A tiny church and tasty cocktails- Sozopol, Bulgaria

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.

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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.

DSC02454Another 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.

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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.

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2 thoughts on “A tiny church and tasty cocktails- Sozopol, Bulgaria

  1. In 1993, my Bulgarian husband took me to his favorite places in the Black Sea towns of Nessebar and Sozopol. He had not been there for ten years, but the Black Sea coast was not the destination spot for international tourists as it is today. In 1993, we were able to enjoy a rocky outcrop over the water situated an easy walk from old Sozopol and to do so with no one else around, just as he and his friends had done a decade earlier in precisely the same spot. Sitting there with only the sea in view felt luxurious. It was difficult to climb down the rocks to reach the water, but we did it many times, swimming in the warm water and then climbing back up to sunbathe on a flattened rock that jutted out with just enough room for us, a blanket, and some food bought from the local market.
    We made no reservations as none were possible. With no telephone book and for many then still no telephones, we used the system Bulgarians had always used. You go to your destination, you walk up and down the street rapping on doors and you ask if there is a room for rent. If yes, you take a look at the room in question and, if that room is satisfactory, you come to an agreement on the rate. Even though I knew that Bulgarians shake their heads from side to side for yes and nod for no, I still reacted instinctively. My husband would ask if there was a room and the answer would be a sharp uptick of the head. I would smile and start toward the door, and then have to regroup as I saw my husband turning to head for the next house, suitcase in hand. I do have very fond memories of Sozopol, though, and I’m glad to have been reminded of the town via your post. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very cool post! A place I’ve definitely never heard of. It would be a perfect tip for Tiplr! We are a startup travel platform, aggregating the best travel tips from explorers all over the world. I am the managing editor and think you’d be a great contributor. If you’re interested please feel free to email me at tara@tiplr.com and I can send you more info!

    Liked by 1 person

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