Botanic Garden, Bulgaria
Location: The Botanic Garden of Balchik lies in the heart of the town, which in turn is situated 31km north of Varna in a beatiful inlet.
History and General Info: Struck by the natural beauty of the area around Balchik, the Romanian Queen Maria built a summer palace and a botanical garden there. This happened 8 years after the end of World War I in 1918, when Balchik was annexed to the territory of Romania. Besides the high-towered palace and the surrounding garden, the complex also includes a chapel, which still keeps the heart of the queen after her will, a villa, originally meant to host Romanian aristocrats, and a beatiful stone throne under an old tree where Queen Maria loved to watch the sunset.
The picturesque park, called Tenha Vuva in Romanian (Quiet Nest), was designed and arranged in 1924-1936 after the project of a French garden designer, Jules Janine. The queen, nicknamed poetically as Karmen Silva, died in 1938, just 2 years before the area was annexed back to the territory of Bulgaria while the complex was declared a monument of culture.
The complex combines old Bulgarian, Moldavian, Mauritanian and Oriental styles in a marvelous way. The park itself is an imitation of the Famous Cretan labyrinth, with each stone of the church being brought from the very island of Crete. Most people claim that the Garden of Allah is the prettiest, though no doubt, the Silver Well, the alleys paved with millstones and the huge earthen jars, brought from Morocco, are also breathtaking.
More than 3,000 rare and exotic plants, including more than 200 tree species, fabulous flowers and a unique collection of about 250 cactus species (the latter representing Europe's second most important collection) grow currently in the botanic garden. Thus, it is not surprising that the park was included as a part of the teaching facilities of the Sofia University in 1955. Besides students, the complex welcomes more than half a million tourists per summer season.
Transport: There is regular bus transport between Balchik and the nearby Dobrich, Varna and the Albena resort. Apart from buses, there are numerous route taxis and private minibuses, taxis and water transport between Balchik and Varna / Albena.
More information about Botanic Garden:
What to do on a cloudy day to the north of Varna