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Sozopol

Sozopol, view
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Located 34 kilometers south of Bourgas on a scenic rocky peninsula, this fishing village/tourist resort/art colony is arguably the most charming place on the Black Sea coast and one of Bulgaria s crown jewels. Founded in 610 B.C. by Ionian Greeks from Miletus and named Apollonia in honor of their most adored god, this was the first coastal Greek colony to be established. It was a thriving and important place, trading with parent Miletus, Athens, and the Isle of Rhodes. The Apollonians acted as middlemen between the Greek world and the indigenous Thracians from whom they acquired copper, honey, grain, and wood in exchange for wine, salt, and textiles. The colony reached its zenith during the 5th century B.C., which coincided with the height of power of the Thracian Odrisae tribe many of whom gradually came to achieve rank and status in the Greek state.

Apollonia in turn founded its own colony of Anchialo (present-day Pomorie) in order to prevent the powerful rival Dorian colony of Messembria (Nessebur) from penetrating into Bourgas bay. Apollonia was also an active arts and cultural center. A temple was built to Apollo, the sun god and healer, and a ten-meter-high bronze statue of the god, made by the Greek sculptor Calamis during the 5th century B.C., guarded the harbor. When Roman legions sacked the town in the first century, the 13- ton statue was carted off to Rome and displayed on the Capitoline hill from where it later disappeared into antiquity.
Under the Romans, Apollonia declined in significance. Its colony Anchialo, however, became the most important town on the Black Sea. The name Sozopol first appears as an inscription on a 4th-century Roman column, probably in connection with the patron Apollo as many ancient Greek towns called Apollonia later changed their names to Sozopolis (City of Salvation) when they accepted Christianity.
When Sozopol was incorporated into the First Bulgarian Kingdom in 812 under Khan Krum it developed into a large and wealthy town. The 12th- century relief icon St George and St Dimitur on Horseback, one of the country s oldest and most significant, was originally displayed in Sozopol s St. Bogoroditsa (Holy Virgin) church.
Sozopol was one of the last holdouts to Ottoman domination, falling in 1453. Under the Ottomans, who renamed the town Suseboly, numerous churches and monasteries were razed; only their names remain, gracing the area s capes and isles (St. Ivan and St. Thomas). The National Revival period saw the building of typical Black Sea houses; ground floors of stone generally used for storage supported overhanging upper stories of wood, with protruding bay windows and sheltered eaves. Clustered along the narrow peninsula s cobblestone streets and alleys, some 45 houses are classified as cultural monuments.

1997-2009 Anons 94 AD. All Rights Reserved. Golden Sands, Varna 9007, Bulgaria
This page is a part of Golden sands resort official web site http://www.goldensands.bg

Last update: Thu, 23 August, 2007 9:21