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Varna

Varna, North Black Sea coast

The city of Varna – population 325137, is situated in the Bay of Varna, 470 km east of Sofia. Varna is the biggest city at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Varna's length is over 11 km, its width including the new residential district in nearly 9km. The city stands in tiers and follows the curves of the Bay of Varna. It is surrounded by lots of gardens, vineyards and deciduous groves. Almost the whole territory is occupied by private country houses and small farms. The city is a regional centre.

History

The town was settled by the fishing tribe of Corbisy.
In sixth century BC a Greece town inhabited by settlers was established here under the name Odesos.
The town had been under the siege of the troops of Alexander of Macedonia in the middle of the fourth century BC but after the siege was put down the town was given the autonomy within the limits of his Empire. At the time of Lisimah the town reestablished its supremacy at the north Black Sea coast.
Gradually Odessos yielded precedence in the region to the town of Marcianopolis (nowadays Devnia). Having been conquered and devastated several times during barbarian invasion it came within the Byzantine empire.
In ninth century it was already called Varna. It is supposed that the name originates from the horse people in Central Asia. The town was included in the territory of Bulgaria during the reign of king Kaloyan. In 1391 it soon declined and the Turkish conquered the town. In 1444, during the crusade of the Polish king Vladislav Yagello and the Hungarian leader Yanosh Huniady, the town was under the siege of the knights. The troops of the Christian coalition suffered a complete defeat. The young king Vladislav was killed. The citizens of Varna built a mausoleum in his honour called Park-museum Vladislav Varnenchik.
In 1878 Varna was finally liberated from Ottoman yoke and became the most important Bulgarian seaport town. Varna quickly established as a seaside resort. Entertainment establishments and holiday houses were built. Varna won the fame of becoming a favourite place for the Bulgarian elite.

Museums

The Archaeological museum is housed in a building that used to be a school during the Renaissance.
The Museum of the Bulgarian Revival is housed in a building from 1861 which was proclaimed a culture monument.
The Naval Museum is in the Sea garden and possesses all the objects of importance for the Bulgarian Navy.
The Park-Museum Vladislav Varnenchik is to the north-west of the city.
The Etnographic museum is housed in a Renaissance house from 19-th century.
The Natural – science museum displays species typical of the Bulgarian flora and fauna.
The Aquarium and the Black Sea museum is the first and the only marine biological station in the country.
The Gallery of art possesses paintings by the most outstanding Bulgarian artists as well as pieces of art by numerous foreign artists, donated to the gallery by citizens. A branch of the museum is the Museum house of Georgi Velchev .
An exhibition of icon–paintings from the Renaissance is held in the church St.Atanasii built in the 13-th century near the Roman spa. The church itself is unique with its mural paintings and icons and with its carved altar and bishop’s stall.
The Museum of medicine is the only one on the Balkan peninsula. Medical plants and herbs are on display here, as well as clothing used in the medical profession from ancient times till now.
The Museum of Varna's history has an exceptionally rich collection. The Gold Treasure of Varna is six thousand years old - it is the oldest gold in the world discovered so far.

Cinemas and theatres

There are about ten working cinemas in Varna. Some of the best are in the city centre. The best is Mustang Cinema . It is very comfortable and offers almost 24 hours of block busters.
The Drama Theatre is open during the whole holiday season with its three stages.
Varna’s Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra also have their performances.
The Puppet Theatre is also open throughout the whole season.

Landmarks

The Roman Spa is situated in the proper centre of the city.
The Cathedral of Holy Mother is considered to be an emblem of the seaside capital of Bulgaria.
The Sea garden dates back to the end of the 19-th c.
Various activities take place at the Open Air Theatre. These include the Varna Days of music, the world famous International ballet competition and Varna summer – a trienalle of arts.
The Pantheon is in Primorski park.
The Asparuh bridge connects the city centre with the residential district Asparuhovo and Galata. It is the longest bridge in Bulgaria.
The Clock tower was built in 1880 and it rises across from the cathedral. Beneath the cathedral is one of the branches of the Drama theatre and the Club of the cultural figures.
The Festival complex is opposite the entrance of the Sea garden.
The Dolphin show house is one of the favourite attractions both for children and adults. Performances and demonstrations regularly take place here.
Not far away from city centre is the Puppet theatre, where the “Golden Dolphin” festival of puppets take place each year. In the middle of the Sea garden is located the ZOO with lot of species. Not far from there you can find the Exotic Zoo where visitors can see many of exotic animals living on our planet.

Surrounding areas

The famous village of Vinitsa is situated 10km north-east of Varna. It is a favourite place where the citizens of Varna often go on picnic or for walks, it is also a holiday spot with lot of small private hotels there.
The Cape of Galata is a very attractive for lots of tourists who are keen on having a seclusion with nature. There is the residental district Galata where are lot of small hotels and holiday houses.
The resort complex of Chernomorec includes several chalets and lot of bungalows.
Around the Asparuh bridge near the residential district the relics of the rampart of Asparuh can be seen. Not far away is the knoll of Djanavar. A basilica from the early Christian period is built here.
The Stone Forest is 20 km west of the city.
The town of Devnia is connected with the Varna canal by the Varna lake. There are remains of the ancient town of Marcianoppolis, the second biggest town in ancient Bulgaria after Philipopolis (in present days – Plovdiv).
The fortress of Petrich rises opposite the railway station of Razdelna, close to the railway from Varna to Sofia. The fortress was built in 5-th century, later on it was pulled down and rebuilt in 13-th to 14-th centuries. It was an important defense fortress in 1444 during the battle of Vladislav Varnenchik. The rocks near the fortress are perfect for mountaineering.
The Aladzha rock monastery is situated in a beautiful woodland about 17 kilometers from Varna.

Catering

Varna's most popular luxurious restaurants are the Indian Maharany Restaurant, Maggy Restaurant, the Moussala Restaurant with a Viennise Cafe, the Paraklisa Restaurant, the FEB Restaurant, the Morska Sirena Restaurant, a chain of restaurants Mustang Food Bar, the Happy Bar and Grill chain, Loza Restaurant, Morsko Konche Restaurant, and the Galateya Restaurant, the Deja vu Restaurant, . Middle-class restaurants, private pubs and taverns can be found even in the distant residential quarters of the city (the Chuchura Restaurant, the Chuchurite Restaurant, the Old Varna Restaurant and Wine Club Varna). Many of these are open 24 hours, while others stay so as long as there are clients to be serviced. For those who prefer cooking for themselves there is a large number of supermarkets, including such working non-stop, and a lot of market places (the most popular one being Kolhoz) being as well. A lot of small pizza shops (recommended - Godzila) and snack-bars that offer typically Bulgarian snacks are also scattered all over the city. There are also a great number of canteens, especially along the beach and in the Sea Garden where fish and seafood are offered. Besides, every day one can buy freshly caught fish from the local fishermen at the seaport.

Warnings of Dangers

Avoiding problems
To avoid sticky or aggrevating situations like getting bothered by gypsies, getting ripped off while shopping or not being able to understand the menu, try to find a Bulgarian that speaks some English - they will help you a lot. They will be honoured to help and you can get along with your trip more easily and smoothly. If you don't know who to befrend go to younger people (20's or teens) because they tend to speak English. They can show you the town's hotspots and provide any needed help. Just remember to thank your new friend and maybe treat them to a coffe or something to show your gratitude.

Taxis
When using taxi always set price before the journey. You have to bargain for the price. Never agree to the first price the taxi driver sets. The taxis in front of the hotels are always the most expensive. Try anywhere else in the resort.

Festivals

Varna’s festivals are large in number, the most popular of them being: the international choir gathering – at the end of the May; International theatre holidays – a part of the festival Varna’s summer – in June; a part of the aforementioned festivals also the international gathering of orchestras and ensembles for classical music – in July; a part of the same festival the jam session in July and August. Other important cultural events are: the folk festival with international participants in August; the international ballet competition in August; the international festival of cinema called “Love is Folly” – in September; the festival of Bulgarian cinematography “Golden Rose”; “The Gold Dolphin” – an international festival of puppet theatres held each year in October.

Transportation

The seaport offers regular water transport to and from Balchik, Slunchev Bryag (Sunny Beach), Nessebar and Bourgas. Varna is also connected to all main railway lines in the country with express trains to Sofia and Plovdiv that take 7 and 4.30 hours respectively. The city's main bus station is 1.5km away from the city centre with buses to all larger cities in the country, nearby seaside resorts, Athens and Istanbul as well as to some cities in Central and Eastern Europe. Besides, Varna's city transport has a network of over 60 bus lines (some of these also travelling to nearby resorts) and trolley buses.


Varna International Airport (VAR)

Location: The airport is situated on the western outskirts, about five miles (9km) from Varna. Time: Local time is GMT +2 (GMT +3 from April to September). Contacts: Tel: +359 (0)52 500 840. Transfer to the city: Public bus 409, which passes through central Varna and travels as far as Golden Sands resort, serves the airport. Taxis are available, but the meters are often not working and it is advisable to agree on a fare with the driver before departure. Many resort hotels run their own shuttle services to and from the airport. Facilities: The airport has currency exchange facilities, a large restaurant and duty free shops. Departure tax: US$20 (nationals of the USA only) Website: www.varna-airport.bg

British Airways will launch a new summer route from Bulgaria to the United Kingdom in 2006 by introducing a two times weekly service from Varna to London.

The new flights will operate from Varna airport to London Gatwick airport every Wednesday and Saturday. These flights will be operated by Boeing 737-400 aircraft and will be available till the end of October 2006.


Other places of interest in/near Varna

Museum, North Black Sea coast

The Dolphinarium is an aluminium and glass building of unique outfit situated in the northern part of Varna seaside park . It was opened on 11.08.1984 and is seated for 1134. Inside you can enjoy the unique Dolphin show covering acrobatics, balance, music and dolphin dances. For 30 minutes you will stay in the world of dolphins – ...
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Entertainment site, North Black Sea coast

The sea garden is an emblem of Varna town. It is situated on 850 decares along the seaside line. There is a sun-dial representing a flying swan at the entrance of the sea garden. The region has been used for recreation and walks from the 60s of the 19 th century, but it was only at the beginning of the 20 th that the park was reconstructed ...
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Etnographic centre, North Black Sea coast

The historic – ethnographic complex of proto – Bulgarian village of “Fanagoria” is a unique active museum in open in the country. The complex is counterfeit of proto – Bulgarian battle camp of 6 – 8 th century and includes wood protected walls with battle towers, equipped jurta (ancient Bulgarian margull), active craft work – shops, ...
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Entertainment site, North Black Sea coast

The blast - off to the first artificial satellite of the Earth, provoke a huge interest in Bulgaria and this is the main reason for the formation of lots of clubs, devoted to the space. The enthusiasm was the reason to be established in the town of Varna in 1960 the first astronaut and astronomic club. Only a year later to the club ...
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Museum, North Black Sea coast

The Aquarium and the Black Sea museum in Varna were opened in 1932-the first and the only marine biological station in the country. Hundred of fish species are gathered here: molluscs, actinides, crabs, periwinkles as well as species of the fresh water rivers. A special place is occupied by the natural resources derived from the ...
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Church, North Black Sea coast

The Azazie mosque is settled in the nowadays “Angel Georgiev” street. There is no information about the date of its erection. According to some information the mosque was built in 1795. As the most mosques and this one the praying hall are towards Meka. The mosque is low building with a small back yard in the middle. The minaret ...
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Museum, North Black Sea coast

The Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis was accidentally found in October 1972. It is situated about 500 m north of the Varna Lake and about 4 km west of the downtown of Varna. Area from about 7 500 sq. m. was explored and were found more than 3000 golden objects dating back 6000 years ago were discovered in 294 graves. The Varna treasure ...
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Monument, North Black Sea coast

Even in the middle of the XVIII th century the town of Varna disposed of a clock tower. Sahat-kula was situated in the town garden behind the nowadays building of the theater. It was used by firemen as a fire-tower. It is supposed to have been destroyed during the siege of the town in 1828 or in the great fire in Varna during the ...
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Historical site, North Black Sea coast

Situated in the south-eastern part of the contemporary city of Varna the Roman spa was the biggest social building from the past discovered in Bulgaria till now. The church St. Atanasii is close to it. It walls comparatively well preserved outline an imposing building which area is 7000 sq. m. Built at the beginning of the 3 rd ...
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Museum, North Black Sea coast

On 27 July Str. in Varna one can find an ancient building related to the cultural and social life of the Bulgarians during the Revival. There were located the school, the church, the library and the municipality of the town till 1878. The school was established on August 12, 1860. It was situated in a private house, but on July ...
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Museum, North Black Sea coast

The Ethnographical museum in Varna is in a house built about 1860 as well as in an annex which is harmoniously connected with the old building located in 22 Panaguyrishte Street. The collection of exhibits gives a true idea of the rich variety in the way of living and culture of the population inhabiting Varna district during the ...
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Bar, North Black Sea coast

Wine Club Varna is situated in the central part of Varna, opposite the Archeological Museum in an authentic stone cellar. Its aim is to introduce to the admirers of wine the history of vine growing and wine producing in Bulgaria, and to make popular Bulgarian wines. The capacity of the club is 50 seats. Wine tasting of selected ...
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Entertainment site, North Black Sea coast

ABOUT EXOTIC ZOO The Exotic Zoo in Varna town is the most varied and unique exposing collection of terrarium animals in Bulgaria. It was created during 1998 by the professional zoologists – R. Trajanov, G. Simeonov, D.Delchev, V. Hainadjieva. COLLECTION About 70 species of interesting animals: from the ...
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Restaurant, North Black Sea coast

ABOUT THE RESTAURANT Restaurant “Hashove-Old Varna” is situated in Varna, in the immediate vicinity of the sea garden and the festival complex. It has over 80 seats and a rich assortment of salads, entrees, dishes and drinks. In a cozy folk-style atmosphere you can enjoy specialties of Bulgarian national cuisine – kavarma, ...
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Restaurant, North Black Sea coast

ABOUT THE TAVERN The wharf of the pleasure – tavern “Hyshove – the Old Walnut tree” is situated in the very center of Varna. It disposes of over 100 seats.The tavern is convenient for your personal, familiar and professional holidays. The greenery and the small water cascades in the summer garden, the cozy fireplace in ...
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Restaurant, North Black Sea coast

ABOUT THE BAR-RESTAURANT Bar-restaurant “Déjà vu” is situated in the central part of the sea capital of Bulgaria – Varna. Its name is not chosen by accident. Submerge into the pleasant atmosphere of “Déjà vu” and you will experience the best moments of your life again and again. The bar disposes of 2 halls situated on ...
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Restaurant, North Black Sea coast

Description: A typical Mehana with real Bulgarian atmosphere, professional service and excellent food. If you come here once, you'll come back for more! They serve every national dish. Prices: Less than 10 GBP for 2 people that is including wine and 3 courses. Address: Just off the main square with fountains ...
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Restaurant, North Black Sea coast

Description: First class Bulgarian cuisine and a very warm atmosphere.. Same food environment as Chuchura, though Chuchurite provides musicians in the evenings, who can sing songs from any country of the world.
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Natural phenomenon, North Black Sea coast

Located 18 km westwards from Varna they are one of the most incredible natural phenomena in Bulgaria. The natural stone pillars - some reaching 6 metres high, some up to 12 metres across at their base are known as “the petrified forest”. Some columns resemble animals, others remind you of frozen fountains or cascades. Several rows ...
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Historical site, North Black Sea coast

The construction of the Euxinograd Palace started in 1882. It was designed by the Viennese architect Ruppelmeyer. In that year the Bulgarian Prince Alexander Battenberg accepted as a present from the Council of senior clergy at the Greek Bishopric the monastery Saint Dimitar with all its fields, vineyards and buildings. Later the ...
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Restaurant, North Black Sea coast

"Godzila" is renowned for its great salads. The pizzas shouldn't be missed also. The spontaneous atmosphere and the air-conditioned rooms will tempt to stay a little longer. There are two restaurants of that kind, one of them has a summer garden. Address: 1. Maria Louisa 37 ;2. Knjaz Boris I 66 Phone: 604 469 ...
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