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General characteristics

Varna is the largest city in northeastern Bulgaria, located along the Black Sea coast and Varna Lake. It is the administrative center of the municipality and the region. Today, over 5% of the population of the country lives in Varna. According to a national census in 2011, the population was 334,870. The population of Varna agglomeration is 475 074 people.

All religious communities in Bulgaria are represented in the municipality. Unemployment is below the national average. The share of the private sector is over 50%. The region's economy is well represented at national level through gross domestic product, representing 5.4% of the national. The most developed sectors are tourism, maritime industry, port services, trade, outsourcing and IT technologies.

The Pan-European Transport Corridor 8, European Road E87, the A2 “Hemus” and the A5 “Black Sea Motorways pass through Varna. The railway station serves the first railway line in the country. Varna Airport, which serves more than 65 Bulgarian and foreign airlines operating scheduled and charter flights to over 35 countries is situated to the West of Varna. It is one of the four international airports in the country with year-round operation. In 2019, more than 2 million passengers passed through the airport. There are several transport options connecting the airport to the city – bus, taxi and car rental services. Varna has a marina and a bus station.

The rich natural resources make Varna one of the most famous resorts in Europe and a four season destination. There are 5 resorts nearby - Golden Sands, St. St. Constantine and Helena, Riviera, Sunny Day and Chaika. Warm mineral springs, curative mud, wide beaches and rich forest vegetation are excellent prerequisites for the development of holiday and sea tourism, balneology, wellness and spa, cultural, rural, eco, sports, golf, congress and leisure tourism. There is a well-developed tourist infrastructure with over 400 hotels.

Varna is an attractive international educational center. There are 6 universities on the territory of the municipality – University of Economics, Technical University, Medical University "Prof. Dr. Paraskev Stoyanov", Naval Academy "Nikola Vaptsarov", Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar" and Higher School of Management; 3 colleges - College of Tourism, Medical College and Technical College, as well as the National School of Arts “Dobri Hristov”, 64 municipal schools and 52 kindergartens.

The sea capital is an important health center in Bulgaria with a number of medical establishments - Naval Hospital, which is also specialized as a NATO hospital with Burns and Poisoning unit, St. Marina Hospital, St. Anna Hospital, "Dr. Marko A. Markov" Oncology Hospital, Specialized Hospital for Obstetrics and Gynecology, "Prof. Dr. Dimitar Stamatov - Varna" Ltd., "Specialized Hospital for Eye Diseases - Varna" Ltd., Specialized Hospital for Active Treatment in Cardiology "- Varna.

The city has a rich cultural and historical heritage, part of which is the oldest processed gold in the world, stored in the Archaeological Museum. The event calendar of the city is enriched every year. Among the most popular events are the International Music Festival "Varna Summer" - the first music festival in Bulgaria, founded in 1926 in Varna; International Theater Festival; International Ballet Competition; International Jazz Festival and others. Varna is also famous for celebrating the traditional Hippie holiday in Bulgaria "July Morning". 

In 2017 Varna was the European Youth Capital and in 2019 it was awarded the European City of Sport title.