Varna has so many hidden secrets tucked away in odd niches and the Roman Baths are one such. I had no idea what street they were on until coming across the freebie "Happy" map on my last visit and they certainly aren't signposted (that I noticed). At first sight I presumed it to be some sort of bio-dome but it turned out that what I thought was a greenhouse was in fact the protective covers over one of Europe's finest preserved examples of a Roman Thermae.
The modern Varna is now in the process of hosting Bulgaria's largest shopping mall but the ancient Varna had beaten it by several thousand years as the baths here in Varna were not just a simple bathing affair but had their own street of upmarket shops. In fact the Thermae complex covers about 7000 square metres and looks as if it was originally constructed on three levels. Not bad for a town which at the time had a populus of maybe a couple of thousand!
If this is your thing it makes for an interesting wander and there are useful signs, along with artists impressions, to give you an idea of what it would have looked like in its heyday.
The Baths are open from 10 am to 5 pm, closed Mondays, and the entrance is 4 leva (Jan 2010).
This is supposed to be the largest Roman site in Bulgaria, our ghuide told us.
It's a Roman baths with the usual cold bath, warm bath, hot bath etc. It is an interesting place with artists impressions of how it may have looked in each area. There are also artists overviews of the complex.
However, having been in Jerash (Jordan) earlier this year, we were not as impressed as some of our co-tourists. Also, Bath in England somehow does it better! When Bulgaria has more money it will no doubt develop these sites far more.
Would I go back to the Roman site? No.
The situated in the South-Eastern part of Varna Roman therms are the biggest ancient public building found in Bulgaria by now. The comparatively well preserved walls outline an impressive structure, built on more than 7000 square meters.
*( I've found today the most amazing thing in the middle of the city!! Roman thermal bath ruins!!!but the most amazing part was that I was the only visitor!!! well It has a fence ,but I found a hidden entrance just below a building! and the complex is as huge as a temple.all this to myself!!! can't believe my luck...I just had to climb a small fence , and made a step into another world.I was walking and imagining...what everything looked back in the days . The place crowded with naked people taking a bath , moisture and steam in the air ,voices...
I just wanted to take a couple of shots as my friend was waiting for me , but I had to walk further and further , and from one room to the other , into underground caves,stairs.....damn!! It was awesome... it's like finding a lost temple amid the concrete jungle of the surrounding buildings - you wouldn't resist.It took me about half an hour to make the whole tour.As it took too long , I didn't went to the underground galleries that you'll see on the last pic. hey ,but the stone with the inscription - it's Greek )
If you want to see the full gallery of pics , click here >
Roman Bath Ruins - photo gallery
The Roman Baths were little bit hard to find but in the end was worth it. I read somewhere that these 2 A.D. old thermal baths are the largest on the Balkans and the 4th largest in Europe.
The complex is part of the Archaeological museum so it has working time 10am-5pm and is closed Mondays (plus Sundays during the winter). If it's closed then take a walk around the complex as we did and you'd be able to see a lot.
The history of these ruins was not revealed until the 1960s when researchers identified it as public baths from Roman period. This 7,000 square meter complex is the biggest Roman baths on Balkans. It walls reach up to 22 meters height in some parts.
The Romans had a practice of building baths to their settlements and Odessos was not an exception. The public baths of Odessos were built during the second century AD and was used until the end of the third century. As well as for bathing, the thermae served as a place for socializing and business negotiations.
An interesting thing to see in the baths is the heating system used for heating the floors and the thermal baths.
Varna has a couple of Roman ruins and biggest are the Roman Thermae. The original complex is thought to have covered an area 7000 sq metres, only a small portion of it still stands now. The baths were built in the late 2nd century AD when Varna (Odessos at that time) was an important Roman port.
You can wander around the ruins Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is 4 BGN.
Roman thermae - the biggest Bulgarian find so far. Built at the end of the 2nd C. and the beginning of the 3rd C. Covering an area of 7000 sq.m. Numerous rooms, typical of such buildings (frigidarium, tepidarium, caldarium with 3 swimming pools, reception halls, etc.).
Third biggest Roman ruins in Europe and, off course the biggest in Bulgaria.
The therms were built in 2nd century AD and Romans enjoyed there by bathing in freezing cold water, tepid water or hot water.
Only a small complex comparing to original is still preserved.
That's my favourite place in Varna. They ara very well preserved and I believe more beautiful than the ones in Carthage, Tunisia.