March 15, 2013

0555-0557 BULGARIA (Burgas) - Ancient City of Nessebar (UNESCO WHS)

For miles, the road from Varna to Nessebar creeps like a snake along the coast, through the forests where coniferous and deciduous mix like the ethnic groups in the Balkans. But that's not what saw with three millennia ago the Thracians, who came from inland to built the settlement named Menebria, neither the Greeks, who came from the sea to lay the foundations of the prosperous colony named Mesembria. In 71 BC the town fell under Roman rule, yet continued to enjoy privileges, and from the 5th century AD onwards had become one of the most important strongholds of the Byzantine Empire. In the following centuries it passed several times from the hands of the Byzantines in those of the Bulgarians, and even of the Crusaders in 1366. The Bulgarian version of the name, Nesebar or Mesebar, has been attested since the 11th century. Conquered by the Ottomans in the same year as Constantinople (1453), it gradually declined until returned to Bulgaria in 1885, becoming since the beginning of the 20th century a key Bulgarian seaside resort.

As an "outstanding testimony of multilayered cultural and historical heritage", a place where many civilizations left their tangible traces, from the Dorians Black Sea colony's structures, with surviving remains of fortifications, to the churches from the Middle Ages and the vernacular wooden houses built in the 19th century, Nessebar was included in 1983 on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, under the name Ancient City of Nessebar. Nessebar is sometimes said to be the town with the highest number of churches per capita, because a total of forty churches had survive, wholly or partly, in the vicinity of the town. The ancient part of the town is situated on a little peninsula, previously an island, linked with the mainland with only a relatively narrow passageway.

One of them is the Church of Christ Pantocrator (in the second postcard), constructed in the 13th-14th century and best known for its exterior decoration, rich and colourful. Designed in late Byzantine cross-in-square style, was builded from stones and brickwork, a construction technique known as opus mixtum. Used today as art gallery, is among Bulgaria's best preserved churches of the Middle Ages.

The Old Windmill shown in the third postcard, located on the passageway from New Nessebar to Old Nessebar, is a lovely, very intact Black Sea style wildmill. Aren't known too much about it, but it's supposed that was built in the Bulgarian revival period from the 17th to the 19th century. The building have a rough style, the design being entirely functional. The windmill base reveals a wooden guiderail and direct wood-to-wood contact.

About the stamps
On the first and second postcard
The stamps on the first and the second postcards, depicting a head-shaped jug, belongs to the set Gold Artefacts from Panagyurishte, about which I wrote here.

On the third postcard
The first stamp, depicting a Noctua tertia, is part of a definitives series entitled Night Butterflies about which I wrote here.

The second is part of the definitives series Historical sights, fountains (2nd part), issued on August 8,1999, and designed by Petar Petrounov:
• Sopot Monastery Fountain (0.01 BGN)
• Paunova Cheshma (0.08 BGN)
• Singing Fountain Koprivshtitsa (0.10 BGN) - it's on this postcard
• Fountain Sandnasnki (0.18 BGN)
• Buhalov Fountain Karlovo (0.20 BGN) - it's on other postcard
• Sokolski Monastery (0.60 BGN)

The third stamp belongs also to the set Gold Artefacts from Panagyurishte, about which I wrote here.

This is a post for Postcard Friendship Friday #159, hosted on Beth's blog The Best Hearts are Crunchy. Click on the button below to visit all the other participants.

Nesebar - Wikipedia
Ancient City of Nessebar - UNESCO official website
Church of Christ Pantocrator, Nesebar - Wikipedia
The Old Windmill in Nessebar (Bulgaria) -

sender 1, 2: Dănuţ Ivănescu
sent from Nessebar (Burgas / Bulgaria), on 04.09.2012
sender 3: Fidel Angelov (direct swap)
sent from Sofia (Bulgaria), on 10.06.2012
photo: Boyko Kalev
design: Vlado Prangov


  1. What an incredibly wonderful place. I love the first postcard the best--this ancient place looks like a flower on the waters.

    Have a wonderful day, and happy PFF!

  2. Replies

    1. Thank you very much for the appreciations.