Bulgaria’s relatively short coastline packs in some interesting towns and cities, as the Monkey demonstrates in these photos from his travels in 2002.
Varna is Bulgaria’s third largest city and main port. Though the city dates back to Thracian settlers who arrived around 1200 BCE, Varna’s real expansion began under the Romans who conquered it in 15 CE. They fortified the city and built it into one of their most important Black Sea settlements. In this photo, the Monkey explores the ruins of the Roman thermae (bath) , the best-preserved and biggest such ruins on the Black Sea coast. Combined with the city’s relaxed atmosphere and seafront location, the chance to wander through the thermae make a visit to Varna truly worthwhile.
In Varna, the largest Bulgarian city on the Black Sea coast, it was Maimunka’s great pleasure to stop by the Monument to the Fighters Against Fascism, which the Bulgarian Communists erected in honor of the Partisans who vehemently resisted the pro-Nazi monarchy of 1940s Bulgaria.
Again in Varna, the Monkey poses by a Soviet chopper on the grounds of the Naval Museum, which also features a “beached” Soviet-era submarine.
Part package-tour incapsulation of coastal Bulgaria, part vital historical center, Nesebur boasts a plethora of medieval Bulgarian churches in varying states of repair (like the structure in the top-center of this shot). Some sites, like the amphitheater spilling down the incline behind the Monkey, have been dutifully restored. At left, the pinkish building on Ulitsa Ribarska hosts a very pleasant restaurant with a vine-covered terrace where the Monkey whiled away many hours with visiting friends from Germany back in 2002.
The Monkey sits near Nesebur’s famous windmill. Originally a Thracian settlement, Nesebur developed as a Black Sea maritime power under Greek colonists from 510 BCE. The Romans conquered the town in 72 BCE and it passed into Byzantine control some centuries later. As a result, this small, peninsular city possesses a wealth of ancient architecture in addition to the later, medieval Bulgarian additions. Located near the beach resorts of Albena and Golden Sands, Nesebur receives a large influx of tourists each summer eager to explore the history. Maimunka recommends a winter visit for quiet contemplation.
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