Sozopol city guide
Sozopol is located on the Southern Black Sea Coast, 35 km south of Bourgas. It is a very ancient town and one of the most famous Bulgarian Sea resorts. According to archeological researches, the first settlement on the territory of Sozopol grew up around 4th-3rd century BC. In year 610 BC was founded a Hellenic colony under the name Appolonia Pontica. Like Nessebar, Sozopol is divided into old part and new part. The Old town of Sozopol is located on a peninsula and is declared a historical and architectural reserve. This is one really wonderful place where past and presence intertwine with the endless blue sea and the century old figs are spreading their fragrance above the ancient wooden houses and the narrow cobblestone streets.
Spectacular natural sceneries, reserves and geological formations in Sozopol
Architectural and Archeological Reservation “Antique Sozopol”
During the Middle Ages the town was surrounded by fortified walls and towers. Nowadays, fragments from the walls can be seen in the Old town, some of them reaching height of 3-4 m.
More than 180 old wooden houses are declared cultural monuments. They were built in the 18th – 19th centuries and represent the Bulgarian Revival architecture. Their structural design is specific for the region – stone foundations, brick walls with wooden boarding as a protection from the strong sea wind. The roof is covered with Turkish tiles. The typical old Sozopol house has two or three-stories, as the first floor was then used as a storage for tools and wine barrels.
St. Ivan Island
St. Ivan Island is the largest island in Bulgaria. It is situated at 1 km distance from Sozopol. The Island is declared a natural and archeological reserve. On its territory there is a lighthouse, designed by French architects and the remains of a monastery complex, which was built during the 5th-6th century. In the course of time, the monastery was destroyed and reconstructed several times. Today there are the ruins of: two churches, fortified walls with a gate, a library, a royal residence and some monastic sells on the island. Apart from the historical remains, the St. Ivan (St. John) Island is also a natural reserve, inhabited by some endangered and rare species. In 2010 during archeological excavations, the relics of Saint John – The Baptist were found on the island, which now are exposed in the Church of St. Cyril and St. Methodius in Sozopol. Although there are no organized tourist visits, the island is accessible by boat for everyone who has interests in visiting it.
The Ropotamo Reservation
The Ropotamo reservation is a natural reserve situated 15 km from Sozopol, between Sozopol and the town of Primorsko, on the two banks of the river “Ropotamo”. This is a place with undamaged nature, comprising rocky shores, dense forests, wide sand beaches, dunes, swamps and sea caves. It is inhabited by rare flora and fauna species, some of which are declared as endangered. The Ropotamo complex includes “The Arkutino swamp”, “The Water Lily reserve”, “The Snake Island”, the rock formation “Lion Head”, “Velyov Vir reserve”, “Stamopolu Swamp area”, the natural landmarks “Alepu Swamp” and the Sand Dunes.
Any kind of human activity is not allowed on the territory of the complex and tourist visits and walks can be made on specially marked paths and routes.
Anyway, there is a very nice and memorable attraction, organized during the summer months in the Ropotamo Reserve. You can make a trip by a boat along the Ropotamo River. The amazing natural sceneries and undamaged landscapes are priceless and worth seeing. After the one-hour tour the boat returns in its quay. There is a small nice bistro next to the quay where you can have a snack amongst the picturesque surroundings.
Monasteries, cathedrals and churches in Sozopol
There were about 20 Orthodox temples and 5 monasteries in Sozopol during the medieval times. The remains of some of them can be seen in the Ancient town. Nowadays, there are two churches which operate.
St. George Church was built in the 19th century. The church is still operating.
The Church of the Holy Mother of God was built in the 15th century – cultural monument.
The St. Cyril and St. Methodius Church was built in 1888. The relics of Saint John – The Baptist found on the Island of St. Ivan are exposed as a part of the Archeological exhibition, located in the temple.
The St. Zosim Church was built in 1857. The temple is operating.
Cultural sights in Sozopol
The Archeological museum
In 1961 the building of the St. Cyril and St. Methodius temple is turned into a museum where the archeological materials and artifacts, found in Sozopol and the surroundings, to be stored and exposed. The museum collections display the history and the cultural traditions of the region from the 6th century BC until our days. There are two sections: Archeological and Christian Art.
The Art Gallery
The Art Gallery is founded in 1991 and is located in an old school building – cultural monument. The exhibition comprises of 40 sculptures and 287 paintings and graphics created by Bulgarian and foreign artists.