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Balchik - Bulgaria
Balchik is the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Goddess of Beauty, according to the Milesian colonists who believed she was born there out of the sea foam. The spouting karst springs gave the town its first name Krunoi (Meaning spring or source in old Greek). The next name was Dionysopolis. During the middle ages the town was named after the local feudal lord, Balik.
Balchik is a very charming town dating back over 16 centuries, when it was first inhabited by Ionians and popular with people taking their holidays in Bulgaria. The busy harbour and seafront promenade are lined with lively bars and restaurants, as well as outdoor discos in the summer evenings. The town's top attractions is the Botanical Gardens and Summer Palace of the Romanian Queen Marie.
The stone building and gardens are beautifully maintained, and it is quite true to say "the Queen left her heart here" as it is preserved in the chapel! The gardens are the residence of 3000 or so plant species of which cacti alone are over 250, and make up Europe's second most important collection.
There are also several interesting museums and churches in the town to visit during your holidays in Bulgaria, and abundant mineral springs gush pure crystal water into the town's fountains. A few miles to the north of the harbour at Touzlata things really start to heat up... literally! A mineral spring bubbles into the salt lakes, filled with therapeutic mud, at over 30°c.
The exceptional view of the town Balchik from the sea impressed the great Ovid who exclaimed "O White stone town, I salute thee for thy inimitable beauty!".
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