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Kavarna - Bulgaria's Rock Capital

Kavarna used to be no more than a small fishing port aside a man-made stretch of beach where local people congregated in summer to party on the sands and listen to rockmusic.

Today, Kavarna is home to around 12 000 people including expats. It consists of 42 km of coastline with many natural and historic phenomena including remains of ancient fortresses, churches and necropolises. The area is also rich in mineral springs.


Getting There

Kavarna is 64 km from Bulgaria's sea capital Varna, 49 km from Dobrich , 17 km from Balchik and only 38 km from the Romanian border. The nearest international airport is located in Varna. There are regular bus links with both Varna and Dobrich and all places en route including the beach resorts of Albena and Golden Sands.

A Dip Back in Time

Built on the site of a former Thracian town called Bizone, Kavarna has had many names and many occupants. It was known as Karvuna during the periods of the First and Second Bulgarian Kingdoms; the name Kavarna was first recorded during the Middle Ages. Other vnames recorded for this area are the Greek name Krounoi and the Italian name Carbona.

The town was originally established in 5 BC by Greeks who made a settlement on the Chirakman Plateau. It thrived thanks to its rich grain trade, but in 1 BC disaster struck when an earthquake rocked the foundations of the settlement and the whole town collapsed in to the sea. Archaeologists believe that the town was rebuilt and actually fell into the sea a second time. Evidence of this has been gathered by keen archaeologists who since 2005, have been diving in the area to retrieve many relics from former Bizone.

Under Roman rule a port was established and the town grew. By the 7th century AD the Slavs attacked, destroyed the town and then set up their own settlement, which became part of the First Bulgarian Empire. Under the Second Bulgarian Empire the town rebelled and established itself as the Principality of Karvuna. By 1397, the Ottoman Turks were in control; they destroyed the town, left it derelict and then rebuilt a new settlement the early 17th century. The town's strength as a port and grain area grew again, yet the community despite Turkish rule remained Christian. When the Russians invaded in 1877, the people of Kavarna fought against the ruling Turks securing the town's liberation under the new Principality of Bulgaria. After the Second Balkan War in 1913, Kavarna became part of neighbouring Romania. It thrived as an economic and cultural centre and was handed back to Bulgaria in 1940.

Rock Capital

Kavarna has for many years been dedicated to rock music; its mayor is a big fan and supporter of the events, which have included performances by Nazareth, Saxon and Deep Purple amongst many others. Manowar played a five hour long concert here in an effort to set the world record for the longest heavy metal concert. Every year the July Morning Concert is held in neighbouring Kamen Briag. This festival has been staged since 1970 and still attracts large crowds who come to hear Uriah Heaps' John Lawton sing "July Morning" on the first of July as the sun rises over the Black Sea.

Around Town

Kavarna's location is perfect - close to the three Black Sea golf courses, the beach and the proposed yacht marina. It is surrounded by protected areas like Cape Kaliakra and Bolata, and Yalata, dubbed "the kingdom of peonies." The coastal area here attracts much in the way of wildlife from dolphins to rare plants and it has become a popular spot for bird watching.

Within the town you can visit the small maritime museum and view the exhibition called "Dobruja and the Sea." The museum is located in an old 15th century Turkish bath house known as the Hamam. The museum displays many of the treasures including old stone anchors, coins and ceramics, which have been plucked from the sea by archeologists. Another exhibition of great interest can be found in the Town Museum, which is located in the local library. Here, evidence of the town's thousand year history is displayed such as the weapons used in the Liberation War. Another noteworthy site is the 19th century Revival house, which now houses the Ethnographic Museum. The house was once the dwelling of a rich merchant family, but today it contains remnants from life during this popular period in Bulgarian history. The courtyard here is also extremely beautiful with an array of mulberry trees, peonies and tulips.

There are two churches in the town, both of which played a leading role during the reign of the Ottoman Turks as well as during the country's liberation. Saint George's Church and the Church of the Assumption were constructed in 1836 and 1860 respectively. There used to be 12 fountains sprouting mineral water along the valley to the port. Unfortunately many of them were destroyed, but recently some of them were restored to their former glory and now enhance the look of the town.
Entertainment and Accommodation

Kavarna is not noted for its abundance of hotels and eateries, the area has yet to develop in this area and those who wish to stay here tend to choose hotels in neighbouring areas like Balchik. In terms of dining out, one of Bulgaria's best restaurants is located nearby; the Dalboka Mussel Farm in nearby Zelenka Bay is the best place to sample the regions seafood delicacies. Otherwise try the Kavarna city centre mall or the restaurant on the beach which is open all year round.