Bulgaria / Places to Visit Ancient City of Nessebar

The town of Nessebar, located on a small rocky peninsula, is one of the most picturesque places along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, while its thousand-year old history and numerous cultural monuments are the reason for its taking a very special place in both Bulgarian and European science and culture. The Ancient city of Nessebar is a unique example of a synthesis of the centuries-old human activities in the sphere of culture; it is a location where numerous civilizations have left tangible traces in single homogeneous whole, which harmoniously fit in with nature. The different stages of development of its residential vernacular architecture reflect the stages of development of the architectural style on the Balkans and in the entire East Mediterranean region. The urban structure contains elements from the second millennium BC, from Ancient Times and the Medieval period. The medieval religious architecture, modified by the imposition of the traditional Byzantine forms, illustrates ornamental ceramics art, the characteristic painted decoration for this age. The town has served for over thousands of years as remarkable spiritual hearth of Christian culture.
The town of Nessebar was established at the end of 2 000 B.C. by the Thracians (Menebria). Greek colonizers turned it into a Greek Polis (a city-state) at the end of 6th c. B.C.; Rome joined it to the Empire in 1st c. B.C.; and A.D. 4th c. saw Nessebur within the frontiers of Byzantium. Nessebur, conquered by the Bulgarians in 812, reached its new zenith between the 13 and 15th centuries. Together with Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium, fell under the reign of the Osman Turks in 1453. In 1878 Nessebar welcomed the Russian liberation troops.
The city’s remains, which date mostly from the Hellenistic period, include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, an agora and a wall from the Thracian fortifications. Among other monuments, the Stara Mitropolia Basilica and the fortress date from the Middle Ages, when this was one of the most important Byzantine towns on the west coast of the Black Sea. Wooden houses built in the 19th century are typical of the Black Sea architecture of the period. The archaeological study of the Nessebar peninsula and its aquatory done during the last four decades revealed rich collections of significant cultural monuments illustrating the history of ancient Messambria and medieval Nessebar. A large part of them are present exhibits in the new Nessebar archaeological museum.

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