Exploring cultural Heritage in Varna, Bulgaria

“Exploring culture heritage in Varna, Bulgaria – 100+ years of history and life”

The present case study represents the cultural and historic identity of Varna, Bulgaria as the biggest city in the Black Sea coasts which hosts thousands of tourists annually.  The main objective is to provide sufficient information of culture heritage in the city development for the training needs of municipals, experts and specialists in tourism, guides, tourist operators and those working in tourism.

It is a tourist route encompassing several trail stops in the center of Varna, which can be reached and visited by walking and to be acquainted with the historic development of the city. Some of the main culture heritage monuments are to be promoted in a way highlighting the social and emotional sense and historic interpretation.

Varna is a touristic city visited by thousands of people who are getting known with the main attractions, significant buildings and monuments especially in the city centre where the majority of assets are concentrated.  This is the reason the tenth objects to be identified and presented within the concept of the economic and industrial revival of Varna as a commercial and maritime city.

Training schedule and training activities:



  • External lecture – Needs of capacity building and learning attitude.
  • General presentation of Varna and the region – main characteristics, economic sectors, services, local peculiarities.
  • Tourist assets of culture heritage in Varna as domains for advertising and better promotion.  
  • Development of Varna during the last 120+ years focusing on the industrial, economic, tourist and social revival

Onsite visit

  • Visit of tourist symbolic monuments in the centre
  • The Assumption of Holy Mother Cathedral – the construction of which was funded by donors and lottery of tickets distributed in the country and abroad. Built by the initiative of Prince Alexander Battenberg.
  • The Tower Clock – that used to serve the fireman in the late XIXC. as it was the highest building in the city. It is a symbol of time and eternity and a place where meetings take place as well as a place for performances, concerts, etc.  
  • Stoyan Bachvarov Drama Theatre – undoubtedly the unique monument of Varna which was built by the very active involvement of local community in a fundraising campaign through fund postmarks with every piece of bread, every ticket for cinema, for amusement, for sun bathing, etc.
  • Discussion about culture heritage promotion as a mean to local and regional identification within the tourist concept.



  • External lecture – The role of stakeholders in the successful cultural/heritage management
  • Practical showcases of stakeholder involvement in development of local tourist products, offer services by the tourism related companies.
  • Presentation of the pilot project “100 years in 60 minutes” as a tourist route in Varna encompassing 10 significant monuments which represent the industrial, economic, maritime and social revival of the city and turn it into a commercial center in the region.  
  • Perspectives for culture historic interpretation from the regional point of view – liaisons between local and regional tourist routes. Presentation of regional tourist routes “The different experience” which have been developed to promote cultural and historic sites in six municipalities neighboring Varna.     

Onsite visit

  • Visit the old part of Varna – populated in XIX c. mainly by Jewish, Greek and Armenian communities and feel the multicultural homogeneity at that time. Presentation of the main historic monuments in the territory:
  • The Ethnographical Museum – situated in a Renaissance “symmetric” house built in 1860 and represents the variety and culture and lifestyle of the people in the end of XIXC. and beginning of XX C. The museum reveals a rich exhibition of traditional costumes, fineries and cloth embroideries in the region.
  • The Roman Baths of Odessos – the oldest architectural monument, preserved from the ancient Odessos on an area of 7500 square meters. The well preserved hypocaust system, rooms for hot and cold water and the water pools can be founded here. Roman baths were the largest public baths built in the IIc.AD during the Roman Empire.
  • Varna History Museum – established to show the industrial development and transformation of Varna into an important, commercial, transport and maritime center in the country.  The museum signifies the course of the local population had transformed from a pure “rural” society into a real “civil” citizenship with a strong internationalization and new economic sectors in the XIX C.
  • The Maritime Museum – officially opened in 1923 as the first public maritime museum in Bulgaria. This museum represents and promotes marine and naval history of Bulgaria and is connected and the first underwater archaeological research.
  • St. Atanasius Church, Assumption of Holy Mother of God Church – both situated near the Roman Baths.


Onsite visit

  • Visit of the Church St. Nikolas the Miracle Maker (the Thaumaturge) – declared as the only sea temple in Bulgaria which was built in 1865. The building of the church made happened upon taken vow before God and before protector of sailors St. Nicholas.  Christening of sea men was made only in this temple and sensibly an anchor (a unique sea symbol) has been set in front of it.
  • Visit of the Archaeological Museum – founded in 1887, when the museum performance was founded in Varna. Built for the needs of the Girls’ High School the building was lately transformed as a museum due to the uniqueness of the Neo-Renaissance construction of the premises and yards. The Museum represents the unique preserved artefacts with the oldest gold treasure in the world founded here, Varna necropolis, etc.  


  • Involvement of young people in tourism management.  Presentation of practical approach and showcases of youth involvement in the InnoWave – the initiative and activities carried out within the concept of Varna European Youth Capital 2017.
  • Financial management and fundraising opportunities  – use of national funding, EU programmes, funding schemes, local funding, sponsorships.

Practical exercise

  • Work in teams of 3-4 people (or split by countries) to develop a culture heritage route based on the knowledge and experience gained through the lectures and study visits.  Optional: the national peculiarities should be taken into account in the group work is made by countries.
  • Brief presentations of projects.
  • Discussion of the outcomes. Evaluation.