One hundred years separate us from the official proclamation of Varna as a seaside resort. The date was June 10, 1921, and the path the city took in order to reach today's brilliance and notoriety was long and full of difficulties. Thanks to the natural resources, as well as the ingenuity, knowledge and hard work of the constellation of celebrities, Varna began to develop as a resort of national and international importance and never stopped upgrading in order to be at the level of the world's seaside resort cities.
After the heavy wars for Bulgaria at the beginning of the 20th century and the subsequent Neuilly Peace Treaty, the city lost its economic importance, trade and the related imports and exports through the port of Varna have also ceased. It became increasingly difficult to provide livelihoods for the population. At this time, the boundless blue sea in Varna Bay seamed to be the best way out for Varna residents.The first task of the members of Varna City Hall was to turn Varna into a modern sea resort in order to increase the sources of income of the impoverished population.
The three-member commission – chaired by Yordan Pekarev – which performed the functions of a local government, officially declared Varna a sea resort on 10 June 1921. The Decree announced by Yordan Pekarev reads: ”The Nature itself with the beauty of the area shows and dictates the direction of a stable and beneficial development. Turning Varna into a special sea resort city with the required facilities will not only improve job opportunities for the population but will also make our city the pride of Bulgaria; its name will be as famous as those of Nice and Monte Carlo; therefore we have decided to declare Varna a special sea resort, for the area surrounded by the villages of Kestrich, Golyama Franga, Adjemler, Belovo and Galata.” This declaration was signed by the members of the Commission – Yordan Pekarev, Dr. Naum Bochev and the engineer Ilya Hristov. In 1925 a Tzar`s Decree was issued, which officially established Varna as a Centre of sea resort recreation.
The municipality of Varna decided to undertake the construction of a modern seaside resort on its own. This happened very quickly thanks to the Mayor at the time Peter Stoyanov and his assistants Bogdan Elefterov and Ivan Varbanov, as well as with the active assistance of engineer Yanko Mustakov, architect Dabko Dabkov and engineer Yosif Stoyanov. The modern solid sea baths were designed by engineer Mohachek and under the direct supervision of architect Zhelyazko Bogdanov. The construction of the baths began on May 7, 1925 and ended on August 1, 1926, when they were officially opened. With the newly-built sea baths Varna became a modern sea resort. The sea baths had compartments for men and women, hot and cold water baths and a “mixed“ beach. The bathrooms had 1,000 1st and 2nd class cabins, 66 hot sea baths, and a long bridge into the sea, ending with a diving tower.
The created facilities for holidaymakers quickly attracted many visitors from the country and abroad. In the years of opening, the sea baths were visited by approximately 24,000 people. In 1928, the Northern Sea Baths and a water slide on the mixed beach were opened. With this, the sea baths caught up with the European seaside resorts and the interest in them began to grow. Varna quickly established itself as a modern seaside resort and deservedly received the name "Queen of the Black Sea".
At the end of the 1920s, the number of the holidaymakers visiting Varna grew rapidly. In 1926 they were about 12,500, in 1927 - approximately 38 000, and in 1928 their number reached 40,000 per season. In the 1930s, already the number of tourists in Varna increased to 30,000 - 50,000 per season. The number of foreign visitors also grew steadily, as well as the number of countries from which they arrived. In the beginning, the resort city was visited mainly by Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, Austrians, Turks, Romanians and others. The expenses that holidaymakers used to make during their stay in Varna amounted to about 200 million leva /BGN/ per season. These funds remained in the city, thus supporting its economy.
Advertising with prospectus and posters began with the proclamation of Varna as a seaside resort town, but only in 1927 it acquired a mass character. The prospectuses were first written in Bulgarian and French, but in the following years they were also published in German and Czech. In the 1930s, you could already find brochures written in artistic form in seven languages - Bulgarian, French, German, Czech, Polish, Hungarian and Romanian, and a little later in Turkish.
Very soon, flattering reviews about Varna appeared in the foreign press. They used to describe the city as a luxurious and modern seaside resort of the future. The authors of the publications have always emphasized the great importance of the natural resources in Varna - lovely location, beautiful and large beach with clean and fine sand, clear sea and splendid seaside park. A special attention was paid to the newly built sea baths, which with their bathing devices also contributed to the seaside resort being a preferred place for holidaymakers from all over the world.
And now, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of Varna as a resort city, in the process of its growth and improvement one can feel the eternal desire to preserve the tradiation of the ancestors, but at the same to keep being an integral part of the modern world, as well as a modern and up-to-date city. It is this attractive and multi-face image of the city that makes Varna a magnetic destination for tourists from all corners of the world.