Seaside Palace & Botanical GardenLocation ID: 2663
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The Palace is the former summer residence of the Romanian Queen Maria Alexandrina Victoria de Edinburg (1875 – 1938). It is situated approximately 2 km south-west of Balchik, 40 minutes away from Varna (the seaside “capital” of Bulgaria), and about 6 hours from Sofia by car, in a beautiful area between the Balchik rocks and the sea. The Palace is an archeological and constructional monument of culture and a monument of the gardening and landscape art.
The residence was constructed by the Italian architects Amerigo and Augustino in 1924. It is formed with beautiful threshold terraces along the steep sea shore, through which the water from two springs flows along special stone-made channels, and pours into water mirrors and waterfalls.
The style of the new buildings is in unison with that of the one that was already there, and the old mills were restored. The contrast of the white rocks and the red roofs, which is typical for the town, was preserved.
Chapels, yards, fountains and buildings in various styles were built – in typical Bulgarian, Byzantine, Roman and Arabic, Mauritanian, Transylvanian, etc.
The park and botanical garden along the sea shore were developed by the Swiss gardener Jules Gianni. The strip is 60-70 meters wide and more than 400 meters long. Christian and Muslim symbols intertwine in wells and gardens, and the flowers and the decorative pots for the gardens were bought from various parts of the world.
The complex is composed of a few villas and buildings with characteristic emanation. The Blue Arrow villa was built in 1931 on the edge of a cliff, above the sea shore.
There is a beautiful 25 meters high waterfall falling near the terraces. Another smaller waterfall comes from the “Garden of Allah” through a thick wall along a three-flow fountain in a deep stone basin.
The Chapel named “The Assumption of Mary” was built in 1932 and is situated in another beautiful white-blossom garden.
From the chapel you can reach a garden full of lilies, called “The garden with the cross-shaped water mirror”, carved like a cross in a stone terrace and encircled by heavy ship anchor chains. From there, along a white stone stairway, you can reach the Gethsemane Garden, surrounded by black tulips blooming in the Spring. Rare tree and bush species grow in the Gethsemane Garden – jujube trees, paradise apple trees, pomegranate trees, fig trees, Dutch tulips in various nuances, begonia, iris, etc.
A small building is situated in the northern part of the garden. It has existed as early as before the palace was built. A powerful stream of water gushes out from its wall, and is believed to be medicinal. A small chapel was built there – a holy spring.
From the Gethsemane Garden through the gates of wrought iron you can enter the Mavi Dalga garden (The blue wave). It was built along the lowest coastal terrace between 1930 and 1933. Stone pathways cross-rule the garden to separate nooks. Magnolias grow here, as well as a very rare and precious species for the park – cotoneaster.
The garden with the water lilies is called “The English Yard” and is sheltered from the freezing coastal wind by massive stone walls.
From the English Yard, through boxwood hedge, two sets of stairs lead to a vaulted stone bridge, reminiscent of The Bridge of Sights in Venice.
The renovated mills are nowadays used for the hotel base of the complex.