Bulgaria, in the view of many Europeans, is a country where you should fly in the summer, bask in the golden sands of seaside resorts. But not everyone knows how many different attractions there are – natural, cultural. Take Varna – people have lived on these lands since time immemorial, archaeologists have found a lot of evidence to this. And the heroic past of this city! You can come here at any time and for any period of time, there will be enough impressions for a long time. What to see in Varna for 1 day on your own? Choose for yourself.
Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
This is not just a beautiful cathedral, but also a real symbol of independence. For centuries, Bulgaria was an Orthodox country, inheriting religion from Byzantium. After this land was conquered by the Turks, Christians had a hard time. Many temples were destroyed, the values were removed from them. Conquerors who converted the remaining churches turned into mosques. Only in the second half of the 19th century the Bulgarians with the help of the Russian army were able to achieve independence of the country.
In memory of this war, in gratitude to the liberators, a cathedral was built. They built it with the whole world – money was donated by both ordinary people and the nobility. The decision was initiated by a special committee – the opinion of the townspeople and the local bishop Simeon was taken into account. And the first stone in the foundation of the cathedral was laid by Prince Alexander the First. The Russian Empress Maria Alexandrovna, wife of the emperor-liberator Alexander the Second, was the first person in Bulgaria to be her own aunt. The prince decided to dedicate the cathedral to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Heavenly Patroness of Maria Alexandrovna.
The project was completed by Odesa I. Maas, and the construction was headed by the Bulgarian I. Kupka. This is not to say that the cathedral is designed in the same style. Here is the legacy of Byzantine culture, and features characteristic of Russian churches, and even some elements of Gothic architecture. Golden domes are a real decoration of the city, and the inhabitants of Varna are rightfully proud of their cathedral. It is worth examining it not only from the outside, but also go inside. You will see very beautiful murals.
This wonderful museum can give its guests a lot of impressions. Scientists and enthusiasts began collecting exhibits for him a very long time ago – in the second half of the 19th century. Then in Varna there was already an archaeological society, which initiated the creation of the collection. At first it was small and housed in the city library. But soon it was decided to relocate the museum to a beautiful neo-Renaissance mansion built by the famous architect P. Mamchilov. The museum opened in a new place at the beginning of the 20th century.
The abundance of exhibits is due to the fact that people have lived in Bulgaria since ancient times. Several halls are devoted to the Paleolithic era, and finds related to Ancient Thrace are presented here. The following are Antiquity and the Middle Ages. You can see a wide variety of objects – tools and jewelry, weapons and utensils, works of art and preserved documents – evidence of a particular era. Orthodox art is a very interesting find. And the main treasure of the museum is gold items that are already several thousand years old. Found them during the excavation of the necropolis, located near Varna.
Boulevard Prince Boris I
A charming boulevard that simply cannot be avoided. It stretches from Independence Square and is the main pedestrian street of the city. You can come here for different purposes. Including, to – as they used to say – to look at others and show yourself, take a walk in a beautiful outfit. Here you can buy souvenirs – the choice is huge. From rose oil in original bottles to the craftsmanship of local craftsmen. Although this boulevard is a very popular place with the townspeople, the prices will not be too high.
If you come here with children, they will surely find new friends among their peers. Adults can have a beer or sit in a coffee shop. And the most curious tourists will pay attention to the buildings lined up along the boulevard. They are all ancient, all have their own history. They are amazingly beautiful. Some are built in the Baroque style, others make you remember the Gothic. It is best to walk along the boulevard, accompanied by a guide who can tell you the story of each house.
This ancient park (another name for it is “Marine Park”) has become a favorite vacation spot for residents of Varna. You can come here with the children for the whole day. The park was designed by Anton Novak, an architect from the Czech Republic, and this happened in the 19th century. Prior to this, the territory was an abandoned piece of land on the seashore. Now you can see beautiful alleys surrounded by trees, among which there are many conifers. Therefore, the air here is truly healing.
Broken flower beds, fragrant flowers. Sparks of fountains sparkle in the sun. You can stroll slowly, sit on benches, admire sculptures – they are presented here in abundance. In addition, the Marine Park has museums and such attractive tourist centers as a planetarium, zoo, dolphinarium. You can go down to the beach, swim, or take the child to the rides. The Summer Theater regularly hosts recreational activities. Well, and, of course, on the territory of the park you can have a bite to eat at the cafe and buy souvenirs at small kiosks.
Planetarium and Observatory of Nicholas Copernicus
In the second half of the 20th century, interest in astronomical observations sharply increased. This was due to the launch of an artificial satellite, and then to the space flight of the first astronaut. In 1960, the Club of Astronomy and Cosmonautics opened in Varna. A few years later, the city was visited by German Titov, a follower of Yuri Gagarin. He arrived as part of a congress of members of the International Federation of Aviation and Cosmonautics. Then it was decided that an observatory would appear in the city.
First, she occupied the premises of the Summer Theater, then the construction of her own building began in the Seaside Park. The architect was K. Goranov. The result was a whole complex – not only an observatory, but also a planetarium, as well as a turret with a Foucault pendulum. Thanks to him, you can make sure that the Earth makes rotational movements around its axis. The complex conducts astronomical observations, here you can listen to lectures, admire the stars and planets, read books about them – there is also its own library.
Zoo and Terrarium
It will be interesting to visit the zoo for both adults and children. The menagerie is quite old – it was opened back in 1961. The money was allocated by the sailors of the Maxim ship. The terrarium appeared much later – almost 40 years later. Today, here you can see over 70 species of fauna representatives. These are animals and birds, including rare ones, their names are listed in the Red Book. You can admire predators – lions, tigers, panthers.
Feed the camel and llama, see how the beautiful peacock spreads its tail. The pride of the zoo is the most beautiful black swans. The menagerie works daily. The terrarium contains various types of snakes, spiders, lizards, turtles, frogs. Good conditions have been created for everyone, guests will be told what insects and reptiles eat, what kind of life they lead.
The first exhibits for this museum began to be collected by naval officers in the 80s of the 19th century. Much later, already in 1923, the first spectators were able to look at the collection. And in the 50s, the museum entered the system of the Ministry of Defense. Today it is located in a building built in the 19th century – it in itself attracts attention. The museum presents ancient anchors, finds made at the bottom of the sea – fragments of ships, bow figures.
Also here are the uniforms of sailors and officers. Museum guests can look at flags, marine equipment, ship models and much more. But of most interest are those exhibits that are in the open. This is the famous destroyer “Daring”, famous in the battles, a yacht that circled the world, a minesweeper, various types of guns, even Bulgarian helicopters. The inhabitants of Varna are rightfully proud of this museum.
Roman baths – or thermae – is another confirmation that people inhabited this land in ancient times. They were built around the 2nd century A.D. These are the largest baths on the territory of the Balkan Peninsula, but if we take Europe into account, they will be in 4th place. Presumably, the terms have been used for 150-200 years. It was a whole complex.
Inside was a courtyard that housed merchants’ shops. Then men and women went to their departments. In the thermal baths there were vestibules and swimming pools, halls for dousing with water, lounges, restrooms, office premises. Marble floors were heated. A water tower the size of a 6-story building provided uninterrupted water supply. The complex itself occupied approximately as much space as a modern football field.
It is not difficult to see the summer residence of the rulers of Bulgaria – it is located a few kilometers from Varna. Those who have visited Crimea, visiting Evksinograd, will remember the places where the family of the last Russian emperor rested. The construction of the palace began at the end of the 19th century by order of Prince Alexander Battenberg, and work was completed under the next ruler of the country, Prince Ferdinand. The Renaissance palace looks luxurious.
Until now, important state receptions are held here periodically. Preserved furniture made of precious wood, stylish chandeliers, interior items – paintings, watches, jewelry. The name of the palace comes from the ancient Greek name of the Black Sea “Euxinus Pontus”. Around the palace is a beautiful park. For this, it was necessary to import both land and seedlings of trees – palm trees, cedars.
Guests can explore the Greek Garden and the English Garden, and admire the sculpture of Neptune that adorns the pond. The pride of the complex are the wine cellars, built and equipped according to the project of the German architect. There are still excellent wines stored there, a tasting room is open. You can also see the ruins of an ancient fortress located in the park.
Varna Opera House
The theater building is relatively small, but at the same time one of the most beautiful in the city. Empire style emphasizes the impeccable taste of the architect. The theater’s creative team is so good that it has already been invited to perform in other European countries. The inhabitants of Varna consider the day when they got here to the performance a real holiday. The theater opened in the distant 1947. Since then, his doors have not been closed. Concerts are held here, viewers come to watch opera performances, operettas, musicals, and performances for children.
Moreover, there are both classical productions and performances created by modern authors. It was once planned that the Summer Theater and even a casino would be added to the main building. But in the end, they decided that for these objects in the city there are other places. Today the Varna Opera House is the second most popular in the country, second only to a similar theater in Sofia.
The most famous opera singers of the world performed here. It is possible that during your visit to Varna, some celebrity will also sing on stage. And how wonderful it will be to hear the divine music of Strauss or Legrand again! Finding a theater is very easy – it is located next to the Seaside Park.
Armenian Church of St. Sarkis
Armenians have lived in what is now Bulgaria from time immemorial. Therefore, naturally, their churches are here. Once upon a time in the place where the temple of St. Sarkis is now located, there was a modest wooden chapel. It burned down during a fire, and several decades later, in 1844, a new church was built here. It has a multi-faceted dome, and the bell tower has a square shape. Inside, Orthodox believers will be surprised to note the absence of an iconostasis separating the altar. The walls of the temple are decorated with beautiful paintings.
According to the lives, Sarkis was a brave warrior and successfully fought with the pagans. Like St. Valentine, he patronizes lovers. It is believed that if he gives a good prayer, you can see in his dream his narrowed or narrowed. Inspecting the church from the inside is not so easy – it is open mainly during worship. But if you get here, you will be surprised. Nondescript from the outside, inside the church looks luxurious and somehow airy. You can put candles on the icons, and ask the Savior and St. Sarkis for what you most want.
Dolphinarium “Fiesta” is very popular with viewers of all ages. It opened in 1984, and the bottlenose dolphins that arrived here from the Atlantic became its first artists. In a short time they mastered a large number of tricks. Smart mammals perform real acrobatic numbers, jump through a hoop, play a ball, dance and even sing songs. And, of course, you can take a picture with them. There are souvenir kiosks that sell funny gizmos that will remind you of a visit to the dolphinarium.
There are also discs with recordings of the performance. It is very convenient that the comments sound in several languages, including Russian. The total show lasts approximately 30 minutes. If you agree in advance, you can even swim next to the dolphins. Impressions will remain unforgettable. If during your stay at the dolphinarium you want to have a bite, a cafe works here. You can sip a cocktail through a straw while viewing dolphin games through a panoramic window.
Museum of the History of Varna
This interesting museum must be visited. There is nothing pompous – it is simply shown what Varna was before, starting from the second half of the 19th century until the outbreak of World War II. The atmosphere of the friendly resort town has been recreated. You can see how the workshops and shops of artisans looked, the studio where the photographer worked, the cafe where customers drank coffee. Even a small courtyard looks “as if alive.”
The museum opened in 1969, and since then the number of exhibits has increased. Clothing is presented, both civilian and military. Many old photographs were collected, exhibits from Evksinograd replenished the collection. An invaluable exhibit is the piano, which was purchased in 1926, when Varna was preparing to meet the first international music festival. Since then it has been going on regularly. Maybe you will catch the Varna Summer.
The museum was opened in 1974. It contains everything related to the cultural traditions of the region in the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. Then the local population was engaged in agriculture and viticulture, cattle breeding and beekeeping, fishing and various crafts. The tools that were used for plowing the land, dishes, suits were preserved. It is in clothes that national features are well traced. After all, immigrants from various countries came to the lands surrounding Varna.
Of great interest is wedding and festive clothing. You can learn a lot about the customs and traditions of local residents. Buy books and souvenirs. The building itself breathes antiquity, and the photos here are wonderful. Models of mills and houses, an old clock with a pendulum, a bed with metal backs … In this museum you will feel the authentic atmosphere of old Varna.
Bulgaria from the time of socialism – is it possible to see how everything was then? You can, if you look at this museum. It opened recently, in 2015. And the exhibits that are presented here relate to the time period 1944-1989. Things of that time are exhibited here – cigarettes and perfumes, household appliances, including Russian ones, cosmetics, clothes and much more. Want to know what a popular brand vacuum cleaner looked like? Or Bulgarian cigarettes without a filter? And the famous cosmetics, which in the USSR could be bought exclusively in Moscow, and the Sofia store?
Here they will tell you everything and show. The pride of the museum is a collection of cars. Then they were luxury – “Lada”, “Moskvich”, “Volga”, “Skoda” and others. There is even a Chaika limo, which was driven by the most important statesmen. By the way, you can see them yourself. Many tourists are photographed next to the wax figures of great politicians.
Park Museum “Vladislav Varnenchik”
In the middle of the 15th century, more precisely, in 1444, a grand battle took place near Varna: Christian warriors tried not to let Ottoman Turks enter Europe. The death toll was scored in the thousands. Here Vladislav III Jagiello also died. His body could not be found. According to the most reliable version, the Turks erected Vladislav’s head on a spear, and triumphantly carried along the streets of Bursa. According to another legend, Vladislav could not survive the shame of defeat and became a hermit. One way or another, a mausoleum was built in the park, where a stone sarcophagus was installed in memory of the hero. It seems that the guests see the hero with their own eyes – the sculpture was made very reliably, the lying commander clutching the sword in his hands.
Big changes took place in the park in 1964, when the 520th anniversary of the battle was celebrated. A museum was built here, in which everything related to the famous battle is stored. From weapons, banners and knightly armor, to works of art dedicated to this topic. Of great interest are the various layouts that allow you to recreate the details of the battle. Although the park museum is far enough from the city center, an excursion here will not be tiring. In order to make everything clear to the guests, they are given a text printed in English
Varna burial ground
This famous burial ground was discovered by chance. In the 70s of the last century, during excavation work, several gold jewelry fell into the bucket of the excavator. To date, about 300 graves have been found, which, according to scientists, is about two-thirds of the necropolis. Over 3 thousand gold items and several hundred ceramic samples were discovered. It is proved that the people who are buried here lived around the end of the 5th millennium BC. Men were buried lying on their backs, women were resting on their side, in the “fetus” position. They put in the graves what the deceased in the afterlife might require – utensils, jewelry, weapons, idol figures, talismans.
If the body could not be delivered to the burial place, the clay head was buried, and instead of eyes, nose and mouth there were precious stones. One of the graves turned out to be a real treasury. Numerous gold items rested here with the man, their weight was about 1.5 kg. In total, the necropolis “gave” to scientists more than 6 kg of gold. But the main wealth is the new knowledge about the life of ancestors that was obtained by exploring the burial places.
University Botanical Garden “Ecopark”
If you love nature, you can appreciate this ecopark with its natural and artificial ecological systems. It occupies a large area of 36 hectares. It grows rare trees, shrubs, herbs. Amazing irises, many varieties of roses grow here. You can see how the tulip tree, sea pines, iron and paper trees and other wonders look like.
In addition, there is a jockey club, where a horse lover can afford any whim. For example, ride in an old cabriolet along the alleys, or ride a horse. National tournaments are held here, and in March they celebrate the Horse Festival (Todorov Day) – the event is very beautiful. There is a biological station where students are trained, there is also a market where you can buy seedlings for summer cottages or exotic indoor plants.
Those who like to rest in nearby hotels love to come here. Part of the garden resembles a pristine corner of nature, where no one will stop you from spending time. You can come here for a picnic, order a barbecue. Children are delighted with the small waterfall, and inveterate gardeners do not leave the garden without buying new plants.
Historical and Ethnographic Complex “Fanagoria”
This complex is designed to show the important place of the pro-Bulgarian culture in the history of the country’s development. It will be interesting to visit for children, adolescents and adults. Fanagoria appeared relatively recently. Construction work began in 2001, and opened the complex in 2002. Now here you can clearly imagine what the military camp looked like at about 8 in AD Protective structures made of wood, workshops, yurts and a temple. Reconstructed costumes of the time, weapons, household items. On the territory there is a shooting range, places for spectators. Lectures and master classes are held here, in the evening you can watch an equestrian performance.
There is also a school where children are taught to ride. If you want to bring unusual souvenirs from Varna – you will buy them here. They are copies of antique objects. You can visit the complex on any day of the week, except Monday. Entire families come here, and leaving, leave rave reviews. They write that even the air here is somehow special, “historical”. Subsequently, much more will be built in Fanagoria: a real fortress, a suspension bridge, even an Orthodox church. One can see with what love the people of Bulgaria relate to their past.
The monastery is located in the Golden Sands Park. Its name “Aladzha” is translated as “motley”. Most likely, it came from the fact that the colored murals seemed especially bright on the gray stone. The real name of the monastery is still not exactly established. According to one version, he was dedicated to the Savior. Monks lived here in the 13-14 centuries. Interestingly, a few hundred from the monastery there is a network of caves. Apparently, people settled in them in the first centuries of Christianity, as they remained here: ceramics, coins, various products.
As for the monastery, it was badly damaged by the Ottoman Turks, but the hermits stubbornly returned to their caves until the 18th century, and at the end of the 19th, scientists became interested in the monastery. In 1968, the monastery was recognized as a cultural monument of national importance. There really is something to see. On the first level there were monastic cells, there was also a temple, refectory and kitchen, pantries, a room where the remains of the deceased were stored. On the second level was a chapel.
There are many legends associated with this place. Until now, tourists who are not alien to the extreme spirit hope to find treasures hidden by hermits in Aladzha or to see ghosts. A museum was built near the monastery, where the past of the monastery was recreated. You can also buy books and souvenirs here.
As you can see, in Varna there are a lot of attractions that you can explore at any time of the year. Take your time and try to visit the museums and memorial sites that interest you. Only then will you fully appreciate this wonderful Bulgarian city.