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Balchik Print E-mail
Location: The town of Balchik is a relatively large settlement along the Northern seaside with its population numbering 13,766 people and a harbour used for medium-sized passenger and commercial vessels. It is situated 31km north of Varna in a beautiful inlet.
History: The place was first inhabited by Ionians in the 5th century BC. At that time, the settlement was called Kmuni or Krounoi after the Greek word for springs, due to the abundance of mineral springs in the area. Later on it was renamed Dionisopolis after the name of Dionisius, the Greek god of wine and feasts. According to one of the most popular explanations, the town received this name after a statute of Dionisius was dragged there by the sea. The god’s image appeared also on the coins minted there. Noteworthy, the town was a rather important centre on the northern Black Sea coast until the beginning of the new era and it was second in significance only to Varna (named Odessos at that time). Later on the town was included in the territory of Bulgaria. Around the 13th - 14th century AC it was moved to a natural fortification, called Dzhina Bair. Following the rule of the Boyar Balchik, it received its present-day name of Balchik. The town flourished and grew into a big corn-trading centre after the Crimean War (1853-1856). Yet after the Balkan War which ended 1913, it was annexed to the territory of Romania. Struck by the natural beauty of the place, The Romanian Queen Maria built a summer palace and a botanical garden there. The royal complex also included a chapel and a villa for Romanian aristocrats. The town turned into a luxurious resort at the time. After 1940 Balchik was again included in Bulgarian territory.

Places of Interest: Apart from the palace complex and the botanical garden, which is the biggest and most diverse on the Balkans, the town also appeals to tourists with its ancient spirit, reflected into steep pebbled streets and houses made of stone and adobe. The palace complex consists of a central palace with a high tower, numerous buildings, a terraced park, summer houses made of stone and propped up on marvellous columns facing the sea, a throne under an old tree where Queen Maria loved to watch the sunset, and a small chapel where her heart is preserved. There are more than 3,000 rare and exotic species of plants in the botanic garden, which has made it a part of the teaching facilities of Sofia University. The whole complex was called Tenha Yuva (Quiet Nest). Besides the palace and the botanic garden, the Art Gallery of the town, which houses also the town’s museum, is also an interesting place to visit. There is also a small ethnographic museum and a beautiful old church called St. Nikola Church. A Renaissance complex with the old school, which is quite well preserved, can be other possible destinations of a walk. The coastal alley, which is about 4km long, is also a nice place to stroll, the same way as the harbour and the small streets of the town are.
Outside the city, the area of Touzlata is located 4 km east of the town. It is well known for its curative mud, which was the main reason to build a balneological centre there beside two lakes, formed by old landslides. A large recreational complex, a lot of villas, bungalows and a camping site are can be also found there. There is a mineral spring with water temperature of above 30 C degrees. Two big camping sites - Sandrino Camping and Beliyat Bryag Camping are also located near Balchik. They offer various opportunities for rest and water sports, clubs, bars, numerous bungalows for tourists having no camping equipment, small restaurants and snack bars for seafood and continental food. Fifteen kilometres away from the town in south-west direction is the village of Obrochishte with a well-preserved fortress dating back to the early Ottoman rule, which travellers of that time used to compare it with the beauty of Baghdad.

Catering: Apart from several big restaurants in the palace, in the hotels and downtown, there are a number of small private restaurants and coastal stalls offering seafood, pizzas, spaghetti and other kinds of European cuisine. Groceries, a good selection of fresh vegetables, fruit and fresh fish can be also an alternative for tourists who prefer to cook for themselves.
Transport: There is regular bus transport to the nearby town of Dobrich, Varna and the Albena resort. Apart from buses, there are numerous route taxis and private minibuses, taxis and water transport to Varna and Albena.
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