Burgas

Location:
The city of Bourgas is situated on the Bulgarian Southern Black Sea coast, in the Bourgas Bay, 390 km east of Sofia. Due to the low level of the coast in the area, three lagoon-lakes (the Atanassovo, Bourgas, and Mandren lakes) lie picturesquely in the area surrounding the city.


History: 
Bourgas is more than two thousand years old. It was founded as a Roman settlement under the name of Kulata. The first books about its history are found with the Byzantian poet Manuel Phill (XIII c.). Later additional data was provided by the Turkish historian Hadji Kalfa (XUIIc.). He gave the town two different names - Bourgos and Pirgos. The name of the town is derived from the Greek words "pirgos" or "bourgos", meaning fortress, tower, provoked by the numerous fishing towers - "bourgs" in the vicinity. In the Turkish register from 1676 the settlement was mentioned as a town for the first time, and later in another document from 1730 - as a port Bourgas. Burnt down in XIX century, it was brought back to life again and turned into an important administrative, economic and cultural centre of Bulgaria. 

Things to see:
Burgas is at its best in summer, when the pedestrianised centre is alive with crowds of meandering, ice-cream-licking locals making their way towards the Maritime Park and the seafront, but the city’s bars, clubs and theatres give it an active life beyond the transient sunny days enjoyed by the neighboring tourist resorts.
Nature lovers also come to Burgas for the four lakes just outside the city, which are ¬havens for abundant bird life

In the city: 
The Museum of History, founded in 1925, is one of the most impressive tourist sights in the city. Today it houses an archaeological hall with a rich collection of items dating back to the old colonies along the Black Sea coast. The Ethnographic Museum is also of particular appeal to foreigners for its exhibitions of masks of “koukeri”, traditional costumes, ritual accessories, fabrics and embroidery. The museum is hosted in a house built in 1873 and later declared a cultural monument. The Museum of Nature and Science is another place of interest to visitors of the city. It contains more than 1,200 exhibits of insects and reptiles and more than 140 species of fish, plants growing in the district of Strandzha mountain, protected and endemic species. Another place of interest is the Art Gallery, established in 1945 with halls exhibiting Bulgarian artists' works, and icons painted by renowned Renaissance artists. Among the church buildings, one may wish to visit the St. St. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, which rises near the marketplace. The cathedral is interesting for its marvelous frescos and wooden altar. Another impressive sight of Bourgas is the Armenian Church located close to the Bulgaria hotel. It was built in 1855 by the local Armenian minority supported by Bulgarians. 
Finally, the philharmonic hall, the opera house, the drama theatre and the puppet theater offer exciting events for their spectators throughout the entire summer season. 
Away from the busy centre of the city, the shady Sea Garden is a lovely place to stroll during the  hot summer days. The park stretches on a hill next to the coast, and is rich in flowers, trees and sculptures. Within the park there is a casino, a small zoo and an open-air theatre, which houses the annual International Folklore Festival, and where participants in the Golden Orpheus Pop-Festival perform. A beautiful staircase leads from the park down to the central beach of the city. The sand is a mixture of various alloys of magnetite, which is the reason for its dark colour. 

Outside the city: 
The lake of Pomorie is located 20 km north of Bourgas. The lake is surrounded by salt-mines and balneo-resorts. The Atanassovo Lake is to the north, as well, between the airport and the city. It is 10 km long and once was a nestling site of many marsh and sea birds migrating from Gibraltar and the Bosphorus. Part of the lake is a natural reserve. The Bourgas Lake is a nestling site of pelicans, ibis, and herons. The Mandren Lake is 10 km south of the city and is also an important ornithological reserve with a large bird population in the summer. The St. Anastassia Island is 3 nautical miles east of the city. The island has a well-preserved old church and was used for the exile of left-wing revolutionaries in 1923-1925, and anti-Fascists in 1943-1944. That is why the island was named Bolshevik for some years during communist times.The salt-mines of Bourgas may also be of interest. They border the Bourgas Lake, and some of them even stretch to the Atanassovo Lake. Mineral water baths can be found 13km north-west of the city on the way to Aitos. The baths are built over the remains of an old Roman town called Aetos. The present-day baths were built in the 16th century during Ottoman rule and are still functioning. There is curing mud, a balneo-spa, and plenty of accommodation options for those who want to spend the night there. The village of Kraimorie (once named Kafka) is to the south of Bourgas on the way to the old fortress of Pirgos. There is a nice beach near the village, as well as numerous private lodgings. The Otmanli Park is 15 km away from Bourgas near the Choukalya cape. It features thick forest, a hunting reserve and bungalows for recreation.

Photos from Burgas


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