Saturday, September 17, 2011

Bulgaria and the Black Sea

Today Varna is the largest city on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast and is the main port for both naval and commercial shipping.

The sea was a beautiful deep greenish blue but so cold.
The Black Sea ows its name to the low level of salinity that encourages the growth of micro-algae and darkens the deep blue of the water.

Topless was the norm.

It was fun to stroll through the streets and parks that boast many statues. I couldn't read the Slavic letters and the Bulgarian language, so I just admired the scenery.

The city’s structure resembles an amphitheatre as it follows the curves of the Bay of Varna. It is surrounded by gardens, vineyards and groves.

Varna’s origins go back to almost five millennia. The modern city is both a shipyard and port for incoming freighters and the navy, and a riviera town visited by tourists of every nationality.
Cathedral of the Assumption built around1880,
with golden domes, stained glasses and modern wall-paintings

It’s a cosmopolitan place and a nice one to scroll through: Baroque, turn-of-the-century and contemporary architecture pleasantly blended with shady promenades and a handsome seaside garden.

A venus with a strange pose in the middle of a park.

Near the port of Varna, the oldest gold treasure in the world (dated from 4,500 BC) was found In 1972; an ancient necropolis with 280 tombs and 3,010 golden objects were found weighing over 6 kg altogether. According to experts it is the oldest processed gold ever found in Europe.

The museum where we admired a large collection of gold coins discovered in or near the Black Sea.
During occupation by Turkish forces in the last decades of the 14th century, Varna preserved its significance as a port and trade center. As Bulgaria fell under the Ottoman yoke, the only bearers of the Bulgarian cultural tradition remained within the folklore, the people’s festivities, and the church paintings.

The brothers who liberated Varna from the Turkish domination in 1878

We stopped at a pirate ship for lunch and enjoyed a gorgeous view of the Black Sea.

If you like to travel and love to read, come and enjoy my international romances. I will take you around the world through stories that simmer with emotion and sizzle with passion.

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Mary Marvella said...

Wonderful photos! Did you sun bathe topless?

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

What a lovely city and such a rich history.

Maeve said...

Gorgeous photos! I love "cyber-traveling" via your blog, Mona.


Mona Risk said...

No Mary, I didn't want to scare the sunbsathers!

Mona Risk said...

It's a famous resort in Europe. I never heard of Varna before reading Steph Burkhart's The Wolf's Torment.

Mona Risk said...

Anytime Maeve. Next I will blog about Serbia and its capital Belgrade, then about Hungary and Budapest, and finally Vienna, that I saw 15 years ago. Frankly it disappointed me this time, after seeing Budapest.

Beth Trissel said...

Fascinating post, Mona. And such wonderful pics. I am amazed at what a world traveler you are.

Nightingale said...

Lovely post. I thoroughly enjoy visiting other lands with you Mona.

Mary Ricksen said...

Boy, I wanna go to see these things too! But thanks for the great pictures, it's the next best thing. I'm there!!

StephB said...

Mona, what awesome photos! How beautiful! Varna looks like it's managed to retain it's "old" world roots, preserving it's past. The Black Sea has a wonderful mythology. There are many myths and legends surrounding it. I believe it is a salt water sea with tuna, anchovies, and dolphins.

Mona, how wonderful you discovered Varna through my writings and then had an opportunity to visit! I've never gone myself so I feel like I had a chance to visit through your pictures!

Can't wait for your post on Serbia!

I believe Mihai & Theresa went to Varna on their honeymoon in The Wolf's Torment.


Mona Risk said...

Hi Beth, next on the traveling agenda is England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Probably a land tour by bus or train. The big question is when? I really don't want to leave home. Cross-Atlantic flights are killing me, but the DH cvan't stay put.

Mona Risk said...

Linda and Mary, stay tune for my next blog as we go to Serbia.

Mona Risk said...

Steph, Varna is a lovely town perfect for honeymooners like Mihai and Teresa, and the Black Sea has such a beautiful deep-blue color. Too bad it was too cold to swim there.

Celia Yeary said...

How gorgeous! Which is you on the beach? Haha.
Lovely, lovely beach--oh, I'd love to see that. I've been on the Black Sea in a cruise ship--got in a storm and it rocked the ship all night and most of the next day. Jim nor I got seasick, though, so we walked to breakfast holding on to things, and people were everywhere--in the dark bars, the halls, the lounges, wrapped in blankets--very sick. They were told it's best to sit up.
Felt sorry for them.
Thanks for pretty photos--I just love them.

Mona Risk said...

Celia-- I can imagine it would be rocky on the Black Sea. From the pictures, you can see the whitecaps on the waves. I didn't know they have cruises on the Black Sea. Interesting!

Maggie Toussaint said...

How lovely! I really enjoyed seeing the different styles of architecture. You were so brave to even go to a topless beach. I would die of mortification!

The scenery was great, but I loved that you ate in a pirate ship. Ahoy mateys!


Barbara Monajem said...

Mona, you take such wonderful trips! How do you decide where to go?

Maybe you can cross the ocean by boat from now on...?

Lilly Gayle said...

Gorgeous pictures. I'm with Maeve. I love to cyber travel. The real thing is more fun but so much more expensive. lol!

P.L. Parker said...

Loved the pics and the history behind them.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Maggie, the topless sunbathers were discreet for the most, removing the bra after lying down. But made a show of it standing, sitting. Of course many males stared. No details.

Mona Risk said...

Hi barbara, that recent trip was my husband's dream for many years. I finally said yes when the price was right.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Lilly, armchair traveling is the next best thing.

Mona Risk said...

Hi Patsy, glad you enjoyed the pictures and report.

UK Traveller said...

You have travelled so much..its wonderful.Liked the way you write...have bookmarked this as a travel reference