Sozopol (Bulgarian: Созопол, Greek: Σωζόπολις Sozopolis) is an ancient seaside town located 35 km south of Burgas on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Today it is one of the major seaside resorts in the country, known for the Apollonia art and film festival (which takes place in early September) that is named after one of the town's ancient names.
The busiest times of the year are the summer months, ranging from May to September as tourists from around the world come to enjoy the weather, sandy beaches, history and culture, fusion cuisine (Balkan, Mediterranean), and atmosphere of the colourful resort.
Location of Sozopol
|• Mayor||Panayot Reyzi|
|Elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
The original name of the city is attested as Antheia (Ἄνθεια in Greek) but was soon renamed to Apollonia (Ἀπολλωνία). At various times, Apollonia was known as Apollonia Pontica (Ἀπολλωνία ἡ Ποντική, that is, "Apollonia on the Black Sea", the ancient Pontus Euxinus) and Apollonia Magna ("Great Apollonia"). By the first century AD, the name Sozopolis (Σωζόπολις) began to appear in written records. During the Ottoman rule the town was known as Sizebolu, Sizeboli or Sizebolou.
Sozopol is one of the oldest towns on Bulgarian Thrace's Black Sea coast. The first settlement on the site dates back to the Bronze Age. Undersea explorations in the region of the port reveal relics of dwellings, ceramic pottery, stone and bone tools from that era. Many anchors from the second and first millennium BC have been discovered in the town's bay, a proof of active shipping since ancient times.
The town was founded in the 7th century BC by Greek colonists from Miletus as Antheia (Ancient Greek: Άνθεια). The town established itself as a trade and naval centre in the following centuries and became one of the largest and richest Greek colonies in the Black Sea region. Its trade influence in the Thracian territories was based on a treaty dating from the fifth century BC with the Odrysian kingdom the most powerful Thracians state. Apollonia became a legendary trading rival of another Greek colony, Mesembria, today’s Nessebar.
Apollonia Pontica started minting its own coins at the end of the 6th century BC, the anchor appearing on them as the symbol of the polis present on all coins minted since the sixth century BC, proof of the importance of its maritime trade. Coins from the fourth century BC bear the name Apollonia and the image of Apollo. The Roman imperial coins continue to the first half of the third century AD.
In 1328 Cantacuzene (ed. Bonn, I, 326) speaks of it as a large and populous town. The islet on which it stood is now connected with the mainland by a narrow tongue of land. Its inhabitants, in the past mostly Greeks, lived by fishing and agriculture. Ruled in turn by the Byzantine, Bulgarian and Ottoman Empires, Sozopol was assigned to the newly independent Bulgaria in the 19th century. At the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence (1821) prominent local personalities were arrested and executed by the Ottoman authorities due to participation in the preparations of the struggle.
Almost all of its Greek population was exchanged with Bulgarians from Eastern Thrace in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars. In 2011 the remainings of an ancient Greek settlement, part of Apollonia, were excavated in the small island of St. Kirik (Saint Cerycus) off Sozopolis.
Since 1984 Sozopol hosts the Apollonia art festivities every September, which include theatre shows, exhibitions, movies, musical and dance performances, book presentations and other cultural events.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Recent excavations have revealed parts of the ancient city including:
Many objects from antiquity, included imported luxury ceramics, red-figure pottery, sgraffito pottery, pottery lamps, loom weights, spindle parts, coins, amphora seals, arrow coins, ceramic game pieces, adornments. One of the most impressive finds was an Attica red-figure pottery krater, depicting the myth about Oedipus and the Sphinx. The krater is dated to the second quarter of the 5th century BC. Excavation teams also discovered, a ceramic askos dated back to the second half of the 6th century BC, and was “made in the tradition of grey monochrome Aeolian pottery", a 6th century BC home and other antiquity buildings, pottery and coins from both the antiquity period and the Middle Ages. Furthemore, have also identified the ruins of a medieval Christian chapel and have discovered several graves from a medieval necropolis that was used in two time periods – in the 11th century AD and then again in the 13th – 14th century AD. In a grave from the 11th century, the researchers have found two small crosses – one made of bronze and another one made of bone. They have also discovered three pits hewn into the rocks from the Classical Period of Ancient Greece containing materials from the 5th – 4th century BC.
Later, they discovered an ancient metallurgical plant from the 6th century BC located at an antiquity copper mine. While the ancient copper mining near Sozopol has been well researched, for the first time archaeologists have discovered ceramic kilns for melting the copper ore right on the edge of the mine in what resembles an Antiquity metallurgy facility.
Sozopol was Christianized early. Bishops are recorded as resident there from at least 431. At least eight bishops are known (Le Quien, Oriens christianus, I, 1181): Athanasius (431), Peter (680), Euthymius (787) and Ignatius (869); Theodosius (1357), Joannicius, who became Patriarch of Constantinople (1524), Philotheus (1564) and Joasaph (1721).
From being suffragan to the archbishopric of Hadrianopolis in Haemimonto, it became in the 14th century a metropolis without suffragan sees; it perhaps temporarily disappeared with the Turkish conquest, but reappeared later; in 1808 the Greek Orthodox Church united it to the see of Agathopolis. The titular resided at Agathopolis, in Ottoman days called Akhtébolou.
Eubel (Hierarchia catholica medii ævi, I, 194) mentions four Latin bishops of the 14th century.
Art flourished in the Christian era. The ancient icons and magnificent woodcarving in the iconostases are a remarkable accomplishment of the craftsmanship of these times. The architecture of the houses in the old town from the Renaissance period makes it a unique place to visit today.
During archaeological excavations in 2012 the remains of a skeleton pierced with an iron bar in the heart were found. It is believed that those are the remains of the local nobleman Krivich (or Krivitsa), ruler of the fortress of Sozopol (castrofilax). Believed to be a very cruel person, the locals made sure that he would not come back to haunt the city after his death by piercing him with an iron bar in the chest. There are more than 100 medieval funerals similar to that of Krivitsa found all over Bulgaria. The remains were pierced with either an iron or a wooden bar through the chest to make sure that the dead will not rise from the grave as a vampire.
The local football team is called FC Sozopol.
The 2013–14 Bulgarian Cup is the 32nd official season of the Bulgarian annual football knockout tournament. The competition will begin on 18 September 2013 with the matches of the First Round and will ended with the final on 15 May 2014. Beroe Stara Zagora were the defending champions, but lost to the eventual champions Ludogorets Razgrad in the second round.
The winners of the competition qualified for the second qualifying round of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League.2015 UEFA European Under-17 Championship
The 2015 UEFA European Under-17 Championship was the 14th edition of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship (33rd edition if the Under-16 era was also included), the annual European youth football competition contested by the men's under-17 national teams of the member associations of UEFA. Bulgaria hosted the tournament. The finals featured 16 teams for the first time since 2002, as the number of teams was increased from eight in the previous tournament. Players born on or after 1 January 1998 were eligible to participate in this competition.
The final tournament also acted as the UEFA qualifier for the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile, with six teams qualifying (the four semi-finalists and the two winners of play-off matches between the losing quarter-finalists).
Each match lasted 80 minutes, consisting of two halves of 40 minutes, with an interval of 15 minutes.2015–16 Bulgarian Cup
The 2015–16 Bulgarian Cup was the 34th official edition of the Bulgarian annual football knockout tournament. The competition began on 23 September 2015 with the matches of the First Round and finished with the final on 24 May 2016. Cherno More Varna were the defending champions.
For the first time in the history of this competition the winner, CSKA Sofia, came from the third division of Bulgarian football. However as the club was excluded from participating in the 2016–17 European competitions by the UEFA Club Financial Control Body., its place was taken up by the runners-up of the 2015–16 A Group, Levski Sofia, who is entitled to participate in the second qualifying round of the 2016–17 UEFA Europa League.2016–17 Bulgarian Cup
The 2016−17 Bulgarian Cup was the 35th official edition of the Bulgarian annual football knockout tournament. The competition began on 20 September 2016 with the first round and finished with the final on 24 May 2017. CSKA Sofia were the defending champions, but lost in the first round to Lokomotiv Sofia. Botev Plovdiv won its third cup, after winning the final against Ludogorets Razgrad. Botev, thus, qualified for the first qualifying round of the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League.2017 Davis Cup Europe Zone Group III
The Europe Zone was one of the four zones within Group 3 of the regional Davis Cup competition in 2017. The zone's competition was held in round robin format in Sozopol, Bulgaria, in April 2017. The two winning groups advanced to Europe/Africa Zone Group II in 2018.Antoni Ivanov
Antoni Ivanov (Bulgarian: Антони Иванов; born 11 September 1995) is a Bulgarian footballer who currently plays as a midfielder for Universitatea Craiova.Burgas Province
Burgas Province (Bulgarian: Област Бургас - Oblast Burgas, former name Burgas okrug) is a province in southeastern Bulgaria, including southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. The province is named after its administrative and industrial centre - the city of Burgas - the fourth biggest town in the country. It is the largest province by area, embracing a territory of 7,748.1 km2 (2,991.6 sq mi) that is divided into 13 municipalities with a total population, as of December 2009, of 422,319 inhabitants.Chernomorets
Chernomorets (Bulgarian: Черноморец) is a town on the Black Sea coast of southeastern Bulgaria. Administratively part of Sozopol Municipality, Burgas Province, Chernomorets is a popular seaside resort.
Chernomorets lies some 24 kilometres (15 mi) southeast of the provincial capital Burgas, at the south coast of Burgas Bay, the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast's largest bay. Until 1951, it was known as Sveti Nikola (Свети Никола, "Saint Nicholas"). Chernomorets means "Black Sea man".
Previously a village, it received town privileges on 2 December 2009 on the grounds that it met the demographic and infrastructure requirements due to its resort status. The town has a primary school, a kindergarten and a cultural centre (chitalishte).Chernomorets lies at the low northern slopes of the Strandzha mountain, between Cape Emine to the north and the Arkutino marshland to the south. To the east is St. Ivan Island, with Sozopol to the southeast of the town along the seaside road.
Chernomorets has an Eastern Orthodox church dedicated to the town patron Saint Nicholas. A landscaped garden called the "Garden of Eden" lies just in front of it.Deyan Hristov
Deyan Hristov (Bulgarian: Деян Христов; born 28 February 1983) is a Bulgarian football player who plays as a striker for Neftochimic.FC Sozopol
Sozopol (Bulgarian: Созопол) is a Bulgarian association football club based in Sozopol, currently playing in the Third League, the third level of Bulgarian football.Georgi Hashev
Georgi Hashev (Bulgarian: Георги Хашев; born 26 March 1990) is a Bulgarian footballer who currently plays as a defender for Tsarsko Selo.Georgi Radev
Georgi Radev (Bulgarian: Георги Радев; born 15 September 1994) is a Bulgarian footballer who currently plays as a defender for Spartak Varna.Iliyan Kapitanov
Iliyan Kapitanov (Bulgarian: Илиян Капитанов; born 25 January 1992) is a Bulgarian footballer who plays as a winger for Litex Lovech.John XII of Constantinople
John XII (? – after 1308) was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 1294 to 1303. John XII was born in Sozopolis on the western Black Sea coast (now Sozopol, Bulgaria). Prior to becoming patriarch, he was known as Kosmas. He crowned Michael IX as co-emperor on 21 May 1294.  He led a coalition of bishops against Andronicus II's attempt to use the power of the Church to suppress uprisings. 
Kostadin Stoyanov (Bulgarian: Костадин Стоянов; born 2 May 1986) is a Bulgarian footballer who plays as defender for Sozopol. Stoyanov is a central defender.Miroslav Koev
Miroslav Koev (Bulgarian: Мирослав Коев; born 22 April 1990) is a Bulgarian footballer who plays as a defender for Pomorie.Murad Ibrahim (footballer)
Murad Ibrahim (Bulgarian: Мурад Ибрахим; born 11 June 1987) is a Bulgarian footballer who plays as a defender for Sozopol.Sozopol Municipality
Sozopol Municipality (Bulgarian: Община Созопол, Obshtina Sozopol) is located in the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and borders Burgas Municipality and Primorsko Municipality. The coast stretches 51 km of which 17.1 km are excellent beaches. There are many small bays and peninsulas as well as several isles. The climate is favourable for growing different crops such as grapes, apples, peaches, cherries, strawberries and others. Sozopol is the biggest fishing port of the country with two major plants processing fish. Tourism is now the most important industry with more than 50,000 beds in the territory of the municipality. As of 2006 the population is 13,401.St. Thomas Island
St. Thomas Island (Bulgarian: остров св. Тома, ostrov sv. Toma) or Zmiyski ostrov (Змийски остров, Snake island)), is a Bulgarian island in the Black Sea, 15 kilometres (9 miles) south of Sozopol. It has an area of 0.012 square kilometres (0.005 square miles) (2.97 acres) and is one of a very few places in Bulgaria where wild cacti grow. The Opuntia cacti were brought from the Botanical Garden in Bratislava, Slovakia and planted by the royal botanist Ivan Buresh on the orders of Tsar Boris III in 1933. They have covered most of the island since then.St. Thomas Island is named after a chapel dedicated to Saint Thomas that once existed on it. Snake Island, the alternate name, refers to the abundant grey water snakes that inhabit it, feeding on fish. The island is part of the Ropotamo nature reserve and lies 0.2 nautical miles southeast of Humata Foreland in Arkutino Bay.The first archaeological expedition on the island began in 1955 and exposed the ruins of a small church and some auxiliary buildings. In a new archaeological expedition in 2018, archaeologists discovered an ancient Thracian settlement from the early Iron Age, ancient Thracian ritual pits, a Byzantine settlement from the 5th – 6th century AD, a small monastery from the 12th-14th century and a sunken fortress from ancient Thrace in the waters between the island and the Bulgarian mainland. Bulgaria’s National Museum of History said that “The exposed finds indicate that a large sea route shrine was located on the St. Thomas Island," added “The place was chosen for a reason since it was right off the ancient road from Sozopol (Apollonia Pontica) to Constantinople (at the time the ancient Greek colony of Byzantium),"
|Climate data for Sozopol (2004-2017)|
|Average high °C (°F)||6.4
|Daily mean °C (°F)||2.7
|Average low °C (°F)||−0.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||48
|Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm)||11.5||8.3||6.6||4.1||3.7||4.2||2.6||2.8||4.5||7.2||5.0||10.2||70.2|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||95||115||151||216||241||282||304||285||229||181||97||71||2,220|
|Average max. and min. temperatures in °F|
|Precipitation totals in inches|
Municipalities of Burgas Province
|Dobrujan Black Sea coast|
(Northern coast, Dobrich Province)
|Moesian Black Sea coast|
(Central coast, Varna Province)
|Thracian Black Sea coast|
(Southern coast, Burgas Province)