A History Of Troubled Varna

By: Gordon Warre

Varna became a front city in the First Balkan War and the First World War; its economy was badly affected by the temporary loss of its agrarian hinterland of Southern Dobruja to Romania (1913-16 and 1919-40). Varna is one of the few cities in Bulgaria with a positive population growth and new children's day care centers opening. Varna is Bulgaria's 3rd largest city, and potentially the most affluent.

Varna still needs to be a lot cleaner & have its pavements mended but its a nice town to live in, and its getting to EU standard slowly but surely. Recent scholarship has suggested that the first Bulgarian capital was perhaps located around Varna before it moved to Pliska. One of the early centres of industrial development and the Bulgarian labor movement, Varna established itself as the nation's principal port of export, a major grain producing and viticulture centre, seat of the nation's oldest institution of higher learning outside Sofia, a popular venue for international festivals and events, as well as the country's de facto summer capital with the erection of the Euxinograd royal summer palace (currently, the Bulgarian government convenes summer sesions there).

With Unification, Varna became Bulgaria's third-largest city and kept this position steadily for the following 120 years, while different cities took turns in first, second, and fourth places. As the number of vehicles quadrupled since 1989, Varna became known for traffic jams; parking on the old town's leafy but narrow streets normally takes the sidewalks.

Through its international airport Varna and Golden Sands resort is connected by air with Sofia and by charter flights with many European cities. In 1878 Varna was finally liberated from Ottoman rule and became the most important Bulgarian seaport. Remians of the rampart of Khan Asparuh can be seen close to the famous Asparuh Bridge situated at the Varna lake. There are two bus stations in Varna, one serving the local area and one for longer connections to Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Burgas, Plovdiv, Istanbul, Greece, Romania, Central and Western Europe.

It was immediately countered by a spontaneous civic protest on May 2 when about 2000 residents of Varna signed a petition against the seemingly haphazard destruction of the Sevastopol garden. The rumor going around town is that they want to construct yet another businesscenter in Varna (like there are not enough of those at the moment) on this very location. The beaches are at the end of the huge Varna Bay, and are safe for bathing, with no currents and calm waters.

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