Varna is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Its history has began in the 6th century BC, when The Greeks Millet have found a settlement and built a fortress. At the same time the town’s name is Odessos. In the oldest part of city, where today stands the so-called “Greek quarter” you will find the ancient Roman baths, which unfortunately does not enjoy the popularity that they deserve. In reality, however, these lands are inhabited a long ago.
The traces of human presence in this area dated from 100 000 years BC! In the Varna Chalcolithic necropolis was discovered the oldest processed by human hand gold, which arouse great interest among people from all over the world.
To reach a wide audience this golden treasure travel around the world and thus not only promote local culture, but is also one very effective mobile advertising of Varna.
The permanent location of this treasure is the Varna Archaeological Museum. Speaking about Varna, is appropriate to mention that, although today it is a city within the borders of Bulgaria, in fact, the city exist in its current location more than 1000 years before the Bulgarian khan Asparuh to arrive in these lands and to base the Bulgarian state in the 681st.
The city is in not threatened by the fate of many Bulgarian cities, which depopulate rapidly.
Just the contrary – Varna is suffering from overpopulation and uncontrolled increasing, but it does not lose at least its charm and beauty.
Location. Varna is located in northeastern Bulgaria, on the northern coast of the Black Sea. It is located in the picturesque Varna Bay. The biggest part of the city is located north of the Lake of Varna.
To the south are only Asparuhovo, Galata, Konstantinovo and Zvezditsa. To the north the city is protected by the Frangen plateau.
The beautiful city is situated in tiers on the north shore of the Lake of Varna. Because of this reason Varna can be compared with other European cities such as Genua in Italy.
In the northern parts of the Black Sea Riviera are located some of the most popular Bulgarian resorts – St. Constantine and Elena, Golden Sands and Albena.
The location of the city has ever played an important role in its development. On one hand the deep bay is the reason for the second largest port in the country and on the other hand it helps to Varna and surrounding resorts to become the biggest tourist center of international level in the country.
Climate. Varna has a temperate continental climate with a softening effect from the Black Sea. It makes the summers in Varna cooler in comparison with the summer months in the other cities and the winters – pleasant and mild considerably in comparison with the cities in the hinterland.
The average temperatures are positive throughout the year, but in fact although the average daily temperature in January is 5 °C sometimes happens to invade from the northeast arctic air masses and in such cases the temperature can drop even to (-20) °C! Fortunately, it does not happen every year.
The summer temperatures are highest in August, when reach 28 °C. However, this is also relative. Thermometers not infrequently reach almost 40°C.
This happens most often during the first or second decade of August, when is the hottest part of the year. Overall, the beach season lasts from early June to late September.
Worst in June is that although it is quite warm, even hot, this is the second rainiest month of the year and often in the afternoon can appear rain-clouds. These dark clouds are often presage of storm.
Only in November there are more significant precipitations, but then the rains are quite different. Last November rains can last for days and usually are not very strong.
Population. Today it is one of the most cosmopolitan and modern cities in the country. Here live not only Bulgarians, but also large numbers of Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Russians, Turks, and a smaller number of other nationalities.
The exact number of people virtually can not be established, because here every year huge numbers of people coming from all over the country to study or work. Most of these people are not registered as residents of Varna.
According to official statistics the population of seaside capital is about 360 000 inhabitants, making it the third largest in the country.
But this is very unrealistic and outdated information, as Varna today is much greater than the population of Plovdiv and thus it is the second largest city in Bulgaria.
It is assumed that the urban agglomeration has a population of over 800 000 people to date and continues to grow more rapidly.
The population increased greatly during the summer months, when is the active tourist season. In this part of the year in Varna can have more than one million people, of course, including the tourists.
In combination with the summer decline of the population in Sofia, for the summer season Varna became the major economic, political and cultural center of Bulgaria. For this reason, it is known as the summer capital of Bulgaria.
Landmarks. The sights of the city are numerous, but there are some that stand out and impress especially over the others. The biggest attraction is probably the Varna Sea Garden.
In the late 19th century the mayor of Varna – Michael Coloni – decided to build a great and unique urban park. It is therefore invited Anton Novak, who is renowned for his work in the Austrian capital Vienna (Schönbrunn Palace and Belvedere).
Today the Sea Garden is the largest urban park on the Balkans. In none of the countries neighboring Bulgaria there is nothing like the seaside park of Varna. The park stretches from the port to Euxinograd.
Its total length is about 4 kilometers. It combines a variety of local and imported plant species from abroad. It is a favourite spot for the citizens.
Another city landmark is The Palace of the Culture and Sport. It is an emblem of Varna that was completed in 1968. Inside you can find a commercial area, a sports center, cafes and others.
Particular impression to the visitors could make the Archaeological Museum Varna, where the famous Varna golden treasure is. The building is extremely beautiful.
It was completed in 1898 and was initially used for girl’s high school. Another one of the emblems of the city is also Asparuhov Bridge, which rises to a height of 50 meters above the channel sea – lake. It was completed in 1976. It offers impressive views especially in the evening, when the whole city is bathed in light.
Varna and its problems. To the 1989 Varna has leading by the economic rules, specific to the socialist countries.
In this city has made serious errors, which probably in the foreseeable future will not be completely corrected.
On the face of the seaside capital, there are ugly “scars”, left over from Soviet times. These are huge residential areas, built with tedious, ugly and crude prefabricated structures, which still are home for much of the population of this city.
Except that, the blocks are chilly and inhospitable and create a socialist atmosphere. In many cases, the apartments do not have the quality that the people expect.
The biggest mistake that is committed to Varna is that the city attempts to become a major industrial center. This is wrong, because Varna and its surroundings have resources for the development of tourism and the service sector as a whole.
There was no need to build factories and to produce noncompetitive production. Factories, in which the local population has not the necessary technical culture, traditions and education to work.
It is no secret that the Bulgarians are not among the countries, which have a tradition in the industry such as Britain and Germany. This gave a strong impact on the environmental situation in the region.
Devnya, which is part of the agglomeration of Varna is one of the main examples. Due to the industrial development in the area, Varna Lake is now virtually useless because of the very high levels of pollution.
Fortunately, today these errors have been recognized and Varna today rely mainly to the services sector. Vicinity of the lake is planned to become an attraction area for residents and guests of the city.
One of the poorest quarters of Varna – Asparuhovo – undergoes a tremendous metamorphosis and is transformed from а former village and poor quarter into a modern and attractive area of the city and resort with pronounced features.
Years ago should have been aware the attractiveness of Asparuhovo, which possess a beautiful garden on the sea coast and has one of the best beaches in Varna.
The biggest problems of the seaside capital today, however, remain the poor infrastructure and homeless dogs, which in combination give slightly oriental appearance of this otherwise European city.
Perspectives. In subsequent years Varna has a real opportunity to become the largest metropolis in Bulgaria. The birth rate is among the highest in the country, the mortality – among the lowest.
Varna population is among the most long-lived and healthy Bulgarians. All these facts in combination with the rapidly creating of new schools and countless jobs, as a magnet attracts thousands of people from all over the country and abroad.
The property prices are already ahead of those in Sofia. Varna has an advantage over the capital, because is located on the beach and therefore enjoys a great interest from the foreigners.
Constantly popping up new hotels, shopping centers and others, to stimulate further the local economy. The city applied for European Capital of Culture for 2019th.
In progress is a plan for major changes to the city – the port will be moved to the west, and the place on which is now will be turned into a marine attraction zone.
It is envisaged to built a new construction, which to remain the opera in Sydney, but with some new elements – the foundation of the building will resemble the Palace of Culture and Sports, which is one of the most famous buildings in Varna.
Some of the changes will affect the city’s promenade. Already are building the first city skyscrapers, as well as an increasing number of malls, overtaking even the Bulgarian capital Sofia.
Varna is often mentioned as one of the most promising and fast developing cities in Europe. If the city maintain the current pace of development no wonder in the 21st century to be among the leading cities of the continent.
With respect to its potential, the city is often compared with cities such as Valencia, Genua, Naples and Barcelona, but whether this will happen, only the future can tell.