AskDefine | Define varna

Dictionary Definition

varna n : (Hinduism) the name for the original social division of Vedic people into four groups (which are subdivided into thousands of jatis)

User Contributed Dictionary

see Varna



From etyl sa sc=Deva, from verbal root sc=unicode.


/'vɜ:nə/, /'vɑ:nə/


  1. any of the four original castes in Hinduism, or the system of such castes


  • French: varna


  • Credo, Quia Occidentale
  • Welzer, Albrecht. 1994. Credo, Quia Occidentale: A Note on Sanskrit varna and its Misinterpretation in Literature on Mamamsa and Vyakarana. In: Studies in Mamamsa: Dr Mandan Mishra Felicitation Volume edited by R.C. Dwivedi. Delhi: Motilal Banarasidass.



  1. crow




  1. to warn

Extensive Definition

Varna (, ) is the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, third-largest in Bulgaria after Sofia and Plovdiv, and 80th-largest in the European Union, with a population of 357,270. The actual daily population, including commuters, is widely believed to have made it the country's second-largest city. Commonly referred to as the marine (or summer) capital of Bulgaria, Varna is a major tourist destination, university centre, seaport, and headquarters of the Bulgarian Navy and merchant marine, as well as the centre of Varna Province and Bulgaria's North-Eastern planning region (NUTS II), comprising the provinces of Dobrich, Shumen, Targovishte, and Varna.
In April 2008, Varna was designated seat of the Black Sea Euro-Region (a new regional organization, not identical to the Black Sea Euroregion), by the Council of Europe.

Geography, climate, and transportation

Varna occupies an area of 205 km² on verdant terraces descending from the calcareous Frangen Plateau (height 356 m) along the horseshoe-shaped Varna Bay of the Black Sea, the elongated Lake Varna, and two waterways bridged by the Asparuhov most. It is the centre of a growing conurbation stretching along the seaboard 20 km north and 10 km south (mostly residential and recreational sprawl) and along the lake 25 km west (mostly transportation and industrial facilities).
The urban area has in excess of 20 km of sand beaches and abounds in thermal mineral water sources. It enjoys a mild continental climate influenced by the sea with long, mild, akin to Mediterranean, autumns, and sunny yet considerably cooler than Mediterranean summers moderated by a breeze. January and February can be bitterly cold at times. Black Sea water has actually became cleaner after 1989 due to decreased chemical fertilizer usage in farming; it has low salinity, lacks large predators or poisonous species, and the tidal range is virtually imperceptible.
The city lies 470 km north-east of Sofia; the nearest major cities are Dobrich (45 km to the north), Shumen (80 km to the west), and Burgas (125 km to the south-west). Varna is accessible by air (Varna International Airport), sea (Port of Varna Cruise Terminal), railroad (Central Train Station), and automobile. Major roads include European routes E70 to Bucharest and E87 to Istanbul and Constanta, Romania; national motorways A-2 (Hemus motorway) to Sofia and A-5 (Cherno More motorway) to Burgas. There are bus lines to many Bulgarian and international cities from two bus terminals and train ferry and ro-ro services to Odesa, Port Kavkaz, Russia, and Poti, Georgia. Varna is connected to other Black Sea cities by the submarine Black Sea Fiber Optical Cable System.
The public transit system (map) is extensive and reasonably priced, with over 80 local and express bus, electrical bus, and fixed-route minibus lines; there is a large fleet of taxicabs. In 2007, a number of double-decker buses were purchased; the mayor vowed that by summer 2008, all city buses would be retrofitted with air conditioners and later fueled by methane.

Climate chart


Antiquity and Bulgarian conquest

see also Varna Necropolis Varna is among Europe's oldest cities. Miletians founded the apoikia (trading colony) of Odessos in 570 BCE (in the time of Astyages) within an earlier Thracian settlement. The name Odessos, first mentioned by Strabo, was pre-Greek, perhaps of Carian origin. Long before the Thracians populated the area (by 1200 BCE), several prehistoric settlements best known for the eneolithic necropolis, eponymous site of the Varna culture and the world's oldest large find of gold artifacts (mid-5th millennium BCE radiocarbon dating), existed within the modern city limits. Odessos was a member of the Pontic Pentapolis and a mixed Greco-Thracian community—contact zone between the Ionians and the Thracians (Getae, Crobyzi, Terizi) of the hinterland (see also Darzalas).
In 339 BCE, the city was unsuccessfully besieged by Philip II but surrendered to Alexander the Great in 335 BC, and was later ruled by his diadochus Lysimachus. The Roman city, Odessus (first included into the Praefectura orae maritimae, then in 15 CE annexed to the province of Moesia, later Moesia Inferior), occupied 47 hectares in present-day central Varna and had prominent public baths, Thermae, erected in the late 2nd century, now the largest Roman remains in Bulgaria (the building was 100 m wide, 70 m long, and 25 m high) and fourth-largest known Roman baths in Europe.
Odessus was an early Christian centre, as testified by ruins of perhaps ten early basilicas, a monastery, and indications that one of the Seventy Disciples, Ampliatus, follower of Saint Andrew (who, according to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church legend, preached in the city in 56 CE), served as bishop there. In 442, a peace treaty between Theodosius II and Attila was done at Odessus. In 536, Justinian I made it the seat of the Quaestura exercitus including Moesia, Scythia, Caria, the Aegean Islands and Cyprus.
Theophanes the Confessor first mentioned the name Varna, as the city came to be known with the Slavic conquest of the Balkans in the 6th-7th century. The name may be older than that; perhaps it derives from Proto-Indo-European root we-r- (water) (see also Varuna). In 681, Asparukh, the founder of the First Bulgarian Empire, routed an army of Constantine IV north of the Danube delta and reached the so-called Varna near Odessos. Recent scholarship has suggested that the first Bulgarian capital was perhaps located around Varna before it moved to Pliska. Asparukh fortified the Varna river lowland by a rampart against a possible Byzantine naval landing; several 7th-century Bulgar settlements have been excavated.

Middle Ages

Control changed from Byzantine to Bulgarian hands several times during the Middle Ages. In the late 9th and the 10th century, Varna was the site of a principal scriptorium of the Preslav Literary School in a monastery founded by Boris I who may have used it as his monastic retreat. In 1201, Kaloyan took over the fortress on Holy Saturday using a siege tower, and annexed it to the Second Bulgarian Empire.
By the late 13th and 14th century, it had turned into a thriving commercial hub frequented by Genoese, Venetian and Ragusan merchant ships (the three republics held consulates and had expatriate colonies there) and flanked by two fortresses with smaller ports of their own, Kastritsi and Galata, within sight of each other. Wheat and other local agricultural produce for the Italian and Constantinople markets were the chief exports, and Mediterranean foods and luxury items were imported. Shipbuilding developed in the Kamchiya river mouth.
14th-century Italian portolan charts showed Varna as perhaps the most important seaport between Constantinople and the Danube delta; they usually labeled the region Zagora. The city was unsuccessfully besieged by Amadeus VI of Savoy in 1366; in 1386, it briefly became the capital of the spinoff Principality of Karvuna, then was taken over by the Ottomans in 1389 (and again in 1444), ceded temporarily to Manuel II Palaiologos in 1413 (perhaps until 1444), and sacked by Tatars in 1414.

Battle of Varna

On November 10, 1444, one of the last major battles of the Crusades in European history was fought outside the city walls. The Turks routed an army of 20,000 crusaders led by Ladislaus III of Poland (also Ulászló I of Hungary), which had assembled at the port to set sail to Constantinople. The Christian army was attacked by a superior force of 55,000 or 60,000 Ottomans led by sultan Murad II. Ladislaus III was killed in a bold attempt to capture the sultan, earning the sobriquet Warneńczyk (of Varna in Polish; he is also known as Várnai Ulászló in Hungarian or Ladislaus Varnensis in Latin). The failure of the Crusade of Varna made the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 all but inevitable, and Varna (with all of Bulgaria) was to remain under Ottoman domination for over four centuries. Today, there is a cenotaph of Ladislaus III in Varna.

Late Ottoman rule

Varna was made one of the Quadrilateral Fortresses (along with Rousse, Shumen, and Silistra) severing Dobruja from the rest of Bulgaria and containing Russia in the Russo-Turkish wars. The Russians temporarily took over in 1773 and again in 1828, following the prolonged Siege of Varna, returning it to the Ottomans two years later after the medieval fortress was razed. The British and French campaigning against Russia in the Crimean War (1854-1856) used Varna as headquarters and principal naval base; many soldiers died of cholera and the city was devastated by a fire. A British and a French monument mark the cemeteries where cholera victims were interred. In 1866, the first railroad in Bulgaria connected Varna with the Rousse on the Danube, linking the Ottoman capital Istanbul with Central Europe; for a few years, the Orient Express ran through that route. The port of Varna developed as a major supplier of food—notably wheat from the adjacent breadbasket Southern Dobruja—to Istanbul and a busy hub for European imports to the capital; 12 foreign consulates opened in the city.

Liberated Bulgaria

With the national liberation in 1878, the city, which numbered 25-26 thousand inhabitants, was ceded to Bulgaria by the Treaty of Berlin; Russian troops entered on July 27. Varna became a front city in the First Balkan War and the First World War; its economy was badly affected by the temporary loss of its agrarian hinterland of Southern Dobruja to Romania (1913-16 and 1919-40). In the Second World War, the Red Army occupied the city in September 1944, helping cement communist rule in Bulgaria.
Over the first decades after the 1878 liberation, with the departure of most ethnic Turks and Greeks and the arrival of Bulgarians from inland, Northern Dobruja, Bessarabia, and Asia Minor, and later, of refugees from Macedonia, Eastern Thrace and Southern Dobruja following the Second Balkan War and the First World War, ethnic diversity gave way to Bulgarian predominance, although sizeable minorities of Gagauz, Armenians, and Sephardic Jews remained for decades.
One of the early centres of industrial development and the Bulgarian labor movement, Varna established itself as the nation's principal port of export, a major grain producing and viticulture centre, seat of the nation's oldest institution of higher learning outside Sofia, a popular venue for international festivals and events, as well as the country's de facto summer capital with the erection of the Euxinograd royal summer palace (currently, the Bulgarian government convenes summer sesions there). Mass tourism emerged since the late 1950s. Heavy industry and trade with the Soviet Union boomed in the 1950s to the 1970s.
In 1962, the 15th Chess Olympiad, also known as the World Team Championship, was here. In 1969 and 1987, Varna was the host of the World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships. From September 30 to October 4, 1973, the 10th Olympic Congress took place in the Sports Palace.
Varna is running for European Capital of Culture for 2019.


Varna is the second most important economic centre for Bulgaria after Sofia, the country's foremost trade link to Russia, and one of the major hubs for the Black Sea region.
The economy is service-based, with 61% of net revenue generated in trade and tourism, 16% in manufacturing, 14% in transportation and communications, and 6% in construction Financial services, particularly banking, insurance, investment management, and real-estate securitization are booming. The city is the easternmost destination of Pan-European transport corridor 8 and is connected to corridors 7 and 9 via Rousse. Major industries traditionally include transportation (Navibulgar, Port of Varna, Varna International Airport), distribution (Logistics Park Varna, shipbuilding (see also Oceanic-Creations), ship repair, and other marine industries.
In June of 2007, Eni and Gazprom disclosed the South Stream project whereby a 900-km-long offshore natural gas pipeline from Russia's Dzhubga with annual capacity of 31 cubic kilometers is planned to come ashore at Varna, possibly near the Galata offshore gas field, en route to Italy and Austria.
With the nearby towns of Beloslav and Devnya, Varna forms the Varna-Devnya Industrial Complex, home to some of the largest chemical, thermal power, and manufacturing facilities in Bulgaria, including Varna Thermal Pover Plant and Sodi Devnya, the two largest cash privatization deals in the country's recent history. There are also notable facilities for radio navigation devices, household appliances, textiles, apparel, food and beverages, printing, and other industries. Some manufacturing veterans are giving way to post-industrial developments: an ECE shopping mall is taking the place of the former VAMO diesel engine works and the Varna Brewery is being replaced by a convention centre.
Tourism is of foremost importance with the suburban beachfront resorts of Golden Sands, Holiday Club Riviera, Sunny Day, Constantine and Helena, and others with a total capacity of over 60,000 beds (2005), attracting millions of visitors each year (4.74 million in 2006, 3.99 million of which international tourists The resorts received considerable internal and foreign investment in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and are environmentally sound, being located reassuringly far from chemical and other smokestack industries. Varna is also Bulgaria's only international cruise destination (with over 30 cruises scheduled for 2007) and a major international convention and spa centre.
Real estate boomed in 2003-2008 with some of the highest prices in the nation, by fall 2007 surpassing Sofia. Commercial real estate is developing major international office tower projects,,
In retail, the city not only has the assortment of international big-box retailers now ubiquitous in larger Bulgarian cities, but boasts made-in-Varna national chains with locations spreading over the country such as retailer Piccadilly, restaurateur Happy, and pharmacy chain Sanita.
In early 2008, there were two shopping malls operating and another five projects in various stages of development, turning Varna into an attractive international shopping destination (Pfohe Mall, Central Plaza, Mall of Varna, Grand Mall, Gallery Mall, Cherno More Park, and Varna Towers), plus a retail park under development outside town. The city has many of the finest eateries in the nation and abounds in ethnic food places.
Economically, Varna is among the best-performing and fastest-growing Bulgarian cities; unemployment, at 2.34% (2007), is over 3 times lower than the nation's rate; in 2007, median salary was the highest, on a par with Sofia and Burgas. Many Bulgarians regard Varna as a boom town; some, including from Sofia and Plovdiv, but mostly from Dobrich, Shumen, and the greater region, are relocating.
In September 2004, FDI Magazine (a Financial Times Business Ltd publication) proclaimed Varna South-eastern Europe City of the Future,_Bulgaria.html citing its strategic location, fast-growing economy, rich cultural heritage and higher education. In April 2007, rating agency Standard & Poor's announced that it had raised its long-term issue credit rating for Varna to BB+ from BB, declaring the city’s outlook "stable" and praising its "improved operating performance"
In December 2007, Varna was voted "Best City in Bulgaria to Live In" by a national poll by Darik Radio, the 24 Chasa daily and the information portal


The first population data date back to the mid-1600s when the town was thought to have about 4,000 inhabitants After the Liberation in 1878, the first population census in 1881 counted 24,555 making it the second-largest in the Principality. With Unification, Varna became Bulgaria's third-largest city and kept this position steadily for the following 120 years, while different cities took turns in first, second, and fourth places.
Varna is officially (according to GRAO and NSI) the third-largest city by permanent address, but various sources, including Bulgarian National Television, national newspapers, marketing research, the mayor's office and local police, claim it has a daily population, including commuters, of over 520,000 (considerably more with the seasonal workers in summer, making it the second-largest city. Deputy Mayor Venelin Zhechev, who is also chief architect, once reported population of about 650,000
The metro area (including Varna municipality and adjacent parts of Aksakovo, Avren, Beloslav, and Devnya municipalities, and excluding adjacent parts of Dobrich Province) population is estimated by official data (permanent address) at about 416,000. Here, the "Varna-Devnya-Provadiya agglomeration" is not considered identical to "Varna metro area".
Varna is one of the few cities in Bulgaria with a positive population growth and new children's day care centers opening.
Most Varnians are ethnic Bulgarians (85.3% in the province, but perhaps a higher percentage in the city Turks traditionally rank second (8.1% in the province, perhaps less in the city); by 2007, Russians and other Russian-speaking recent immigrants, estimated at over 20,000, may have outnumbered them. There are smaller numbers of Roma, mostly in three distinctive ethnic neighborhoods: Maksuda; Rozova Dolina in the Asparuhovo district; and part of the Vladislavovo district. Armenians, Greeks, Jews, and other long-standing ethnic groups are also present, plus a growing number of new Asian and African immigrants and corporate expatriates.

Historical population


City landmarks include the Varna Archaeological Museum, exhibiting the Gold of Varna, the Roman Baths, the Battle of Varna Park Museum, the Naval Museum in the Italianate Villa Assareto displaying the museum ship Drazki torpedo boat, the Museum of Ethnography in an Ottoman-period compound featuring the life of local urban dwellers, fisherfolk, and peasants in the late 19th and early 20th century. The Sea Garden is the oldest and perhaps largest park in town containing an open-air theatre (venue of the International Ballet Competition, opera performances and concerts), an aquarium (opened 1912), a dolphinarium (opened 1984), the Nicolaus Copernicus Observatory and Planetarium, the Museum of Natural History, a terrarium, a zoo, an alpineum, a children's amusement park, and other attractions. The National Revival Alley is decorated with bronze monuments to prominent Bulgarians, and the Cosmonauts' Alley contains trees planted by Yuri Gagarin and other Soviet cosmonauts in the 1960s. The Garden is a national monument of landscape architecture.
The waterfront promenade is lined by a string of beach clubs offering a vibrant scene of rock, hip-hop, Bulgarian and American-style pop, techno, and chalga. In October 2006, The Independent dubbed Varna "Europe's new funky-town, the good-time capital of Bulgaria" It enjoys a nationwide reputation for its rock and hip-hop artists and related events such as July Morning, international rock and hip-hop (including graffiti venues.
The city beaches, also known as sea baths (морски бани, morski bani), are dotted with hot sulphuric mineral water sources (used for spas, swimming pools and public showers) and punctured by small sheltered marinas. Additionally, the 2.05 km long, 52 m high Asparuhov most bridge is a popular spot for bungee jumping. Outside the city are the Euxinograd palace, park and winery, the University of Sofia Botanical Garden (Ecopark Varna), the Pobiti Kamani rock phenomenon, and the medieval cave monastery, Aladzha.


Notable old Bulgarian Orthodox temples include the metropolitan Dormition of the Theotokos Cathedral (of the diocese of Varna and Veliki Preslav); the early 17th-century Theotokos Panagia (built on the site of an earlier church where Ladislaus III was perhaps buried); the St. Athanasius (former Greek metropolitan cathedral) on the footprint of a razed 10th-century church; the 15th-century St. Petka Parashkeva chapel; the seamen's church of Saint Nicholas; the Archangel Michael chapel, site of the first Bulgarian secular school from the National Revival era; and the Sts. Constantine and Helena church of the 16th-century suburban monastery of the same name.
The remains of a large 4th-5th-century basilica in Dzhanavara Park just south of town are becoming a tourist destination with some exquisite mosaics displayed in situ. The remains of another massive 9th-century basilica adjacent to the scriptorium at Boris I's Theotokos Panagia monastery are being excavated and conserved. A 4th-5th-century episcopal basilica north of the Thermae is also being restored. There is also a number of newer Orthodox temples; two, dedicated to apostle Andrew and the local martyr St. Procopius of Varna, are currently under construction.
There is an old Armenian Apostolic church; two Roman Catholic churches (only one is now open and holds mass in Polish on Sundays), a thriving Evangelical Methodist episcopal church offering organ concerts, active Evangelical Pentecostal, Seventh-day Adventist, and two Baptist churches.
Two old mosques (one is open) have survived since Ottoman times, when there were 18 of them in town, as have two once stately but now dilapidated synagogues, a Sephardic and an Ashkenazic one, the latter in Gothic style. A new mosque was recently added in the southern Asparuhovo district serving the adjacent Muslim Roma neighborhood.
There is also a Buddhist centre.
On a different note, spiritual master Peter Deunov started preaching his Esoteric Christianity doctrine in Varna in the late 1890s, and, in 1899–1908, the yearly meetings of his Synarchic Chain, later known as the Universal White Brotherhood, were convened there.


By 1878, Varna was an Ottoman city of mostly wooden houses in a style characteristic of the Black Sea coast, densely packed along narrow, winding alleys. It was surrounded by a stone wall restored in the 1830s with a citadel, a moat, ornamented iron gates flanked by towers, and a vaulted stone bridge across the River Varna. The place abounded in pre-Ottoman relics, ancient ruins were widely used as stone quarries.
Today, very little of this legacy remains; the city centre was rebuilt by the nascent Bulgarian middle class in late 1800s and early 1900s in Western style with local interpretations of Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Baroque, Neoclassicism, Art Nouveau and Art Deco (many of those buildings, whose ownership was restored after 1989, underwent renovations).
Stone masonry from demolished city walls was used for the cathedral, the two elite high schools, and for paving new boulevards. The middle class built practical townhouses and coop buildings. Elegant mansions were erected on main boulevards and in the vineyards north of town. A few industrial working-class suburbs (of one-family cottages with small green yards) emerged. Refugees from the 1910s-1920s' wars also settled in similar poorer yet vibrant neighbourhoods along the city edges.
During the rapid urbanization of the 1960s to the early 1980s, large apartment complexes sprawled onto land formerly covered by small private vineyards or agricultural cooperatives as the city population tripled. Beach resorts were designed mostly in a sleek modern style, which was somewhat lost in their recent more lavish renovations. Modern landmarks of the 1960s include the Palace of Culture and Sports (1968).
Upscale apartment buildings mushroomed both downtown and on uptown terraces overlooking the sea and the lake. Varna's vineyards (лозя, lozya), dating back perhaps to antiquity and stretching for miles around, started turning from mostly rural grounds dotted with summer houses or vili into affluent suburbs sporting opulent villas and family hotels, epitomized by the researched postmodernist kitsch of the Villa Aqua.
With the new suburban construction far outpacing infrastructure growth, ancient landslides were activated, temporarily disrupting major highways. As the number of vehicles quadrupled since 1989, Varna became known for traffic jams; parking on the old town's leafy but narrow streets normally takes the sidewalks. At the same time, stretches of shanty towns, more befitting Rio de Janeiro, remain in Roma neighbourhoods on the western edge of town due to complexities of local politics.
The beach resorts were rebuilt and expanded, fortunately without being as heavily overdeveloped as were other tourist destinations on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, and their greenery was mostly preserved. New modern office buildings started reshaping the old centre and the city's surroundings..


Higher learning institutions

The University of Economics, founded in 1920 as the Higher Business School, is the second oldest Bulgarian university, the oldest one outside Sofia, and the first private one—underwritten by the Varna Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Prof. Tsani Kalyandzhiev, who was educated at Zürich and made a career as a research chemist in the United States, was its first Rector (President).
The Nikola Vaptsarov Naval Academy is successor to the nation's oldest technical school, the Naval Machinery School, established in 1881 and renamed His Majesty's Naval Academy in 1942. Other higher schools include the Medical University, the Technical University, the Chernorizets Hrabar Varna Free University—the first private university in the land after 1989, three junior colleges, and two local branches of other Bulgarian universities.
There are four Bulgarian Academy of Sciences research institutes (of oceanology, fisheries, aero and hydrodynamics, and metallography), a government research institution (shipping), and a now-defunct naval architecture design bureau. The Institute of Oceanology (IO-BAS) has been active in Black Sea deluge theory studies and deepwater archaeology in cooperation with Columbia University, MIT, UPenn, and National Geographic. in 2007, Varna was home to a total of 2,500 faculty and researchers and over 30,000 students.
Other universities' local branches:

Noted high schools (gymnasia)


Varna has some of the finest and oldest museums, professional arts companies, and arts festivals in the nation and is known for its century-old traditions in visual arts, music, and book publishing, as well as for its bustling current pop-culture scene. Over the past few decades, it developed as a festival centre of international standing. Varna is a front-runner for European Capital of Culture for 2019, planning to open several new high-profile facilities such as a new opera and concert hall, a new exhibition centre, and a reconstruction of the Summer Theatre, the historic venue of the International Ballet Competition.



Performing arts professional companies

Other performing arts groups

  • Morski Zvutsi Choir School (academic choirs)
  • Dobri Hristov Choir School (academic choir)
  • Varna Ensemble (traditional folk music and dance)

Other institutions

International arts festivals

National events

  • Golden Rose Bulgarian Feature Film Festival (biennial)
  • May Arts Saloon at Radio Varna
  • Navy Day (second Sunday of August)
  • Urban Folk Song Festival
  • Christmas Folk Dance Competition

Local events


Football is the biggest spectator sport with two rival clubs in the nation's top professional league, Cherno More (the Sailors), founded in 1913 and four times national champion, including the first championship in 1925, and Spartak (the Falcons), founded in 1918, one time champion and participant in the UEFA Cup in 1983, when it reached the second knockout round and played Manchester United.
In the late 1800s, Varna was considered the birthplace of Bulgarian football with a Swiss gym teacher coaching the first varsity team at the men's high school. In February 2007, the city decided to replace its antiquated 1950's municipal stadium with a new arena according to UEFA/FIFA specifications The new venue will seat 30,000 (40,000 for concerts including standing room). Another state-of the-art track-and-field stadium with a capacity of 5,000 seats and training halls for professional and public use will open in the Mladost district in 2009 to compensate for the lost track-and-field capacity of old Varna stadium
Men's basketball, women's volleyball, gymnastics, boxing, martial arts, and sailing are also vibrant. The 4-km swimmimg marathon Cape Galata—Varna is a popular venue. Varna hosts international competitions, including world championships, and national events in several sports on a regular basis, including auto racing and motocross. Bulgarian national basketball and volleyball teams host their games, including Volleyball World Cup games, at the Palace of Sports, the country's largest arena. Currently (2007), three 18-hole golf courses of professional quality are being developed north of the city in the vicinity of Balchik and Kavarna, with more to come. A hippodrome with a horseback riding school is located in the Vinitsa neighborhood, and Asparuhov most is the foremost bungee jumping spot in the nation due to the local Club Adrenalin.
In early August 2007, a new municipal sports complex with fields for football, basketball and volleyball was opened as a part of a larger complex of sports facilities, mini-golf, tennis, biking alleys, mini-lakes and ice-skating rinks in the district of Mladost. Smaller municipal fields opened in the Sea Garden, Asparuhov Val Park, and elsewhere; the municipal Olympic-size swimming pool complex was rebuilt also in 2007, and the first segment of a bike lane to connect the Sea Garden with the westernmost residential districts was completed outside City Hall Paying tribute to the golf course development mania, the mayor vowed to build a free municipal driving range in the district of Asparuhovo The new city regulation plan (under discussion in early 2008) envisages a large public amateur sports complex south of Lake Varna and a ski run with artificial snow covering.
Varna athletes won 4 of the 12 medals for Bulgaria at the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Organized crime

As in other Bulgarian cities, some sectors of the economy, including gambling, corporate security, tourism, real estate, and professional sports, are believed to be controlled in part by shady business groups with links to Communist-era secret services or the military; the TIM group is one example. In 2003, Iliya Pavlov, chairman of MG Holding (former Multigroup), owner of the posh St. Elias resort at Constantine and Helena and president of PFC Cherno more, was gunned down in Sofia, as was Emil Kyulev, chairman of DZI Financial Group and owner of the stylish Holiday Club Riviera resort at Golden Sands, in 2005. The perpetrators are still unknown. Varna has also seen gangland- (mutri-) style bombings, and is believed to be a hangout for Russian and Chechen mafias. However, it is noted that in Varna, the mutri presence is by no means as visible as it is in smaller coastal towns and resorts. Over the last couple of years, crime has subsided, which is said to have contributed to Varna's naming as Bulgaria's Best City to Live In (2007); in 2007, the regional police chief was promoted to the helm of the national police service.

Twin cities

Varna's twin cities are:
In March 2008, the municipal council voted to sign twinning contracts with Barcelona, Liverpool, Novosibirsk, and Stavanger.
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