Nesebar was supposed to be one of our highlights of our Bulgaria trip, so when we left Varna early in the morning, we were looking forward to exploring the small Black Sea town. Driving down the Black Sea coast, we notice the roads are virtually empty, even though this is the beginning of summer. When we drive the isthmus linking the mainland with the peninsula of Nesebar, there still is very little traffic. It is easy to park, and we start our exploration of this more than 4000 year old town. Once an island, it was connected to the mainland by the causeway we just drove on. On its west side, we see the remains of the thick walls that once protected Nesebar from outside attacks. We walk the south side of the seafront, and reach a small theatre where two girls are doing an outdoor fitness training. Climbing the small hill in which the theatre is built brings us to Saint John Aiturgetos, the first of many churches we will see in Nesebar.
Dating from the 14th century, t is a richly decorated church, built with stone and brick, has blind arches, and glazed ceramic plates, with patterns made by different bricks. The name alludes to the fact that it was never consecrated after a worker fell to his death (Aliturgetos means not consecrated in Greek), but service apparently were held here. Another noteworthy feature is that the church has two entrances. Unfortunately, the church is closed. We now enter the old town, and find a square with several churches, among which the noteworthy Christ Pantokrator church in the middle. From here, we wander the narrow, cobble-stoned streets, see houses with a wooden overhang on the first floor, lanterns hanging on the side: Nesebar is definitely a charming old town. It soon becomes clear that while this should be a place teeming with tourists, things are different. Virtually all souvenir shops are closed, and when we go to any of the numerous restaurants with great seaside views, they turn out to be closed. No hordes of people swarming this small peninsula: we have Nesebar to ourselves, end of June.
We continue our walk and hit the northern side of the peninsula, where we see the basilica of the Holy Mother Eleusa, which lies in ruins. A round tower is the ruin of an old windmill. When we arrive at the defensive western wall again, we have done a full circle of Nesebar. We walk the causeway to a newer windmill, with cormorants in its wings, enjoying the views of this historic town. We enter again, this time taking the main street. We walk past some of the churches we have not seen. Some are small, others big, like the Saint Sophia, which lies in ruins. It is now clear that all churches are closed, probably because there is simply no one to visit them, we will have to leave seeing their interiors for a next visit in better times. We finally find a restaurants that is opened, and have lunch instead of breakfast. We stroll through the empty streets, until we have a feeling we have seen it all, and decide to head further south along the Black Sea coast.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Nesebar (Bulgaria). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Nesebar. Read more about this site.