Sites & cities that bear the name of Sozopol


Today in : Bulgaria
First trace of activity : ca. 30th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Ἄνθεια, Antheia, Apollonia, Ἀπολλωνία, Apollonia Pontica, Ἀπολλωνία ἡ Ποντική, Apollonia Magna, Sizebolu, Sizeboli, Sizebolou, Sozopoli, Σωζόπολη, Созопол

Description : Sozopol (Bulgarian: Созопол , Greek: Σωζόπολη, Sozopoli) is an ancient seaside town located 35 km south of Burgas on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. Today it is one of the major seaside resorts in the country, known for the Apollonia art and film festival (which takes place in early September) that is named after one of the town's ancient names. Sozopol is one of the oldest towns on Bulgarian Thrace's Black Sea coast. The first settlement on the site dates back to the Bronze Age. Undersea explorations in the region of the port reveal relics of dwellings, ceramic pottery, stone and bone tools from that era. Many anchors from the second and first millennium BC have been discovered in the town's bay, a proof of active shipping since ancient times. The town was founded in the 7th century BC by Greek colonists from Miletus as Antheia (Ancient Greek: Άνθεια). The town established itself as a trade and naval centre in the following centuries and became one of the largest and richest Greek colonies in the Black Sea region. Its trade influence in the Thracian territories was based on a treaty dating from the fifth century BC with the Odrysian kingdom, the most powerful Thracian state. Apollonia became a legendary trading rival of another Greek colony, Mesembria, today’s Nessebar. The name was changed to Apollonia, on account of a temple dedicated to Apollo in the town, containing a famous colossal statue of the god by Calamis, 12m high. It kept strong political and trade relations with the cities of Ancient Greece – Miletus, Athens, Corinth, Heraclea Pontica and the islands Rhodes, Chios, Lesbos, etc. The city managed to keep its independence during the wars of Phillip II of Macedon (342-339 BC) and Alexander the Great (335 BC). In 72 BC it was conquered and sacked by the Roman legions of Marcus Lucullus, who transported the statue of Apollo to Rome and placed it in the Capitol. Apollonia Pontica started minting its own coins at the end of the 6th century BC, the anchor appearing on them as the symbol of the polis present on all coins minted since the sixth century BC, proof of the importance of its maritime trade. Coins from the fourth century BC bear the name Apollonia and the image of Apollo. The Roman imperial coins continue to the first half of the third century AD. The Tabula Peutinger shows Apollonia; but the "Periplus Ponti Euxini", 85, and the Notitiæ episcopatuum have only the later name Sozopolis. In 1328 Cantacuzene (ed. Bonn, I, 326) speaks of it as a large and populous town. The islet on which it stood is now connected with the mainland by a narrow tongue of land. Ruled in turn by the Byzantine, Bulgarian and Ottoman Empires, Sozopol was assigned to the newly independent Principality of Bulgaria in the 19th century. At the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence (1821) prominent local personalities like Dimitrios Varis were arrested and executed by the Ottoman authorities due to participation in the preparations of the struggle. According to the Bulgarian jurist and politician Vasil Mitakov (1881-1945), the town was almost entirely ethnically Greek in the first decade of the 20th century, with the exception of a few dozen Bulgarians in the whole city who were either current or retired officials. Almost all of its Greek population was exchanged with Bulgarians from Eastern Thrace in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars. In 2011 the remainings of an ancient Greek settlement, part of Apollonia, were excavated in the small island of St. Kirik (Saint Cerycus) off Sozopolis. Since 1984 Sozopol hosts the Apollonia art festivities every September, which include theatre shows, exhibitions, movies, musical and dance performances, book presentations and other cultural events.

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