Nesebar

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"Mesembria" redirects here. For other uses, see Mesembria (disambiguation).
Nesebar
Несебър
Town
From top left: Northern harbour, Church of Christ Pantokrator, The wooden windmill on the isthmus, Church of St John Aliturgetos, Old house and town walls, Church of St Sophia, Southern bay of the old town
From top left: Northern harbour, Church of Christ Pantokrator, The wooden windmill on the isthmus, Church of St John Aliturgetos, Old house and town walls, Church of St Sophia, Southern bay of the old town
Nesebar is located in Bulgaria
Nesebar
Nesebar
Position of Nesebar in Bulgaria
Coordinates: 42°39′N 27°44′E / 42.650°N 27.733°E / 42.650; 27.733Coordinates: 42°39′N 27°44′E / 42.650°N 27.733°E / 42.650; 27.733
Country Bulgaria
Province Burgas
Government
 • Mayor Nikolay Dimitrov
Area
 • Total 31.852 km2 (12.298 sq mi)
Elevation 30 m (100 ft)
Population (15.12.2010)
 • Total 13,347
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal code 8230
Area code(s) 0554
Official name: Ancient City of Nessebar
Type: Cultural
Criteria: iii, iv
Designated: 1983 (7th session)
Reference No. 217
Region: Europe and North America

Nesebar (also transcribed as Nessebar or Nesebur, Bulgarian: Несебър, pronounced [nɛˈsɛbɐr], Thracian: Melsambria, Greek: Μεσημβρία, Mesembria) is an ancient town and one of the major seaside resorts on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, located in Burgas Province. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Nesebar Municipality. Often referred to as the "Pearl of the Black Sea" and "Bulgaria's Dubrovnik", Nesebar is a rich city-museum defined by more than three millennia of ever-changing history.

It is a one of the most prominent tourist destinations and seaports on the Black Sea, in what has become a popular area with several large resorts—the largest, Sunny Beach, is situated immediately to the north of Nesebar.

Nesebar has on several occasions found itself on the frontier of a threatened empire, and as such it is a town with a rich history. The ancient part of the town is situated on a peninsula (previously an island) connected to the mainland by a narrow man-made isthmus, and it bears evidence of occupation by a variety of different civilisations over the course of its existence. Its abundance of historic buildings prompted UNESCO to include Nesebar in its list of World Heritage Sites in 1983.

As of December 2009, the town has a population of 11,626 inhabitants.[1]

Name[edit]

The settlement was known in Greek as Mesembria (Greek: Μεσήμβρια), sometimes mentioned as Mesambria or Melsembria, the latter meaning the city of Melsas.[2] According to a reconstruction the name might derive from Thracian Melsambria.[3] Nevertheless, the Thracian origin of that name seems to be doubtful. Moreover, the tradition pertaining to Melsas, as founder of the city is tenuous and belongs to a cycle of etymological legends abundant among Greek cities. It also appears that the story of Melsas was a latter reconstruction of the Hellenistic era, when Mesembria was an important coastal city.[4]

History[edit]

Fortifications at the entrance of Nesebar

Antiquity[edit]

Originally a Thracian settlement, known as Menebria, the town became a Greek colony when settled by Dorians from Megara at the beginning of the 6th century BC, and was an important trading centre from then on and a rival of Apollonia (Sozopol). It remained the only Dorian colony along the Black Sea coast, as the rest were typical Ionian colonies. At 425-424 BC the town joined the Delian League, under the leadership of Athens.[5] Remains from the Hellenistic period include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, and an agora. A wall which formed part of the fortifications can still be seen on the north side of the peninsula. Bronze and silver coins were minted in the city since the 5th century BC and gold coins since the 3rd century BC. The town fell under Roman rule in 71 BC, yet continued to enjoy privileges such as the right to mint its own coinage.[6]

Medieval era[edit]

Mesembria Fortress plan

It was one of the most important strongholds of the Byzantine Empire from the 5th century AD onwards, and was fought over by Byzantines and Bulgarians, being captured and incorporated in the lands of the First Bulgarian Empire in 812 by Khan Krum after a two-week siege only to be ceded back to Byzantium by Knyaz Boris I in 864 and reconquered by his son Tsar Simeon the Great. During the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire it was also contested by Bulgarian and Byzantine forces and enjoyed particular prosperity under Bulgarian tsar Ivan Alexander (1331–1371) until it was conquered by Crusaders led by Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy in 1366. The Bulgarian version of the name, Nesebar or Mesebar, has been attested since the 11th century.

Monuments from the Middle Ages include the 5–6th century Stara Mitropoliya ("old bishopric"; also St Sophia), a basilica without a transept; the 6th century church of the Virgin; and the 11th century Nova Mitropoliya ("new bishopric"; also St Stephen) which continued to be embellished until the 18th century. In the 13th and 14th century a remarkable series of churches were built: St Theodore, St Paraskeva, St Michael St Gabriel, and St John Aliturgetos.

Ottoman rule[edit]

The capture of the town by the Turks in 1453 marked the start of its decline, but its architectural heritage remained and was enriched in the 19th century by the construction of wooden houses in style typical for the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast during this period. At the early 19th century many locals joined the Greek patriotic organization Filiki Eteria, while at the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence (1821) part of the town's youth participated in the struggle under Alexandros Ypsilantis.[7]

Nesebar was a kaza centre in İslimye sanjak of Edirne Province before 1878.[8]

Third Bulgarian state[edit]

After the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878, Nesebar became part of the autonomous Ottoman province of Eastern Rumelia as a kaza centre in Burgaz sanjak until it united with the Principality of Bulgaria in 1885. Around the end of the 19th century Nesebar was a small town of Greek fishermen and vinegrowers. In the early 20th century, the total population increased to 1,870.[7] It developed as a key Bulgarian seaside resort since the beginning of the 20th century. After 1925 a new town part was built and the historic Old Town was restored.

Churches[edit]

Nesebar is sometimes said to be the town with the highest number of churches per capita.[1], [2] Today, a total of forty churches survive, wholly or partly, in the vicinity of the town.[7] Some of the most famous include:

Whether built during the Byzantine, Bulgarian or Ottoman rule of the city, the churches of Nesebar represent the rich architectural heritage of the Eastern Orthodox world and illustrate the gradual development from Early Christian basilicas to medieval cross-domed churches.

Honour[edit]

Nesebar Gap on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Nesebar.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (English) Bulgarian National Statistical Institute - towns in 2009
  2. ^ Shuckburgh, edited by E.S. (1976). Herodotos, VI, Erato ([Reprinted]. ed.). Cambridge: University Press. p. 236. ISBN 9780521052481. 
  3. ^ Ivanov, Rumen Teofilov (2007). Roman cities in Bulgaria, Vol. 2. National Museum of Bulgarian Books and Polygraphy. p. 41. 
  4. ^ Nawotka, Krzysztof (1997). The Western Pontic cities: history and political organization. Hakkert. 
  5. ^ Petropoulos, Ilias. "Mesembria (Antiquity)". Εγκυκλοπαίδεια Μείζονος Ελληνισμού, Εύξεινος Πόντος. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  6. ^ http://conservationenvironment.weebly.com/
  7. ^ a b c Doncheva, Svetlana. "Mesimvria (Nesebar)". Εγκυκλοπαίδεια Μείζονος Ελληνισμού, Εύξεινος Πόντος. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  8. ^ http://acikarsiv.ankara.edu.tr/fulltext/3066.pdf

External links[edit]