Ref Number: 48
The Sea Garden (Bulgarian: Морска градина, Morska gradina) is the Bulgarian port city of Varna`s largest, oldest and best known public park.
Ref Number: 48
Until the middle of the nineteenth century, the site of today’s Sea Garden was a plain meadow outside the city walls. On the command of the city’s Ottoman mayor, a modest garden was established in 1862. Following Bulgaria’s liberation in 1878, mayor Mihail Koloni proposed the creation of a city garden and a seashore park in 1881, and despite misgivings, a limited cash was given. As a consequence, the Sea Garden was enlarged to 26,000 m2 and developed further in accordance with the plans of French engineer Martinice.
The Czech gardener Anton Novák, who specialized at the Schönbrunn and Belvedere palaces in Vienna, Austria-Hungary, is largely identified with and recognized as having done the most for the garden’s current aspect. In 1894, his compatriot Karel Korpil urged him to work in Varna at the request of the municipality, and he came in 1895, at the age of 35. The Varna Aquarium, one of the city’s most well-known structures, was built in the park between 1906 and 1911.
Plantings from the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, and France were planted in the 1930s, as were nursery gardens. The park was extended to the south to include the residence of the Italian consul Assaretto, which is now the Varna Naval Museum. The garden reached its current bounds in the 1950s, and the trees in the center of the central lane were replaced with flower beds in the 1960s, bringing the total area of the Sea Garden to 20,000 m2. Georgi Popov, an architect, constructed the garden’s contemporary central entrance with a broad plaza and tall columns in 1939.
In the 1960s, an Alley of Cosmonauts was established, with the first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, planting the first plant, a silver fir, in front of a big audience on May 26, 1961. In the same year, the Pantheon of the Perished in the Fight Against Fascism was built. The Observatory and Planetarium were built on the site of the previous open-air theatre in 1968, and the Varna Zoo opened in 1961. In front of the main entrance, a swan-shaped sundial was erected.
Since its debut in 1964, the Varna International Ballet Competition has been held at the current open-air theatre, which is bordered by the Alpineum and the children’s amusement park, and the dolphinarium was built in 1984. The Exotic Zoo terrarium was recently installed, and plans to expand the Natural History Museum and the Aquarium were announced.
Until the mid-nineteenth century, the current Seaside Garden (seaside park) was a plain field outside the town stronghold. A few trees were seen here and there. Vineyards and a slaughterhouse dominated one section of the area, while the French cemetery, located below the present-day Pantheon, was where cholera-stricken French troops were interred in 1854. A few metres away was the ancient municipal cemetery, and waste from the town was strewn all along the shore.
The first public park prototype debuted in the spring of 1862. Hafiz Eyub, head of the local trade council, ordered that 10 decares of land be enclosed by hedge and turned into a municipal garden with the cooperation of Turkish mayor Halil effendi and Turkish town-major Said pasha. Initially, vegetables were produced there, and four additional decares with planted cherry trees were added subsequently. Other fruit trees, as well as lime and chestnut trees, were gradually planted.
After the emancipation, the mayor of Varna, Mihail Koloni, raised the issue of a new public park in 1881. The local municipal councillors initially scoffed at his suggestion, but a certain fund for the project was still given. The park was soon expanded to 26 decares, 130 trees were planted, walkways were cleaned, and ”tonightfall alleyways thronged by a long train of gentlemen and dressed up ladies” were created.