This morning, your cruise ship will arrive in the small Bulgarian port of Nessebar – one of the most historic small towns in the country.
Situated on a rocky promontory in the Black Sea, Nessebar was originally a Thracian settlement called Menebria before a trade colony was founded here by Greek seafarers, which was known as Messambria. Today, Nessebar’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most charming towns in Bulgaria.
Your guide will meet you at the entrance to the port at 9:00 AM. As the whole Old Town is closed for traffic, you will literally walk into the historic part of town and stroll among authentic houses and exquisitely preserved churches creating a startling landscape against the backdrop of the Black Sea. Follow your guide for a leisurely walk along the winding streets of this quaint town.
The oldest city remains, which date mostly from the Hellenistic period, are parts of the walls from the Thracian fortifications. Other parts of the fortress date from the Middle Ages, when this was one of the most important Byzantine towns on the west coast of the Black Sea. Several churches are also preserved and date from the 10th -18th centuries. Wooden houses built in the 19th century are typical of the Black Sea Renaissance architecture of the period.
We suggest that you do not miss the Church of Christ Pantocrator, which is richly adorned with Byzantine-style architectural elements – blind arches, alternate courses of white stone and red brick, and decorative swastika motifs symbolizing the sun. Continue on to the ruined Church of St. Sophia, also known as the Old Metropolitan church, which is considered the centerpiece of Nessebar. This church is the oldest and largest in the Old Nessebar and was once part of the bishop’s residence. This is indeed a beautiful architectural monument and a classic example of medieval Byzantine religious architecture. Your guide will give you an insight into this revered house of worship, believed to be located at the site of the former Hellenistic agora.
The church of St. John Aliturgetos (meaning ‘not-consecrated’) was built in the 9th century and is architecturally significant as it represents the transition between the basilica with its domed roof, popular during ancient times, and the later cruciform church architecture. Last but not least, you will visit the Church of Sveti Stefan (St. Stephen), named for the patron saint of Nessebar and by far the most important of all. Step into its interior to marvel at its unique frescos dating back to the 16th and 17th Centuries and including some 1,000 figures in 250 compositions.
You will walk back to the cruise ship for an afternoon at leisure before its sailing.