After taking a look at online tour guides and reviews on Bulgaria at home, we decided to visit the city of Burgas and its main attraction — the sand sculptures. We wanted to see personally how such a small area could hold several sand sculptures of varying heights and designs.
When we were finally able to see the sculptures, we liked many of them, while some deemed to us as incomprehensible. But the most important thing was that this small collection of sand sculptures made a lasting impression on us, because so far we have not yet seen something similar anywhere else.
We advise you to watch those sandy masterpieces during the evening, when special lightning adds to their magnificence. we visited the park in the afternoon because we wanted take a walk through the beautiful streets of Burgas and find out the truth about the much-vaunted shopping scene.
It is also good to visit these sand sculptures during the morning. Since they are located on an open terrain, you are exposed to sunlight, which gets really hot during the afternoon. Do not forget to bring your own water, or wear protective clothing and headgear. And of course, don’t forget the camera! You don’t want to leave the sand sculptures without carrying photographic souvenirs.
The Sand Sculpture Festival in Burgas
Since 2008, the Sand Sculpture Festival has been held annually every summer — from early July to September. Each festival is given a different theme, and sand sculpture enthusiasts — from the biggest names to the amateur geniuses — compete to for the prestige of being the best in their craft, as well as to surprise residents and tourists.
We were lucky to get to the festival under the name “On Safari with a Camera.” About the entrance fees to the exhibition: 1 lev per head (for a child) and 3 levs for per head (for adults). As for groups of 10 people or more – 2 levs. However, it is said that on the opening day of the exhibition itself, the entrance to all spectators will be free. I don’t know if this is true, though.
To be honest, at first we were hesitant whether to pay for the entrance or to save and look at the sculptures from afar (if we were lucky to have a view of them) and be limited to the seaside park. But when we decided to pay for the entrance to examine those sandy wonders more closely, we were pleasantly surprise. While the sculptures were not many (only about 20), they were otherwise thoroughly thought-out and molded expertly with the ingenious and creative hands from the sand sculptors themselves. They were amazingly detailed and we were very impressed.
Competitors came from different countries other than Bulgaria: Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Turkey, and even as far as Australia.
One of our favorites is a sand sculpture of pandas, created by Irina Kalyuzhina from Ukraine. There was a plate beside each of the sculptures which indicated not only the authorship, but also a brief description of the animal.
The least understood sculpture was “Safari”. Despite the large size and detailing in the form of running to the watering antelopes, it did not impress us. But as they say: “tastes differ”.
From what and how to make sculptures? How long can live sandy masterpieces?
For the purposes of sand art, tons of damp-proof sand are imported to the park every year. For greater strength, the sand is then sieved and mixed with clay.
After the sand sculptures are made, next they are coated with a special adhesive, which made the sculptures to stand themselves strong for a few months.
The interest towards the sand sculptures festival is growing every year. The inaugural year was attended by only about 15,000 spectators; then in the next years the number has been multiplied by eight times.
How to get to the sandy figures?
Sandy sculptures are located in a small park “Ezero” (“The Lake”) with an area of 5 hectares. As we were staying in Nessebar at that time, we had to get to Burgas by bus. Fortunately, they go frequently (every 40 minutes), and the cost of such a trip is not very big – about 6 levs per person (as opposed to a trip to Varna – 12 levs).
To get to the festival, you can do it in two ways: to leave on a last stop of the bus, that is at the bus station (we recommend it) and go through the large and beautiful seaside park as we did, or leave on a stop which is called “Park Ezero”. The stop is almost at the entrance of Burgas from Nessebar.
For your convenience we post a map with the designation of the park on it and a bus schedule from Nessebar to Burgas and back: