The Black Sea island of St. Anastasia has been developed as a cultural tourism destination by Burgas Municipality since 2010. Photo: Burgas Municipality
One of Bulgaria’s highly interesting cultural tourism destinations to be developed in the past few years, the small Black Sea island of St. Anastasia located off the coast of the city of Burgas, has welcomed its first tourists for 2018.
The St. Anastasia Island has a total area of 0.01 square kilometers (10 decares or 2.5 acres), and is located 6.5 km southeast of the city of Burgas.
However, in 2010, the Bulgarian government created a precedent by granting Burgas Municipality management rights over the St. Anastasia Island (known as the Bolshevik Island between 1945 and 1990, i.e. during Bulgaria’s communist period).
The St. Anastasia Island had a medieval monastery with the same name known from 16th century sources.
It was used to jail political prisoners by the authorities of the Tsardom of Bulgaria after the leftist September Uprising of 1923 (instigated by the Soviet Union), and then by the authorities of the People’s Republic of Bulgaria.
Today the St. Anastasia Island is the only populated Bulgarian island in the Black Sea.
Ever since it gained the management rights in 2010, Burgas Municipality has taken up the development of the St. Anastasia Island as a popular destination for cultural tourism with regular sea transport.
The first tourists to visit the St. Anastasia Island have been admitted free of charge to see the island’s museum, visited the 200-year-old church on the island, and tried fresh seafood, bTV reports.
Burgas Municipality expects even greater visitor numbers for the St. Anastasia Island thanks to the growing number of visitors which are to arrive with newly introduced low-cost flights to the Black Sea city.
“There will be theater performances [on the island], a number of concerts, literary readings, so we are going to enliven this place with a lot of cultural events," says the island’s manager Pavlin Dimitrov.
“We were also expecting to have an underwater wedding but the bride got a little scared of going underwater so we are now looking forward to hosting other enthusiasts," he adds.
In April, the ship taking tourists to the St. Anastasia Island is still sailing under “winter conditions". Photo: bTV
Burgas Municipality has announced that the St. Anastasia ship which takes tourists to the island – after the Cook ship which also used to do so was sunken by a storm in the harbor of the Black Sea town of Pomorie in February 2018 – will sail in “winter conditions" until the end of April 2018.
The ship is capable of transporting up to 45 passengers but till the end of the month will operate only with preliminary reservations.
The regular two-way ticket to Bulgaria’s St. Anastasia Island in the Black Sea coasts BGN 10.00 (appr. EUR 5.10).
The largest and most famous of Bulgaria’s Black Sea islands is the St. Ivan Island off the coast of Sozopol, with a total area of 0.66 square km (660 decares, or 163 acres), which is known for its Early Christian / Early Byzantine monastery where in 2010 relics of St. John the Baptists were discovered by Bulgarian archaeologist Prof. Kazimir Popkonstantinov.