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Top: View of Slaveikov district in Night, 2nd left: Marine Casino Center in Burgas Sea Garden, 2nd middle: A fountain in Tsaritsa Ioanna Square, 2nd right: View of Clock in Transportana shopping area, 3rd left: Panteona Complex Building, 3rd upper middle: Bogorids Street, 3rd lower middle: St. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, 3rd right: Burgas Art Gallery, 4th: View of Burgas Sand Sculptures event in Sea Garden, Bottom: The Pier at the Burgas Central Beach
Top: View of Slaveikov district in Night, 2nd left: Marine Casino Center in Burgas Sea Garden, 2nd middle: A fountain in Tsaritsa Ioanna Square, 2nd right: View of Clock in Transportana shopping area, 3rd left: Panteona Complex Building, 3rd upper middle: Bogorids Street, 3rd lower middle: St. Cyril and Methodius Cathedral, 3rd right: Burgas Art Gallery, 4th: View of Burgas Sand Sculptures event in Sea Garden, Bottom: The Pier at the Burgas Central Beach
Flag of Bourgas
Coat of arms of Bourgas
Coat of arms
Nickname(s): The city of sea and lakes
The city of the dreams
Bourgas is located in Bulgaria
Location of Bourgas
Coordinates: Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
Country Bulgaria
Province (Oblast) Burgas
Municipality Burgas
 • Mayor Dimitar Nikolov
 • City 253.644 km2 (97.932 sq mi)
Elevation 30 m (100 ft)
Population (2014-31-12)[1]
 • City Increase 200 344 (within city limits)
 • Urban Decrease 211,033 (municipality)
Time zone EET (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)
Postal Code 8000-8034
Area code(s) +359 056
Website Official website

Bourgas or Burgas (Bulgarian: Бургас, pronounced [burˈɡas]) is the second-largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and the fourth-largest in Bulgaria after Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna, with a population of 200,271 inhabitants, according to the 2011 census.[2] It is the capital of Burgas Province and an important industrial, transport, cultural and tourist centre.

The city is surrounded by the Burgas Lakes and located at the westernmost point of the Black Sea, at the large Burgas Bay. The LUKOIL Neftochim Burgas is the largest oil refinery in southeastern Europe and the largest industrial enterprise. The Port of Burgas is the largest port in Bulgaria, and Burgas Airport is the second-most important in the country. Bourgas is the center of the Bulgarian fishing and fish processing industry.[3]


Burgas as seen from space

A similar literal composition have the cities Burgos in Spain and numerous cities containing the Germanic burg "city" such as Hamburg. It is widely considered, including by the official website of Bourgas, that the name of the city is derived from the Latin word "burgos" as meaning a "tower", after a local ancient Roman travel post, which used to be in the area of today's Bourgas Port. 15 centuries later, the settlement was mentioned by the Byzantine poet Manuel Phil as "Pyrgos" (Greek: Πύργος), a word identical in meaning with the Latin word for tower.[4][5] There are several alternative explanations for the name's origin. By one of them, the city's name comes from Gothic name "baurgs" as meaning "signified consolidated walled villages".[6] According to Bulgarian prof. Kiril Vlahov, the name of the city comes from the Thracian word "pyurg" as meaning "fortification of wooden beams". It is also suggested that the name ultimately comes from the name of khan Burtaz (683-633 BC).



Bourgas is situated in the westernmost point of the bay of the same name and in the eastern part of the Burgas Plain, in the east of the Upper Thracian Plain. Bourgas is located 389 kilometres (242 mi) from Sofia, 272 km (169 mi) from Plovdiv, and 335 km (208 mi) from Istanbul. To the west, south and north, the city is surrounded by the Burgas Lakes: Burgas, Atanasovsko and Mandrensko, which are home to several hundred bird species. Pan-European corridor 8 passes through the city,[7] the European routes E87 and E773, and the longest national rout I/6.

The St. Anastasia Island is a part of the city.


Bourgas has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with some maritime and continental influences. The summertime in Bourgas lasts about five months from mid-May until late September. Average temperatures during high season is 24 °C. Summertime sea temperatures stay around 23 °C-24 °C at sunrise and go up to 29 °C-30 °C at dawns, averaging 26 °C. Winters are mild compared with the inland part of the country, with average temperature of 4 °C-5 °C and rarely droping below 0 °C. The highest temperature was recorded in August 2003, at 42.8 °C and the lowest at -17.8 °C in January, 1952.

Climate data for Bourgas, Bulgaria (1952-1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 6.5
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.1
Average low °C (°F) −1.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 44.3
Average precipitation days 10.8 8.3 8.6 7.3 5.9 4.4 3.0 2.2 4.9 7.9 7.0 10.5 80.8
Average relative humidity (%) 80.2 77.6 75.3 76.4 76 73.4 70.9 71.4 72.2 77.1 79.2 80.6 75.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 77.5 89.6 127.1 177.0 248.0 273.0 328.6 303.8 243.0 164.3 99.0 62.0 2,193
Source: Climatebase.ru[8]

Flora and fauna

The Bourgas Wetlands are highly recognized for their significance to biodiversity and as a resource pool for products used by people.

Lake Bourgas is Bulgaria's largest lake and is in the middle of the city. It is important for migrating birds. Over 250 species of birds inhabit the lake area, 61 of which are endangered in Bulgaria and 9 globally, attracting keen birdwatchers from all over the world. The lakes are also home to important fish and invertebrates. In the site have been recorded several IUCN Red-Listed species of animals — 5 invertebrates, 4 fish, 4 amphibians, 3 reptiles, 5 birds and 3 mammals. Situated along the second largest migration path of birds in Europe, the Via Pontica, the site is an important stopover and staging site for a large number of water-birds, raptors and passerines. Yearly during migration and wintering more than 20,000 (up to 100,000) waterbirds congregate there.[9]

The Atanasovo Lake is one of two salt-water lakes in the Black Sea region and contains rare and representative examples of wetland habitats. It is a hot spot for biodiversity, with many Red-Listed species of plants and animals. It is a well-known bottleneck site for migratory birds, with around 60,000 raptors and 240,000 storks, pelicans and cranes passing over the site and often landing in large numbers for staging. The highest numbers in Europe of migrating White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus), Dalmatian Pelicans (Pelecanus crispus), Marsh Harriers (Circus aeruginosus) and Red-footed Falcons (Falco vespertinus) have been recorded here.[9]

Protected areas

Administrative division

Bourgas is divided into the following neighbourhoods:

With a decision from the Counsel of Ministers in 2009, the villages of Banevo and Vetren were incorporated into Bourgas.

Currently a new city plan is being considered which will open the city to the sea and includes several residential neighbourhoods and a new highway junction.


Alexander Severus coin from the Colonia Flavia Deultemsium

The earliest signs of life in the region date back 3000 years, to the Bronze Age and the early Iron Age. The favorable conditions on the fertile plain, around the sea, have brought people here from early antiquity. The biggest mark was left by the Thracians who made the region rich in archaeological finds (from around 4th c B.C.). This includes their sanctuary at Beglik Tash along the south coast and a burial mound near Sunny Beach. They built the mineral baths of Aqua Calidae and the fortress Tyrsis.[4][5]

Under Darius I became part of the Achaemenid Empire, before the Odrysian kingdom was built. Greeks from Apollonia built in area of Sladkite kladenzi (today Pobeda-neighbourhood) a marketplace for trade with the Tracians kings.

During the rule of the Ancient Romans, near Burgas, Colonia Flavia Deultemsium (or Dibaltum, or Develtum) was established as a military colony for veterans by Vespasian. The Romans built the Colonia on the main road Via Pontica. It was the second most important city in the province Haemimontus.

In 376 the Goths destroyed an elite Roman company near Develtum.[10]

Bulgarian and Byzantine Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages, there were important settlements in the area: the fortress Skafida, Poros, Rusokastron (Battle of Rusokastro), the Baths called Aqua Calidae and used by Byzantine, Bulgarian and Ottoman Emperors; a small fortress called Pyrgos was erected where Burgas is today and was most probably used as a watchtower. Under the Byzantine Empire it became an important city on the Black Sea coast. The Bulgarian ruler Krum built the Erkesiya, a 140 km (87 mi)-long border wall from the Black Sea (near Gorno Ezerovo) to the Maritsa River.

In 1206 the Latin Emperor Henry of Flanders (see Fourth Crusade) destroyed Aquae Calidae, which was known as Thermopolis at this time, The baths were later rebuilt by the Byzantines and Bulgarians. Poros was mentioned in a 1270 document of the Patriarchate of Constantinople.[11] Close to Poros took place the Battle of Skafida in 1304, when the Bulgarian Tsar Todor Svetoslav defeated the Byzantines and conquered the southern Black Sea coast.

At the beginning of the 14th century the region was sacked by the Catalan Company. In the 13th century Bourgas is mentioned by the Byzantine poet Manuel Philes in his works as Burgas.[11]

Ottoman rule

Detail of an 18th-century map of the Black Sea by Nicolaes Witsen, showing Burgas and its surrounding areas

It was only in the 17th century that a settlement renamed to Ahelo-Pirgas grew in the modern area of the city. It was later renamed to Burgas again and had only about 3,000 inhabitants. In the early 19th century Burgas was depopulated after raids by kurzdhali bandits. By the mid-19th century it had recovered its economic prominence through the growth of craftsmanship and the export of grain.[12] The city was a small town in İslimye (Sliven) sanjak in at first Rumelia Eyalet, after that in the Silistra Eyalet and Edirne Eyalet before the liberation in 1878.

In the 17th and 18th centuries Burgas became an important port for cereal and possesses its own grain measure, the Burgas-Kile. The town was the regional centre of trade and administrative centre of the Burgas Kaaza.[13][14][15] In 1865 the port of Burgas was after Trapezunt the second most important Ottoman port in the Black Sea. Burgas was at this time the major centre on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.[16][17]

After the liberation until 1945

Alexandrovska Street in 1906

It was a department centre in Eastern Rumelia before incorporated in the Principality of Bulgaria in 1885. From the late 19th century Bourgas became an important economic and industry center. The first development plan of the city was adopted in 1891 and the city's layout and appearance changed, especially through the newly constructed public buildings.[18] In 1888, the city library was founded, in 1891 the sea garden was created and in 1897 the Cathedral of the Holy brothers Cyril and Methodius was built. In 1895 Georgi Ivanov opened the first Printing house in Burgas, followed by the house of Christo Velchev in 1897, which changed in 1900 his name in Velchevi Brothers Printing house.[19]

A 1913 plan of the city

The opening of the railway line to Plovdiv on 27 May 1890 and the deep water port in 1903 were important stages of this boom and led to the rapid industrialization of the city.[20][21] In the period after 151 factories were founded. Among them were the Sugar refinery founded by Avram Chaliovski, the Great Bulgarian Mills of Ivan Chadzipetrov and the oil and soap factory Kambana.[18] In 1900 the mineral springs by the ancient Aquae Calidae were included in the urban area. In 1903, the new building of the Burgas Central railway station opened.[22][23]

Founded in 1924 in Bourgas Deweko (now HemusMark AD) was the first pencil factory in Southeastern Europe and became in 1937 official supplier to the Bulgarian Monarchy.[24] 1925 opened in Burgas a specialized high school for mechanics and technologies. The following year, a large covered market was opened.[18] Because of the cold wave in winter 1928/29 the Black Sea iced in late January and early February, so that the island of Sveta Anastasia could be reached on foot.[25] 1934, Burgas already had 34,260 inhabitants.


During World War II on 9 September 1944 Red Army troops occupied the city and soon the whole country.[26] In the following People's Courts, especially members of the wealthy families of the intelligentsia and members of the Bar Association were convicted. The two Chambers of the People's Courts met in Bourgas in the former building of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bourgas (now the seat of the Governor of the Province Bourgas).[27]

After the Communists took power in 1945, the German and Italian School and the People's University was closed[28] and over 160 factories and businesses (including the large companies Great Bulgarian Mills, Veriga, Plug, Dab, etc.), shops, baths and other private property were nationalized. The nationalization and inability to lead by the new rulers led the companies to the collapse of the food supply and the shortage of goods of daily life in the city.[27] The political repression against the population of Bourgas continued for the next few years. Access to universities and other higher education in the Bulgarian capital was refused for the young people of Bourgas and some of them were interned in prison and labor camps.[27]

The Neftokhim refinery, one of the major Bulgarian industrial capacities, built during the Socialist era

The Haganah organised after the end of the Second World War several convoys for the European survivors of the Holocaust, which expired on Bourgas ships towards Palestine. These convoys approximately 12,000 people emigrated, including the Jewish population of the city.[29][30] In the following years the city center of Bourgas, unlike many other Bulgarian cities, was not much affected by Communist-type urbanization and has kept much of its 19th- and early-20th-century architecture. A number of oil and chemical companies were gradually built.

The terrorists of the Movement 2 June, Till Meyer, Gabriele Rollnik, Gudrun Stürmer and Angelika Goder were arrested on 21 June 1978 in Bourgas by West German officials and then brought into the Federal Republic.[31]


Today the local port is the largest in Bulgaria adding significantly to the regional economy. Bourgas also holds annual national exhibitions and international festivals and has a vibrant student population of over 6,000 that add to the city's appeal. The historical society also maintains an open-air museum at Beglik Tash and Develtum.

Several countries have General Consulates in Bourgas, among them Belarus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia,[32] Greece, Romania, Russia, Sierra Leone,[33] Turkey and Ukraine.[34]

Burgas Peninsula on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after the city of Bourgas.

2012 bus bombing

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On 18 July 2012 a terrorist attack was carried out by a suicide bomber[35] on a passenger bus transporting Israeli tourists at the Burgas Airport. The bus was carrying forty-two Israelis, mainly youths, from the airport to their hotels, after arriving on a flight from Tel Aviv. The explosion killed the Bulgarian bus driver and five Israelis.[36]



During the first decade after the liberation of Bulgaria, in the 1880s the population of Bourgas numbered about 6,000 inhabitants.[37] Since then it started growing decade by decade, mostly because of the migrants from the rural areas and the surrounding smaller towns, reaching its peak in the period 1988-1991 exceeding 200,000.[38]

Year 1887 1910 1934 1946 1956 1965 1975 1985 1992 2001 2005 2009 2011 2013
Population 5,749 14,897 36,230 44,449 72,526 106,185 144,755 182,856 195,986 192,390 189,245 193,765 200,271  ??
Highest number 211,587 in 1991
Sources: National Statistical Institute,[2][38][39] „citypopulation.de“,[40] „pop-stat.mashke.org“,[41] Bulgarian Academy of Sciences[37]
Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1887 5,749 —    
1910 14,897 +159.1%
1934 36,230 +143.2%
1946 44,449 +22.7%
1956 72,526 +63.2%
1965 106,185 +46.4%
1975 144,755 +36.3%
1985 182,856 +26.3%
1992 195,986 +7.2%
2001 192,390 −1.8%
2011 200,271 +4.1%

Ethnic linguistic and religious composition

According to the latest 2011 census data, the individuals declared their ethnic identity were distributed as follows:[42][43]

  • Bulgarians: 172,898 (95.2%)
  • Turks: 3,200 (1.2%)
  • Gypsies: 3,122 (0.9%)
  • Others: 1,330 (0.7%)
  • Indefinable: 666 (0.4%)
    • Undeclared: 19,155 (1.6%)

Total: 211,033

Government and politics

Twin cities


Bourgas is an important industrial center. The most notable industrial enterprise is LUKOIL Neftochim Burgas - the largest oil refinery in South-eastern Europe and the largest manufacturing plant in the Balkans. The city, along with Sofia, is one of the key elements in supporting Bulgaria's future European transport network (TEN-T) EU and Pan-European Transport Corridor 8, which includes construction of the railway and road infrastructure and the development of the Port of Bourgas and Bourgas Airport.


Bourgas Free University

Bourgas Free University (BFU) was established with an Act of The Great National Assembly on 18 September 1991 and is one of the first non-state universities in the country.

The university is accredited by the National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency and is certified under the international quality standard ISO 9001:2008. BFU is a modern and innovative university, caring for its students and their professional realization, and which has significant academic achievements and an internationally recognized status.

BFU is a member of the European Universities Association (EUA). It has signed Agreements of Cooperation with 36 universities and organizations in Europe, America, Asia and Africa. It implements students and staff exchange programmes with 24 universities in Europe. It participates in the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).

It works under joint international projects with more than 100 universities and organizations. BFU is a partner of UNESCO under the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Prpgramme and is a host institution of UNESCO Chair on Culture of Peace and Human Rights.

Bourgas Free University is certified according to the quality standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). In 2005 BFU was certified under ISO 9001:2000 and in 2010 under ISO 9001:2008. All the university’s main activities have been certified, as well as its degree programmes: education of students in Bachelor, Master and PhD programmes, qualification, research and international relations activities.


Main sights

  • Bourgas Regional Historical Museum
  • Ethnographic Museum
  • Archeological Museum
  • Museum of Nature and Science
  • Roman City of Develtum
  • The Roman and medieval Baths of Aquae Calidae
  • The Poros Fortress
  • The Rusokastro Fortress
  • The Erkesiya-Border wall
  • City Gallery
  • Theatre Adriana Budevska
  • City Beach
  • Pantheon
  • The Bourgas pier
  • Sea Casino
  • Navel of Bourgas
  • The building of Regional Customs Bourgas
  • Burgas Central railway station
Opera House

The modern building of the Bourgas Opera House is home to the city’s two major musical institutions; the Bourgas State Opera and the Philharmonic Society of Bourgas.

Sea Garden

A municipal park built in 1910 for the residents of Bourgas by the city’s chief gardener, Georgi Duhtev.

Churches and monasteries

Bulgarian Orthodox Churches
  • Saints Cyril and Methodius Orthodox Cathedral
  • Holy Theotokos Orthodox Church
  • Saint John of Rila (Ivan Rilski) Orthodox Church
  • Holy Trinity Orthodox Church
  • Saint Demetrius Orthodox Church
  • Saint Athanasius Orthodox Church
  • Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church
  • Saint Poimen of Zographou Orthodox Church
  • Holy Theotokos Monastery
  • Saint Anastasia Monastery on the St. Anastasia Island
Armenian Orthodox Church

Armenian Apostolic and Orthodox Church Surp Hach (Church of the Holy Cross) was built in 1853 and is one of the oldest in the city and has been named as one of the city’s monuments of culture. With stained glass windows and intricate decoration inside, the picturesque church was built in 1855.

Bulgarian Catholic Churches

Regular events

  • April
    • International Audition for performances of German and Austrian music
  • May
    • Bourgas Sailing Week
    • Petya Dubarova-Contest
    • Erata na Vodoleya-Theatre Festival
  • July
    • Three Week Festival of Opera and Classical Music
    • Bourgas Marathon swimming
  • August
  • December
    • Every 6 December Bourgas pays respect to its patron saint, St. Nicholas, also the patron saint of fishermen.
    • WDSF Bourgas Cup

Professional sports

Paragliding over the Sea Garden in the City Centre

Notable natives

See also


  1. [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 (Bulgarian) National Statistical Institute - Main Towns Census 2011
  3. Norman Polmar: The Naval Institute guide to the Soviet Navy, 5. Ausgabe, United States Naval Institute, Naval Institute Press, 1991, p.447
  4. 4.0 4.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  6. Wright, Joseph, 1892, A Primer of the Gothic Language, glossary & section 182.
  7. Pan-European corridors
  8. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  10. Herwig Wolfram: Die Goten: von den Anfängen bis zur Mitte des sechsten Jahrhunderts : Entwurf einer historischen Ethnographie, Verlag C.H.Beck, 2001, S. 130
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ivan Karayotov, Stoyan Raychevski, Mitko Ivanov: История на Бургас. От древността до средата на ХХ век., Tafprint OOD, Plovdiv, 2011, ISBN 978-954-92689-1-1, S. 60–65
  12. Burgas, Bulgaria (Eyewitness Travel), Jonathan Bousfield and Matt Willis, Dorling Kindersley Limited, London, England, 2008, p. 210.
  13. Etudes historiques. A l’occasion du XIII Congrés international des sciences historiques - Moscou, août 1970. Acad. Bulg. des sciences, 1970, p. 243 and p. 252.
  14. Claude Charles De Peyssonnel: Traité sur le commerce de la Mer Noire, Band 2, Cuchet, 1787, p. 151
  15. Karayotov/Raychevski/Ivanov, p. 301
  16. Karayotov/Raychevski/Ivanov, p. 112–113
  17. Wael B. Hallaq, Donald Presgrave Little: Islamic studies presented to Charles J. Adams, BRILL, 1991, S. 211
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found., Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. Abstract
  19. Karayotov/Raychevski/Ivanov, p. 220–228
  20. Article: Bulgaria in Meyers Konversations-Lexikon
  21. R. J. Crampton: A concise history of Bulgaria, Verlag Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 121
  22. Karayotov/Raychevski/Ivanov, p. 210–220
  23. Nikolova/Panaiotov: p. 300
  24. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  25. Karayotov/Raychevski/Ivanov, p. 236
  26. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 Karayotov/Raychevski/Ivanov, p. 246-250
  28. Burneva/Murdsheva: Deutsch als Fremdsprache(n) an bulgarischen Hochschulen in Hiltraud Casper-Hehne: Die Neustrukturierung von Studiengängen "Deutsch als Fremdsprache": Probleme und Perspektiven ; Fachtagung 17. - 19. November an der Universität Hannover, Universitätsverlag Göttingen, 2006, p. 238
  29. Gaby Coldewey: Zwischen Pruth und Jordan: Lebenserinnerungen Czernowitzer Juden. Böhlau Verlag, Köln/Weimar 2003, p. 105.
  30. Idith Zertal: From catastrophe to power: Holocaust survivors and the emergence of Israel, University of California Press, 1998, pp. 118-120, 139, 208, 298
  31. Eckhart Dietrich: Angriffe auf den Rechtsstaat: die Baader/Meinhof-Bande, die Bewegung 2. Juni, die Revolutionären Zellen und die Stasi im Operationsgebiet Westberlin (aus Originalurteilen mit Erklärungen und Anmerkungen), 2009, p. 84
  32. [2]/
  33. [3]
  34. [4]
  35. 2012 Burgas bus bombing#Perpetrator investigations
  36. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  37. 37.0 37.1 (Bulgarian) Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  38. 38.0 38.1 (Bulgarian) National Statistical Institute - Towns population 1956-1992
  39. (English) Bulgarian National Statistical Institute - towns in 2009
  40. (English) Citypopulation.de
  41. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  42. (Bulgarian) Population on 01.02.2011 by provinces, municipalities, settlements and age; National Statistical Institute
  43. Population by province, municipality, settlement and ethnic identification, by 01.02.2011; Bulgarian National Statistical Institute (Bulgarian)
  44. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.

External links