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The Balchik Palace (Bulgarian: Дворец в Балчик, Dvorets v Balchik; Romanian: Castelul din Balcic) is a palace in the Bulgarian Black Sea town and resort of Balchik in Southern Dobruja. The official name of the palace was the Quiet Nest Palace. It was constructed between 1926 and 1937, during the Romanian control of the region, for the needs of Queen Marie of Romania. The palace complex consists of a number of residential villas, a smoking hall, a wine cellar, a power station, a monastery, a holy spring, a chapel and many other buildings, as well as most notably a park that is today a state-run botanical garden. Balchik Palace is 17 metres (56 ft) above sea level.
Marie of Romania, the wife of Ferdinand I of Romania, visited Balchik in 1921 and liked the location of the summer residence, ordering the vineyards, gardens and water mills of local citizens to be bought so a palace could be constructed at their place. Balkan and Oriental motifs were used in the construction of the palace that was carried out by Italian architects Augustino and Americo, while a florist was hired from Switzerland to arrange the park. The main building's extravagant minaret coexists with a Christian chapel, perfectly illustrating the queen's Bahá'í beliefs.
Today many of the former royal villas and other buildings of the complex are reorganized inside and used to accommodate tourists. Some of the older Bulgarian water mills have also been preserved and reconstructed as restaurants or tourist villas.
In 1940, after the reincoporation of Southern Dobruja in Bulgaria with the Treaty of Craiova, the Balchik Botanical Garden was established at the place of the palace's park. It has an area of 65,000 square metres (700,000 sq ft) and accommodates 2000 plant species belonging to 85 families and 200 genera. One of the garden's main attractions is the collection of large-sized cactus species arranged outdoors on 1,000 square metres (11,000 sq ft), the second of its kind in Europe after the one in Monaco. Other notable species include the Metasequoia, the Para rubber tree and the Ginkgo.
- Dvoreca.com, official website (in Bulgarian and English)
- Gallery of the Balchik Palace at Balchik.info
- Info end history at Balcic.eu
- Balchik Palace at Journey.bg (in Bulgarian)
- Gallery of Balchik at the Jurnalul Naţional website (mostly covering the palace; in Romanian)
- Nikola Gruev's gallery of the palace
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- BulgariaLeisure.com, Tourism Information Portal (in Bulgarian and English)