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Black Sea Coast > Sozopol > History

History of Sozopol

The first settlements belonged to the Thracian tribes of Nipsei and Skirimian. In 7th century BC Greek colonisers settled there and called the town after Apollo, the God of arts. Apolonia developed mainly as a trading centre for honey, wax, corn, wine, olive oil, olives, textiles, jewellery, and pottery. The numerous finds are evidence that this small town used to be the trading centre of the whole of the Black Sea coast. Much earlier in 13th century BC the argonauts led by Iazon, Heraklitis and Orpheus came ashore. The love for travelling and discovering made the inhabitants of Apolonia in those times travel, trade and found new colonies. So were founded the settlements of Anhialo and Pirgos, Termopolis and Aetos. The town was included in the union of sea town-states founded by Percales. Apolonia was frequently in economic and political dispute with the Doric inhabitants of Messembria; wars were even waged. At the time the island of Kirik was mainly inhabited. Apolonia sought help from Philip of Macedonia against the attacks of the Scythians. It was included in the territory of the Macedonian State at the time of Alexander the Great and was constantly subject to invasions but it struggled against the attacks of a number of Nomadic tribes flowing from north and west. The town fell under Roman domination in 1st century BC and was severely ruined by the armies of Marcus Lucul. It is an interesting fact that the Romans quickly restored the ruins, built new temples, and ordered a thirteen-metre high statue of Apollo by the sculpturer Kalamis. The statue was sent to Rome as an example of the arts of this particular Roman province. As early as 6th century Apolonia minted coins of its own. The Roman domination provided three centuries of peace until the huge invasion of the barbarian tribes. It was only in 5th century that the town was included in the territory of Byzantium.

During the reign of Khan Kroum it was within the borders of Bulgaria and like all other sea towns it frequently fell under the rule of Byzantium. In the Middle Ages it preserved its status of a district town. It was severely devastated in the middle of 14th century during an attack by the Genoa fleet. Later it was conquered and sold by the knights of Amadeus of Savoy. After a long siege the town fell under Turkish rule in 1453. Only wooden houses have been built there ever since; the oldest samples can be observed even today in the unique old streets. Sozopol welcomed the Liberation as small fishermens settlement. Later the town became the biggest fishing centre of the Black Sea coast and developed recreation and tourism. The famous Tsars Beach is located to the north of the town. Nestled between the rocks to the south of the town is the Raiski Beach (Paradise) and further southwards the Kavatsite. The Harmanite Beach is immediately to the south of the so-called new town. An ancient necropolis was found here in 1993 and excavations are still going on.

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