Burgas is the second largest city on the Bulgarian coast and the fourth largest city in the whole country, right after Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna. The city was founded in the 18th century on the site of the 14th-century Pirgos stronghold. Burgas is now an important cultural, tourist and industrial center. There is the largest seaport in the country, as well as an airport. Often treated by tourists as a transit point, it has a lot to offer.
The history of the region goes back 3000 years, when a small settlement was established in the area of today’s Burgas. Then the lands were taken over by the Greeks and Romans, but it was not until the 17th century that the first major city called Burgas was founded there. The city was founded by the Turks, who then ruled over the entire country. Initially, the city had only 3,000 inhabitants, and in the 19th century it became one of the most important on the coast. It has maintained this status to this day.
In the southern part of Burgas there is a black sand beach, also known as mineral or iron sand. It owes its dark graphite colour to the high content of a natural mineral – magnetite. The surroundings are good for walks, and the sand itself is suitable for experiments – the mineral it contains exhibits magnetic properties
Lake Atanasovsko (located in the northern part of the city, halfway from the airport to the centre) is a free city attraction. Its intense pink colour and strong salinity attract tourists and photographers from all over the world. Visitors can take a mud bath in the salt waters of the lake. The place is also home to many rare species of fauna and flora, including Bulgaria’s largest flamingo colony.
Stone columns, almost 6 meters high, and the remains that bring to mind the ruins of ancient buildings are the showcase of this place. According to geologists, the stone forest is the product of natural landscaping processes.
Every summer, the Sand Fest festival takes place in the park “Ezero”. More than 2 500 tons of sand are used to create stunning sculptures and figures during the preparation and duration of the festival. Each year, the event is accompanied by a different theme, and among the themes of previous years we can find: “Underwater world”, “Circus” and “Cartoon characters”.
Orthodox church city
Although you can find them all over Bulgaria, it is said that Burgas is the capital of churches of this type. Particularly noteworthy is the Cathedral of St. Cyril and Methodius, due to the richly decorated dome and numerous frescoes. During the visit, it is also worth visiting the Armenian Cathedral of the Holly Cross (Surp Khach), which is the only church of its kind in Bulgaria.
Nessebar is a city about 30 km away from Burgas, the historic part of which, situated on a foreland, is over 3 000 years old. The old town, surrounded by water, delights with cobbled paths and ancient houses. A dike leads from the main gate and the remains of the walls that once surrounded the whole castle. Today, you can admire there numerous ruins of fortifications and unique stone Orthodox churches. The old town of Nessebar is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.