Sozopol is a small town on the coast of Bulgaria. It’s quite old, as it originated in the Bronze Age. It used to be a Greek town called Apollonia, from which you can still see some ruins in the old town (see the right picture below). Now, it’s a quite touristy city with lots of small shops selling souvenirs.
Sozopol has a very characteristic architecture. The old town is located on a tiny peninsula in the Black sea and because of that, there’s not much room for enlargement of houses. The roads are already quite small and if the houses would become even a little larger, cars would be unable to pass. So the inhabitants found a solution: why don’t we just enlarge the first floors? This is why a lot of houses in the old town look like the one on the picture above. People usually live on the first floor and use the ground floor as a repository.
Another notable building in the old town is this incredibly small church. This orthodox church is so small because under the rule of the Turks, a certain freedom of religion was allowed, as long as the churches would be smaller than the mosks. However, there were no mosks in Sozopol. Legend says that the rule here was that the church could not be higher than a Turk riding his horse. This is probably untrue though. Maybe they made it very small just to be sure not to break the rules.
Near the peninsula of Sozopol, there’s an uninhabited island. There used to be a small monastry there, that attracted a lot of pilgrims, because it held an important relic: the bones of John the baptist. Unfortunately, the monastry was destroyed by the Turks. Recently however, archeologists found some old treasures in the Black Sea, amongst others a chest containing bones.. And research has proven that the bones come from someone who lived in the Middle East at the time of John the Baptist! Even though the bones aren’t on the island anymore, still many people visit the site to pray.
But the most popular attraction for most tourists is the beach of Sozopol. After we had strolled through the old town for a while and bought some souvenirs, we sat at the beach bar for a while, enjoying the view and a very nice cocktail.