The future “Historical Park” near Varna will cover some 10,000 of history from the territory of today’s Bulgaria, including Prehistory, Antiquity, and Middle Ages. Photo: Historical Park
A “Historical Park" for cultural tourism, education, and entertainment purposes described as “the world’s largest and first of its kind" by its creators is going to open doors in the spring of 2019 in the town of Neofit Rilski, near the Black Sea town of Varna in Northeast Bulgaria.
The “Historical Park" near Varna is going to feature numerous replicas of archaeological, historical, and cultural monuments and sites from all over Bulgaria covering some 10,000 years of history: from the Neolithic (New Stone Age) all the way to the Second Bulgarian Empire in the Late Middle Ages.
The first three sections of the Historical Park, which is being built on a plot of over 500 decares (125 acres) in Neofit Rilski, Vetrino Municipality, Varna District, some 33 kilometers west of the Black Sea city of Varna, are going to be opened for visitors in the spring of 2019, the creators of the park, the Varna-based private company “Historical Park" Jsc, have announced.
“The Historical Park is going to offer Bulgarian and foreign tourists an interactive journey throughout 10,000 years of history," the company has said in a release.
The Historical Park is going reenact the development of human civilization on Bulgaria’s territory, which actually goes back to its dawn, with stunning Prehistory settlements and artifacts such as the 7,000-year-old Varna Gold Treasure, the world’s oldest gold treasure.
The first phase from the opening of the Historical Park near Bulgaria’s Varna will feature structures recreating life in the Prehistory, as well as during the time of Ancient Thracians, the Ancient Bulgars, and the Slavs. The main entrance featuring a partial replica of the Baba Vida Fortress in the Danube city of Vidin will also be opened during that phase. Photos: Historical Park
The replicas of historical and archaeological sites and monuments in the Historical Park will be from the Neolithic (New Stone Age), the Chalcolithic (Copper Age, Aeneolithic), the Antiquity of Ancient Thrace, the Antiquity and Late Antiquity of the Roman Empire, and the Middle Ages of the First Bulgarian Empire (632/680 – 1018), and the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185 – 1396/1422).
“Using various interactive and sensing and educational formats, the Historical Park is going to offer its visitors the touch of ancient cultures becoming an absolute revolution in cultural and historical tourism, and meeting the rising global demand for historical landmarks," the Historical Park company has said.
Some of the activities that tourists visiting the Historical Park will be able to enjoy include artisan workshops, historical reenactments and documentaries, trainings in ancient combat and household skills, horseback riding, theoretical seminars, exhibitions as well as the possibility to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of exact replicas of sites, artifacts, and lifestyle from the five historical periods.
Namely, the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Ancient Thrace, the Roman Empire, the Bulgarian Empire as well as the life of the Ancient Bulgars and the Slavs at its inception ca. the 7th century AD.
In addition to its historical sites and building replicas, the Historical Park near Varna is going to feature developed tourist infrastructure with a wide range of amenities, including recreating sites, food venues with authentic ancient recipes prepared with natural Bulgarian-made products, a children’s zone, a movie theater, and a gift shop with authentic replica artifacts made by Bulgarian artists and artisans, among others.
“The Historical Park is my idea which was born in 2011. Its main goal is to change the way international tourists perceive Bulgaria and the Bulgarians as well as the way we perceive ourselves," says Ivelin Mihaylov, CEO of “Historical Park" Jsc.
“[Should it be] appreciated on a global level, this cultural landmark is also going to change the type of tourists visiting Bulgaria, and will create a promising economic activity allowing many Bulgarians to become involved in international business," he adds.
“We can all only be glad that we are part of this new beginning of Bulgaria, for Bulgaria’s tourism, and self-perception, and I am more than happy with all that," emphasizes the author of the Historical Park project.
Structures from the First Bulgarian Empire replicating those in its capital Veliki Preslav will be opened during the second phase of the Historical Park project. Structures from the Second Bulgarian Empire replicating those from the Tsarevets Fortress of its capital Tarnovgrad will be opened during the third phase of the Historical Park. Photos: Historical Park
Mihaylov lives and works in the Black Sea city of Varna but is a native of Gorna Oryahovitsa, a town in Central North Bulgaria, near the city of Veliko Tarnovo, known, among other things for the medieval Rahovets Fortress.
Back in 2017, Gorna Oryahovitsa Municipality granted him its Award for Contribution to the town’s culture through his foundation, “Ascent" (“Vazdigane").
“Culture is the heart of a nation. If science teaches us how to do things, culture teaches us why we should do them," Mihaylov is quoted as saying when he received the award.
“Wherever I go, I tell people I come from Gorna Oryahovisa because this was where I was given a heart and a soul," he added.
In the 8 years since the work on the future Historical Park near Varna began, it has involved over 4,000 people.
These include some of the leading archaeologists as consultants as well as historians, artisans, reenactors, sculptors, writers, musicians, aiming for the realistic look of the Historical Park.
Some of the parks most important consultants include archaeologists Prof. Margarita Vaklinova, former Director of the National Institute and Museum of Archaeology in Sofia, and Prof. Hitko Vachev from the Veliko Tarnovo Regional Museum of History as well as thracologist Prof. Ivan Marazov.
The materials used for the structures of the Park and its replicas of archaeological and historical sites and monuments were authentic for the respective historical periods: stone, wood, marble, and pottery.
Numerous other structures will be featured including Neolithic and Chalcolithic homes, a Thracian royal palace and three Thracian burial mounds with tombs, medieval churches, Roman and Byzantine Era tracks for horse and chariot races.
Structures replicating Roman ones found in Bulgaria, especially in Philipopolis (today’s Plovdiv) will be opened during the fourth phase of the project. Photos: Historical Park
The Historical Park has been constructed gradually, with the company launching back in 2016 its pilot project, the Neolithic Settlement complex in Neofit Rilski, Varna District.
At present, the company is completing the zones with the first three time periods in the Historical Park, the Neolithic, the Chalcolithic, and Ancient Thrace, which will be officially opened for visitors on a still unannounced date in the spring of 2019, together with a recreation park zone with ponds.
The zones for the Roman Empire and the Middle Ages (the First and Second Bulgarian Empire) will be built subsequently. The Historical Park in Northeast Bulgaria is planned to be completed in full in 2022.
Admission tickets for the Historical Park will be available from the ticket offices on site but the company has already launched a loyalty program with a Gold Card and Family Card for residents of Bulgaria allowing 10-year price advantage to their owners.
The creators of the Historical Park near Bulgaria’s Varna hope to establish it as a world-class tourist attraction. Photo: Historical Park
In addition to the building of the large-scale cultural landmark, the company has also become involved in the publication and printing of over 100 history books, children’s books, encyclopedia’s and comics.
The books in question are being made available not just in Bulgarian but also in 7 foreign languages thus aiming to promote Bulgarian history, archaeology, and culture around the world.