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The Sea Garden

REF NR: 1855

The site where today the Sea Garden is located was until the middle of the 19th century a bare field outside the city walls. In 1862 a small garden was arranged on the orders of the city`s Ottoman mayor. After the Liberation of Bulgaria in 1878 mayor Mihail Koloni suggested the arrangement of a city garden and a seaside park in 1881, and despite suspicions a small sum was granted. As a result the Sea Garden was expanded to 26,000 m² and further developed according to the plan of French engineer Martinice.

The person primarily associated and regarded as having done most for the garden`s modern appearance is the Czech gardener Anton Novák, who had specialized at the Schönbrunn and Belvedere palaces in Vienna, Austria-Hungary. He was invited to work in Varna by his compatriot Karel Škorpil at the request of the municipality in 1894 and arrived in 1895, at the age of 35. One of Varna`s best known buildings, the Varna Aquarium, was constructed in the garden in 1906–1911.

The 1930s saw the planting of species from the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic and France, as well as the construction of nursery gardens. The garden was expanded to the south to reach the house of the Italian consul Assaretto, today the Varna Naval Museum. The garden reached its present borders in the 1950s and the trees in the centre of the central alley were substituted with flower beds in the 1960s, which thus reached 20,000 m² in the entire Sea Garden. In 1939, the architect Georgi Popov designed the garden`s modern central entrance with a wide plaza and tall columns.

An Alley of Cosmonauts was arranged in the 1960s, with the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin planting the first plant, a silver fir, on 26 May 1961 before a large crowd. The Pantheon of the Perished in the Fight Against Fascism was erected in the same year. The Observatory and Planetarium were opened in 1968 on the site of the old open-air theatre and the Varna Zoo was inaugurated in 1961. A swan-shaped sundial was installed in front of the main entrance. The present open-air theatre, flanked by the Alpineum and the children`s amusement park, is the venue of the Varna International Ballet Competition since its inception in 1964, and the dolphinarium was erected in 1984. Recently, the Exotic Zoo terrarium was added, and plans for expansion of the Natural History Museum and the Aquarium were announced.

Until mid 19th century the area of the present Seaside Garden (seaside park) was a bare field outside the town fortress. A few trees could be seen here and there. Vineyards and a slaughterhouse formed the predominant view of one part of the field and in another part, below the present day Pantheon, there was the French cemetery where in 1854 the bodies of cholera-stricken French soldiers were buried. A few metres away the old public cemetery could be found and the garbage of the town were thrown everywhere alongside the beach.

The prototype of a public park first appeared in the spring of 1862. With the support of the Turkish mayor Halil effendi and the Turkish town-major Said pasha, Hafiz Eyub - chairman of the local trade council, ordered that 10 decares of the land should be surrounded with hedge and made into a municipal garden. Vegetables were grown there at first and later on 4 more decares with planted cherry-trees were added to it. Gradually, other fruit-trees were also planted, together with lime- and chestnut-trees.

In 1881, after the liberation, the mayor of Varna Mihail Koloni brought up the question about a modern public park. His offer was first laughed at by the local municipal councillors but a certain fund for the project was anyway granted. Soon the park enlarged to 26 decares, 130 trees were planted, paths were cleared and ``towards nightfall alleys thronged by a long train of gentlemen and dressed up ladies``.


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Nice place
Beautiful 100 years old Sea Garden! It was created by Czech gardener Anton Novak, his monument is placed in the center of park. The park has a length - seven kilometers! During his 100-year history, the park has grown. There’s a lot of shady alleys by which is very nice to walk on heat day… The lower alley extends along the sea and beaches; there has many restaurants and cafes. The park has a summer theater, a planetarium, aquarium, zoo and children's playground.

Cons: need reparation
Pros: a lot of fun
ala, May 20, '14