Page update: 01 January 2000

Obzor

At a point roughly midway between Bourgas and Varna, the E-87 highwayemerges from the hilly wooded terrain into a brief open coastal stretch aroundObzor. Despite the town's convenient location and six-kilometer long sandybeach (the largest between Golden Sands and Sunny Beach), thisremarkably pleasant spot is surprisingly uncrowded even during peak season.

The origins of the town, which the ancient Greeks knew as Heliopolis ("townof the sun"), can be seen in the small park which is lined with columns andstatuary fragments from a Roman temple to Jupiter which once graced thespot. The Romans also built a fortress in the vicinity to protect their seatrading routes between Constantinople and the Danube. Medieval Bulgarians constructed their own Kozyak fortress nearby.

WHAT TO DO
Seeing as how it would take an experienced archaeologist to locate the remains of either of the ancient fortresses, the best thing to do is relax and kick back on the extensive beach. When boredom sets in, head six kilometers north to Biala. Founded in the 3rd century BC, Biala today is a mix of traditional working village and tourist resort and appears more prosperous than most Bulgarian villages, undoubtedly due to the thriving local wine industry. It also boasts an impressive setting atop bluffs that end abruptly at the water's edge. Stairs lead down to a secluded beach that curves north toward rocky Cape Atanas; to the south, another promontory separates the small sandy strip from the much longer beach at Obzor. VICINITY South of Obzor, the highway courses for 14 kilometers through open vineyards and the heavily wooded Balkan range to Cape Emine, which overlooks the Bay of Nessebur. Bulgaria's stormiest cape has a lighthouse and the ruins of a medieval fortress and monastery. Today, a deserted church is the only remaining structure. The nearby hamlet of Emona had a Thracian sanctuary and, later, a temple to Jupiter. The name of the medieval Bulgarian fortress, Emona, was derived from Aemon, the ancient name for the Balkan Mountains.

Obzor is a major rest stop for buses and vans from Bourgas and Varna that regularly ply the north-south coastal highway, so getting there from either direction is not a problem.