VARNA, a fortress, seaport, departmental capital and episcopal city of Bulgaria; on the Bay of Varna, an inlet of the Black Sea, in 43 12' N. and 27 56' E. Pop. (1906) 37,155. Varna is built on the hilly north shore of the bay, overlooking the estuary of the river Devna or Pravadi, which flows seaward through a magnificent valley surrounded by mountains. It is the eastern terminus of the Varna-Rustchuk railway, opened in 1867, and is connected with all parts of the kingdom by branches of this line. The so-called " Varna quadrilateral," which has played an important part in Bulgarian military history, consists of the fortresses of Varna, Shumla, Rustchuk and Silistria (q.v.). Varna is the third city of the kingdom in population, after Sofia and Philippopolis, and ranks with Burgas as one of the two principal seaports. Its deep and capacious bay is sheltered from northerly and north-easterly winds, and the construction of modern harbour works has greatly increased the facilities for trade. The principal exports a e cattle and dairy produce, grain, lamb and goat skins, and cloth (shayak); the imports include coal, iron and machinery, textiles, petroleum and chemicals. In 1907 the port was entered by 869 ships of 926,449 tons, the largest number of vessels being Bulgarian and the greatest tonnage AustroHungarian. Wine is largely produced in the department, and in the city there are breweries, distilleries, tanneries and cloth factories; cotton-spinning was introduced by a British firm. There is a large and commercially important colony of Greeks; the Jews, Turks and gipsies are also numerous. Much of the city has been constructed since 1878, and the barracks, post office, college for girls and National Bank are handsome modern buildings. Near Varna is the summer palace of the king of Bulgaria.
Varna has been identified with the ancient Milesian colony of Odessus on the coast of Moesia Inferior. It figures largely in the history of more recent times, and close by was fought in 1444 the battle in which Murad II. slew Wladislaus III. of Poland and Hungary, and routed his forces commanded by Hunyadi Janos. Varna was occupied in 1828 by the Russians, in 1854 by the allies, who here organized the invasion of the Crimea, and in 1877 by the Egyptian troops summoned to the defence of Turkey against the Russians. By the treaty of Berlin (1878) it was ceded to Bulgaria. It has long been the seat of a Greek metropolitan and since 1870 of a Bulgarian bishop.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)