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  • Writer's pictureStefan Ivanov

Sozopol - the city of salvation

Updated: Jun 11

Sozopol is the oldest town on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, which emerged at the end of the fifth millennium BC.

Cercis siliquastrum blossoms in May and the blue sea

With its rich cultural and historical past, with its preserved unique and very interesting architecture, with its beautiful beaches and the annual art festival "Apolonia", Sozopol attracts many tourists.

The city is divided into Old and New Town, between which is the Sea garden.

The old town is located on the small peninsula Skamniy, jutting out between Sozopol Bay and Korenyata Bay. Skamniy is connected by an artificial embankment and a breakwater with the island of St. Kirik.

Along the Korenyata Bay to the Kolokita Peninsula is the newest part of the city - the Harmanite district.

The Kolokita Peninsula and Kavatsi Bay mark the southern border of the city.

St. Ivan island

The first name of the city, given to it by the Greek colonists during its creation, was Antea. It was later changed to Apolonia in honor of the ancient Greek god Apollo, patron saint of emigrants and revered as a healer.

It is interesting that Apolonia managed to maintain its independence during the military campaigns of Philip II of Macedon (342 - 339 BC) and Alexander the Great (335 BC).

In late antiquity, Apolonia was known as Sozopolis, which means city of salvation, deliverance or healing.

During the Ottoman period the name of the settlement was changed to the Turkish Sizebolu or Sizeboli. After the Liberation, the Bulgarian form Sozopol became popular.

On the photo above on the left you can see the island of St. Kirik and St. Julita and the old "Practical Fisheries School", which trained "modern fishing personnel".

The island has an area of ​​over 82 acres and has a land connection with the old part of Sozopol. In 1965 it was declared a cultural monument and is part of the Sozopol Reserve.

More interesting is the history of the building in the photo.

The First World War was another national disappointment. Although it is full of glorious feats for our army, it ends very sadly for us. The Neuilly Treaty prohibits Bulgaria from training naval personnel. Therefore, the "Maritime School" in Varna was demilitarized and the idea arose to create a "Fishermen's School" to train staff in modern fishing. In fact, naval cadets are secretly trained here.

Tsar Boris III was also present at the first sod. He gave a short speech that he rarely did. He was also dressed in the uniform of a Bulgarian naval officer, and the admiration of those present did not miss this detail.

Since 2010, large-scale archeological excavations have been carried out in the old part of the town, leading to the discovery and restoration of the eastern and southern fortress walls, the southern fortress gate, a medieval customs point, ceramic and metallurgical furnaces, and foundries.

In the winter of 2011-2012, a team of Bulgarian archaeologists discovered a single-apse church, a basilica and an ancient Christian necropolis near the southern fortress wall.

In 2010, during the archeological excavations of the medieval monastery "St. John the Baptist" on the island of St. Ivan, an archeological team discovered a reliquary (reliquary) with the inscription "John the Baptist". The alabaster reliquary contains parts of a hand, a face and a tooth. According to the leader of the expedition, the discovered relics belonged to St. John the Baptist and were brought to Sozopol in the 4th century from Constantinople, but researchers from Oxford say that it cannot be proven scientifically whether this is true or not. The particles were studied by natural scientists, who after DNA analysis proved that the relics belonged to the same man, a man from the Middle East, who lived in the early first century. Today they are kept in the church "St. Cyril and St. Methodius".

The Church of St. George the Victorious houses fragments that are said to be part of the Holy Cross and relics of the Apostle Andrew, who is believed to have been the first to preach Christianity in the region. While the relics were donated by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the fragment of the Holy Cross is from a find in the Kardzhali monastery "St. John Prodrom".

St. John is the largest of the five islands in the Bulgarian territorial waters of the Black Sea with an area of 0.66 square meters. It is located 910 meters from the northernmost point of the Stolets peninsula (old Sozopol).

Its highest point rises 33 meters above sea level.

A sonar lighthouse was built there, which sends sound signals and together with the lighthouse on Cape Emine shows the way of the vessels to the Burgas Bay.

How to get here?

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