts is about 20 levs. Cocktails cost about the same as they do in the local bars. The fishing boats will charge you about 8-12 levs.