Nessebar, Bulgaria

General Information

Regional secretariat

Administrative status

Historic Bulgarian town on a rocky peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea

Ancient City of Nessebar

Registration Year


Historical function


Location and site

Nessebar (formerly Mesambria of the Thracians then Messembria of the Greeks) is confined to a rocky promontory of a peninsula on the Bulgarian coast at the edge of the Black Sea.

Urban morphology

The vestiges of a Greek fortification, with their towers of dressed limestone dating to the 6th century B.C., are found at the entrance of a natural defense site, which is 800 m. x 300 m. in area and possesses small squares and narrow, sinuous streets. The city’s wooden vernacular architecture, which is enriched by dressed stone elements and decorated with ceramics, dates to the Bulgarian Renaissance of the 18th and 19th centuries. It creates a harmonious ensemble with Nessebar’s older monuments, including churches and chapels constructed during the Byzantine et Bulgarian Medieval era; these are clad in comfortable combinations of brick and stone.

Registration criteria

Criterion (iii): The Ancient City of Nessebar is an outstanding testimony of multilayered cultural and historical heritage. […]

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 […].

Historical reference

  • Menebria was inhabited by the Thracians from the 12th until the 6th century B.C. It was the site of one of the oldest settlements on the Black Sea.
  • Messembria became a Greek colony around 510 B.C., and constitutes one of the oldest such colonies of the Pontus-Euxinus (the present-day Black Sea).
  • In 72 A.D., Messembria went under the influence of Imperial Rome.
  • Following the division of the Roman Empire in 395, it became an important stronghold of the Byzantine Empire.
  • The First Kingdom of Bulgaria was at its peak between 812 and 927. Over the course of the following centuries, the city was alternatively under Greek and Bulgarian rule.
  • Messembria, later known as Misivri, was annexed by the Ottoman Empire in 1453, the year that Constantinople was captured. It remained under Turkish domination until 1878.

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16 September 2021

OWHC Euro-Asia Met With Mayor of Nessebar, Bulgaria

Nessebar, Bulgaria

2 October 2014

Mayors&Heritage: Mr. Nikolay Dimitrov, Mayor of Nessebar (Bulgaria)

Nessebar, Bulgaria


18 July 2014

Nessebar, exceptional city

Nessebar, Bulgaria


Mr. Nikolay Dimitrov

Nessebar Municipality

10 Edelvais Street
Nessebar, Bulgaria

+359.554 29370
[email protected]