District Briz 2-102
Varna 9010, Bulgaria
Phone: (+359) 52/ 33 40 50
Fax: (+359) 52/ 33 40 60
Varna was established around 26 centuries ago, when sea-farers from the town of Miletus came to the lands of the Thracian tribe of Crobisi and after long struggles found their colony named Odessos (around 580 B.C.)The Ionic civilization was not the first to leave traces of an advanced material culture on the high coast. Excavations of the Varna necropolises have revealed monuments of older civilizations, which can vie in antiquity and splendour with the Sumerian civilization.
When the Romans conquered Moesia, Odessos lost its political independence, preserving only an appearance of self-administration; but it kept its military, economic and cultural importance. After the establishment of the Eastern Roman Empire, the city became a busy trade centre. In 536 Emperor Justinian I declared Odessos as centre of an administrative region covering a large territory. Construction continued in the city. Remnants from Christian basilicas have survived from that time to this day in the vicinity of Varna.
In the late 6th and early 7th century compact Slav masses settled in the Balkan Peninsula. The ethnic character of the coastal region changed. The Slavs gave the city the name of Varna. In 680 the Proto-Bulgarians, who came from the East, defeated the Byzantine army and alliance with seven Slav tribes founded the Slav-Bulgarian state, officially recognised by Byzantium in 681. In the 8th century Varna was won back from the Byzantine Emperor Constantine V, Copronymus, to crush the young Bulgarian state.
Varna suffered a decline during the years of Byzantine domination (1018-1187), but in 1201 Tsar Kaloyan liberated it, taking its fortress with the help of a big turret. In the course of two centuries the city was a major centre of the Second Bulgarian State.
In 1391, Varna fell under the power of the Ottoman Turks. The battle at Varna in 1444 extinguished the last spark of hope. The crusaders army, made up of Polish and Hungarian knights, Czechs and Serbians, led by the young Polish and Hungarian King Vladislav III Yagelo and the Transylvanian commander Janos Hunyadi, lost the battle against the Ottoman Turks. Today there is a park-museum of comradeship-in-arms near Varna on the scene of the fighting.
During the centuries of Ottoman domination the town assumed an oriental appearance. Due to the thriving trade and handicrafts, Varna began to revive from its economic decline. More than 500 ships cast anchor in its harbour every year, and 43 countries had consulates in the city.
The national self-awareness of the Bulgarian people awakened in the early 19th century, giving rise to a rapid patriotic upsurge. A Bulgarian municipality was set up in Varna. The first Bulgarian school in the city was opened on July 25, 1862.
In 1828 a Russian squadron commanded by Admiral Grieg blockaded the fortress. In a brave attack during the night the Russian sailors boarded the Turkish fleet. After a siege of two months, Varna fell. The chief of the Turkish garrison handed over the keys to the city to the Russian Emperor Nicholas I. The citizens of Varna had also kept alive for many years memories of the battle at Cape Kaliakra in 1791, when the Russian Admiral Ushakov defeated the Turkish fleet. After the victorious end of the Russo-Turkish War of Liberation of 1877-1878, the long awaited day of freedom finally came for Varna, as it did for most of Bulgaria.
Nowadays, Varna is the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and the third-largest in Bulgaria after Sofia and Plovdiv. Commonly referred to as the marine (or summer) capital of Bulgaria, Varna is a major tourist destination, business and university centre, seaport, and headquarters of the Bulgarian Navy and merchant marine, as well as the centre of Varna Province and Bulgaria s North-Eastern planning region.