Sport wonders 2014

The Wonders of Bulgaria – Sozopol!
The Wonders of Bulgaria – Sozopol!
The Wonders of Bulgaria – Sozopol!
The Wonders of Bulgaria – Sozopol!
The Wonders of Bulgaria – Sozopol!
The Wonders of Bulgaria – Sozopol!
The Wonders of Bulgaria – Sozopol!
The Wonders of Bulgaria – Sozopol!

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Sozopol,

People started living on the small Black Sea peninsula, where nowadays the famous city of Sozopol stands, about 7500 years ago. In Greek, the word Sozopol means “The saved city”, probably because it has survived devastating barbarian attacks in the first centuries after Christ.

Nowadays, the ancient city-port’s citizens walk along the same streets and catch fish in their wooden boats the same way as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. When they try to build something, they find past ages’ remnants (pottery, timber pieces, copper ore, gods’ statuettes, even a skull full of coins) in their excavations. The majority of findings are dated back to Antiquity when Sozopol, bearing the name of Apolonia Pontica, was a flourishing polis, a colony of Ancient Greek city of Millet in Asia Minor.

Photos: Georgi Georgiev

But the most interesting discovery of the last years was made on a nearby island, the Island of Sveti Ivan (Saint John). The island was given this name because in the Middle Ages there was a big monastery dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The monastery was a summer residence for the Byzantine patriarchs and later – Bulgarian royal monastery.

Photos: Sozopol Foundation

Under ruined 5th century basilica’s altar, the archeologists found a small box (reliquary) with St. John the Baptist’s bone pieces. But the excavation of another “traveling” reliquary nearby was even more interesting. The inscription on the latter said that someone, named Toma (Thomas), had carried the relics from Constantinople to the island. We still don’t know if the name Sveti Toma (Saint Thomas) of another nearby island (there was a chapel dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostole) has anything to do with this man or it’s just a coincidence.

Снимки: Sozopol Foundation

In 1453 citizens of Sozopol surrendered voluntarily to the Ottoman army and thus saved their lives, houses, and monasteries. The sultan made the city his own property and forbid Muslims to settle there, in order for himself to be able to gain tax from the rich port (he could not gather any taxes from Muslims). This fact though didn’t save the famous peninsula from the Kazak pirates’ attacks. In 1623, they sacked even St. John the Baptist Monastery and it ceased to exist. The legend has it that the pirates hid up their treasures in the underwater caves in Snake Island’s inaccessible rocks (this is how the locals called St. Thomas Island).

Снимки: Sozopol Foundation

For the time being, treasure searchers find only a big quantity of water snakes and wreckage of different attackers’ and conquerors’ sunken ships. Those ships lie deeply at the sea bottom and up - Sozpol welcomes thousands of adventurers from around the world.

Снимки: Sozopol Foundation

Photos: Georgi Georgiev

Sozopol  - in the years 1920 - 1930. Fishermen gather dried fish from the rocks
Sozopol, year 1960-1970
Sozopol, the beggining of 20 century
Sozopol port, year 1979
Sozopol, year 1920
Sozopol, year 1970

Photos: Peio Kolev, The Lost Bulgaria

Watch video for Sozopol

The movie is produced by the Bulgarian National Television

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