Today I shall take you on another trip, we shall go near the sea in Bulgaria to see an ancient fortress. This place is called Kaliakra fortress, this name comes from two Greek words “καλός” (“beautiful”) and “άκρα” (“headland” or “edge” or “extremity”). Indeed it is a beautiful headland. That has a long history, and there are also some legends about this place. One of them goes back to the time of Lysimachus, a successor of Alexander the Great, he seized a large treasure, and when he wanted to run away with the treasure to Kaliakra, he died in a storm. So probably somewhere deep in a sea lays a long forgotten and rotten ship full of treasures.
In this place, another legend says that 40 maiden preferred to die together, throwing themselves into the water than be captured by ottomans. They tied their hairs together and met their death together. The sea caught them the same as the sea did with the treasure.
Another one is about how this place comes to exist. It seems that Saint Nicholas was running to save his life, and God lent him a hand or, better said, a land.. because while Saint Nicholas was running, the ground under his feet was expanding. Unfortunately, Saint Nicholas was later caught anyway. Later on, was built a little church in his memory.
All of this is the legend of these places but let’s walk and admire the beautiful place. It is beautiful to see the sun coming out of the sea. It is beautiful to hear the sea roaming on the stones walls. If you love birds, you can find some nice ones who love enjoying the sun and drying their feet on the stones in the sea.
Now let’s have a walkthrough history of this place. So we know that in the 4th century BC, the region of Cape Kaliakra was inhabited by Ancient Thracian the tribe name was Trizi or Trici they were part of the Gets. So this place was then called Tirizis after them. Later, the place will get the Kaliakra name, which I told you earlier.
Strabo wrote that this place was the capital of Lysimachus ( the guy with the treasure ). He was one of Alexander the Great generals. It also seems that one of his successors, who also became king of Macedon, Thrace, and Asia minor, used the caves of Cape Kaliakra as treasury vaults. The treasure was what he got from his campaigns against Persia. Maybe if we walk in the caves nearby, we might get rich or at least our eyes will enjoy a lot of beauty… The beauty of the caves and if we are fortunate of the treasure.
While going on a wild search, I shall tell you how the fortress was made, so it seems that the fortress was built by the Thracians. Another wall to the fortress was added later during the Hellenistic Period. The fortress will know another expansion during the Roman Period.
Around the 6th century AD, the Kaliakra fortress was a significant stronghold that belonged to the Byzantine Empire and stood against the barbarian people who were invading from the north.
In the 7 century, the region of the Kaliakra was part of the First Bulgarian Empire. It will also be part of the second Bulgarian Empire until the Ottomans conquer the Bulgarian Empire.
In the time of Tsar Ivan Alexander (1331-1371), there were battles with the Ottomans, the Tsar lost two of his sons. After this, the Empire was split into his remaining two sons. The Bulgarian boyar Balik (1337-1366) acquired independence from the Bulgarian Tsars. He made the so-called Dobrudzha Despotate, including the city and the Kaliakra fortress. He will be succeeded by his brother Despot Dobrotisa (1347-1385).
The region’s name, Dobrogea, is supposed to come from the ruler’s name. In 1388 the Dobrudzha Despotate will be destroyed by the Ottoman.
The region will be regained for a short time from the Ottomans by Mircea the Elder(Wallachian ruler). To be lost later again to the Ottomans..
At Kaliakra Cape was the largest naval battle that ever took place in the Black sea. In the summer of 1791 – The fight between Russian and Turks, in which the Russian navy won against Ottomans.
In 1866 the first modern lighthouse was built by Campagnie des Phares de L’Empire Ottomane. In 1901 the present lighthouse will be built.
I hope you enjoyed our little short walk in history. This place has a complex history, but that needs more than a bit of walk…