Nessebar, Bulgaria

General Information

Regional secretariat

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

The Old City of Nessebar “bears testimony to several civilizations which have disappeared. (III) It “has illustrated, on several occasions, the significant historic position of a frontier city on the outposts of a threatened empire.” (IV)

Historical reference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.



18 July 2014

Nessebar, exceptional city

Nessebar, Bulgaria


Mr. Nikolay Dimitrov

Nessebar Municipality

10 Edelvais Street
Nessebar, Bulgaria

+359.554 29370

Mr. Zlatin Petrov

Head of Department
Department of Cultural Heritage

Otez Paisii str. 46
Nessebar, Bulgaria

+359 554 43074

Mr. Bojin Djinkov

Board member
Community house "Chitalishte Mesemvria 2015"

ul. Mesembrija 19
Nesebar, Bulgaria


Mr. Tofov Marvakov

Archaeological museum of Nessebar

2A Messembria Street
Nessebar, Bulgaria

+359 878 402911