Aerial overview of Balchik
Aerial overview of Balchik
Coat of arms of Balchik
Balchik is located in Bulgaria
Location of Balchik
Coordinates: 43°25′37″N 28°09′42″E / 43.42694°N 28.16167°E / 43.42694; 28.16167
Province (Oblast)Dobrich
 • MayorNikolay Angelov
199 m (653 ft)
 • Town
 • Municipality
Time zoneUTC+2 (EET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+3 (EEST)
Postal Code
Area code0579

Balchik (Bulgarian: Балчик [bɐɫˈt͡ʃik]; Romanian: Balcic, Turkish: Balçık) is a Black Sea coastal town and seaside resort in the Southern Dobruja area of northeastern Bulgaria. It is in Dobrich Province, 35 km southeast of Dobrich and 42 km northeast of Varna. It sprawls scenically along hilly terraces descending from the Dobruja plateau to the sea, and is often called "The White City" because of its white hills.

Balchik's centre


Under the Ottoman Empire, the town came to be known with its present name, which perhaps derived from a Gagauz word meaning "small town".[4]

Another theory suggests that it is named after the medieval ruler Balik, brother of Dobrotitsa, after whom the city of Dobrich is named.[citation needed]


Antiquity: Thracians and Greeks

Main article: Dionysupolis

Founded as a Thracian settlement, it was later colonised by the ancient Greek Ionians with the name Krounoi (Ancient Greek: Κρουνοί), later renamed as Dionysopolis (Ancient Greek: Διονυσόπολις) after the discovery of a statue of Dionysus in the sea.[5]

Early Middle Ages: Byzantines and Bulgarians

Later it became a Greek-Byzantine and Bulgarian fortress.

Karvuna is the old Bulgarian name of the ancient Dionysopol.[6][7] The external resemblance to the name of the modern town of Kavarna is an occasion for some local historians to identify Karvuna with Kavarna, but the archaeological and historical data are not in favour of this proposal. Karvuna was the capital of the Karvuna region - so called Dobrogea (Dobrudja) in the Middle Ages until the arrival of the Turks. The remains of the castle of the boyars Balik and Dobrotitsa were found above the city hospital of Balchik in the "Horizon" district (Gemidzhiya), but were almost erased by natural processes. In the Vasil Levski neighbourhood there are remains of the great fortress of Karvuna, built by the Byzantines and used by them and by the Bulgarians during the First Bulgarian Kingdom. Later, due to difficulties in defending the vast fortress located in the plain and the lack of a view of the sea,[citation needed] the Bulgarians built a fort of which only modest remains are preserved on the highest hill of the city, the Dzheni Bair or Ekhoto ('Echo') hill.[8] [9] The earthen rampart behind the ditch dates to the late 12th century, with various habitation-related findings from the 11th-15th centuries.[8][9] The boyar Balik lived in the said castle opposite it on the hill above the present hospital, south of the great Kavarna fortress, which the centuries have now completely obliterated. Dobrotitsa (r. 1347–86), after ruling for some time here, moved the capital of the Despotate of Karvuna from Karvuna to Kaliakra.[citation needed]

Ottoman period

Under the Ottomans, the town came to be known by its present name.[4]

Modern period

Cherno More ('Black Sea') Street in the centre

Part of Bulgaria (1878-1913)

After the liberation of Bulgaria in 1878, Balchik developed as centre of a rich agricultural region, wheat-exporting port, and district (okoliya) town, and later, as a major tourist destination with the beachfront resort of Albena to its south.

Part of Romania (1913-1940)

Queen Marie's 1925 "The Quiet Nest" palace, the gate flanked by sea mines

After the Second Balkan War, in 1913, the town became part of the Kingdom of Romania, with its name spelled Balcic. It was regained by Bulgaria during World War I (1916–1919), but Romania restored its authority when hostilities in the region ceased.

During Romania's administration, the Balchik Palace was the favourite summer residence of Queen Marie of Romania and her immediate family. The town is the site of Marie's Oriental villa, the place where her heart was kept, in accordance with her last wishes, until 1940 (when the Treaty of Craiova awarded the region back to Bulgaria). It was then moved to Bran Castle, in central Romania. Today, the Balchik Palace and the adjacent Balchik Botanical Garden are the town's most popular landmarks and a popular tourist sightseeing destination.

The Balchik Botanical Garden

During the inter-war period, Balchik was also a favorite destination for Romanian avant-garde painters, lending his name to an informal school of post-impressionist painters, the Balcic School of Painting, [10] which is central in the development of Romanian 20th-century painting. Many works of the artists comprising the group depict the town's houses and the Turkish inhabitants, as well as the sea.

Back to Bulgaria (1940)

In 1940, just before the outbreak of World War II in the region and in the wider context of Hitler's intervention and the Second Vienna Award, Balchik was ceded back by Romania to Bulgaria by the terms of the Treaty of Craiova. This included an exchange of populations by ethnic groups.


The city's population is 11,051 people (data from National Statistics Institute - Bulgaria, 2018). The total population of Balchik municipality is 19,331.

According to an estimate by Bulgarian historian Rayna Gavrilova, the Bulgarian population before 1878 was only around 10%.[11]

St Paraskeva (Sveta Petka Tarnovska) Eastern Orthodox church. Started by the Romanians in 1935 (architect Ștefan Balș [ro]), finished and inaugurated by the Bulgarians in 1954.[12]

The ethnic composition has gradually changed from mostly Gagauz and Tatar/Turkish to predominantly Bulgarian. According to the latest (2011) census data, Balchik's ethnic composition is the following:[13][14]


An imitation of László Marton's Little Princess statue


Held each year since 1991, "The Process – Space Art Festival" is an annual international festival of contemporary art, which takes place over two weeks in June.[15] Balchik Palace also hosts the "In the Palace International Short Film Festival".


Held annually each summer since 2006 in the nearby town of Kavarna, the Kavarna Rock Fest hosts top-name bands for a three-day festival. Previous acts have included Motörhead, Twisted Sister, Mötley Crüe, Scorpions, Alice Cooper, Deep Purple, and the Michael Schenker Group.[16]

For the last few years,[when?] the mayor has cancelled the Kavarna Rock Fest due to different music preference.[whose?]


Balchik is becoming well known internationally as a golfing destination. There are three 18-hole championship golf courses within the local vicinity, two designed by Gary Player - Thracian Cliffs GC and BlackSeaRama GC; and one designed by Ian Woosnam - Lighthouse GC. A fourth 18-hole golf course is currently in the planning stages.[17]


Twin towns - sister cities

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Bulgaria

Balchik is twinned with:[19]


See also


  1. ^ (in English) Population by districts, municipalities, place of residence and sex Bulgarian National Statistical Institute – towns in 2018] Archived July 5, 2019, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ „WorldCityPopulation“
  3. ^ "България / Bălgarija". (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b "ПРОИЗХОД НА ИМЕТО БАЛЧИК" [Origin of the Name Balchik]. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29.
  5. ^ Mogens Herman Hansen, Thomas Heine Nielsen (2004, 1st edition). An inventory of archaic and classical poleis. p. 932. An Investigation Conducted by The Copenhagen Polis Centre for the Danish National Research Foundation. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-814099-1
  6. ^ Georgiev, P. The name Karvuna and the proto-Bulgarians. Starobulgaristika, 2002, № 2, pp. 70-82.
  7. ^ Ivan Bozhilov, Marin Dimitrov (1990). Balchik, antiquity and modernity.
  8. ^ a b "Балчик - Землено укрепление на хълма "Джени баир"" [Balchik: the earthen fortification on Dzheni Bair hill],, archived from the original on 2016-09-15, retrieved 2016-08-22
  9. ^ a b "Балчик – укрепление Джени баир" [Balchik: Dzheni Bair fortification]. 22 August 2020. Retrieved 12 February 2024.
  10. ^ Balcica Măciucă (2001). Balcic. București: Editura Universalia.
  11. ^ Gavrilova, Raina:"Bulgarian urban culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries", p. 47.
  12. ^ The "St. Petka Tarnovska" Church, Balchik. Accessed 12 Feb 2024.
  13. ^ (in Bulgarian) Population on 01.02.2011 by provinces, municipalities, settlements and age; National Statistical Institute Archived September 8, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Population by province, municipality, settlement and ethnic identification, by 01.02.2011; Bulgarian National Statistical Institute Archived 2013-05-21 at the Wayback Machine (in Bulgarian)
  15. ^ "Process - Space Art Festival". Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  16. ^ "Kavarna Rock Fest 2016: First 3 Bands Confirmed - - Sofia News Agency". Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  17. ^ "New Golf Complex May Be Built near Bulgaria's Balchik - - Sofia News Agency". Retrieved 9 April 2018.
  18. ^ Hotels in Bulgaria project surge in Russian tourist arrivals at Balchik airport, The Sofia Echo, 8. August 2011.
  19. ^ "Международно сътрудничество". (in Bulgarian). Balchik. Retrieved 2019-10-31.