The 26 best sights of Nessebar – descriptions and photos

Nessebar

Nessebar (Bulgaria) – the most detailed information about the city with photos. The main sights of Nessebar with descriptions, guides and maps.

The city of Nessebar (Bulgaria)

Nesebar is an ancient town in south-eastern Bulgaria on the Black Sea coast. Located north of Burgas and is considered a cultural treasure of the country. Nesebar is one of the most beautiful Bulgarian towns, which has a long history and preserved architectural monuments from all periods of its millennial existence. Here are preserved remnants of Roman and medieval walls, many ancient Byzantine and Bulgarian churches, as well as old houses in the style of the Bulgarian national revival.

The most charming feature of Nessebar is its old town, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is located on a rocky peninsula connected to the mainland by a narrow dam. The peninsula is 850 meters long and 300 meters wide. The new city includes the famous resort of Sunny Beach, modern apartment buildings and numerous hotels.

What to do (Bulgaria):

The Magic of the North Black Sea

From €79 per excursion

The Magic of the Northern Black Sea Coast

Botanical Gardens, picturesque capes, old lighthouses and a rock Monastery on a walking tour

Sophia - History and Modernity

From €70 for a guided tour

Sofia – History and Modernity

Explore the main sights of one of the oldest cities in Europe on a sightseeing tour

Geography and climate

Nesebar is situated in South-East Bulgaria in the Burgas region. The city has a subtropical climate with warm summers and cool winters.

The panorama of the old city

Panorama of the old town

For tourists

  1. The population is 10 thousand people.
  2. Area – 31.85 km².
  3. Language – Bulgarian.
  4. Currency – Bulgarian lev.
  5. Time – UTC +2, +3 in summer.
  6. Nessebar is a very safe town. Some inconvenience may be caused by the pushy vendors and restaurant hustlers.
  7. The town has many restaurants and cafes, but the tourist status has left its mark on the gastronomy. The food and service is not always of high quality.

History

Nesebar is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Already in the first millennium BC there was an ancient Thracian settlement of Mesembria. In 510 BC it became a Greek colony. The Greeks built here fortifications, agora, acropolis and other buildings. A large part of the ancient city was destroyed by an earthquake and was submerged. Only ruins of fortress walls and towers made of hewn limestone as well as fragments of agora and few buildings survived.

In the 1st century B.C. the town was conquered by the Roman Empire. Then Nessebar became part of Byzantium. In the 9th century the town was occupied by the Bulgarians, and got its present name. Nessebar reached its peak of development in the 13th-14th century during the Second Bulgarian Empire. During this period was built here about 40 churches.

The old architecture of Nessebar

The old architecture of Nessebar

In the 15th century Nessebar fell under the onslaught of the Ottomans. The Turks destroyed its walls, as well as numerous architectural monuments. In the 18th and 19th century numerous buildings in the historic center were built in the style of the Bulgarian National Revival.

How to get there

Nesebar is situated not far from Burgas. Regular buses go here from neighboring resorts and towns.

Attractions

Nesebar has a charming old town located on a small picturesque peninsula. It is a magnificent architectural ensemble, reflecting the archaeological and artistic influence of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine eras. The historic center of Nessebar is a tangle of narrow cobblestone streets in which you can find early Byzantine churches, fragments of ancient walls and traditional Bulgarian houses.

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The Old Town of Nessebar

The Old Town of Nessebar

The Archeological Museum of Nessebar contains unique exhibits from the Thracian and Hellenistic period to the Middle Ages.

Ancient Fortifications of Nessebar

The Ancient Fortifications of Nessebar

Since its foundation Nessebar was always surrounded by fortress walls, fragments of which can still be seen today. The first fortifications were built by the Thracians in the 8th century BC. Later, in the 5th century BC, Greek colonists built new fortifications. Then the fortifications were strengthened by the Romans and Byzantines. The fortifications of Nessebar were destroyed by the Ottomans. Ancient ruins dating from the Hellenistic period include an acropolis, a temple of Apollo, an agora and fragments of Thracian and later Byzantine fortifications.

Old mill

The Old Windmill

The old windmill is one of the symbols of Nessebar. It is assumed that this wooden structure dates back to the Bulgarian national revival period and was built in the period from the 17th to the 19th century.

Church of St. Sophia

The Church of St. Sophia

The Hagia Sophia Church is an ancient Byzantine church completed in the 6th century. It is a three-nave basilica with a semicircular apse, narthex and atrium. The existing structure dates back to the 9th century, the period of the last reconstruction. The church was looted by the Venetians in the 13th century and abandoned in the 18th century. Its religious relics are now preserved in the Church of San Salvatore in Venice.

Church of St. Theodore

Church of Saint Theodore (Theodore)

The Church of St. Theodore (Theodore) is a small single-nave structure built in the 13th century. Its facade is decorated with blind arches of worked stone and brick. The space beneath the arches is decorated with chess-like zig-zag patterns of stone blocks.

Holy Savior Church

The Church of the Holy Redeemer

The Church of the Holy Savior is a small religious structure from the 17th century, known for its wall paintings.

Basilica of Our Lady of Eleusa

Basilica of Our Lady of Jeleus

The Basilica of Our Lady of Eleusa is a church on the north side of the peninsula, built in the 6th century. It was part of a monastery until the 14th century, which was presumably destroyed by an earthquake.

Church of St. Stephen

Church of St. Stephen

The Church of St. Stephen is a medieval three-nave basilica with magnificent frescoes, now converted into a museum. The eastern part of the building is the oldest and probably dates back to the 11th century. Several centuries later, the church was expanded by adding a new structure on the west.

Church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel

Church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel

The Church of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel is a medieval church in the style of Byzantine architecture built in the 13th or 14th century. It is a one-nave building with three apses and was formerly topped by a dome and bell tower.

Church of Saint John the Baptist

Church of Saint John the Baptist

The Church of Saint John the Baptist is a simple rough stone building with a dilapidated dome. It is one of the best preserved churches in Nessebar, built in the 11th century.

Church of Christ Pantocrator

Church of Christ Pantocrator

The Church of Christ Pantocrator is a magnificent medieval church in the late Byzantine cross style, built in the 13th and 14th centuries in stone and brick. The most famous feature of the temple is the rich and colorful decoration of its exterior walls.

Interesting tours

Night Worlds of Varna

€100 per excursion

Night Worlds of Varna

Learn about local life on a stroll through the Old Town and the port in the magical light of lanterns

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Serdika - Ancient Sofia. Journey to the depth of centuries

Nadia 5 5

75 from €60 for the tour

Serdika – Ancient Sofia. Journey to the depths of centuries

Get in touch with the history of Ancient Sofia and experience the real atmosphere of the city.

What to see in Nessebar on your own?

You are currently watching What to see in Nessebar on your own?

If you’re planning a vacation for the first time in Bulgaria, then Nessebar is a must visit. It’s a modern resort town with all the tourist infrastructure: hotels and apartments for every taste, nice clean beaches, lots of cafes and restaurants, lovely souvenir shops. Families with children come here to bask in the sun and enjoy swimming in the Black Sea waters, as well as lovers of active ecotourism and historical sites.

Let’s dive into the atmosphere of rich in impressions and experiences vacation in this Black Sea resort town, see the main attractions of Nessebar in Bulgaria, their description and photos, focusing on the reviews of tourists.

Old Town

The Old Town of Nessebar

Nessebar is conventionally divided into two parts – the New Town (Sunny Beach) and the Old Town. The historic Nessebar is a place where people return again and again. Here you can easily bring your kids, because there is a lot to see even for little travelers.

The old town, a historic district, a museum-city, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, is accessed by road along the main street of the resort of Khan Krum. Across the narrow isthmus that connects the mainland to the rocky peninsula, you enter an amazing place with architectural buildings of the past millennia, cobblestone narrow streets, where souvenir craft shops, wine cellars, bars and cozy taverns are on every corner. At the entrance to the peninsula rises the surviving part of the fortifications erected by the Romans in the Ⅲ century. Beyond the gate you reach the main street of the Old Town of Mesembria, where the journey into the world of history begins.

Once a quiet, peaceful town inhabited by fishermen and winegrowers, it is now a favorite destination for tourists who return here more than once to breathe the atmosphere of Byzantine medieval antiquity. The two-storey houses of the locals are built in the traditions of past centuries: the first floor is made of stone and reinforced with supports, the second is made of wood. Now the Mesemrians are actively engaged in tourism business: each colorful homestead is a retail outlet. In addition to trade, it is possible to rent accommodation in guest houses right in the heart of the historic center of Nessebar.

On a small peninsula there is almost three thousand years of history, preserved in the buildings of churches, basilicas, Roman baths, fortress walls of the ancient fort, in museums.

Many lucky to be here recommend to visit Nessebar Stryi town, and not only during the daytime, but also in the evening, when the tiled roofs start to shine in new colors in the rays of the setting sun.

Windmill

Windmill in Nessebar

It is an iconic landmark that welcomes tourists right on the isthmus leading to the Old Nessebar. And it is not just an installation, attracting tourists. This is an architectural and construction monument. The mill is built on a stone pedestal, which served as the foundation of the church, built in Ⅳ century. Only much later two floors were added, where the miller’s family lived and worked.

Today the windmill is a museum, part of the reserve “Old Nessebar”, where the interior of the house of the windmill family has been reconstructed. The Windmill is a place for romantic walks, where the folk music is played and where you can make pictures that will become treasures in your travels.

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Western Wall

Western Wall

For centuries, Mesembria (the old name of the city) was conquered by the Thracians, who were the first to build buildings on the peninsula, as well as by the Romans and the Ottomans. Only in 1878 Bulgaria was freed from nearly four centuries of Turkish slavery.

In the centuries-long interweaving of existence in the city repeatedly built fortress walls and facilities that made the peninsula inaccessible. Time has not spared the fortress walls, which were almost destroyed in time of capture by the Ottoman Empire. The Turks did not give importance to the town and did not create anything of their own here for 400 years. On the northwestern coast the remains of the fortification walls along with the gate, which was restored in the last century, have been preserved and since then it bears a majestic testimony to the former times. The highest walls were up to 8 meters high.

The churches of Nessebar

Old Nessebar is a treasure trove of symbols of Christian faith. There were 40 churches on such a tiny square. Many of them have been lost forever. Today there are ruins of 26 churches, some of which are under water. The main attractions of the Old Town of Nessebar are certainly the churches.

Church of St. Stephen

Church of St. Stephen

The stone church St. Stefan (New Metropolis) was built in the XI-XXIII centuries. On the walls there are images preserved, mainly from the life of the Mother of God, in whose honor it was originally built.

The preserved architecture, iconostasis, and frescoes make the church one of the most significant monuments of the Bulgarian cultural heritage.

Church of the Holy Savior

Church of St. Spas

This small stone church was built in 1609, as evidenced by a donation inscription above the entrance. The walls are decorated with frescos by an unknown icon painter. This church once housed the tombstone of the Princess of Byzantium, which has been moved to the third hall of the Archaeological Museum.

Church of Christ the Almighty (Pantocrator)

Church of Christ the Almighty

The church was built between the 13th and 14th centuries and is one of the most striking and well-preserved churches of the Middle Ages. The building is typical of the pictorial style in church architecture.

Now the church houses the exhibition “Nessebar and the bay on old maps (from the IV to the XIX century)”. The unique cartographic collection numbers 18 maps, showing an interest in the Black Sea coast and Nessebar in particular.

Church of Saint Praskovia

Church of St. Praskovka

It was built in 1704 and it is situated in the southeastern part of the old Nessebar. The frescoes that once decorated the walls of the church, were removed and taken to the National Archaeological Museum in the Bulgarian capital, and some were restored and placed in the permanent exhibition “Saved Frescoes”, which presents fragments of iconography and other temples of the old city.

Church of John the Baptist

Church of St. John the Baptist

One of the oldest Christian buildings in Nessebar, the construction of which was attributed to the tenth century. In 2013 the church was closed to the public to conduct archaeological excavations. As a result, it was found that the church stands on the foundations of an ancient basilica.

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Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Holy Virgin Dormition Church

A little over a century ago the only functioning church in the old city was erected. Here is a shrine of the believers – a miraculous icon donated by monks from Athos. For 700 years the face of the Virgin has blackened, and the local parishioners call it “The Black Icon”. Every year on August 15 there is a procession that brings together pilgrims to pay tribute to the holy icon, the patroness of the city.

Archaeological Museum

Nessebar Archaeological Museum

To the right of the main entrance is the Archaeological Museum, which presents the history of the city in chronological order. The oldest exhibits date back to the 1st millennium BC.

In 1994, the museum moved to a new building, where several rooms show artifacts of historical events. In the first room, for example, exhibits from the Thracian period are displayed: anchors, coins, fragments of pottery and sculptures.

The second room presents the era of the VI – II centuries BC, the exhibits of which show the influence of the culture of Ancient Greece: preserved statues of Greek gods, amphorae, fragments of jewelry and documents. In the third hall you will get to the world of the Roman and Byzantine empires, the beginnings of the Bulgarian state. The evidence of the rich and intense medieval life of those years is on display in this hall. And in the separate building of the museum is located icon room, which collected about 250 samples, illustrating seven centuries of Christian traditions.

The museum works all year round. You can order both individual and group tours. It is also possible to take a complex ticket to visit several sites in the Old Town.

Byzantine Baths

Byzantine Thermae

You can add to the experience of walking through the Old Town by visiting a monument preserving the cultural heritage of Byzantium. The complex of public baths on the peninsula dates back to the middle of the Ⅵ century, and served not only for thermal baths, but also for socializing and discussing important matters. At one time the halls were fitted with a water pipe that filled the ablution bowls.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to see the splendor of the marble interior of the Byzantine Baths – time has done its work. However, the remaining fragments of the baths allow you to wander among the ruins, which, according to the historians’ description, were once magnificent, and take memorable pictures of this Nessebar landmark.

Ethnographic Museum

Ethnographic Museum

The Old Town exposition is located in the former house of a rich Greek merchant Moskoyani, which was built in 1840. The building is typical for the peninsula buildings: the first floor is made of stone, while the second – of wood.

In the Ethnographic Museum you will plunge into the atmosphere of life of the indigenous inhabitants of Nessebar in different times. Passing from one room to another you find yourself in different spaces of time. So in the central hall you see old photographs, engravings and works of XVII – XIX century travellers. Elegant women’s dresses and everyday objects of the early twentieth century also attract attention.

The southern room is devoted to the traditional crafts and trades of the inhabitants of the town: fishing, wine-making and viticulture

In the northern rooms (large and small) expositions are devoted to the everyday life of immigrants and the indigenous population of Nessebar. Here are samples of everyday and wedding clothes, toys, wedding album, textiles and pieces of furniture.

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Still, you should take a guided tour to hear amazing stories from the mouth of a professional guide.

Amphitheater

Nessebar Amphitheater

Not far from the harbor is the only amphitheater in Bulgaria, which still serves as a concert venue for festive city events.

The object blends perfectly into the cityscape, and the pictures on the background of the steps of the ancient theater with Greek harps will vividly illustrate a trip to Bulgaria.

Aqua Paradise Water Park

Aqua Paradise Water Park

The water park is always a place for the brightest and most full of impressions holiday for everyone: both for families with children and for a cheerful group of young people.

The Aqua Paradise Aqua Park in Nessebar lives up to its name: 40 attractions, bars, pools, relaxation areas on an area of 46 hectares near the resort. Aqua Paradise has plenty of facilities for recreation: showers, changing cabins, toilets, free parking, deck chairs, umbrellas. By the way, if you buy a voucher on the website of the water park, you can take advantage of free shuttle service.

It is impossible to describe in a few words all the water slides and attractions. The park is only ten years old, but every year something is updated, new entertainment and services appear. You won’t have enough days to ride all the slides. Note that in 2018 on the territory opened a club-hotel with a high level of service, and for those who want to master surfing not so long ago operates the only surf ride in Bulgaria, which will appeal to men. You can relax in several pools: drift towards Paradise Island on the “Lazy Pool” or “feel the wave” in another one. The little beggars have an area with slides and a pool. You can enjoy cocktails and light snacks in three bars and have lunch in a cafe.

Развлекать отдыхающих будет команда аниматоров. В течение пяти часов вы стаете участниками и зрителями нескольких тематических шоу-программ. В дополнение предлагаются услуги массажистов и водный педикюр рыбками. Подробнее ->>>

The central square of Nessebar Messembria

Central Square of Nessebar Messembria

You can go here by yourself to see this fabulous place. All the roads on the peninsula will lead you to the Central Square that you’ll want to come back to more than once. You can finish your stroll through the Old Town by meeting the sunset in a colorful restaurant in a 15th century building and enjoying the atmosphere of the ancient city. In the evening there are musicians playing and spectacular ethnographic events. And, of course, to buy souvenirs for friends and colleagues in the numerous stores.

Excursions in Nessebar

It’s better to get immersed in the history of the town and enjoy the architecture and its coloring with an experienced guide. He’ll tell you the most interesting facts about every site, which you won’t find in any encyclopedia.

Nessebar sights on the map

Our map of Nessebar with streets and sights will help you to plan sightseeing of interesting places in the city on your own.

A brief overview article showed that Nessebar certainly has places to go and things to see on your own. After lounging on the sandy beaches of Sunny Beach, go for new impressions, visiting the main attractions of Nessebar in Bulgaria. And already in your enthusiastic reviews, photos and descriptions, share with other tourists, who have just planned their trip to the Balkan Peninsula.

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