Attractions in Nessebar
Nessebar - The Antic Messambria is one of the most ancient cities in Europe, emerging more than 3200 years ago. It is situated on a small peninsula, long 850 m and wide 350 m, linked with the mainland with a narrow isthmus.
Nessebar peninsula, called in the Early Middle Age Messembria and later – Nessebar, was founded at the end of the Bronze Age. Ancient Thracian people called it Melsambria, meaning in their language “town of Melsas”- from the name of the legendary founder of the settlement and Thracian word for town “bria”. Messambria has two convenient harbors - northern and southern.
One of the symbols of the city is the wind-mill, which is located in the middle of the isthmus. Three windmills in Nessebar have been preserved. The first is before the isthmus leading to Nessebar, one that is located on the isthmus and the third – on the north coast, near the church “St. Mary Eleusa.” The first two are currently restored.
During the centuries a lot of fortified systems have been built which made of the peninsula an impregnable fortress. Every year on the city’s celebration day 15th August there is a unique 3D Mapping show – Sound, lighting, multimedia and design, laser show, LED screens.
The church “Virgin Mary” was built in 1884. It is a monumental basilica. Stained glass, frescoes and icons are new – from XIX and XX c. Today the church is performing christening ceremonies and weddings.
Archaeological museum in Nessebar was created in 1956. The museum was moved in a new building in 1994, constructed on a special project of architect Hristo Koev. An exposition “Nessebar during the Ages” there containing numerous cultural monuments, presents the history of Antic Messambria and Medieval Nessebar.
“The Old Nessebar” ethnographic exposition is arranged in a representative of the National Revival period house, built by a wealthy local merchant in 1840. It is a two-storey house consisting of a stone ground floor and a timber-framed residential second floor occupied by 5 rooms and a spacious central salon with carved wooden ceiling, ornate in the middle by a big star-shaped rosette.
The Church Christ Pantokrator (All Powerfull) is dated back 13th – 14th century. It’s one of the most remarquable and well preserved medieval churches in Nessebar, typical for the picturesque style in the religeous architecture. The church is rectangular with dimensions 16 m in length and 6,90 m in width. It possesses two entrances – to the south and to the west. On the eastern side there are three small richly profiled apses.Today the church operates as a museum.
The beach on the South Beach in Nessebar is very beautiful – wide with fine and golden sand. Water is blue-green and crystal clear. The beach is very visited. The view from the air is unique – one part of the bay comes out and cuts in the seawater. Across, in the distance, there is a view of the old town of Nessebar – indescribable and unique atmosphere. There is a possibility to park free zone and nearby restaurants from which you can buy food and drinks.
Saint Archangels Michael and Gabriel Church (13th century) is one nave, cruciform with a narthex. Its dimensions are 13.90 X 5.30 m. There was a dome and in the west a rectangular tower, setting up over the narthex. A stone stairway, hidden in the west wall of the church leads to the tower. The temple has three doors – one on the northern wall towards the nave and two doors towards the narthex.
The St. Paraskeva Church (13th -14th century) is a single nave church. The church is built of hewn stone and bricks in rows. The southern and northern facades are ornamented with blind arches which drums are richly decorated. At present, following the “Faith in Nessebar” restoration project, the church operates as a museum. The exhibition arranged in the church is under the title “Surviving murals from lost Nessebar churches”.
The basilica was built at the end of 5th century and the beginning of 6th century. There were two periods in its construction, rebuilt subsequently in the beginning of the 9th century. It was an important part of the Nessebar bishop’s residence.
Terms (baths) in Nessebar were built in 6th century during the ruler of Byzantine emperor Justinian I the Great (527-565). About 2/3 of their area is studied – 5 warm premises – two of them with semi-circled pools, central hall and a corridor. The other part of the building is now under the streets and houses nearby.
The terms were discovered during the excavations in 1973-1975 and 1998-2001. The building is partly restored and conserved.
Saint Stephen Church, known as The New Bishopric, was built in the period 11th – 13th century. In 16th century the church was elongated and in the 18th century a narthex was added. Because of its architectural style, iconostasis and first of all because of its remarkable mural paintings, the church “St. Stephen” is one of the most important monuments of Bulgarian cultural heritage.
Basilica Holy Mother Eleusa (Tenderness) was situated on the northern side of the peninsula. It was built 6th century. It is a three-nave church with three more apses and a narthex. The two side aisles have two smaller apses pointing the North and to the South. The northern part and the central nave have sunk in the sea. The basilica is 28 m long and 18 m wide. In 1920 excavations and studyings started here. Now the basilica is well preserved and partly restored. In the historical sources the church is mentioned until 14th century, when it was a part of a monastery complex.
The church “St. Klemente” is from the seventeenth century. Since than until today it has remained the eastern part of the apse and the frescoes on it. The name of the temple has remained a legend among the local population.
In Nessebar was built a mosque, which has gradually destroyed when after the liberation the Turkish population left the city. Its minaret was preserved until 1961. There were two Turkish baths. The first was from XVІІІ century and is located on the north coast. Currently it is preserved. Its appearance is humbling, but inside it was richly decorated. It consists of a corridor leading to the main room with a dome. On both sides of the corridor there is a small room. The second was located on the southern coast, in the church “St. John Aliturgitos” but is not restored.
The ruins of this small church, most probably built in 11th century, lie north of the Old Metropolis. It may have been a miniature family church, with a cruciform dome, three apses, and a square foundation. The bases of the three columns, supporting the dome, have been preserved. The church was discovered during archaeological excavations in 1968.
Saint Theodor Church was built 13th century and from this time are preserved northern and western facade. The other walls and the roof are built later. It is a single nave church with a narthex and apse. The facade is diversified by blind decorative arches of worked up stones and bricks. A space under arches is ornamented with staggered zigzag patterns of stone blocks and bricks. The church is long 8.70 m and wide 4.15 m.
The Church St. John The Baptist was built in 10th century. Its construction was made of rough stone and mortar. During archaeological excavations, part of a restoration project carried out in 2012-2013, it was found that the church was built on the foundations of an Early Byzantine three-nave basilica, dating from the 6th century. In its original plan, the basilica had one apse, semicircular inside and outside. Subsequently, two more semicircular small apses were added, one to the north nave and another one to the south nave.
The Saint John Aliturgetus (Unconsecrated) Church was built 14th century. Even damaged in the earthquake in 1913 and not well preserved, the church is a proof of the supreme period in the construction of cult buildings in medieval Bulgaria. The church is crusiforme with a square naos and a large narthex. There are four pairs of columns supporting the dome. The facades of the churches are the most impressive. Here the picturesque style reached its biggest development.
The name of the church “St. Vlahara” was preserved in transmission among the local population. It is assumed that the temple was dedicated to St. Mary Blachernai. From the building was partially preserved eastern wall – proscomidian niche is fully preserved and the apse only partly. The wall is built of alternating stones aligned with bricks and the arches were also made of bricks.
The church was built in 1609 with the funds of rich citizen from Nessebar, during the time of the bishop Kiprian. We can understand that from the commemorative inscription, above the southern entrance. The church is a museum.
In 18th century in Nessebar occurred economical bloom, expressed mostly in renovation of residential buildings. Gradually a new aspect of the town was created – town of well-off producers, fishermen, and shopkeepers.