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Varna - Things to do and see

Varna Archaeological Museum is home to the oldest cache of gold in the world! Archaeologists discovered the gold by accident and excavated it in 1972. It dates back to 4600-4200 BC and occupies three separate exhibition halls. My favourite piece is a skeleton adorned in gold jewellery. The museum itself is in a magnificent building, designed by the Bulgarian architect Petko Momchilov.

There are lots of interesting exhibits on show, which portray the ancient Thracian culture. The museum has a rich collection of tombstones and a collection of icons including some masterpieces of iconic painting from the National Revival period in North Eastern Bulgaria.

 

The Roman Thermae
The impressive ruins of a bathing complex, which once stood at the heart of Roman social and cultural life. Built as public monuments, everyone used them, whether rich or poor, free or slave.

A person could eat, exercise, read, drink, shop, socialize, practice politics and even have sex here. The modern equivalent would be a combination of a library, art gallery, mall, bar, restaurant, gym, and spa.

Archaeologists believe that the original baths were one of the largest buildings in the eastern part of the Empire and a proof of the wealth and importance of the town. The height of the domed construction is supposed to have been no less than 20 metres. Constructed in the second half of the 2nd century on an area of about 7000 square meters the baths were still in use until the end of the 3rd century.

 

The Ethnographic Museum
Located in an Ottoman-period area, it is a great place to learn about Bulgarian customs and culture. It tells of the life of local urban dwellers, fishermen, and peasants in the late 19th and early 20th century. The museum opened in 1974 and provides interesting information on some great national customs like Christmas and Petlyovden (Cock’s day).

 

The National Revival Museum
Housed in the former Church of Archangel Michael and the premises of Varna’s first Bulgarian school. The museum holds many artefacts left from the school and has an impressive display of 18th century Varna life.

 

The Museum of Medical History
A patriotic display, which tells how the Bulgarians inherited the medical wisdom of their predecessors and transmitted this to the rest of Europe.

 

Palace of Culture and Sports
The Palace of Culture and Sports is a popular venue for many business and scientific meetings and prestigious international sporting events. Its Congress Hall can seat 3000 persons. There are nine other halls seating from 50 to 800, air-conditioning, 10 cafes, a post office, a recreation centre, shopping area and a parking lot.
The Palace has a unique spherical shape, reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty’s crown.

 

The Cathedral of the Assumption
Varna’s most memorable landmark. An impressive copper domed Bulgarian Orthodox church completed in 1866. Maas, an architect from Odessa, Ukraine designed it to resemble St Petersburg Cathedral. Inside the walls are covered in mesmerising iconic art. It also contains the bishop’s throne, some interesting murals and beautiful stained glass.

 

 

And... saving the best until last - The Sea Gardens

 

 

If you see nothing else in Varna, you must visit this magnificent park, which provides sensational views of the sea and 14 kms of beautifully manicured parkland, which follows the coastline, together with plenty of things to do for adults and children alike.

 

 

 

There are many beautiful gardens and tree-lined boulevards and pathways: and it offers much to occupy all its visitors. You'll find an endless stream of tourists and locals here - mum's with pushprams or toddlers strolling and catching up with each other, teenagers meeting, others just taking the air.... a real "mish mash" of everyone.

If you can't be bothered to walk through the entire park, you can even catch a little 'train' and get on and off whenever you want!

At one end, opposite the Sports Stadium, there is an impressive statue, the Monument to Fighters against Fascism. This huge, impressive carved stone monument depicting faces of peasant and partisan men and women of Bulgaria looks nobly out to sea.