Sozopol - Culture and History
Sozopol is one of the oldest towns on Bulgarian Thrace's Black Sea coast. The first settlement on the site dates back to the Bronze Age. Undersea explorations in the region of the port reveal relics of dwellings, ceramic pottery, stone and bone tools from that era. Many anchors from the second and first millennium BC have been discovered in the town's bay, a proof of active shipping since ancient times.
The town, at first called Antheia, was colonized in Thrace on the shore of the Pontus Euxinus, principally on a little island, by Anaximander (born 610-609 BC) at the head of Milesian colonists. The name was soon changed to Apollonia, on account of a temple dedicated to Apollo in the town, containing a famous colossal statue of the god Apollo by Calamis, 30 cubits high, transported later to Rome by Lucullus and placed in the Capitol. At various times, Apollonia was known as Apollonia Pontica (that is Apollonia on the Black Sea, the ancient Pontus Euxinus) and Apollonia Magna (Great Apollonia). The symbol of the town – the anchor, present on all coins minted by Apollonia since the sixth century BC, is proof of the importance of its maritime trade.
In 1328 Cantacuzene speaks of the town with its new name Sozopolis (in Turkish Sizebolu, in Bulgarian Sozopol) as a large and populous town. Its inhabitants, in the past mostly Greeks, lived by fishing and agriculture.
The town established itself as a trade and naval centre in the following centuries. It kept strong political and trade relations with the cities of Ancient Greece – Miletus, Athens, Corinth, Heraclea Pontica and the islands Rhodes, Chios, Lesbos, etc. Its trade influence in the Thracian territories was based on a treaty with the rulers of the Odrysian kingdom dating from the fifth century BC.
Occupied in turn by Byzantines, Bulgarians and Ottomans, Sozopol was assigned to the newly independent Bulgaria in the 19th century.
Art flourished in the Christian era. The ancient icons and magnificent woodcarving in the iconostases are a remarkable accomplishment of the craftsmanship of these times. The architecture of the houses in the old town from the Renaissance period (some of them are national monuments) makes it a unique place to visit today.
- The Art Gallery
- Laskaridy Gallery
- The Archaeological Museum
- The Ethnographical Museum
- The Museum "South Fortress Wall"
- Saint George Church
- Saint Zosim Church
- Holy Virgin Church