Kavarna is situated 48 km north of Varna, 518 km north-east of Sofia and 12 km away from Cape Kaliakra.It is a Black Sea port for passenger and cargo vessels of medium type and has a population of 12,225.
Kavarna is the successor of the Thracian settlement called Bizone, the earliest finds dating back to the end of 6th century BC. Later on Greek settlers came here and turned it into one of the numerous Greek colonies along the Black Sea coast. In 1st century BC the town suffered a severe earthquake that swallowed it almost completely. Then it was restored and included in the territory of the Roman Empire and consequently in that of Byzantium.
Nowadays traces of the old settlement are to be found on both the high and low parts of the area. After the foundation of the Bulgarian State on the Balkan Peninsula the town changed its name several times. It was called Karvouna, Karbona, Karnava and finally Kavarna. In the Middle Ages the invasion of the Tartars destroyed it. Later on the Boyar Balik restored it and it became an independent principality named Karvounska Hora.
The Turks conquered it in 1393. The town moved slowly to its present day location. It suffered the Russian-Turkish Wars of 1828-1829 and of 1850, then it was restored but shortly before the liberation the inhabitants of Kavarna rebelled and as a result of the suppression of the rebellion, the town was put to fire and devastated by the bashibozouk (Turkish army of volunteers). 1200 people found their death.
The town of Kavarna was once again rebuilt and became an agricultural and fishing centre. Then it took part in the revolts of Dourankoulak in 1900. Nowadays the town is an industrial centre; there is an agricultural technical school and a harbour.
On the high hill of Chirakman one can find the remains of Roman villas and walls, as well as of medieval buildings and churches. There is a museum hosting interesting exhibits of the town’s history, the Thracian finds making special impression.
There is an excellent beach south of Kavarna. The interesting fishing harbour is much visited by tourists. Old buildings of the time of the Ottoman rule are preserved, today being used as warehouses. There is a small art gallery and local archaeological museum in the town.
The two well-known of the hotels in Kavarna are Siana Hotel and Dobrotitsa Hotel. One can find good conditions for the night in private lodgings at moderate prices. Close to the town is the camping resort of Morska Zvezda (Sea Star). It offers bungalows, camping area, caravans and tents at reasonable prices.
Near the harbour and in the centre of the town there are several big restaurants offering seafood and traditional Bulgarian cuisine. The small restaurants offer local dishes, pizzas, spaghetti, etc.. The prices in the town are moderate and the products in the grocers’ shops are cheap. The local producers sell fresh fruits and vegetables. There are plenty of small snack-bars and pavilions in the town.
Kavarna is connected to Varna via Balchik and to Dobrich. There is regular bus transport as well as private transport – minibuses, taxis. One can use sea transport from the town to nearby Balchik, Kaliakra, some villages and small camping sites adjacent to the town, upon agreement with the fishermen.
The climatic resort in the village of Bulgarevo is situated 6 km east of Kavarna. The remains of the ancient Timum Fortress of Hellenes and Romans were found there. Six kilometres further eastwards is Cape Kaliakra where the ancient fortress called Tirisis was located. According to the legends it was a hiding place for the treasures of Lyzimah, successor of Alexander the Great.
At the time of the Roman Empire the town bore the name of Tetrasiada, then during the Byzantine rule – Akre, and in the Middle Ages – Kaliakra. Today there are plenty of remains of those ancient settlements and part of them can be seen exhibited in a small museum sheltered under a limestone cave. There is a legend telling the story of several Bulgarian girls who chose to jump from the high cape with hair entangled with one another to avoid being converted to Islam by the Turks.