Varna is an interesting city - modern but at the same time connected with traditions; urban but also pastoral; lively, but also quiet. Culture, heritage, art and entertainment are an integral part of its existence.
Varna is a leading center for arts and cultures, especially in the summer. The city hosts many interesting local and international events and initiatives such as film, folklore, theater and music festivals, museum nights and performing arts, and more.
THE SEA GARDEN OF VARNA
If you visit Varna Sea Garden, you will see one of the largest garden parks in the Balkans. It is situated on more than 800 acres along the coastline of Varna - a masterpiece of landscape architecture. It was created in the late 19th century by Czech gardener Anton Novak, who specialized in the parks of the Schönbrunn and Belvedere palaces in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. Along the avenues of the park alternate valuable plant species from the Black Sea and Mediterranean.
Along the main promenade, which is parallel to the beach, there are numerous cafes and restaurants with seafood specialties, attractive nightclubs and discos. At the entrance of the garden is a Swan-shaped sundial, which is one of the most popular meeting places for locals.
EUXINOGRAD RESIDENCE AND PARK
The Euxinograd Residence is a former late 19th-century Bylgarian royal summer palace with a beautiful park. It is located at a distance of 10 kilometers south of International Hotel Casino & Tower Suites, in close proximity to the “St. Contantine and Helena” Resort.
Built in 1881-1885, the complex used to be a royal summer residence for the monarchs ruled Bulgaria after the liberation from the Ottoman Dominion (1878) – Alexander Battenberg, Ferdinand and his son Boris III. The palace`s significant gable – part of the roof structure of the French Chateau de Saint Cloud – is brought in pieces to Bulgaria in 1890.
The Euxinograd park and its Greenhouses are home to over 310 plant varieties from Asia, South America, North Africa and Southern France. With more than 50,000 trees - from black oak to Atlantic cedar – the park occupies an area of over 550 decares, which fertile soil was brought from the mouth of the Kamchiya River.
The most elegant and representative part of the park is the space in front of the palace with the lake full of lilies and the bronze statue of Neptune, delivered from France. The Sundial is a gift from the British Queen Victoria to the Royal Family.
THE STONE FOREST
Only 18km west of Varna you could see and exceptionally rare geological phenomenon - stone columns standing as high as 7m, known as "pobiti kamani" ("standing stones", a.k.a. "the stone forest"). These strange formations were created around fifty million years ago when fragments of two chalk strata gradually boned together in the intervening sand layer, by a process analogous to stalactite formations. Nowadays the area is a popular spot for picnics and leisurely hikes.
You could go for a short walk from International Hotel Casino to the medieval cave monastery - Aladzha Monastery, situated just 2 km west of the hotel in Zlatni Pyasaci Nature Park.
The monastery name "Aladzha" comes from Persian-Arabic and means "motley", "colorful".
Its premises - the church, cells, refectory, crypt and kitchen - are carved and arranged on two levels in a 40m high limestone rock. About 600-700m to the west of monastery is located a group of caves known as the Catacombs, that were inhabited by people during the early-Christian Age (5th – 6th centuries).
Nowadays it is a cultural monument and a popular tourist attraction.
THE ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
If you want to see one of the most important and attractive human history discoveries of the 20th century you should visit the Archeological museum in Varna. It is located in the city center, 17 km away from International Hotel Casino & Tower Suites.
Here you will meet the Varna Eneolith necropolis - a sensational scientific descovery: the oldest hand-crafted gold treasure in the world, dating from 4600 to 4200 BC. It is found during accidental construction works in the west industrial zone of Varna in 1972. As a result of the researches, 294 tombs have been found (by now) with more than 3000 golden objects in more than 38 different types, copper and flint articles, other made of stone and marble, ceramics, multiple shells.
The Museum was established in 1887 by the brothers Karel and Herman Shkorpil. It shows original finds from the Paleolithic Age /about 100 000 years BC/ to the Middle Ages /7th – 8th/ century., as well as the The largest Mesolithic collection of flint tools in South-East Europe, the largest collections of ancient terracotta, tombstone reliefs, lamps and glass vessels in Bulgaria are placed here.
THE ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM
The area inland of Varna was a crossroads of migrating peoples who left their traces in the Greek, Roman, Turks and Gagauz artifacts. The city is influenced by their cultures especially in the differentiation and great variety of people`s clothes in the settlements. If you visit the Ethnographic museum you could witness these effects in the urban life of Varna from the second half of 19th and the beginning of 20th century seeing its attractively arranged rich collection of national and regional costumes with a great diversity of styles; embroidered masks during Kukeri and Survaki (New Year) rites; ritual loaves; typical urban interiors, etc.
Varna, 22 Panagyurishte Str.
THE ROMAN THERMAE AND THE CHURCH OF SVETI ATANAS
The Roman Thermal Baths built at the end of the 2nd c. A.D. are the biggest on the Balkan Peninsula as well as the largest ancient building discovered in Bulgaria so far. You could see the comparatively well-preserved walls with a vast tower of crumbling red brick as a decor of some musical or theatrical events taking place in the architectural complex. The richness of the ornamentation make of these thermae a remarkable monument of ancient architecture in the Bulgarian lands.
International Music Festival “Varna Summer”
At the end of June and the beginning of July the festival gathers masterpiece events of Bulgarian and world music culture and various genres. A lot of artists with international prestige take part in its program.
International Theater Festival “Varna Summer”
It is one of the biggest and oldest international theater events in Bulgaria. Since 1993 its selection has gathered different artists and performers from Bulgaria and all over the world.
International Jazz Festival "Varna Summer"
Founded in 1992 it takes place annually in July featuring world-famous musicians from Bulgaria and abroad.
International Fair Arts and Crafts
Every year in August you could visit the biggest art and crafts exhibition in Varna. It usually takes place in the Sea Garden under the shadows of one of the oldest plane trees in Varna.
International Folklore Festival "Varna Summer"
Started in 1992, it takes place every year in the first week of August, on the scene of the Summer Teather and "Rakovina" scene in the Sea Garden and many other open-air stages and playgrounds around.
Book Fair "Alley of the Book"
In the beginning of August, the center of Varna turns into a fabulous book quarter.
Day of Varna - 15 August, Dormation of the Theotokis
The feast with a lot of concerts and events around the town.
International Film Festival Love Is Folly
Established in 1993 with competitive and festival program the event is the doyen of the international film festivals with address in Bulgaria. Now its program includes more than 90 film titles, film panoramas, awarded movies, cinematography works, retrospectives. Here you could meet some of the most popular Bulgarian artists and celebrities.
International Puppet Festival Golden Dolphin
The festival is held once in every three years, since 1972, in the beginning of October when the newest, the best and the most interesting of what is made on both Bulgarian and worldwide puppet stage could be seen.