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Nessebar

(Bulgarian: Несебър, variously transliterated), previously known as Mesembria (Greek: Μεσημβρια) and before that as Menebria, is an ancient city on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria, located in Nesebar municipality, Burgas Province.

In modern times, Nesebar is a major tourist attraction in what has become a popular area with several large resorts—the largest, Sunny Beach, is situated immediately to the north of Nesebar.

Nesebar has on several occasions found itself on the frontier of a threatened empire, and as such it is a town with a rich history. The ancient part of the town is situated on a peninsula connected to the mainland by a man-made isthmus, and it bears evidence of occupation by a variety of different civilisations over the course of its existence. Its abundance of historic buildings prompted UNESCO to inscribe Nesebar on its list of World Heritage Sites in 1983.

History

Church of Christ Pantocrator Enlarge Church of Christ Pantocrator Church of St John Aliturgetos Enlarge Church of St John Aliturgetos Wooden houses on Nesebar's peninsula Enlarge Wooden houses on Nesebar's peninsula Originally a Thracian settlement known as Menebria, the town became a Greek colony at the beginning of the 6th century BC, and was an important trading centre from then on. Remains from the Hellenistic period include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, and an agora. A wall which formed part of the Greek fortifications can still be seen on the north side of the peninsula.

The town fell under Roman rule in 71 BC, yet continued to enjoy privileges such as the right to mint its own coinage. It was one of the most important strongholds of the Byzantine Empire from the 5th century AD onwards, and was fought over by Byzantines and Bulgarians, being captured in 812 by Khan Krum after a two week siege.

Monuments from the Middle Ages include the 9th-century Stara Mitropolia, a basilica without a transept; the 10th-century church of the Virgin; and the 11th-century Nova Mitropolia, which continued to be embelished until the 18th century. In the 13th and 14th century a remarkable series of churches were built: St Theodore, St Paraskeva, St Michael and St Gabriel, and St John Aliturgetos.

The capture of the town by the Turks from the Byzantine Empire in 1453 marked the start of its decline, but its architectural heritage remained and was enriched in the 19th century by the construction of wooden houses in the Eastern Rumelian Greek style typical for the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast during this period.