In 1921 Varna was officially declared a resort city and this posed to the municipality the urgent task of building new sea baths. The implementation was assigned to the Czech company Pitel Brauzeveter. Construction began on May 7, 1925, and on July 12, 1926 was the grand opening. More than 20,000 people attended the celebration. The central sea baths were located east of the Aquarium and occupied an area of about 2000 sq.m. The massive building was in the shape of the bulgarian letter Ш, and it had two floors with about 1000 cabins. A small swimming pool and 66 hot water bath tubes were built in the central building.
Inwards at the sea was built a long reinforced concrete bridge, at the end of which stood a tower with four platforms for diving into the sea. The bridge also served as a kind of "screen" between the male and the female beach. There used to be a policeman on duty on the bridge, who would not allow the men to stop and look at the women, although the beach fashion at that time did not offer too much to see. However, in 1928, women's access to the men's ward was allowed, while the opposite was "taboo" until 1932.
The construction of the new sea baths played a sigfnificant role in the development of tourism in Varna. The number of travellers in the first season was over 30,000, with 20 percent foreigners. Soon after their opening, the baths were considerably expanded, the bridge was extended, and in 1929, next to them were built the Northern Sea Baths and a modern water slide in the beach adjoining the Baths.
The history of bathing suit in our country is not quite rich, as in fact anywhere in the world. In the beginning, the suit was intended only for the bathroom, not for the beach. They were bathing in the sea with underwear and bathrobes. The first clothes for outdoor bathing were, of course designed for men and resembled a jumpsuit made of tight jersey, usually striped.
More interesting is the story of the women's bathing suit. At that time, it included both a leotard and a tunic, or something like a short dress. In the very beginning, the women's bathing suit used to cover the whole body. At the neck, ankles and wrists it was tied with braids. It was after the First World War when the women's bathing suits gradually acquired a more liberal look in terms of cut and fabric. While the men's bathing suit continued to be banal, the women's one went through many transformations - with pants, without pants, with sleeves, without sleeves, with curls, ribbons, with pads and more.
The beaches for men and women in Varna were still far from each other: the men's beach to the north and the women's beach to the south. A taut rope, and later a fence separated these two beaches, but gradually and naturally they came nearer to each other. Something like a small bridge over the sand was built, from which the uniformed guardian of morality and decency, equipped with a rifle, had a better view of the disturbers. In 1927, on June 17, the assistant mayor of Varna surrendered to the protests of the foreign holidaymakers against the separation of the beach, and on the same day Varna acquired a mixed beach.
After the official declaration of Varna as a seaside resort on June 10, 1921, and the opening of the sea baths a little later, the flow of Bulgarian and foreign holidaymakers increased, carrying the beach fashion from Europe to Varna beach. Towards the end of the 1920s, it was customary for women to wear a whole, woolen swimsuit with shorts, and for men to wear shorts. In the 1930s, beachwear became increasingly various. Women's beach suits were already in two parts - shorts and a bra, some beachgoers used to wear bathrobes, too - short and long ones.
In order to promote beach fashion and diversify swimsuits, beach parties and competitions for Miss Beach, Queen on the Beach, Best Swimsuit, Best Child, etc. were organised.
Choosing a queen of the beach (Miss Varna) always caused great excitement and enjoyed great interest among holidaymakers and citizens. In 1922 a group of Czech holidaymakers initiated the organisation of beauty contests. However, the idea came true ten years later. In 1934 the first contest took place on the beach. In the following years competitions for beachwear took place, too. The contest in the summer of 1937 gathered an audience of over 30,000 holidaymakers and citizens. The 16-years old Nadia Ruseva from Sofia won the title "Miss Beach", followed by Chiri Hrabrova from the Czechia, Vyara Angelova from Pleven and Trudy Keller from Vienna. For the first time a woman from Varna won the title "Queen of the Beach" in 1939, and it was Miss Tanya Kiselova, 18-years old. The special prize for the winner was a first class return ticket to Constantinople.
The competitions were held in the most solemn way. Fresh greenery always decorated the bridge of the central baths for the events, and for the specially invited guests the hosts arranged benches on it. The audience was on the beach. The members of the jury used to take their seats on the first platform of the bridge next to the tower and had the most responsible task of determining and announcing the new "Queen of the Beach". Companies from Varna, Sofia, Ruse and Plovdiv usually provided the gifts for the winners - clothes and bags with Bulgarian embroidery, perfumes with the famous Bulgarian rose oil and other toiletries. In the evenings, spectacular celebrations in honor of the beauties used to take place in the Sea Garden. In addition to beauty competitions, there were also contests for the best child and for the best swimsuit. Such events added variety to the atmosphere of the beach and made it even more attractive for holidaymakers in Varna.