NESEBAR is a town located in South-eastern Bulgaria. It is in the municipality of Nesebar, region of Burgas; the biggest Bulgarian Black Sea resort РSunny Beach Рis situated immediately to the north of it. The town is the administrative center of the municipality of Nesebar and one of the oldest towns in Europe, originating more than 3,200 years ago.

The peninsula of Nesebar – the ancient city of Mesambria, called Mesembria during the late Middle Ages and, later, Nesebar, was inhabited thousands of years ago, at the end of the Bronze Age. The Old Thracians called it Melsambria, which means the city of Melsa, the legendary founder of the settlement. Melsambria had two convenient ports – south and north one, where many remains of ancient craft are still present. [1]

According to data from the antiquity, the legendary writer of fables Aesop was born in Mesambria around 620 BC and was of Thracian origin.

At the end of the 6th century BC, the first Greek settlers arrived, Dorians by origin. The city gradually expanded; temples, a school, and a theatre were built; the city was gradually surrounded with a massive fortress wall; residential neighbourhoods were formed; temples and a high school were also built. A number of crafts were developed in the city, mainly metal processing.

Mesambria began to cut its own coins in around 440 BC, it was around that time when the first gold coins were minted. The city had good trade relations with the polises at the Black and Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean. Findings, testifying to the rich economic, cultural, and spiritual life of this period, are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum in the city.

In 72 BC, the city was captured by the Romans, without any resistance. After a short occupation, in the 1st century the town became part of the Roman Empire. Mesemvria, as it was then called, with its intact fortress walls and large public buildings, continued to cut its own bronze coins and remained an important commercial and cultural center on the Black Sea coast of Roman Thrace.

gerb-nessebarUpon moving the capital of the Roman Empire to Constantinople and adopting Christianity as an official religion, favourable conditions for the revival of the Black Sea cities were created. In Mesemvria, new Christian temples were built – basilicas, as well as fortress walls, a new water supply system, and city thermae. All this was done by leading architects and builders of the Empire, similarly to the metropolitan prototypes. The central church of Mesemvria was named after St. Sofia, as it was named in Constantinople.

The significant coastline and its diverse nature create favourable conditions for the development of tourism, which is now a leading branch of the economy. They make the municipality of Nesebar the largest tourist agglomeration on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. On its territory, there are 730 hotels and 2,923 private rooms with over 155,218 beds and 3,537 public catering establishments. The Sunny Beach Complex has been intensively growing, it has already coalesced with the new part of the town and presents the biggest resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.

In the field of agriculture, fruit species are predominantly grown. Livestock breeding mainly takes place in small family farms but, in recent years, there has been development in sheep, poultry, and beekeeping. From the extractive industries, only logging has been developed.

Nesebar is served by the Burgas International Airport, the Seaport, and the Burgas Railway Station. There are regular bus connections with the regional centres of Burgas and Varna (90 km). In Sunny Beach, one can enjoy ecologically clean inland transport: mini-trolleys, cycle rickshaws, and bicycles.

The Port of Nesebar is of regional importance and is used exclusively for passenger transport and leisure travel.

The cultural heritage of Nesebar is preserved in five museum exhibitions. In the old part of the city, there were about 42 churches of which less than half were discovered by archaeologists and preserved, and currently only one is functioning. The other more preserved churches have been converted into picture galleries. The isthmus connecting the old part with the new one is about 400 meters long. In the middle of the isthmus, there is the old town’s mill, which is not functioning as such but is only a tourist attraction. At the beginning of the residential area, in the new part of Nesebar, the real town mill is located, which has been now built in a hotel.

Site No. 7 of the One Hundred National Tourist Sites of the Bulgarian Tourist Union is located in Nesebar: the Old Nesebar Architectural and Historical Reserve with the Archaeological Museum. The Ancient Nesebar Museum includes:

The Archaeological Museum of Nesebar;

The St. Stephen’s Church (Nesebar);

The St. Spas Church (Nesebar);

Ethnographic Museum Nesebar – Moskoyani House. Arranged in an old Bulgarian Revival house that was built in 1840 on the southern coast of the peninsula. The house, a typical representative of the Nesebar’s residential architecture from the late Bulgarian Revival period, was owned by the wealthy merchant Panayot Moskoyani. The building is a two-storey one. The ground floor is made of stone, tall, with two-wing doors. The upper floor is a bay one and boarded. It has many high windows overlooking the sea. The five rooms on the floor are situated around a lounge with a wood-carved ceiling decorated with a star rosette in the middle. The north-looking rooms, also used in winter, have fireplaces.