Autumn in Ahtopol
The last sunbeams of the moving out summer lure us to say our farewell to the sea. September however has not yet ended and this could be a chance for the late tourists, the fans of the calm holiday and … the fishermen.
If you like to enjoy a warm sea, sunny weather and fishing, welcome to Ahtopol. When the summer is about to end and the autumn is coming, the most southern town on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast still welcomes you promising a series of pleasant moments.
The transitional-Mediterranean climate with a Pontic influence and sea breeze are the reason why the Ahtopol’s autumn is warm and cool at the same time. The sunny days here are more than anywhere else on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, and the temperature of the sea water is also higher.
Ahtopol is one of the oldest Thracian settlements in Eastern Strandja Mountain. The earliest data about Ahtopol are dated to VI century BC. During its century-long history, in the different ages of its existence, Ahtopol has been known under a number of names. The oldest Thracian name was Avlikon Tihos or Avleo Tihos, meaning the Palace of Tihos. Then came the names: Agaton polis – the city of Agaton; Perontikon – in the Roman ages; Agapi polis – III–V century AD; Agato polis – meaning Prospering city, and is dated to the Byzantine period; Gastopoli – the Latin name of the town, marked in the sea maps from 1100 to 1800. Ahtebol is its Italian name by 1913, and Ahtembolu – the Turkish one by 1913.
Ahtopol lies at the foot of the Papia anticline, 505 m in height, on a beautiful peninsula, quite jutted by the destructive power of the sea water. In the past, the bay and the spring, located closely, attracted the first settlement of this place. A few-kilometer long fine sand beach spreads out along the northwestern coast, in the end of wide opened bay.
Ahtopol is situated 87 km to the southeast of Bourgas and 477 km to the southeast of Sofia. Here you could have your holiday in a bungalow, in hotel or in some of the numerous private lodgings.
Among the attractions of the town are the ruins of its fortified walls, a wall-painting resembling the foundation of the First Bulgarian State in the year 681, the Ascension church built in 1776, the St. Yani monastery and the fountain with the image of a Thracian rider.
In 1918 the town survived a fire that burnt down almost all of the ancient wooden many-storied houses and Orthodox temples. Since that time only the Ascension church is protected now. After the fire, using the donations of Greek emigrants in America, a Greek school was built, which was later declared a monument of culture.
But doubtlessly in September Ahtopol attracts the fishermen to the most. Fishing in the Black Sea is as old as the shipping in its waters. The first data about it are provided by Herodotus. He is the one to tell us that the fishes caught in the Black Sea have been valuable goods in the antiquity. They used to have positions on the far away markets and were quite valuable. The Thracians learnt from the Phoenicians the mastery of preserving food as most likely it was kept through salting and drying.
Over 130 species of fish are registered in the Black Sea, of which 60 are available for fishing. The European anchovy is found to the biggest quantities, and prevails in the eastern part of the sea. Second comes the sprat that breeds far away from the shores, and in spring migrates toward the western coast. These two species are also the foundation for the food chain of the bigger predatory fish. Third by quantity, but first by importance for Bulgaria, ranks the Atlantic bonito. If lucky, the fishermen in the Black Sea could also catch blue-fish, Alosa pontica, gray mullet, and grey wrasse. The turbot could be most often caught of the bottom fish. Small quantities of goby, red mullet, whiting and etc. may be also caught.
The many-year old Atlantic bonit Toruk comes in May from the Sea of Marmora into the Black Sea. It passes the Caucasus coast and reaches the shelf in front of the rivers Danube, Dnieper and Prut. There it spawns, fattens and takes the same way back. For three months alone the small Atlantic bonit put on weight to 700-900 grams. Big and fatten up they pass near our sea coats in the months September and October. And these are the months for the best fishing. Moving on, in the autumn, the fish phosphoresce, could be noticed from afar and is easy to fish, and the Ahtopol sea is teemed with fishing boats. The scene is extremely fascinating.
But without being a fisherman, but just like eating fish specialty in the sea houses, you could use the good autumn fishing. In Ahtopol the sun keeps shining that warm and the summer continues!