Saints Constantine and Helena

110 Years Old and Still Going Strong

Situated 8 km north of Varna in a remarkably beautiful area, Saints Constantine and Elena celebrated its 110th jubilee this year as the oldest Bulgarian Black-Sea resort. In 1992 the recreational complex was named after a local 14th – 16th century monastery, of which only a small church has been preserved, half of it dug into the ground. Older visitors however still remember it under its previous name, Druzhba (friendship). 

In 1905, the construction of the first seaside sanatorium in Bulgaria began there on the initiative of the Bulgarian Queen Eleonora (the second wife of Ferdinand Saxe Coburg-Gotha) and with the active assistance of Varna physician Dr Paraskev Stoyanov. The latter became the manager of the summer sanatorium, where children suffering from tuberculosis of bones and joints were successfully treated. He was the first to introduce sea, sun and mud-bath treatment in Bulgaria, but due to disagreements with the Queen, he had to resign in 1910. 

The first holiday home was built in 1908, marking the symbolical birthday of the resort. In fact, it was a two-storey superstructure on one of the old monastery buildings. The hotel was named ‘Prague’ because its first guests were foreigners from the Czech capital. Today, the Estreya Palace hotel is in this place. 

In 1913 – 1918, a small pine-tree forest was planted, using Austrian pine seeds brought from France, while along the sea, sycamore, lime, poplar and horse chestnut groves grew. Alleys and flower gardens were formed. On 10th September 1933, a grape treatment house with 140 rooms facing the sea was inaugurated. It functioned until the beginning of the Second World War. Under the communist regime, the resort had its name changed and was expanded. New hotels and departmental holiday homes were built. 

Today, Saints Constantine and Elena resort makes wise use of its heritage, including the large park with a one hundred-year-old forest and seven mineral springs which have no counterpart in Europe.