Varna is the largest port city and the third largest city in Bulgaria. It is an important transportation hub connecting Europe and Asia, managing 50 percent of the maritime trade in Bulgaria. In addition, it houses the country’s second largest airport, servicing airline routes to more than 100 cities.
Varna plays an important role in Bulgaria’s economic development, including the industries of transportation, tourism, construction and communications. The city is proud of its success in the ship building, machinery manufacturing, food processing, motor manufacturing, chemical, textile, glass and ceramics industries.
Nowadays it serves as the main port for both naval and commercial shipping, located adjacent to the coastal resorts of Golden Sands, St. Constantine (Drouzhba) and Albena.
The Greeks were the first to establish a colony on the previously uninhabited land, naming the settlement “Odessos” around 580 B.C. Later, under the rule of the Romans and their successors, Varna became a major trading port alongside Constantinople, Venice and Dubrovnik. In 1393, it was occupied by the Turks, who transformed the city into an important military center.
The 19th century Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin is one of the city’s impressive landmarks, containing a finely carved iconostasis, bishop's throne, interesting murals and stained glass.
The 2nd century thermae are the remains of the largest Roman public bath houses in Bulgaria. Discovering ancient buildings amid the streets and houses of the modern city is not unusual in Bulgaria, but it is always a delight.
Further from the center, a granite monument commemorates the Battle of Varna which took place in 1444. Here, 30,000 crusaders were waiting to sail to Constantinople when they were attacked by 120,000 Turks.
Ningbo and Varna signed an official agreement becoming sister cities on June 21, 2004.