Young tourists prefer Slanchev Bryag, Primorsko, Kiten, Lozenets because of the plenty of clubs, bars and opportunities for entertainment. Slanchev Bryag is the largest resort in the country and often hosts parties of world famous DJs and performers. Another reason why a lot of tourists opt for Slanchev Bryag is the opportunity it gives them to try their luck in the classy casinos.
Sozopol and Nesebar (on UNESCO’s list) are known for a combination of beautiful coastal scenery and historical sights. These two towns with thousands of years of history attract romantically inclined holidaymakers.
Modern hotels, offering high quality standards, have recently opened in Ravda, Aheloy, Pomorie, Sozopol, Lozenets, Tsarevo, Sinemorets, etc. The villages of Sinemorets and Razovo are more popular with people who like tranquility and harmony with nature.
A lot of facilities for a family-friendly holiday are offered at Eleni and Dyuni – gated holiday villages which provide their guests with quiet full-value holidays in their high category hotels and with the wide range of sports and entertainment programmes they offer.
Numerous guest houses and self-contained rooms for hire in Nesebar, Sozopol, Primorsko, Kiten, Lozenets, Tsarevo, Ahtopol, Sinemorets, etc. provide an opportunity for the tourists to get in touch with the local inhabitants’ lifestyle. The self-contained villas provide complete freedom for the tourists to plan their stay.
Traditionally, the numerous campsites, situated close to the beaches, nestling in snug little coves, attract a lot of interest. Gradina, Zlatna Ribka, Kavatsite, Smokinya, Veselie, Arapya, Nestinarka are internationally popular campsites.
Facilities and opportunities for an active holiday are available on all beaches and their aquatory – jet skiing, banana boat rides, surfing, etc.
SPA, WELLNESS AND BALNEOLOGY TOURISM
Spa and wellness
The need to relax and follow stress-relieving and toning programs for both body and soul is part of the modern idea of complete holidays.
To meet this need almost all 4- and 5-star hotels in Burgas Black Sea Region have spa and wellness centres which offer a variety of programmes and procedures, aiming to strengthen the body and restore the balance of mind. Professional curative massage plus aromatherapy, exotic Asian massages, massages inspired by the ancient holistic system Ayurveda, sauna, Turkish bath (hamam), cosmetic procedures, etc. are on offer.
The best spa and wellness centres were opened in Slanchev Bryag – at the hotels Victoria Palace and Spa, Helena Resort, Imperial and a lot more - as well as in Pomorie.
Not far away from the coast are the mineral springs around which Burgas Mineral Baths, declared a health resort of national significance, have been developing from antiquity to the present day.
The resort was first mentioned under the name Aquae Calidae during the reign of Philip II of Macedon (4th c. BC), and later it was referred to as Thermopolis. In 1206, when the Latin Emperor Henry invaded the Bulgarian kingdom, the resort was destroyed and burnt down. It was not until 350 years later that the Turkish Sultan Suleiman II erected a bath building which, after having been fully reconstructed, is still used today.
The main curative factor of the resort is the mineral water characterized as hot (41° ?), slightly mineralized, clear, colourless, odourless and having very good gustatory properties. It is used to treat inflammatory and degenerative diseases of the locomotor system, conditions after bone fractures, and diseases of the peripheral and central nervous system. It is also effective for general prophylaxis and body strengthening by tempering the body against colds and infectious diseases and increasing physical and mental toughness.
The famous curative mud is a natural product formed as a result of the decomposition of dead organic matter and the subsequent mineralization in the specific conditions of high salinity. The curative mud, extracted from the bottom of Lake Pomorie, has unique healing properties which have been known for thousands of years. It is black and plastic, with a chemical composition including hydrogen sulphide, magnesium, calcium, iron compounds, etc., which have a favourable effect on the human body.
The mud from Pomorie Lake is suitable for all kinds of diseases of the locomotor system, of the peripheral nervous system, gynaegcological diseases and sterility as well as skin diseases. In the mud-treatment facilities in Pomorie mud is mostly applied in the form of compresses with temperature of 36 - 39 degrees for 20 minutes. Electrophoresis with galvanic current is also used. Inhalation of 2-5 % water based solution of lye is applied in the treatment of diseases of the upper respiratory tract.
Mud procedures are offered at the mud-treatment sanatorium, but also in quite a number of newly built high category hotels. Available at the five-star Pomorie Health Spa Hotel is a modern treatment-and-rehabilitation spa and wellness centre where century-old traditions of mud treatment in Pomorie are combined with modern-day achievements of medicine and technology. The hotel is certified by the European spa association (ESPA). The spa centre at the 5-star complex Via Pontica is the only one of its kind and offers treatment and rehabilitation procedures, combining therapies with wine and grape extract, Pomorie lye and mud.
The interior of the region also enjoys a favourable climatic influence. Malko Tarnovo in Strandzha is a climatic mountain resort of local significance for the climatic treatment of allergic and pulmonary diseases, and the same goes for the locality of Fakadere at the village of Drachevo.
The network of protected areas – Strandzha Nature Park, the reserves, protected areas and scenic attractions, Burgas wetlands, Rosenets Park and Eastern Stara Planina – is a prerequisite for the development of ecotourism in the region, including trekking along marked trails, photo safaris, bird and plant watching, etc.
The Directorate of Strandza Nature Park offers mountain, ecological, ornithological, sports and cultural routes, well trained tour guides, information about accommodation and eating places. Strandza NP has developed its own eco-brand which is awarded to local accommodation and foodservice facilities after they meet a range of environmental standards and regulations.
Strandzha Nature Park has a tourist information centre in Malko Tarnovo. Visitors can learn a lot of interesting and useful things there and take home as a keepsake pieces of handiwork and souvenirs crafted by local people, or a jar of manna honey, which is the hallmark of Strandzha.
It is black, extremely healthy and in high demand in the world market. In 2012 a new visitor information centre opened in the village of Gramatikovo with an exposition of rare and protected species of Strandzha.
Hiking routes in Strandzha
The route Strandzha Forest Trail is easy to pass. The ecotrail starts about 200 m away from Dokuzak Waterfall near the Strandzha village of Stoilovo. The hike takes two hours and a half. In Search of the Golden Fleece is another theme trail whose duration is about 2 hours along a circular route in the surroundings of the village of Kondolovo. Tourists have been offered seven new routes since 2012.
Five of them lead from the five villages of nestinari (fire-dancers) (Kosti, Balgari, Gramatikovo, Slivarovo and Kondolovo) to Golyamata Ayazma (the Big Holy Spring) in the locality of Vlahov Dol. The sixth is an attractive tourist circular route from the village of Mladezhko to the springs of the Madezhka River and the seventh is a pilgrim route from the village of Slivarovo to St. Marina Cave.
Each of the routes is symbolically bound to one of the plant species which are the subject of special activities for protection and conservation of the environment in the specialized nursery garden in the locality of Kachul. The symbol of the species is depicted on the route information materials.
Cycle route in Strandzha
The Directorate of Strandzha Nature Park is building a circular cycle route along the Black Sea boundary of the park: the Mouth of the Veleka River – the locality of Tsarskoto Kladenche – the village of Brodilovo - the Veleka River Protected Site.
The circular cycle route is 35 km long and runs through the lands belonging to the villages of Sinemorets and Brodilovo, through Tsarevo Municipality and the territory of the Veleka River Protected Site.
A web-embedded 3-dimensional digital map and an information brochure will provide information about the route.
Horse riding in Strandzha
If you have decided to spend your holiday on the southern coast of the Black Sea and yet you are tired of the sunny beaches, you can have a one-day horseback ride around the hills of the Strandzha Mountains. You can hire a horse and a guide in Lozenets or Sozopol and it is a good idea to get information about the terms and conditions of hire in advance on the Internet or over the telephone. You can hire just a horse and you will have to rely on your ability to read maps and find your way.
If you just want a one-day ride, you can choose the route from Lozenets to the village of Varvara. It will take you on horseback along magnificent and deserted beaches, and then to the forests of Strandzha and the beautiful views of the rocky shores at Varvara.
The journey takes about 4 hours.
If you have more time to spend, you can hire the horse for more than just one day and will be able to see the most beautiful places in Strandzha on horseback, dividing your route into several stages.
From Varvara to Sinemorets the journey will take about 4 hours and will take you through a variety of areas and landscape to the mouth of the Veleka River at Sinemorets.
The beautiful view is worthwhile, and the beach at the mouth of the river is a place favoured by keen fishermen. If you are a fisherman, you can combine horse riding with a few pleasant hours of fishing. In Sinemorets you can stroll along the bank of the Veleka River and if you are in luck, you will see some rare bird species.
Visitor and nature conservation centres
An important condition for developing ecotourism and an opportunity to vary the tourism product are the visitor and nature conservation centres, specialized in studying and conserving rare species, providing information on biodiversity and tourist routes, and in implementing training programmes. Currently functioning in Burgas Black Sea Region are:
- Poda Nature Conservation Centre (located in Burgas Bay – on E-87 Burgas/Sozopol highway), built with the purpose of watching and preserving the bird diversity in the area;
- Burgas bird hide, located on Atanasovo Lake (on Burgas – Slanchev Bryag highway). The hide is on the boundary of Burgas, on the very edge of the southern part of the lake and is easily accessible by car and public transport as well as by bike and on foot. It was built after the English model with special windows to observe birds at close quarters without disturbing them. The hide has the suitable optical equipment and provides information on all important and interesting issues related to life in the reserve;
- Ropotamo Visitor Centre in Ropotamo Reserve is equipped with a demonstration hall and is a source of information for tourists and groups of visitors. Here every visitor can get information about the reserve and its inhabitants, watch a film about the natural assets of the reserve, visit and see sites along a certain route;
- Visitor centre on the southern bank of Pomorie Lake in the immediate vicinity of the Museum of Salt. At the disposal of the tourists there is equipment for bird watching. Talks, seminars and training are organized at the centre. Informative tours are made, films about ecology are shown, free information brochures are handed out and tourists can buy interesting souvenirs.
- Tourists enter the Water Lilies Reserve over a wooden bridge, where they can enjoy an abundance of beautiful water lilies. They are the main attraction on the southern coast for Bulgarian and foreign tourists and nature lovers. Special measures are taken to preserve the biggest community of sand lilies in natural setting at the reserve of the same name. The sand lily is a delicate plant with snow-white blossoms that carry a strong fragrance and – quite legitimately – excite admiration. The sand lily is also known to the locals by the names of ‘sand iris’ and ‘sand fairy’. Some people call the sand lily ‘the queen of the sands’ or simply ‘flower of the dunes’ because of the character of the habitats of these flowers and their rare beauty. The sand lily blooms in July and August.
ORNITHOLOGICAL TOURISM (BIRDWATCHING)
Via Pontica – Europe’s second biggest bird migration route passes over the Black Sea coast of Burgas Region, which determines the role the region plays in preserving the European populations of the white stork, pern, common buzzard, etc. All European species of birds of prey pass here.
Some of the most vulnerable natural habitats - the wetlands - are in Burgas Black Sea Region. One of the most valuable complexes of wetlands in the country – that of the lakes of Burgas - is here. It includes four lakes (Atanasovo, Pomorie, Burgas and Mandra) with a total area of about 9000 km2, and all of them or parts of them are declared protected areas.
The lakes together with the complex of Ropotamo (in the municipalities of Sozopol and Primorsko) are on the list of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar convention). Bulgaria is among the first countries which committed themselves to protect these areas of international importance as early as 1975. In 2002 the area of the Ramsar sites in the region expanded considerably. Other wetlands of conservational significance are the rivers Veleka, Rezovska, Silistar, Dyavolska and the smaller rivers flowing directly into the lakes or the Black Sea.
The greatest assets of the wetlands are the birds that occur here during spring and especially autumn migration, during the periods of wintering (December – March) and nesting (April-July).
More than 255 bird species, which is 67% of the bird world in Bulgaria, are documented at the locality of Poda. 317 bird species are recorded at the nature reserve of Lake Atanasovo. 83 of them are listed in the Red Book of Bulgaria, and over 170 species are of European significance. The world’s smallest mammal - the Etruscan shrew – occurs there, and since 2010 pink flamingo populations can be observed.
The beautiful areas in Burgas Region, crossed by ancient roads and dotted with ruins of fortresses, historical towns, villages and monasteries, provide tourists with the opportunity to include a cultural element in their holiday. In almost all resorts along the coast there are sites from different historical periods, museums and galleries, interesting events, preserved traditions and folklore which are interesting for the tourists, and the attraction sites in the interior complement the cultural tourism offer. The tourist route for cultural and historical tourism Via Pontica is being developed along the southern Black Sea coast and for this purpose archaeological research is funded and interesting sites of our cultural and historical heritage are being restored and adapted for visits.
The old town of Nesebar is the town in Bulgaria with the richest heritage of medieval architectural monuments and is on UNESCO World Heritage List. Situated on a small rocky peninsula, Nesebar had about 40 churches in the course of its existence. Currently, there is information about 23 of them, among which the Old Bishopric and the New Bishopric, the Church of Christ Pantocrator stand out. The appearance of the town is complemented by over 100 restored National Revival houses, which make up the picturesque architecture of the town. Midway along the isthmus connecting the old and the new part of Nesebar is the old windmill of the town, which does not function and is only a tourist attraction and a sort of emblem of the town.
The only active monastery on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast – St. George’s Monastery, and a unique Thracian tomb are in Pomorie. The ancient town of Deultum, which was established as a Roman colony in the 1st c AD, is 10 km west of Burgas. In the Middle Ages it was a fortress on the borderline of Bulgaria and Byzantium.
The old part of Sozopol is an architectural, historical and tourism reserve containing valuable archaeological monuments. Ancient Sozopol is the oldest settlement on the Black Sea coast and has been declared a museum town. The town has all the prerequisites to become a pilgrimage centre with the sensational archaeological discoveries made there - the relics of St. John the Baptist, remains of a monastery complex, etc.
The following sites have been studied in Primorsko: the Thracian sanctuary of Beglik Tash and the medieval church of St. Paraskeva, which are being socialized for the needs of tourism. In the Municipality of Tsarevo there are remnants of the megalithic culture of the Thracians. The ruins of the antique and medieval fortresses of Urdoviza and Ahtopol’s Wall are here. Ahtopol has the richest antique and medieval history of all settlements in modern-day Strandzha Nature Park. There are finds from the Thracian antiquity, the Roman period and the Middle Ages here.
There is a very specific network of pre-historic dolmens (the villages of Belevren, Gorno Yabalkovo, Granichar, etc.), Thracian sites near Malko Tarnovo and Mishova Niva as well as a medieval rampart called Erkesia, 120 km long, running between the Black Sea and the Maritsa River.
The region has a well-established network of museums, where portable cultural and historical monuments are concentrated, arranged by certain themes. On the one hand, they have a higher informative value; on the other hand, they are better studied and preserved.
The Museums of Burgas - Archaeological, Ethnographic, Historical and the Museum of Natural Science – have rich exhibitions of our cultural and historical heritage. There are also collections and museums in Pomorie, Sozopol, Karnobat, Sungurlare, Nesebar, Tsarevo and in other municipal centres and towns and villages. The biggest wooden ship ever built in Bulgaria, called Goryanin is exhibited in the open air in the square of Tsarevo.
The Museum of Salt in Pomorie is entirely dedicated to the solar salt production through the the evaporation of seawater by the heat of the sun – a technology used in high antiquity when salt was used as a medium of exchange before money existed. It was known as ‘white gold’ because it had a particularly high value due to the fact that it was a rare commodity, and it was hard to extract.
The Museum of History in Malko Tarnovo has 5 houses which are typical samples of the National Revival architecture. Local archaeological monuments are displayed in one of them – marble tombstones, columns with inscriptions in Greek, vessels from the antique shrines near the town, votive plates, two pediments of Thracian domed tombs, pottery. The town of Sredets also has a Historical Museum with an ethnographic complex
The numerous art galleries in Burgas, Nesebar, Sozopol provide opportunities for established artists from the region to show their work and host touring exhibitions. Petko Zadgorski Art Gallery in Burgas is one of the oldest in the country. It is a former Jewish synagogue – a remarkable architectural monument of the town, built in the period between 1905 and 1910 by the Italian architect Riccardo Toscani. Today the exposition, displayed on three floors, presents the best of its stock, consisting of about 2000 works of art – paintings, sculptures and black-and-white drawings. Pride of place belongs to the paintings of the well-known Bulgarian artists Bencho Obreshkov, Tseno Todorov, Nikola Marinov, Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, Stoyan Velev, Mara Tsoncheva, Assen Vasilev, Dechko Uzunov, Basil Stoilov, Svetlin Rusev, Georgi Bozhilov, Dimitar Kirov, Atanas Yaranov, Encho Pironkov, Yoan Leviev. The exhibition hall on the second floor presents the achievements of painters from Burgas from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. The works of Gencho Mitev, Todor Karasimeonov, Pavel Valkov, Petko Zadgorski, Panayot Panayotov, Georgi Baev, Stoyan Tsanev, Violeta Maslarova, Nenko Tokmakchiev, Kiril Simeonov, Rayna Racheva, Bozhidar Kalachev, Zhivko Ivanov, Ivan Bahchevanov, Krasimir Zinin, Svetozar Benchev, etc. Burgas marine themes in the paintings of the artists create a unique atmosphere and style. The gallery boasts the collection of icons from Strandzha, dating from the 17th c. to the beginning of the 20th c.
Other galleries in Burgas are: Boyadzhiev Gallery, which works with established artists from Burgas, the country and abroad; ETI Gallery – for lovers of applied and fine arts; the new Bogoridi Gallery; the gallery of the Society of Artists in Burgas. The narrow streets of the ancient towns of Nesebar and Sozopol as well as the resort lanes provide a splendid setting for the canvases of the local painters.
Architectural and historical ensembles
Parts of the settlements along the southern Black Sea coast have typical National Revival architecture. Nesebar, Pomorie, Sozopol, Ahtopol, Primorsko and Tsarevo are extremely attractive. The towns and villages in Strandzha Nature Park include samples of the residential architecture of the eastern and mid-Strandzha Mountains.
As complexes, the architectural and historical reserves at the villages of Brashlyan and Balgari, the latter being known for the living tradition of nestinarstvo (fire dancing), can be distinguished as the most significant monuments within the territory.
Brashlyan is the most attractive village. In 1982 it was declared architectural and historical reserve which consists of 76 houses – architectural monuments of culture, 9 of which are of national significance, 22 – ensembles, and the rest are of local importance, and that goes for the Church of St. Dimitar with the school to it and the Chapel of St. Panteleymon. The house of Strandzha is a reflection of a historical period which is of great importance to Bulgarian culture - the Revival Period. The local architecture has been preserved in the villages of Strandzha – Golyamo Bukovo, Dolno Yabalkovo, Balgari, Kosti, Brodilovo, etc.
Traditions and customs
Colourful and original rites have been preserved in the region. They are related to certain events and holidays on which they are performed. They restore ancient traditions and beliefs for health, fertility, and chasing away the evil spirits. They are recreated by amateur groups in the community centres in the regions.
Nestinarstvo (fire dancing) is maybe the most important ‘monument’ of the intangible cultural heritage of the Strandzha Mountains. On September 30 2009 UNESCO declared nestinarstvo to be part of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. This ritual is a reproduction of an ancient Dionysian rite – coming into contact with the Son of the Great Mother-Goddess – the Sun God. The ritual is performed on the feast day of the saints Constantine and Helena (June 3, Gregorian calendar) in the village of Balgari. The games of nestinari are preceded by the Celebration at the Big Ayazma, which gathers the nestinar community in the Strandzha Mountains among the tall beech trees around the Yazmen Dol so that it can perform the tradition – to take part in the panagir and pray to St. St. Constatine and Helena for health and prosperity for Strandzha. The inhabitants of Strandzha know that on this day all ayazmi (springs) in the mountains open and their water is the most curative. Nestinarstvo has been preserved over the centuries due to self-organization of the believers.
Other interesting holidays of the group of the religious ones are Kukerovden and Pali Kosh. The former is a rite of carnival character performed to ensure fertility and health for the community. The latter is a ritual again related to the belief in the purifying fire.
Of the rest of the holidays various celebrations can be distinguished which are connected with individual towns and villages and are mostly locally important, but promote the development of tourism in the municipalities. Examples of holidays of this kind are the traditional patron days of the towns as is the feast day of St. Marina for Sozopol and the village gatherings on some of the feast days which each village has and observes.
At the community centres in the area there are groups for authentic folklore. An Evening Dedicated to Erkech is held in Pomorie, when authentic Erkech dances of the village of Kozichino are performed, as is the traditional activity called ‘Valyanka’.
EVENT AND FESTIVAL TOURISM
Every year in the territory of Burgas Region various cultural events are organized – performances, festivals, seminars, concerts, sports competitions – which attract a lot of guests from the country and abroad.
Traditionally, Burgas hosts the International Sofia Film Fest on the Coast, Petya Dubarova National Literature Contest, Burgas and the Sea National Song Contest, the National Poetry Contest dedicated to the great poet Hristo Fotev, the Sweet –voiced Lark National Contest for Children’s Song. On the Coast International Theatre Festival is held in September, and the yearly International Folklore Festival goes under the following heading: ‘Let’s keep what our ancestors handed down to us and pass it on to our children!’
The Festival of Sand Sculptures is organized at the beginning of July in the sea gardens and occupies five decares of Ezero Park. Special illumination complements the charm of the unique sand city, which is open to visitors in the course of two months.
The most popular event is the MTV Festival Spirit of Burgas, which is held in August every year and gathers tens of thousands of music lovers from Bulgaria, England, Poland, Romania, Turkey and other countries.
It has become a tradition for exhibitions of Thracian gold treasures to visit the town in the summer - an event organized by the Seaside Casino Cultural Centre. In 2012 the exhibition that paid a visit was called The Biggest Treasure of the Thracians and included the whole of the Valchitran gold treasure and a selection of the Rogozen silver treasure.
Nesebar also has a rich calendar of cultural events to offer. The town hosts an International Children’s Festival, called Sun-Joy-Beauty, the Constellations in Nesebar International Art Festival, the Pop Rock Fest for young musicians.
The national Strandzha-Thracian gathering called Folklore Wreath – Bozhura held at the town of Sredets is particularly popular as are Strandzha Sings National Gathering – a singing competition in the village of Gramatikovo (held every four years), Apollonia Festival of Arts and Culture in Sozopol, The Black Sea Eurofolk in Primorsko, the International Folklore Festival in Tsarevo, etc. Of the national holidays and celebrations the most important to the region is the National Commemoration Gathering in Petrova Niva at the end of August, an event held to pay homage to the Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising.
The Festival of Strandzha Periwinkle, held in May, has become extremely popular in recent years. A festival of the manna honey, a product native to the region, is organized in Nesebar and Tsarevo.
Bulgarian history is preserved not only in the great number of architectural and historical monuments but also in the traditional arts and crafts, some of which are still practiced today. Samples of woodcarving, weaving and blacksmithing are preserved in the ethnographic museums and collections in the region – in Burgas, Sredets, Brashlyan, Kosti, Balgari, etc. Pottery and basket-making workshops can be organized in the Strandzha Mountains region as well as the art workshop called Magic of Strandzha led by an applied artist. Also, a competition of pipers playing Strandzha melodies can be held.
The Bulgarian Village programmes are very interesting to tourists. The folk-style restaurant at the village of Bata offers an unforgettable experience. To the accompaniment of pipes and traditional folk songs the guests are offered mulled rakia with honey and fresh homemade white cheese, while singers and fire-dancers present a folklore programme.
A visit to one of the folk-style restaurants in the village of Kozichino (Erkech) gives the tourists an opportunity to get an idea of authentic folklore (koledari, lazarki and valyanka) and to be treated to roast lamb and home-made yoghurt.
The village of Varshilo in the Strandzha Mountains offers visitors a pleasure ride with a harnessed horse team to enjoy the scenic beauty of the countryside. After that they can sample the temptations of the local cuisine to the sound of folk music.
Overnight visits are available in many towns and villages in the interior, especially in the Strandzha Mountains. By staying in a country house tourists can get an idea of the traditional way of living and culture of the country. The hospitality of the Bulgarians, the unique local cuisine, the folklore, customs and handicrafts that have been preserved, the architectural reserves and the beautiful scenery add more emotion to the holidays.
The Strandzha villages of Balgari, Gramatikovo, Brodilovo, Kosti, Brashlyan, Kalovo, etc. are extremely attractive with the original old houses which offer accommodation. Walks to old-time flour mills, fulling mills, donkey rides and rides on a donkey cart are on offer.
If you choose to stay in Brashlyan, you can opt for a picnic or a walk to Buriloto (the butter churn). You can learn about the traditional lifestyle and folklore from the Working-bee performance of the local folklore group or see the old church, the church school or the ethnographic collection.
Twelve kilometers west of the resort of Slanchev Bryag is Chateau Medovo – an ethnographic tourist complex with a handicrafts street where tourists can get immersed in the spirit of the 18th – century lifestyle and try their hand at making traditional craft products.
The Marina Dinevi yacht harbor was built in the northern part of the Bay of Nesebar to the south of the town of Sveti Vlas. The harbor is naturally protected from the prevailing northeasterly winds by the southern slopes of the Stara Planina Mountains.
As a modern yacht harbor complex with a capacity for 300 yachts the marina offers excellent conditions for temporary stays or permanent moorings. Electric power and fresh water and at each berth along with cable television and Internet access are only part of the yacht operations and maintenance package offered. The safety and peace of mind of the visitors, the quality of the services offered and the protection of the environment contribute to its popularity.
There are conditions for mooring yachts at Nesebar, Burgas, Sozopol, Tsarevo.
For sports and adventure lovers the region has a lot to offer: surfing, waterskiing, parachuting, banana boat rides, yacht clubs, pedalos, water scooters, beach volleyball, tennis courts, bowling alleys, horse riding.
Among the sports competitions in recent years various tournaments, held in the regional centre – the town of Burgas, can be distinguished as major events: tournaments in rhythmic gymnastics, handball, beach volleyball, the international sailing regatta, the windsurfing regatta, Burgas Cup International Dancesport Tournament, etc. Unification International Regatta is a major event that takes place in Tsarevo, south of Burgas.
This year two European championships, three Balkan championships and a lot more international and national tournament will take place in Burgas. It is a fact already known that the town will play host to the Sailing World Championships in 2015. Burgas also bid to host the European Athletics Indoor Championships in 2019.
Vine growing is a traditional means of livelihood for the population in the region. The tradition of wine making was preserved in the ancient chronicles of wayfarers and in the 500-year-old wine vessels, discovered by archaeologists in the grounds of the medieval fortress of Markeli near Karnobat.
There are plenty of wine cellars in the region and tasting sessions of local products are organized at some of them.
Via Pontica Complex in Pomorie has a functioning wine cellar, built as early as 1932, an oenotheque and a tasting room where guests can be introduced to the niceties and secrets of wine making and maturing. Selected wines of Black Sea Gold Winery AD can be tasted there as well as the famous Pomorie brandies and Bulgarian rakia brands. The winery is the main participant in the Sea of Wine Festival in Pomorie, held from the end of July to the beginning of September with a rich calendar of events.
Chateau Medovo, 12 km west of Slanchev Bryag, is also gaining recognition as an attractive wine tourism destination. It offers tasting sessions of selected wines in the specially equipped tasting room of the winery.
Minkov Brothers Winery near Karnobat is the most fascinating new wine tourism destination. Built on a picturesque hill among a massif of 3000 decares of private vineyards of white and red grape varieties, unique to the country, the winery preserves the authentic architectural features and the spirit of the old town house of the National Revival Period. Apart from wine tasting, tourists are offered to watch the stages of wine making as an attraction. Grapes are picked by hand and tourist can join in the process. The walk around the underground tunnels is designed for adventure lovers. Wines of the series Minkov Brothers, Cycle and From the Wine Cellar are left to mature there. They won the gold and silver medals on their first appearance at the world wine competitions in Brussels and Paris.
Slaviyantsi Vinex consists of four wineries: Slavyantsi, Sungurlare, Lozarevo and Karnobat, which use highly effective modern technology in making wine, rakia and other alcoholic beverages.
Vinprom Karnobat Winery produces mature red wines of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mavrud as well as rose wines, mastika and rakia.
HUNTING AND FISHING
Hunting tourism is organized by the state forestry enterprises and hunting farms in the region.
Nesebar state hunting farm is located in the easternmost slopes of the Stara Planina Mountains (Emine Stara Planina). It comprises the territory of the municipalities of Pomorie, Nesebar and part of Ruen Municipality. The farm has three hunting lodges which provide superb comfort and a pleasant atmosphere to individual hunters or groups staying there - the Woodshed Lodge, the Guelder-rose Tree Lodge – a guest house, Nesebar Lodge. The main game species include: red deer, fallow deer stag, roe deer, mouflon, boar, snipe and partridge.
The Ropotamo Forestry Enterprise owns Arkutino Lodge and Primorsko Lodge. The area along the Ropotamo River is protected. A lot of endangered species occur there and hunting near the river is not allowed. Game species include mainly red deer, fallow deer, roe deer, wild boar, mouflon, small feathered game, predators – wolf, jackal, fox, polecat, and weasel.
Hunters from all over Bulgaria, from Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France arrive in Ahtopol for the sole reason of hunting woodcock – a comparatively big bird. Hunting woodcock is allowed from August through February.
Gramatikovo hunting ground is 30 km away from Tsarevo, near the village of Gramatikovo. Game includes snipe, red deer, roe deer, wolf, jackal, wild cat, wild boar and woodcock. The three things that describe best Gramatikovo State Game-breeding Station are: picturesque scenery, game of undeniable trophy qualities and unique hunting facilities.
The hunting lodges in the localities of Kachul, Dudenovo, Petrova Polyana and Kondolovo provide hunters with pleasant conditions.
Bosna Hunting Farm is in the Strandzha Mountains within Zvezdets State Forestry Enterprise with century-old forests combined with plenty of game fields and comfortable hides for hunting the wild boar successfully (battue, hunting hide), roebuck (hunting hide, stalking), (selectively) and predators - wolf, fox, jackal, wild cat.
Underwater fishing is a sport in which man and fish are almost in the same situation. The fisherman comes face to face with the fish and it all comes down to who will win the fight as it was in high antiquity. The only weapon of the amateur is the harpoon. The underwater centres in the region are in Burgas and Sozopol. There experts present brief annotations of all places suitable for diving and underwater fishing along the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria.
Sea bass and bluefish, which are predatory fish, belted bonito, etc. are most wanted by harpoon fishers. The sea bass inhabits the wild spots along the Black Sea coast and is a sort of indicator of the ecological condition of the region – whether it has remained unspoilt and clean. It occurs near Primorsko, Rezovo, Kiten, Sinemorets and along the whole of the southern Black Sea coast. In the cold months it moves to shallow waters – up to 1 m deep.
At the beginning of November it is the southern Black Sea coast where the most fish appears and fishermen flock there. Over 50 boats go fishing together in the bays and it is a very impressive sight.
Goby fishing is very successful in every season and is not affected by the weather conditions. There is a special thrill in catching bonito in the autumn. It is done from boats and those who do not have their own boats, but are willing to take part in the common fishing rush, can join the local professional fishermen – in Tsarevo alone there are over 150 registered fishing boats.