Palace and Botanical Garden of Balchik
The Balchik Palace is one of the leading tourist attractions in northeastern Bulgaria. It is one of the few good things left for the next generations during one of the most difficult periods of Bulgaria’s modern history. After the Second Balkan War, the country lost Southern Dobruja, and during the period 1913 – 1940 the region remained within the borders of Romania. After seeing the place once, it didn’t take a long time for the Romanian Queen Marie of Edinburgh to appreciate the exceptional natural beauty of the area.
The Queen immediately fell in love with the peace, quietness and charm of Balchik’s warm and bathed in sunshine coast, and she decided to build a summer residence on the beach.
Two talented Italian architects, Augustino and Amerigo, were invited for the Implementation of the ambitious project, and Jules Janine from Switzerland was engaged to create a wonderful royal park.
The construction of the palace began in 1924 and ended in 1927, three years later. The royal complex represents a number of buildings with different functions located in a beautiful park setting.
The combination of beauty and luxury in the summer residence is no surprise to those familiar with the biography and personal life of the Queen. She was known for her highly developed sense of beauty and style.
For this reason the task of the architects was not easy to implement. They had to meet the high demands of the Queen and the royal family as a whole.
Their goal was to achieve perfect harmony and balance between beauty and feeling of solitude and privacy of each member of the royal family and, of course, their aristocratic guests.
Balchik Palace is a reflection of the rich spirituality and numerous interests of the Queen. The park was decorated with charming gazebos, arches, waterfalls, walking paths, a beautiful chapel, waterways and water crosses, a Florentine throne carved from marble and whatnot.
In the park is situated also the tomb of Queen Marie.
The Queen followed the Baha’i faith, but it is believed that she was interested also in other religions and philosophies.
Perhaps for this reason, here in its “Quiet Nest”, as she called the palace, you will find skillfully intertwined elements of Christianity and Islam, and this is a rare phenomenon.
In 1955, 15 years after Southern Dobruja was returned to Bulgaria, the beautiful park in Balchik was converted into a botanical garden with an even greater variety of species of plants, many of which exotic and untypical for this part of the world.
Today Balchik Botanical Garden is owned by the Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”.