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The territory belonging to the Sozopol municipality has been inhabited since the most ancient times and possesses unique natural conditions and a rich cultural heritage, created by various civilizations.

The beginning of the region's settlement is considered to have been in the last quarter of the fifth millennium B.C. This dating refers to the earliest possible civilizations, which existed for about 400 years, after which as a result of climatic anomalies and a warming a global ecological crisis arose in 4200-4100 B.C. The coast's settlement started again with the setting in of favourable climatic conditions.

Sozopol is one of the earliest towns on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and dates from 2 610 years ago. It is situated upon a picturesque peninsula. The archaeological findings testify to the presence of the Thracians as its first inhabitants. In 620 B.C. immigrants from the rich city of Milet - the largest South Greek centre on the Asia Minor coast - turned the old Thracian settlement into a rich Hellene colony - the independent city-state Apollonia-Pontica. Its strategic position gave it the opportunity of holding the ways to the rich in raw materials coast of Black Sea Thrace and the Stranja Mountain and gave it an active intermediary part in the commerce among the Athenian sea unions, the Hellenistic states in the Mediterranean area and the Thracian formations. Culture and art started flourishing, temples and public buildings were built, exquisite sculptures in the classical style of the ancient Greek art. Artefacts were made from gold, silver, bronze and marble, coins were minted.

Sozopol was especially renowned in antiquity for the temple of Apollo the Healer, whose bronze statue, 13 m high, was a work of the Athenian sculptor Calamis. In 72 B.C. the punitive march of the Roman legions of Marcus Luculus against Apollonia, which was an ally to Mitridat V against Rome, completely destroyed the town's fortress wall, Apollo's temple and many other buildings. Only as late as the beginning of c.4, with the great political and ethnic changes in the Roman empire and the growth of Constantinople's in its eastern part Apollonia regained its former significance. This is the source of the town's new name - Sozopolis, the town of salvation.

Sozopol resisted the barbarian invasions in the period from c.3 to c.7 A.D., it was annexed to Bulgaria's territory in 812 by Khan Kroum, and after that was continually conquered by Byzantium and regained from it (972-1366). In c.13 it was an important harbour centre, a mediator in the international commerce, an episcopal and metropolitan's seat. The monastery "Sveti Yoan Predtecha" (St. John the Forerunner) on the Sveti Ivan isle was a spiritual and literary centre not only on a local and a national, but also on an international level.

After the fall of Sozopol under Ottoman oppression in 1453 it gradually declined and turned into a poor fishermen's and wine-producers' settlement. It recovered in the years before the National Liberation in 1878 and especially after that because of the exclusive hardiness and vitality of its population.


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