The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin

Towering in the very centre of Varna, it is one of the most impressive churches in Bulgaria. The first contribution of 1000 leva was made by Prince Alexander Battenberg. It was he who placed the first stone in the foundations of the construction starting on 22 August 1880. The design was made by Maas, an architect from Odessa. The building was completed in 1886 but its consecration was delayed until 1910. The cathedral has three altars. The central one is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin, the southern one - to Saint Nicholas of Myra and the northern one - to Alexander Nevski. The murals are very valuable. They were painted under the supervision of the Russian artist Prof. Rostovtsev. The Bishop’s throne and the iconostases are genuine masterpieces of the famous Debar school of woodcarving.

The Archaeological Museum

It is housed in the magnificent building of the former All Girls Secondary School. The visitors can see extremely valuable exhibits linked with the ancient Thracian culture, Slav and Proto-Bulgarian pottery, jewellery from the Middle Ages and others. The museum has a rich collection of tomb stones that any European museum would be proud to possess. The collection of icons includes some masterpieces of icon painting from the National Revival Period in North Eastern Bulgaria the oldest of which date back to the 16th C. 

No doubt the greatest number of visitors are attracted to the exposition of the oldest worked gold in the world (5th millennium B.C.) This find was made up of about 3000 objects of nearly pure 23.5 - carat gold weighing a total of 6.5 kg.  It includes gold necklaces, bracelets, breast decorations and vessels. The discovery of this treasure overturned the historians’ concepts about the development of human civilization. One of the most striking exhibits is the whole grave No.43 moved from its original place to the exhibition hall. It contains the skeleton of a 40-50 year-old man, covered with over a hundred gold decorations. It depicts the image of a chieftain (the king) who has sacred functions and holds the symbols of power.

The Sea Garden

After Bulgarian Liberation, in 1881 the Major Mihail Koloni raised the issue for the creation of a town garden (behind the Opera Theater) and a contemporary seaside park. In 1894 K. Shkorpil invited in the town of Varna the park builder, who had specialized in the Schonburn and Belvedere palaces in Vienna – the Czech Anton Novak. Precious species were transported with horse carts from Varna region, from Longosa countryside and Strandja, from the Mediterranean and Istanbul. Soon the Sea Garden gained the reputation of the most beautiful park on the Balkans. In 1907 an Alley of Bulgarian Renaissance had been differentiated; the construction of the Aquarium began - in the front of which a relief model of the Black Sea and its coast has been build. Nowadays in the Sea Garden are located the Astronomy Observatory, the Museum of Nature and Science, the Navy Museum, the Vessel-Museum Drazki, the Zoo, the Alpineum, the Summer Theater (open air), children play ground with a lake and swings, tennis courts, restaurants, snack-bars, many fountains with mineral water. The seaside park is a favorite place for a stroll of the citizens and the guests of Varna.

The Aquarium

It was build in Varna in 1912 on a suggestion by King Ferdinand. The facade is of a peculiar design - bas-reliefs of a huge oyster and some of the most typical species of Black Sea fauna.

The central hall of the Aquarium exhibits an impressive collection of fresh water and sea water representatives of the fauna represented in their natural habitat. Exhibitions in the adjacent halls give an idea of the flora and fauna and the specific features of the Black Sea.

The Dolphinarium

It is the only dolphinarium on the Balkan Peninsula and it is one of the greatest attractions that Varna can offer to its guests. The show lasts 40 minutes. The visitors will enjoy the intelligence and playfulness of the sea mammals.

The National Maritime Museum

It was founded in Varna in 1923 by a group of enthusiasts and initially it was housed in the Naval School. In 1956 it was moved to Villa Diana in the Sea Gardens. This beautiful house was built in 1890 for the Italian consul Asaretto. Its garden displays a collection of marine guns, the old lighthouse at the sea port of Varna and one of Bulgaria’s first nine sweepers. The collection is on show in 12 halls. It traces the maritime history of the region from ancient times to the present day. The most valuable exhibit is the Drazki torpedo boat which earned fame for its crew by sinking the Turkish cruiser Hamidie during the First Balkan War of 1912. This is the only ship of its kind to be preserved till the present day.

The Roman Baths

They date back to the time when the region was part of the Roman Empire and the settlement was called Odessos. The preserved parts of the building gives us grounds to believe that the Roman Baths were one of the largest buildings in the eastern part of the Empire and proof that the town was rich and important. The height of the domed constructions is supposed to have been no less and 20 metres. The building was erected in the second half of the 2nd century on an area of about 7 000 square metres and was in use until the end of the 3rd century. Its thick walls were built after a specific technology alternating layers of stone blocks with 5-6 layers of solid clay bricks. The inside stairs and the arches over the doors are made of large stone blocks. In some places one can still see fragments of magnificent mosaics.  They, together with numerous decorative fragments of marble, the stone columns and capitals are indicative of the ornate decoration of the building.