What To See And Do
The Palace (phone: 0579/2559, 2 kilometers - west of town) - Queen Marie of Romania had this Italian-designed palace villa built in 1924 and summered here from 1931-38 when the Dobrudzha was part of Romania (1913-40). The Quiet Nest as it was known was supposedly also a love nest for the 60-year-old monarch and her 20-year old Turkish lover, Hasan. Marie belonged to a sect whose aim was the reconciliation of the Christian and Muslim religions and she apparently practiced what she preached. The villa architecture is primarily oriental, but includes old Bulgarian and gothic styles as well.
The botanical gardens were begun in 1955 by horticulturist Daki Yordanov, remembered by an attractive caretaker-cottage just inside the main entrance. In the past, 3000 species of plants graced the extensive grounds, including many white poplar - some over 300 years old - and 1000 cacti, the second largest such collection in Europe. Some 450 botanical gardens worldwide contributed to the collection.
Revival Complex (4 Hristo Botev Str., phone: 05792177; off-season, contact the museum for access) - This National Revival-style house, rebuilt in its entirety in the 1980’s, contains a one-room mutual school that functioned until 1909.
History Museum (3 Vitosha Str., phone: 05792177, daily 08.00 - 12.00 and 12.30 - 17.30)
Ethnographic Museum (opposite the history museum, same hours) - The exhibits in this authentic 1860 house are as diverse as those across the street.