When we arrive at a small port, we decide to leave our car at a long-term parking at the north side of the peninsula, and after leaving our bags in our accommodation, our legs will be our mode of transport for the rest of our stay. This is the old town of Sozopol, full of sights to see, and all in a compact area which can easily be walked. Oh yes, some streets are pretty steep, but the incline is never longer than a hundred metres. After the temperatures have gone down, we start exploring this ancient Black Sea town, which was already inhabited in the Bronze Age, as an abundance of proof taken from the surrounding seabed has shown. For a long time, when it was an important colony for the Greeks and a competitor of the other town further north, Nesebar, Sozopol was known as Apollonia (after the temple dedicated to Apollo). The name Sozopol appears more or less from the 1st century CE. After having been a Thracian and Greek town, it was also occupied by Romans, Byzantines, Bulgarians, and the inevitable Ottomans. Even at the beginning of the 20th century, the population was predominantly Greek; it really became a Bulgarian town after a population swap at the end of the Balkan Wars in 1913.
On our first walk through town, we see a variety of sights. Wooden houses standing on cobble-stone streets, ruins of temples and churches, thick fortification walls: all those who once ruled Sozopol have left their marks. In comparison with Nesebar, the town is much more lively, and we are glad we made the right choice to come here. Apart from the abundance of historic sights, there are the small bays, beaches, and viewpoints which always remind you that you are on the Black Sea. It often gives a breeze, which is pleasant when you are walking around under the scorching sun. Across a channel on the north, we see Saint Ivan Island. At the end of the day, we see an old lady sit in the street, on her wooden chair, just people-watching and immersed in her thoughts, and cannot help but wonder if she sits here every day. While there are still people around in the early evening, things get quiet soon in Sozopol, and we have a very peaceful night.
We are up very early the next morning, well ahead of sunrise which we see at Cape Skamni, sitting on the ruins of the monastery of the Saint Apostles. We watch the big orange ball emerge from the dark sea, and start walking the streets to catch the morning light. The cobble-stone streets are empty now, and we have a better look at the traditional houses, of which the ground floor is often stone, and the upper floor wooden. Curved wooden beams support the upper floor which often overhangs into the street. There are some fine examples of this. The windows often have wooden shutters, making them very photogenic. Walking the seaside on the east of the peninsula, we walk through an old stone gate in sturdy, high walls, to explore an area with ruins of churches that are at a lower level. We decide to crash on the beach, which is quite full of people. To our surprise, swimming in this protected bay is not allowed: according to the beach guard, the current would be too strong. At the end of the day, we walk north again, and are lucky to get a table on a separate ledge directly above the sea. We see the sun sink over a delicious dinner - life could not be much better than this.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Sozopol (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 Sozopol. Read more about this site.