Coat of arms
Location of Balchik
|• Mayor||Nikolay Angelov|
|Elevation||199 m (653 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
Balchik (Bulgarian: Балчик [bɐɫˈt͡ʃik]) is a Black Sea coastal town and a seaside resort in the Southern Dobruja area of northeastern Bulgaria. It is located in Dobrich Province, 35 km southeast of Dobrich and 42 km northeast of Varna. The town sprawls scenically along hilly terraces descending from the Dobruja plateau to the sea. It is often called "The white city" because of the white color of the hills.
Founded as a Thracian settlement, it was later colonised by the Ionian ancient Greeks with the name Krounoi (Ancient Greek: Κρουνοί) (renamed as Dionysopolis (Ancient Greek: Διονυσόπολις), after the discovery of a statue of Dionysus in the sea). Later became a Greek-Byzantine and Bulgarian fortress. Under the Ottoman Empire, the town came to be known with its present name, which perhaps derived from a Gagauz word meaning "small town". Another opinion is that its actual name derived from that of a local noble - Balik.
Karvuna is the old Bulgarian name of the ancient Dionysopol (now Balchik). The external resemblance to the name of the modern town of Kavarna is an occasion for some local historians to identify them, but the archeological and historical data are not in favor of this statement. Karvuna was the capital of the Karvuna region - so called Dobrogea in the Middle Ages until the arrival of the Turks. The remains of the castle of the boyars Balik and Dobrotitsa were found above the city hospital of Balchik in the "Horizon" district (Gemidzhiya), but were almost erased by natural processes. In the Vasil Levski neighborhood there are remains of the great fortress of Karvuna, built by the Byzantines and used by them and by the Bulgarians during the First Bulgarian Kingdom. Later, due to the difficulties in defending the vast fortress located in the plain and the lack of a view of the sea, the Bulgarians built a citadel, from which are preserved modest remains of the highest hill in the city - "Echo" (Jenny Bair), and the boyar Balik inhabits the said castle opposite it on the hill above the present hospital, south of the great fortress, which the centuries have now completely obliterated. Dobrotitsa, after ruling for some time here, moved the capital of the Karvun despotate from Karvuna to Kaliakra.
After the liberation of Bulgaria in 1878, Balchik developed as centre of a rich agricultural region, wheat-exporting port, and district (okoliya) town, and later, as a major tourist destination with the beachfront resort of Albena to its south.
After the Second Balkan War, in 1913, the town was renamed Balcic and became part of the Kingdom of Romania. It was regained by Bulgaria during World War I (1916–1919), but Romania restored its authority when hostilities in the region ceased. In 1940, just before the outbreak of World War II in the region, Balchik was ceded by Romania to Bulgaria by the terms of the Craiova Treaty.
During Romania's administration, the Balchik Palace was the favourite summer residence of Queen Marie of Romania and her immediate family. The town is the site of Marie's Oriental villa, the place where her heart was kept, in accordance with her last wishes, until 1940 (when the Treaty of Craiova awarded the region back to Bulgaria). It was then moved to Bran Castle, in central Romania. Today, the Balchik Palace and the adjacent Balchik Botanical Garden are the town's most popular landmarks and a popular tourist sightseeing destination.
During the inter-war period, Balchik was also a favorite destination for Romanian avant-garde painters, lending his name to an informal school of post-impressionist painters – the Balcic School of Painting - which is central in the development of Romanian 20th-century painting. Many works of the artists composing the group depict the town's houses and the Turkish inhabitants, as well as the sea.
The city's population is 11,051 people (data from National Statistics Institute - Bulgaria, 2018). The total population of Balchik municipality is 19,331.
According to an estimate by Bulgarian historian Rayna Gavrilova the Bulgarian population before 1878 was only around 10%.
The ethnic composition has gradually changed from mostly Gagauz and Tatar/Turkish to predominantly Bulgarian. According to the latest 2011 census data, Balchik's ethnic composition is the following:
Held each year since 1991, "The Process – Space Art Festival" is an annual international festival of Contemporary Art, which takes place over two weeks in June. Balchik Palace also hosts In the Palace International Short Film Festival.
Held annually each summer since 2006 in the nearby town of Kavarna, the Kavarna Rock Fest hosts top-name bands for a three-day festival. Previous acts have included Motorhead, Twisted Sister, Motley Crew, Scorpions, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, and the Michael Schenker Group.
Since a few years the major has cancelled the Kavarna Rock Fest due to different music preference.
Balchik is becoming well known internationally as a golfing destination. There are three 18-hole championship golf courses within the local vicinity, two designed by Gary Player - Thracian Cliffs GC and BlackSeaRama GC; and one designed by Ian Woosnam - Lighthouse GC. A fourth 18-hole golf course is currently in the planning stages.
„Cherno More" Street
An Orthodox Church in Balchik
Aerial overview of Balchik
The Coast of Balchik
The gardens of the Balchik Palace
The Baths of Balchik Palace
Balchik's main street going down the harbor
A costal view of Balchik's private hotels
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