Bulgaria (area 110,994 sq.km, pop. 7.6 million) lies in southeastern Europe, on the eastern side of the Balkan Peninsula, a historical crossroads between Europe and Asia. To the north of Bulgaria is Romania and to the east is the Black Sea. Greece and Turkey lie to the south, and Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) lie to the west. Sofia (1.4 million) is Bulgaria’s capital and largest city.
Bulgaria is a land of mountains, rivers, and rolling plains. The Balkan Mountains, for which the Balkan Peninsula is named, extend east to west across northern Bulgaria. Bulgarians call them the “Old Mountains” (Stara Planina). The great Danube River, Europe’s second longest, forms much of Bulgaria’s northern border.
Between Sofia in the west and the Black Sea is a low-lying region called the Valley of the Roses. For more than three centuries, farmers in the region have raised Kazanluk roses, a Bulgarian export specialty. To the east, the dramatic Black Sea coast drops from rocky cliffs in the north to sandy beaches in the south, where tourist resorts attract visitors from around the world. Heavy snowfalls in the mountains create a paradise for winter sports.
|Rose harvesting in Bulgaria
Bulgaria’s location as a crossroads has made it the center of many struggles for power. An independent kingdom for many centuries, Bulgaria was a major power for long periods during the Middle Ages. At different times its rulers controlled much of the Balkan Peninsula, and its Orthodox Christian religion and culture influenced many Slavic peoples of southern and eastern Europe. Following almost 500 years of rule by the Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria regained its independence in 1878.
|Sofia: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
After World War II (1939-1945), a government backed by the Soviet Union, the occupying power, was established in Bulgaria. During the period of communist rule, Bulgaria’s leaders enforced an industrialization program in an effort to modernize the country’s largely agrarian economy. Bulgaria remained a communist-ruled country until democratizing reforms began in 1989. In 1990 Bulgaria held its first postwar multiparty elections and changed its name to Republic of Bulgaria.
Bulgaria’s transition toward democracy and a free market economy has not been easy. The fall of communism and the loss of the Soviet market for Bulgarian goods led to a massive contraction of the economy. The standard of living plunged amid rising inflation and unemployment, rampant corruption, and the collapse of the social welfare system. Many Bulgarians emigrated. The Bulgarian government remained committed to reforms undertaken in the late 1990s, however, leading to greater political and economic stability. Bulgaria joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 2004 and became a member of the European Union (EU) in 2007.
Varna, formerly Stalin (ancient Odessus), is a city and port in eastern Bulgaria, on the Black Sea. Located in Varna Region, it is a leading seaport of Bulgaria and an industrial center. In the city are food-processing plants, shipyards, and factories that produce electrical equipment, diesel engines, metal goods, and textiles. Among the chief exports are dairy products, grain, and livestock. The city is a popular vacation resort. Institutions of higher learning include a university, a medical school, and a naval academy.
Albena is a major Black Sea resort in northeastern Bulgaria, situated 12km from Balchik and 30km from Varna. Albena is served by the international airport of Varna.
Albena is one of the purpose-built resorts on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast and has a uniform and unique architectural style. Many of the hotels are situated on the beach itself, exposed to maximum sunlight and providing direct access to the beach and sea. Albena is located close to other tourist, cultural and commercial centres and in the same time remains within well-preserved natural surroundings. Although it was built on an empty ground in the 1960s, now this is in fact a small resort town with its own downtown, streets, squares and even internal public transport dedicated little 'trains' circulate on schedule along their routes within the resort.
The resort is remarkable for its 5km long, 150m wide beach with very fine and clean sand; the sea water is usually crystal clear, calm and warm. Sea depth does not exceed 1.6m at a distance up to 100-150m from the beach. Visitors can choose from one of the 43 modern hotels (two to four stars) offering more than 20,000 beds and many amenities. Most of the hotels have swimming pools.
All rooms feature views of the sea or the Baltata National Reserve, a rare combination of dense wet forest and a seashore. The specific sea climate is mild and pleasant with clean air, rich in ozone and optimal humidity of 63-65%. The tourist season lasts from May till October, when the use of the sea and the beach is guaranteed. In addition, there is year-round accommodation for the users of the biggest spa and wellness centre on Bulgarian seaside.
The resort offers visitors numerous sport and recreation activities including football pitches, multiple tennis courts, indoor stadium, golf courses, bowling, jet-ski, an equestrian base and many more. Albena hosts many cultural events and conferences.
The European Youth Championships will be played in the Sports Hall, situated in the centre of the resort. The Vugraph auditorium is in Dobrudja Hotel. (Click here to get a resort map in which no. 77 is the Sports Hall and no. 23 Dobrudja Hotel).
Full-board accommodation is offered in the following hotels and special rates (all hotels below are withing a short walking distance from the venue):
|Panorama Superior Apartment
|Apartment Grand Superior
per person, per day
The above rates are per room and per night, and include insurance and all taxes. They are valid from over the period 1-25 July 2011.
A complimentary bus transfer service from Varna airport to Albena and vice versa will be provided by the organizers for the NBOs who will advise them of the flight schedules of their delegations and the number of people travelling.
|All hotel room reservations must be made through: