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in Bulgarian: Созопол , also known as: Sosopol, Sosopoul
Overview "The city of salvation" - Sozopol, with a population of about 5000 people, is the oldest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Located 34 kilometres south of Bourgas on two rocky peninsulas and three islands, the city kept track of the millennial history of the Black Sea coast in 610 BC. myelitis Greeks based, colony of Apollonia, thrived as a city mediator between Greek and Thracian world.Later is named Sozopol / savior / and was inhabited continuously for over 2600 years. The location on a slender rocky peninsula, makes it’s landscape very pictures and interesting.
In present time the place is a popular beach resort well known to clear, sandy beaches and distinctive 19-th - century stone and wood houses. Today, this charming place is a tourist centre renowned for its hospitality, its unique narrow streets with stone and wooden houses from the nineteenth century and the beautiful Summer weather. Outside the Summer months Sozopol is quiet and romantic fishing town. This makes it very attractive to people with different kind of interests. In coastal streets are located a number of small restaurants and cafes with splendid views of the bay and the port.
Sozopol is a town with many attractions, architectural and archaeological reserve recognition of its national importance. It is the old town of Sozopol keep the most valuable, exposed and attractive objects. The atmosphere of rich cultural stratification is formed by • unique architectural ensembles of houses, monuments, many chapels, churches - Virgin Mary-monument under UNESCO protection, built in the fifteenth century, many archaeological sites.
Archaeological Museum - Sozopol has a unique number, some of which are accessible to the public and the scientific community at home and abroad. There is a rich collection of amphoras, stone anchors and models of ships, from the time of the Phoenicians, Greeks and other ancient peoples who inhabited the city. Walls VI-XIV century-medieval territory of Sozopol is surrounded by a wall and towers, built during the reign of Anastasius - 511 years they have used for centuries and in many places and lanes are complete. Natural and archeological reserve island of "St. Ivan" - placed under the protection of the state. Island St. Ivan is the largest one of five islands along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. It is an integral part of life in ancient and medieval Apolonia Sozopol. On it are traces of a Thracian sanctuary and the Greek temple.
After 1985 were conducted partial excavations revealing the remains of two Christian churches, library, royal residence and more. Among them is the sole Church of the Holy Virgin, which is located in the old part of town. It dates from the seventeenth century and is protected by UNESCO as World Cultural Heritage. The old town of Sozopol is really an important place, it is under protection, so as the about 180 residential buildings from the middle of the 18th and early 19th century can be saved. The buildings have a typical Bulgarian design, hanging upper floors and used on stone and wood to be built.
Sozopol is the most attractive holiday destination for both Bulgarians and foreigners, most visited in Summer specially the months from May to September. Tourists from all over the world come to enjoy the weather, sandy beaches, history and culture, fusion cuisine (Bulgarian, Greek, Turkish), and atmosphere of the colourful resort. Out of the season Sozopol is also visited for fishing, walking and exploring.
History of Sozopol The town was founded in 610 b.c. by Ionian Greeks from Miletus and named Apollonia in honor of their most adored god. It was the first established coastal Greek colony and important place, trading with parent Miletus, Athens, and the Isle of Rhodes. The Apollonians acted as mediator between the Greek world and the indigenous Thracians from whom they acquired copper, honey, grain and wood in exchange for wine, salt and textiles. The colony stayed to the 5th century b.c., which coincided with the height of the power of the Thracian Odrisae tribe most gradually came to take a care for the rank and status in the Greek state. Apollonia founded its own colony of Anchialo (present-day Pomorie) in order to prevent the powerful rival Dorian colony of Messembria (Nessebar) from penetrating into Bourgas bay. Apollonia was also an active art and cultural centre. A temple was built for Apollo, "the sun god and healer," and a ten-meter-high bronze statue of the god, made by the Greek sculptor Calamis during the 5th century b.c., guarded the harbour. Later in the first century the Roman legions sacked the town, the statue was carted off to Rome and displayed on the Capitoline hill from where it later disappeared into antiquity.
Under the Romans, Apollonia declined in significance. Its colony Anchialo, however, became the most important town on the Black Sea. The name Sozopol first appears as an inscription on a 4th-century Roman column, probably in connection with the patron Apollo as many ancient Greek towns called Apollonia later changed their names to Sozopolis (City of Salvation) when they accepted Christianity. When Sozopol was incorporated into the First Bulgarian Kingdom in 812 under Khan Krum it developed into a large and wealthy town. The 12th-century relief icon "St. George and St. Dimitur on Horseback," one of the country's oldest and most significant, was originally displayed in Sozopol's St. Bogoroditsa (Holy Virgin) church.
Sozopol was one of the last holdouts to Ottoman domination, falling in 1453. Under the Ottomans, who renamed the town Suseboly, numerous churches and monasteries were razed; only their names remain, gracing the area's capes and isles (St. Ivan and St. Thomas). The National Revival period saw the building of typical Black Sea houses; ground floors of stone - generally used for storage - supported overhanging upper stories of wood, with protruding bay windows and sheltered eaves. Clustered along the narrow peninsula's cobblestone streets and alleys, some 45 houses are classified as cultural monuments.
Places To visit Archaeological Museum is located on the main square between the bus station and the port area. Much of the collection consists of ceramic vessels and sculpted marble grave stellae; one relief from 600 b.c. - depicting Deines, son of Anaksamandar - is among the most valuable representations of Hellenistic culture ever found in Bulgaria. The one here, however, is a copy; the original is in the national museum in Sofia. There is also a large array of stone anchors dating as far back as the fourth millennium BC Perhaps the most unique items, displayed on the second floor balcony, are detailed replicas of eight ships representing some of the different peoples who sailed into the harbor over the ages, ranging from Bronze-Age Phoenicians, Cypriots, and Carians to later Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
St. John (Sveti Ivan) Island is another unique place to visit offering beautiful scenery, different species of protected birds, architectural and historical monuments. The church "St. Mary Kaleosa" dates from the time of adoption of Christianity as equal to all the pagan cults, even distant around 330 AD. Natural features of the island of St. John are not to be missed. For example, here live more than 70 bird species on this island as you can see the largest colony of Silver Gull in Bulgaria. St. John Island has been declared a protected area and the birds here are included in the famous Red Book of Bulgaria.
The Church of the Holy Virgin (Sveta Bogoroditsa) is one of the most interesting places and cultural monuments in Sozopol.. It is located in the old part of the town and was built during the Ottoman domination in the XV-th century over the ruins of an earlier Christian temple. It was constructed half-buried in the earth as was required by the Turkish lows. The church has a wooden construction decorated with remarkable iconostasis, icons and fine woodcarving made by the best local masters. Two of the icons in the church prove of the greatest interest: "Jesus Christ" and "Holy Virgin". The churchyard is beautiful and hosts a huge fig tree. The church is registered by UNESCO as the important and precious monuments of world culture.
The remains of a medieval church with basilica are located in the central part of the Old town of Sozopol. It was the seat of the Sozopol Episcopate from the middle of the X - th century to XVII-th century. The church was built over the ruins of residential buildings from the Classical and Hellenistic periods of Apollonia (V-th - 2nd century BC). The temple used to have rich ornaments and floor mosaic that were destroyed by fire in the IX - th century. At the end of XI-th century, the church was re-constructed: murals were painted and a monastery complex with ossuary for the monks was built around it.
In the area of Bakarlaka are located Thracian fortresses, which encircle like a rainbow fields and low hills around the town. They are still built in the 13th 12th century BC. At the height of Copper Ridge are Thracian mounds - traces of Thracian burial rituals. Ancient necropolis found in the ancient Apollonia Pontica in the "Harmanite" and "Budjaka". Sozopol is a medieval fortress surrounded by walls and towers built during the reign of Anastasius about 511 years. Significant fragments of these facilities are carefully protected.
Events and Festivals Apollonia Arts Festival - Named in honour of Apollo, god of music and poetry, this annual ten-day arts festival is held at the end of August and early September of 27-th of August to the 5-th of September. The festival presents the achievements of Bulgarian cultural artists, new trends, interesting views and modern interpretations of the various art forms. The Art Gallery in the old town can be seen interesting exhibitions and can be visited literary evenings, which presents premieres of books. The cinema lovers are able to see some of the latest films and documentaries. There is a diverse and interesting children's program.
Things to Do / Shopping There are a lot of good shops and well done markets. Tourists fish lovers may buy many kinds of fish directly from fishermen at the port. There you can find an antique store selling a wide range of antiques and works of art.
Things to Do / Sport Windsurfing: Conditions for windsurfing in the region of Sozopol are very good. In the bay to St. Nicholas manual holds a national regatta. Near the campsites “Chenomorets”, “Garden” and “Goldfish” are the best places for surfers. There are well regulated surf schools and surf hire. Yachting: Sailing boat hire. Sailing Boat hire with skipper. Fishing: In the area of Sozopol there are countless places for fishing, you can do it individually from a boat, from the rocky shore or under water, for many kinds of fishes. Sea water (includes) • mackerel • horse mackerel • Pontic shad • garfish • turbot • scad • bluefish • corb • mullet • gobies • whiting • hake • cod. Diving: Only in Sozopol you can use different places for diving - among underwater rocks and crevices, underwater forest, shipwreck, night diving, ancient artefacts, around the ancient city wall. Water skiing, Jets, Jogging, Fitness all is possible to use and can be done.
Where to eat in Sozopol The small sea town is full of traditional coastal restaurants, small private establishments. At each step can be found many kiosks for the sale of fish, pizza and snack bars, open air cafes and restaurants. Two sea-facing streets Morski Skali and Milet are lined with small restaurants and cafes, ideal for enjoying the view during dinning. Interesting places are "Windmill", "Sozopol Tavern," "Athens Tavern", "Ksantana" "Neptune", "Fishing vessel Friendship," "Orpheus," "Olympus" and "Lily”. Some of them are built on after extensive archaeological research and restorations. The dungeons of the "Wall", for example, were used to store grain in ancient times, and the "Well" where fresh water springs was before the water fed of the town.
Nightlife / Entertainments The 'ROCK CAFÉ' is one of the freshest and necessary new additions to the Sozopol night life. An integral part of the Villa 'Bizantium', the bar is the only place in Sozopol that offers a combination of unique and vigorous interior with rock music. The bar is very suitable for meetings, entertainment, promotions and endless party time. This is a place for people who want to enjoy superb drinks in 'Rock' atmosphere, to watch a concert of their favourite band or a match of the favourite team or just 'rock hard'. The bar has a modern heavy sound and special effects, five plasma screens and its hosts live sessions as well as unconventional parties with top DJs. Lovers of night clubs will surely be satisfied by taking account of all the beach bars, discos and clubs, pulsating with the rhythm of different music styles.