Salvation in Bulgaria

Those in the know know that Bulgaria has some lovely resorts on the shores of the Black Sea.

One of those resorts has attracted so many of the glitterati: Hollywood stars, models, tycoons and jet setters that it is referred to as the St. Tropez of Bulgaria.

That town is Sozopol, and its name means Salvation.

In fact, Sozopol has quite a history of attracting interest from outsiders.  It was once an important settlement in Thrace, but the Greeks colonised it and were so taken by its beauty they named the town Apolonia, after the Greek God Apollo, and even constructed a 13 metre-high bronze statue of him, so he could look out across the peninsular to the Black Sea.

Since the Greeks invaded, Sozopol has been occupied by a number of other conquerors including Alexander the Great, the Romans, the barbarians, the Byzantines and the Russians, and now the tourists are conducting a less permanent invasion, as they seek more charming places in which to rest.

Sozopol is located on Bourgas Bay on the shores of the Black Sea.  The isle of St. Ivan is situated just 2km away from the old town in northern direction. St. Ivan is the biggest Black Sea isle in Bulgarian territorial waters. The isle shelters a sonar lighthouse, which together with the lighthouse on the Emine cape shows the way to the Bourgas Bay. Once upon a time, the isle hosted a monastery called the Holy Virgin, which was later renamed as St. Ivan Prodromos.

Outside Sozopol, there are a number of fjord-like formations to the south. The coast here is particularly high and jagged by the incoming waves. There are also a number of secluded caves to explore.

The old part of the town has been declared an architectural and historical reserve. Unrivalled is the atmosphere of the narrow streets of Sozopol, with the fragrance of ripe dates and sea breeze. Among the landmarks of the town are the preserved or restored old time houses of typical Black Sea coast architecture of the 18th-19th century, the churches of the Holy Virgin (15th century), of St Zosim, of St St Cyril and Methodius (19th century), the archaeological museum, the art gallery, the museum exhibitions next to the restored portion of the southern fortress wall.  

Sozopol is in the process of being discovered, which means that it attracts visitors, but not so many that your holiday is ruined.  Having been a fishing village for many centuries, it is the perfect place to indulge in meals of fresh seafood and to laze away on a (relatively) quiet beach.

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