jump to the content

Ancient City of Nessebar

Ancient City of Nessebar

Situated on a rocky peninsula on the Black Sea, the more than 3,000-year-old site of Nessebar was originally a Thracian settlement (Menebria). At the beginning of the 6th century BC, the city became a Greek colony. The city’s remains, which date mostly from the Hellenistic period, include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo, an agora and a wall from the Thracian fortifications. Among other monuments, the Stara Mitropolia Basilica and the fortress date from the Middle Ages, when this was one of the most important Byzantine towns on the west coast of the Black Sea. Wooden houses built in the 19th century are typical of the Black Sea architecture of the period.

Ancienne cité de Nessebar

Édifié sur une péninsule rocheuse de la mer Noire, le site de Nessebar, plus de trois fois millénaire, était à l’origine un site de peuplement des Thraces (Menobria). Au début du VIe siècle, la ville est devenue un comptoir grec. Les vestiges de la ville datent essentiellement de la période hellénistique et comprennent l’acropole, un temple d’Apollon, une agora et un mur de fortification thrace. Parmi d’autres monuments, la basilique de Stara Mitropolia et la forteresse rappellent le Moyen Âge, époque où la cité était l’une des plus importantes villes byzantines de la côte ouest de la mer Noire. Les maisons en bois construites au XIXe siècle représentent l’architecture de la mer Noire à cette époque.

مدينة نيسيبار القديمة

كان موقع نيسيبار المشيّد على شبه جزيرة صخرية في البحر الأسود والذي يرقى إلى أكثر من ثلاث آلاف سنة مستوطنة تراقية في البداية (اطلق عليها اسم مينوبريا)، لكنّها تحوّلت إلى مركز تجاري إغريقي في مطلع القرن السادس. وترقى آثار المدينة إلى الحقبة الهلينية بشكل رئيس وتشمل الأكربول، ومعبد للإله أبولون، وساحة عامة وسور من التحصينات التراقية، إلى جانب كاتدرائية ستارا ميتروبوليا والقلعة اللتين تذكران بالعصور الوسطى وبأوج مدينة نيسيبار التي أصبحت آنذاك إحدى أهم المدن البيزنطية على الساحل الغربي للبحر الأسود. وتدلّ البيوت الخشبية المشيّدة في القرن التاسع عشر على الهندسة التي تميّزت بها بلدان البحر الأسود في تلك الحقبة.

source: UNESCO/ERI

内塞巴尔古城

内塞巴尔古城位于黑海沿岸一个由岩石组成的半岛上,3000多年前,这里最初是色雷斯人聚落。公元前6世纪初,这里成了希腊殖民地。城市的遗迹大多可以追溯到古希腊时期,其中包括卫城、阿波罗神庙、广场和色雷斯人建造的堡垒剩下的一面墙。其他重要的古迹还包括中世纪时期建造的旧米特罗利亚教堂(Stara Mitropolia Basilica)和一些要塞,当时这里是黑海西岸最主要的拜占庭市镇之一。19世纪建造的木屋则体现了当时黑海地区典型的建筑特色。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Старый город в Несебыре

Расположенная на скалистом полуострове Черного моря старая часть города Несебыр, имеющая более чем трехтысячелетнюю историю, появилась на месте древнего фракийского поселения Менебрия. В начале VI в. до н.э. город стал греческой колонией. Остатки древнего города, относящиеся в основном к эллинистическому периоду, включают акрополь, храм Аполлона, агору и стену фракийских укреплений. Среди других памятников – базилика Старая Митрополия и крепость, относящиеся к средним векам, когда здесь был один из самых значимых городов Византии на западном побережье Черного моря. Деревянные здания построены в XIX веке в стиле, типичном для черноморской архитектуры того времени.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Antigua ciudad de Nessebar

Edificada en una península rocosa del mar Negro, la tres veces milenaria ciudad de Nessebar fue, en sus orígenes, un asentamiento tracio llamado Menobria. A comienzos del siglo VI a.C. se convirtió en una colonia griega. Sus vestigios arqueológicos datan esencialmente del periodo helenístico y comprenden la acrópolis, el ágora, un templo dedicado a Apolo y una muralla tracia. La basílica de Stara Mitropolia y la fortaleza son de la Edad Media, época en la que Nessebar era una de las ciudades bizantinas más importantes de la costa occidental del Mar Negro. Sus casas de madera, construidas en el siglo XIX, son representativas de la arquitectura de esta época en la región del Mar Negro.

source: UNESCO/ERI

古代都市ネセバル

source: NFUAJ

Oude stad van Nessebar

Nessebar ligt op een rotsachtig schiereiland in de Zwarte Zee. De meer dan 3.000 jaar oude stad was oorspronkelijk een Thracische nederzetting (Menebria). Aan het begin van de 6e eeuw voor Christus werd de stad een Griekse kolonie. De overblijfselen van de stad - waarvan het merendeel dateert uit de Hellenistische periode - bestaan uit de akropolis, een tempel van Apollo, een agora en een muur van de Thracische vestingwerken. De monumenten Stara Mitropolia Basilica en het fort dateren uit de middeleeuwen. In die periode was Nessebar een van de meest belangrijke Byzantijnse steden aan de westkust van de Zwarte Zee.

Source: unesco.nl

  • English
  • French
  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • Dutch
Ancient City of Nessebar © Gordontour
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

The Ancient city of Nessebar is a unique example of a synthesis of the centuries-old human activities in the sphere of culture; it is a location where numerous civilizations have left tangible traces in single homogeneous whole, which harmoniously fit in with nature. The different stages of development of its residential vernacular architecture reflect the stages of development of the architectural style on the Balkans and in the entire East Mediterranean region. The urban structure contains elements from the second millennium BC, from Ancient Times and the Medieval period.

The medieval religious architecture, modified by the imposition of the traditional Byzantine forms, illustrates ornamental ceramics art, the characteristic painted decoration for this age. The town has served for over thousands of years as remarkable spiritual hearth of Christian culture.

Criterion (iii): The Ancient City of Nessebar is an outstanding testimony of multilayered cultural and historical heritage. It is a place where many civilizations left their tangible traces: archaeological structures from the Second millennium BC, a Greek Black Sea colony with surviving remains of fortifications, a Hellenistic villa and religious buildings from the Antiquity, preserved churches (in some of them preserved only parts of archaeological structures) from the Middle Ages. Nessebar has demonstrated its historical importance as a frontier city on numerous occasions. Having been a remarkable spiritual centre of Christianity for a thousand years, today it is a developing and vibrant urban organism.

Criterion (iv): The Ancient City of Nessebar is a unique example of an architectural ensemble with preserved Bulgarian Renaissance structure, and forms a harmonious homogenous entity with the outstanding natural configuration of the rocky peninsular, linked with the continent by a long narrow stretch of land. Its nature and existence is a result of synthesis of long-term human activity, which has witnessed significant historic periods - an urban structure with elements from 2nd millennium BC, classical antiquity, and the Middle Ages; the development of medieval religious architecture with rich plastic and polychrome decoration on its facades in the form of ceramic ornamentation typical for the period; the different stages in the development of the characteristic residential vernacular architecture, which testify to the supreme mastery of the architecture of the Balkans as well as the East Mediterranean region. The vernacular architecture of the urban ensemble, dominated by medieval churches and archaeology, together with the unique coastal relief, combine to produce an urban fabric of the high quality.

Integrity

Within the boundaries that encompass the small rocky peninsula, are all the evidence of the numerous cultural layers - from the 2nd millennium BC until the present time.

Although the main elements have generally remained unchanged, since 1986 some exceptions have occurred with a number of illegal interventions on 19th century structures, and some new buildings executed in violation of the Cultural Heritage Law.

In addition, and in violation of the Law on Monuments and Museums, negative influences have also emerged with the emergency stabilization of the peninsula shoreline. All of these changes have the potential to threaten the extraordinary coherence of the urban fabric and the overall visual integrity of the property. 

Authenticity

Only conservation and stabilization work is carried out on the Medieval Churches, and all the investigated archaeological sites are exposed and preserved. Some Medieval Churches now require repair. The unauthorized changes to some of the vernacular buildings, and persistent and increasing pressures from tourism, public and residential functions, and investment interests, combined with the introduction of mobile retail units, are beginning to threaten the traditional urban structure of the city, its architectural appearance, and its atmosphere.

Protection and management requirements

Management is implemented by virtue of:

1) Cultural Heritage Law (Official Gazette No.19 of 2009) and subdelegated legislation. This law regulates the research, studying, protection and promotion of the immovable cultural heritage in Bulgaria, and the development of Conservation and Management plans for its inscribed World Heritage List of immovable cultural properties.

2) Ordinance No.8 of the Culture Committee and the Committee on Architecture and Public Works of the architectural historical reserves Sozopol and Nessebar /SG 9/1981; covers the issues of general and detailed spatial planning; projects; carrying out conservation and restoration works; and new building. It also determines the borders and contact zones of the site, the main principles involved, and sets out the rules for protection and implementation.

3) Developed by the National Institute for Monuments of Culture /in 2009 renamed as National Institute for Immovable Cultural Heritage/, the Directive Plan is a Concept paper on the preservation and development of the cultural-historic heritage of the town of Nessebar. The Plan offers an integrated professional analysis and prognosis of urban development over a wide range of activities. Ostensibly contributing to the protection, promotion and sustainable development of the property, the document, unfortunately, does not fully reflect current conditions, and requires up-dating.

4) The current Construction and regulatory plan of the Ancient city of Nessebar, adopted in 1981, and the preliminary construction and regulatory plan (adopted on 30.07.1991 by the Ministry of construction and urban planning) regulates land use, types of building, parks and gardens etc.

5) The Spatial Planning Act - (Official Gazette, No. 1 of 2001 with amendments) and subdelegated legislation relates to spatial and urban planning, investment projects and buildings in Bulgaria. It also determines particular territorial and spatial protection, and the territories of cultural heritage.

In order to provide adequate response to the threats from unauthorized development, pressure from tourism and new uses, there is a need to put in place an overall Management Plan for the property that provides a collaborative framework for all stakeholders.

Long Description

Systematic archaeological studies, reinforcement, restoration and conservation have preserved the material traces of history in Nessebar more than anywhere else. The small peninsula is a meeting place of bygone times. Nessebar has demonstrated on several occasions the significant historic position of a frontier city on the outposts of a threatened empire. The millennia of uninterrupted human occupation (the earliest traces of human settlement date back to over 3,000 years ago) have produced an impressive cultural occupation layer that is as thick as 6 m in some places.

Confined to a rocky promontory of the Bulgarian coast, Nessebar is a rich city-museum with more than three millennia of history. The Thracians were the first to establish themselves on this natural defensive site, as attested by numerous discoveries of Bronze Age objects. Strabo records, moreover, the legendary foundation by the Thracian, Mena, from whom the city took its original name, Menebria. Dorian colonists from Megara made it one of the oldest Greek colonies of Pontus Euxinus (the Black Sea) under the name of Messembria: according to Herodotus it was already in existence in 513 BC.

Nessebar lies nestling along a romantic isthmus. Its cobbled streets, well kept medieval churches, and timbered houses from the 19th century illustrate its chequered past. Nessebar's churches can be best described as a cross between Slav and Greek Orthodox architecture, and are some of the finest in the area. One of the oldest towns in Europe, it still exudes the spirit of different ages and peoples - Thracians, Hellenes, Romans, Slavs, Byzantines and Bulgarians.

The Greek city, whose acropolis rose on the eastern end of the peninsula, was defended on the landward side by a 6th-century wall which still partially exists to the north. Vestiges of the agora, the theatre, and the Temple of Apollo were brought to light near buildings constructed during the period when Messembria fell under Roman influence. The city was taken in 71 BC, but continued to enjoy numerous privileges, such as that of minting its own coinage. When the death of Theodosius (395) provoked the schism with the Roman Empire, Messembria fell into the Byzantine domain and it was not long before it became one of the most important strongholds of the Eastern Empire, and the object of struggles between Greeks and Bulgarians. It was successively held by first one and then the other, depending on the fortunes of each army, until 812 when the Bulgarian Khan Krum seized it after a siege of two weeks.

Until its capture by the Turks in 1453, Nessebar comprised monuments of exceptional quality: for example, the Stara Mitropolia, a large basilica without transept rebuilt in the 9th century; the Church of the Virgin; the Nova Mitropolia, founded in the 11th century and continually embellished until the 18th century; the Church of St John the Baptist, which houses the archaeological museum; and finally a remarkable series of 13th- and 14th-century churches: St Theodore, St Paraskebba, St Michael and St Gabriel, and St John Alituhgethos. Other notable churches are the Old Bishop's Residence in an early Byzantine style (4th-5th centuries), and the New Bishops Residence (St Stefan), containing valuable 12th-century murals.

The Turkish domination coincided with the decline of Nessebar, but it did not diminish the monumental heritage, which was enriched from the 19th century by numerous houses in the 'Plovdiv style'. This vernacular architecture ensures the cohesion of an urban fabric of high quality. Nessebar's National Revival houses with stone foundations and broad wooden eaves, which overhang narrow cobbled lanes leading right to the sea, are also remarkably beautiful.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC