Black Sea Coast - the Wild Places
Despite its immense popularity and the colossal number of people who visit this destination every year, the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast has managed to keep intact some truly unique wild spots. The beach of Irakli and the village of Kamen Bryag (Stone Shore) provide solid proof of that.
Irakli is a protected area in the central part of the coast where the country’s backbone Stara Planina (Old Mountain) and the sea meet to create a landscape whose unearthly beauty leaves every person breathless. Located near the village of Emona, 45 km north of Burgas, Irakli is a broad 3-kilometre-long strip of fine yellow-sand beach where everyone can find their own patch of peace and seclusion. Nowadays the central part of the beach is equipped with a pleasant café, sunshades, showers, changing rooms and a beach volleyball court for the pickier tourists. However, the rest of the region remains untouched by human hand and is mainly visited by keen campers and adventurous souls who love nature and who don’t mind the presence of the occasional nudists who also adore its clean, virgin sands. Thanks to this the area remains generally quiet and peaceful for the most part of the summer.
But on one particular day it gets really bustling with people. The first of July, also known as July Morning, is a special holiday in Bulgaria named after the popular song by Uriah Heep which became a symbol of freedom for the young people of the 80s who struggled under the oppression of the communist regime and who decided to commemorate this date by waiting for the first rays of the morning sun to warm up their hearts and give them the strength to keep the belief in the big bright future alive. Today people gather together on that day to celebrate the immaculate perfection of nature. And what better place to do this than a real natural sanctuary such as Irakli. Of course, there aren’t any hotels or guest houses in the region, so if you choose to visit make sure you either get a tent or find accommodation in one of the nearby resorts of St. Vlas, Sunny Beach or Obzor.
If Irakli was where the idea of July Morning was conceived, Kamen Bryag was where it crystallised. This little village, located some 80 km north of Varna, has the most impressive rocky beaches one will ever see in Bulgaria. Many climbers are attracted by its sheer cliffs but even more people go there to honour the July Morning tradition. And not only regular ones, too. Some of the best rock musicians on the planet have joined in as well, including Uriah Heep’s John Lawton and Robert Plant, the iconic lead singer of Led Zeppelin, among others. To put it simply, if you are a rock fan and you want to experience something new and exciting this is where you should be on 1 July.
Kavarna, the rock capital of Bulgaria, lies just two kilometres away from the village. Every year this coastal town hosts a massive music festival which brings together some of the greatest living rock and metal legends such as Sepultura, Motorhead and Manowar. The town is also famous for its rich history and traditions so its museums are worth visiting, too.
Cape Kaliakra located 12 km away from Kavarna is a must-see. It is a two-kilometre-long rocky headland that cuts into the blue water and offers amazing panoramic views of the endless sea. It was declared a nature reserve in 1941.
Photos by: D.Bibishkov, G.Dakovski