Varna is the largest city in Northeastern Bulgaria, located on the shores of the Black Sea and Lake Varna and is the administrative center of the municipality and district of the same name. It is the largest city in Northern Bulgaria and on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The population of the city according to NSI as of December 31, 2019 is estimated at 336,216 people, which puts Varna in third place in Bulgaria (after Sofia and Plovdiv). The Admiralty of the Bulgarian Army is located on its territory. Varna is often called the "sea capital" or "summer capital of Bulgaria" and is an important tourist and educational center, a starting point for the resorts on the North Black Sea coast.

The city keeps a gold treasure from the Chalcolithic, which until recently was considered to be the oldest gold treasure in the world, which gave its name to the so-called Culture Varna. After excavations were made in the City of Birds near Pazardzhik, it was established that the processed gold found there is 200-300 years older than the objects in the Varna Chalcolithic necropolis. But what makes Varna unique, apart from being one of the oldest golden treasures in the world, is the Varna International Ballet Competition, held every two years at the Varna Summer Theater during the summer season.

Varna is a candidate for European Youth Capital 2016 and European Capital of Culture 2019. Wins the competition for European Youth Capital in 2017. Among the international cultural events held in the city are the festivals Varna Summer, Love is Madness, The Golden Dolphin , August in the arts, Videoholics and others.



In ancient times the city was called Odessos. It is so called by Theophanes Odesopolis, and in other authors it is also found as Ulysopolis. After the 6th century, the name Odessos disappeared from historical documents. During the reign of Emperor Tiberius (14-27), the city was briefly called Tiberiopolis. In his research, the archaeologist Pavel Georgiev points out that there is an inscription from 557, in which, after the death of his wife Theodora, Emperor Justinian dedicated a city to her, which he named Theodoriada, located on the northern shore of Lake Varna. During the reign of Empress Irina at the end of the VIII century, he also briefly bore her name - Irinopolis.

It is assumed that its current name comes from the Old Bulgarian * varna - "black, crow". Another theory connects the name with the word "lime", meaning water and mineral spring. The first mention of the name Varna is in the chronicles of the offensive of the ruler Asparuh and his troops, who "... came to the so-called Varna, near Odessos ... ”and the settlement of the proto-Bulgarians in these places, but it is not clear whether the name refers to a district, settlement or river. Theophanes writes that in 774 Emperor Constantine V went by sea on a campaign against the proto-Bulgarians, but when he came to Varna he got scared and returned. K. Irecek believes that this name did not belong to the old town of Odessos, but to an area in the vicinity, to the Provadia River and Lake Devnya. Constantine Porphyrogen writes that Varna is a river, the same is the opinion of A. Vretos. On the other hand, in 765 Nicephorus reported that the Kavkhan of Khan Umar had been killed by his servants in Varna. This assassination could not take place in old Odessos, as it is still considered a Byzantine possession. Maybe Varna is a village around Devnya Lake. According to the Shkorpil brothers, there was a Thracian settlement named Varnas on the shore of the lake, in the area below Janavara, where many archeological materials are still found today. Dimitar Dimitrov believes that Varna was a settlement in the western part of today's city, where there are necropolises from the time of the Chalcolithic. The Shkorpil brothers are looking for the Thracian root of the name Varnas. At the beginning of the 20th century, Archimandrite Innocent mentioned in his research that the name Varna comes from the Hunno-Avar word varosh, meaning city. Krastyu Mirski suggests that the name comes from lime, limestone, having in mind that "in Varna and its surroundings the earth and the stones are calcareous ..."

Between December 20, 1949 and October 20, 1956, Varna was named Stalin, after Joseph Stalin.



The city of Varna is located on the northern and western shores of Varna Bay and near Lake Varna. The southernmost and central part of the city are connected by the Asparuhov Bridge. Varna covers an area of ​​238 km².

South of the strait connecting the bay and the lake are the Asparuhovo and Galata neighborhoods. On the north coast are the industrial zone and the port complex. Northeast of them are the central part of the city with the historic center (the so-called "Greek Quarter") and the central beaches.

Around the town an agglomeration is gradually formed with the villa zones near Evksinograd, Vinitsa district, all the way to Golden Sands. The territory in the direction of the town of Aksakovo is also under construction.

Within the city are the resorts of St. St. Constantine and Helena and Golden Sands. The city has sandy beaches and hot mineral springs with a temperature of 35 - 50 ° C.



The climate of Varna is maritime and continental. The average January temperature is 1.9 ° С, the average July temperature is 22.4 ° С, the average annual temperature is 12.2 ° С, the absolute minimum temperature is –19 ° С, the absolute maximum is 41 ° С. The average annual rainfall is 540.3 mm.

The longest sunshine in Varna is observed in July and August, respectively 300.7 and 299.2 hours.



In 1972, during construction works, the Varna Chalcolithic necropolis was discovered, which dates back to around 4200 BC. In this necropolis was found what was considered until recently the oldest golden treasure in human history, as well as other objects made of silver, copper, bronze, flint and clay. It is known that on the shores of Varna Bay, where the old part of the city is now located, was the fortress of Odessos. It was founded by Greek colonists from the Ionian city of Miletus during the reign of the Median king Astyages (around 570 BC) near an old Thracian settlement in the region of Varna. In the following centuries, the city was an independent community (polis), which became one of the main trade centers in the Black Sea. In 341 BC. Philip II of Macedon besieged Odessos, but did not capture it due to a truce. Only about 10 years later, his son Alexander the Great managed to conquer the city, which remained a Macedonian possession until the death of Lysimachus in 281 BC, after which he regained his independence. Regardless of its rulers - Greeks, Thracians, Macedonians, and later Romans - Odessos always remains a city with self-government, with a developed culture, trade and crafts, as well as a village with traditions in coinage.

In 15 the city became part of the newly created Roman province of Moesia, and in the 2nd century it was surrounded by a new fortress wall by the Romans. One of the monuments of ancient Odessos is the Roman baths. They are the largest ancient public building discovered in Bulgaria and the largest bath area on the Balkan Peninsula. The remains are located in the southeastern part of today's Varna.

After the division of the Roman Empire in 395, the city remained within the borders of the Eastern Roman Empire, also known as Byzantium. The attacks of the Goths from the north, as well as the ensuing socio-economic crisis, dealt serious blows to the city. During the reign of Emperor Justinian I, the city experienced an economic and cultural boom. At the beginning of the 7th century Odessos was destroyed by the invasions of the Avars and Slavs and was abandoned by its inhabitants, and in the time of Emperor Heraclius the city no longer existed. The name Varna was first mentioned in the Byzantine chronicles by Theophanes the Confessor and Patriarch Nicephorus in 680 in connection with the taking of control of the lands across the Danube by the Asparuhov Bulgarians and their victory at the Ongala over the Romans. Chroniclers write:
"And the Bulgarians reached the so-called Varna near Odessos"

At the end of the 8th century Varna was already within the borders of the Bulgarian state, when Khan Kardam was in power. About 970 Varna was conquered by Byzantium, but in 1190 Tsar Ivan Asen I liberated it. Varna remained permanently in the Bulgarian state from the spring of 1201, when Tsar Kaloyan regained the city. In the 13th - 14th century in Varna there were not only Bulgarian, but also Venetian, Roman, Genoese, Dubrovnik and Florentine merchants. In 1369, Tsar Ivan Alexander ceded Varna to the Dobrudzha despot Dobrotitsa as a sign of gratitude for the help he provided for the return of Vidin to the borders of the Bulgarian state. From 1372 to 1391 Varna was included in the Karvun principality of Balik.

In 1389 Varna was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. On November 10, 1444, near Varna, the combined Polish-Hungarian crusading troops of King Wladyslaw III Varnenchik and the Transylvanian voivode Janos Hunyadi were defeated by the Ottomans, ending the anti-Ottoman crusade. Varna became a typical oriental city during the Ottoman rule in the city, but retains its strategic and commercial significance. In the 18th century - 19th century Varna was liberated twice in a short time by Russian troops: in 1773 and 1828.

In 1738 the population of Varna, as in all important cities in the European part of the Ottoman Empire, was predominantly Turkish.

In May 1854, an allied conference of the Ottoman Empire, Great Britain and France was held in Varna, which together fought against Russia during the Crimean War (1853-1856). During this war, a telegraph line was laid through Varna, and in 1866 the railway line Ruse - Varna was completed, which helped revive trade. A municipality, a bank, a hospital, a school, a church and a community center were established in Varna, which helped to revive the Bulgarian spirit. On March 12, 1860, ten years before the establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate, a church service was held for the first time in Bulgarian. On May 24, 1862, St. Cyril and St. Methodius were honored for the first time in Varna.


After the Crimean War, Crimean Tatars arrived in Varna and quickly took over local trade. In 1866 thousands of Circassians arrived. The people of Varna have to feed them, build houses for them and finally supply each family with a pair of oxen, an Arab and wheat seeds.

After the Polish uprising of 1863/64, refugees from Poland arrived in Varna. On July 27, 1878, Russian troops entered the city under the San Stefano Preliminary Peace Treaty of March 3, 1878, and the Berlin Treaty of July 13, 1878. After the Liberation, Varna became an important administrative, economic, and cultural center. The Eighth Marine Regiment, Naval Staff and other military units are stationed in the city. In 1892 the first shipping company was founded in Varna, and in 1894 the beginning of the Bulgarian navy was set.

In 1906 the new port of Varna was solemnly opened with a breakwater. From December 20, 1949 to October 20, 1956, the city was named Stalin, after Joseph Stalin. Varna hosted the World Chess Olympiad in 1962, and in 1969 - the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships.

In 2007 and 2008 Varna won the ranking "The best city to live in Bulgaria".