On the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, in the southern part of the Burgas Bay is the “Miracle of Bulgaria” – Sozopol. Ancient Sozopol is a charming and captivating place with the narrow cobbled streets, over which hang beautiful houses with high walls, stone walls and wooden cladding, typical of Bulgarian Black Sea architecture. The combination of: beautiful nature, coastline and golden beaches; the cultural and historical heritage and the held cultural events; family hotels; the small cozy restaurants offering a combination of Bulgarian, Greek and Turkish cuisine; cafes; the offered fresh fish and cirrhosis are part of the typical for Sozopol views and impressions.
Welcome to the Southern Fortress Wall and Tower Architectural and Historic Complex. In order to be able to touch and enjoy to the fullest every part of this unique corner of centuries-old history, we offer you this guide:
Leading place in the supply and promotion of one of the most ancient settlements on the Black Sea coast, the iconic Apollonia Pontica – Sozopolis – Sozopol, has Southern Fortress Wall and Tower Architectural and historic complex – a recognized world tourist destination:
The complex was established by Sozopol Foundation and was put into operation in September 2004. From its inception until August 2020, it has been visited by over 285,000 guests.
It has a direct connection with Milet Street and South Panoramic Alley, as well as a direct approach to the coastal cliffs and the sea;
The complex includes: central entrance hall; appropriately exposed symbolic immovable cultural values; exhibited artifacts discovered during archeological excavations; thematic exhibition halls; elevator for people with disabilities; tourist bridge with a movable platform for people with disabilities.
Walking from the entrance of Ancient Sozopol – where is the Cultural Information Center of the Ancient town of Apollonia National Archaeological Reserve
and moving along the main streets of Apollonia, Cyril and Methodius and Miletus, a natural approach leads to
• entrance of the Complex from 50 Milet Street
During the construction of the central entrance, the neighboring two properties were also included. This allowed the formation of an ethnographic ensemble, which impresses and attracts everyone to pass through the hospitably open door of the Complex.
Passing from Miletus Street within the scope of the Complex, the visitor can enjoy the exterior through
• Revival house in a typical Sozopol yard
The restored facades of the Revival house fit in a wonderful way in the typical for Old Sozopol yard. The transition in the forms of the facades, typical for the Black Sea architecture, is soft and elegant.
The sea view from the yard is impressive. The photos taken here by guests of the complex are distributed all over the world. The mouth of the ancient well, dating from IV-III century BC, stands out in the northeastern part of the courtyard. According to an old tradition, guests throw coins into the well to return to this wonderful place.
At the bottom of the yard, next to the house “Thracian Inn” – a cultural asset of national importance, there is a third elevator station for people with disabilities.
• entrance of the complex from the street “South Panoramic Alley”
The impressiveness of the preserved and restored fortress wall and tower impresses everyone. The accessibility of the entrance through stairs and a ramp for people with disabilities radiates ease and tranquility.The unique stairs made of processed stone blocks from the II-I century BC. to and from the level of a Revival house and yard invite everyone and give an additional cozy atmosphere like Sozopol “Rimnya”. The discretion of the massive oak doors and trusses in combination with the stone walls and stained glass soothes and suggests good experiences on the territory of the complex.We are in front of the Stained Glass,where the created relaxed atmosphere around the entrance invites us “Come, enter, see”,
• Central lobby of the complex
The theme set in creating the composition in the lobby is
“People – the sun and the sea, the bread and the wine.” The main highlights are: the impressive sun and its rays built into the floor of the lobby and the authentic stone wall of the granary from the V-VI century. The sun is a complex combination of processed and mounted slabs obtained from stone blocks II-I century BC. separated by copper and lead sheet. Entering through the glazed entrance, people are flooded with light and peace. Walking to the left, very impressed by the unusual atmosphere, we turn our attention to
• The granary, dated V-VI century – main exhibition hall
The granary is an immovable cultural value of great importance for the complex, dating from the V-VI century, when the town of Sozopol had the largest port on the Black Sea coast for grain exports. We have the opportunity to observe most of this unique room. Archaeological excavations have shown that it is 22 meters long, 12 meters wide, 3 meters high and 140 cm deep, including the base of the entire building. Based on these data, it is defined as the largest building discovered during archaeological excavations conducted on the territory of Ancient Sozopol. The acoustics of the hall, the specifics of the wall and the hydrophobic screed of the building are impressive. The hydrophobic nature of the screed determines its role in keeping the wheat intact, despite its proximity to the sea. It is interesting to note that in ancient times, above the granary there were barracks, where the guards guarding the fortress towers along the southern fortress wall lived. Many artifacts discovered during the excavations are on display in the hall. Original parts of the aqueduct of ancient Apollonia Pontica dating from the 5th century BC. give an idea of the amazing level of development of ancient civilizations in these lands. Let’s go through the lobby again and continue to the right. We pass by the separate corner “The Magic of Wine” (behind it, on the second level, construction of a bread oven). When you visit us again, we will drink a glass of Bulgarian wine and try freshly baked bread. We head in and out
• Chapel “St. St. Kirik and Julita”, dated from the XIII-XIV century
In the chapel, soldiers guarding the defenses prayed before the battles. Complete conservation and restoration activities have been carried out. The triptych and the icons were made with great respect, professionalism and love by Margarita Balabanova – a leading Bulgarian specialist in church painting and iconography. Here everyone can stop, light a candle, put it in one of the candlesticks and enjoy the interior.We pass through a massive wooden oak door
and immediately envelops us with a part of “eternity,” we see
• Fragments of a fortress wall and tower, dating from the IV-XIV century
The original stone and mortar wall with the characteristic brick belts, performing an equalizing role, stands out beautifully. This is an exceptionally authentic fragment of the fortress system of Ancient Sozopol. On the wall opposite the original masonry are exhibited paintings by a local artist, mariner – Angelina Nedin. Impressed by the atmosphere in the hall, we move on to
• Ancient well dated from IV-III century BC.
Behind the railing we see in full the exceptional cultural value of national importance discovered on the spot. The well was built in the IV-III century BC. and is part of a cult complex created in honor of the “Three Nymphs” – Nymphaeum. It is built of stone blocks, – “squares of sandstone: tightly glued to each other, without soldering. It is curious that during the archeological excavations, fresh water started to spring from the bottom of the well again. Amphoras and ceramic elements found during archeological excavations are on display around it.
Walking up the stairs in front of us stands out a spectacular marble panel “The Three Nymphs”, made by the famous Bulgarian sculptor Boris Borisov. Immediately after the marble panel we immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of
• Ethnographic exposition “Sailor’s Corner”
Here the way of life of the sailors is shown and emphasized very correctly and concisely. The exhibits are carefully selected by the experts of the Navy of the Republic of Bulgaria.
One can feel the good vision and feeling of “Order, discipline, decency and duty to the homeland”. At this stage of the tour of the complex, the foundations of the watchtower are revealed to us, whose original wall – a segment, clearly stands out. We are entering the wonderful and multifunctional
• Exposition hall “People and the sea” – for temporary exhibitions
The hall is multifunctional, with a non-standard vision. It is located just below the street “South Panoramic Alley” with an opening for natural light through which the sun at certain times of the day illuminates some of the rocks that served as the basis of the ancient well. Leaving the exhibition hall “People and the Sea”, passing through a passage in the rocks, we enter
• Apollo Hall
The hall visited by many people, in which a replica of the original statue of the god Apollo is exhibited. In the 5th century BC. the original statue stood in front of the temple of the god Apollo in the city of Apollonia – Pontica. The statue was 13.20 meters high, made of bronze by the ancient Greek sculptor Kalamis. The replica in front of us was made by the leading Bulgarian sculptor Boris Borisov. Returning, leaving the hall of Apollo, next to it on the right are visible
• Elevator for people with disabilities and a platform to it
ТThese facilities are built through funding from international projects. They serve everyone, including: children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. The elevator works through pneumatics, prepared, installed and maintained by a specialized organization “Prolift”. Сit is shaped by the weather conditions and the terrain. The inner part of the elevator is lined with embossed copper sheet.
The mobile platform helps to reach the first station of the elevator
On the way out of the complex to the street “South Panoramic Alley” and before heading to the next attraction – a tourist bridge, we visit
• Public toilet in accordance with the accessibility of people with disabilities
The toilet is also unique in that its western wall is one of the walls of the Ancient Well IV-III century BC. Next to it is the second elevator station at the level of South Panoramic Alley. We go out on the street “South Panoramic Alley”. In front of us with all its magnificence and uniqueness, stretch the coastal rocks and the Black Sea. We are heading to
• Tourist bridge with a moving platform for people with disabilities
The bridge is used for walking and observing part of the fortress system, the coastal rocks and the sea by locals, tourists and guests from all over the world. The complex and the bridge were visited in 2014 by the entire leadership of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The visit was during a World Forum organized by Sozopol Foundation under the auspices of UNESCO in Bulgaria – “The role of youth in the preservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage.” The Municipality of Sozopol and the Sozopol Foundation are about to apply for funding from national and international programs for the implementation of the second stage of construction of the tourist bridge. The exceptional merits of the Chairman of Sozopol Foundation, Mr. Kiril Arnautski, for the preservation of the natural and cultural heritage and the development of Sozopol as a world tourist destination, were appreciated with dignity. In July 2015, he was awarded the title of Honorary Citizen of Sozopol – Gratitude from the municipal leadership and the local community.
Thank you for choosing to visit the Southern Fortress Wall and Tower Architectural and Historic Complex. We sincerely hope that its cultural and historical values have been of interest to you.
The complex offers organized year-round tours and routes in the old part of Sozopol, as well as those designed for individual visitors, talks are given by guides, specially trained for the purpose.
One visit to Old Sozopol is not enough. We wish you to come back here and rediscover everything we offer, again and again!
Always at your disposal. We are expecting you!
World Tourism and Travel Council
The World Tourism and Travel Council is a global organization whose work is for the benefit of the international community, which includes: environmental protection, workforce development and innovation, sustainability in the global tourism industry.
The World Tourism and Travel Awards aim to stimulate the tourism industry by promoting the tourism industry and destinations, as well as to contribute to the sustainable development of the sector. The official Tourism of Tomorrow 2015 awards ceremony took place on April 15, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. The awards are presented in five categories: Public Award; Destination Award; Environmental Award; Innovation Award; People’s reward . (http://www.wttc.org/). The project of Sozopol Foundation “Architectural – historical complex with museum collection South Fortress Wall and Tower – history, culture, heritage”, Sozopol, Bulgaria is applying for the Category “ Destination Award”. It is the only Bulgarian project to receive the prestigious award from the World Organization.
The ceremony was attended by representatives of Sozopol Foundation – Ms. Nevena Arnautska – Member of the Management Board and Ms. Lyubov Draganova – Expert on international projects and programs.
Mrs. Lyubov Draganova and Miss Nevena Arnautska
representatives of Sozopol Foundation
The awards were presented by Ms. Valerie Segara – Representative of the Main Sponsor in this category – “Las Vegas Convention & Visitor Bureau ”and Mr. Graham Miller – Chief Justice.
Mrs. Valerie Segara
sponsor Destination Award Mr. Graham Miller
At the presentation of the draft, Chief Justice Mr. Graham Miller said the following:
“In Bulgaria, the people of Sozopol have shown how the unification of civil society and local government can have a huge impact on the preservation and supply of the coastal destination. The restoration works using authentic methods, the participation of local workers and specialists in these activities, as well as the revival of traditions of more than 2,500 years give a new meaning to the place in this rapidly changing and increasingly famous tourist destination.
The jury and participants from over 60 countries expressed their sincere admiration for the achievements of the Sozopol Foundation and the local authorities in the town of Sozopol for the transformation of the Bulgarian Black Sea town into an international destination providing sustainable tourism and employment for the local population. The project “Architectural – historical complex with a museum collection South Fortress Wall and Tower – History, Culture, Heritage” was unanimously assessed as extremely successful and an example of facilitating the access of disadvantaged people to the cultural values of the city. After the presentation of the project and the awarding of the diploma, many of the participants expressed their desire to visit Bulgaria and the city of Sozopol.
General photo of all participants after the official ceremony
for awarding the “Tourism for Tomorrow” awards for 2015
This award aims to highlight the achievements in maintaining a destination. Destinations must be able to prove: Involvement of many stakeholders and host communities in the decision-making process; improving direct economic and social benefits for local people; promoting equal opportunities for employment, professional development and capacity building; respect for human rights, including the rights of the local population; protection and preservation of the natural and cultural environment; adapting tourism activities to climate change; encouraging people’s activity towards the local unique Reserve and preserving its authenticity; building economic stability through appropriate business models.
The project activities “Architectural-historical complex with museum collection South fortress wall and tower – history, culture, heritage” have been carried out in full interaction and understanding between the Sozopol Foundation and its partners, as all stakeholders and local communities have contributed positively with their knowledge to the preservation and development of an integrated and diverse tourism product. The basis of the quality implementation of the project was the cooperation and joint work with the Municipality of Sozopol. An important point in the implementation of the project activities is that they were not concentrated only in the complex, but on the entire territory of the Archaeological Reserve “Ancient City of Apollonia”. The main goal has been achieved: natural, cultural and social sustainability in the municipality of Sozopol, contributing significantly to achieving stable economic development by creating new jobs and improving the living standards of the local population.
Sozopol Foundation and the Municipality of Sozopol treated all participants in the activities equally, regardless of their gender, age, race, social status or religion. Protection against discrimination was provided at all stages of the project implementation, with all participants having equal opportunities during the implementation of the activities and in providing permanent employment after its completion.
Conservation and restoration techniques have been used, which help to preserve the authenticity of the sites in the complex and the reserve. The materials used in the conservation and restoration activities are close in origin to the original ones. All project activities are performed by local specialists. Actions have been taken to reduce the noise level in the reserve. Initiatives are regularly held for cleaning the reserve and landscaping the designated places.
All activities are carried out in such a way as to improve the overall condition of the unique coastline and the reserve with its numerous cultural values, as well as to maintain the old and newly created tourist routes. The aim is to create a new modern vision for the town of Sozopol, which will successfully combine the offered opportunities for: holiday sea, including underwater and recreational tourism; cultural and historical; pilgrimage; eco and hunting tourism. Thanks to the exceptional activity of local authorities and civil society, the city has become an international festival center and an international center for congress events.
The creation of “Architectural and historical complex with the museum collection Southern Fortress Wall and Tower” and the activity of the Sozopol Foundation is a good example of business model and public-private partnership, to stimulate local economic stability and active cooperation with municipal and regional administrations for the benefit of the prosperity of Sozopol and its inhabitants.