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Varna

Varna (värˈnä) [key], city (1993 pop. 307,200), E Bulgaria, on the Black Sea. It is a major port and an industrial center. Manufactures include ships and boats, chemicals, electrical equipment, and textiles. Varna is also an international summer resort. Significant artifacts discovered near Varna have been dated to second half of the 5th millennium B.C., but the city itself was founded in 580 B.C. as the Greek colony of Odessus and passed to the Roman Empire in the 1st cent. A.D. The Bulgarians defeated Byzantine emperor Constantine IV at Varna in 679. The city passed to the second Bulgarian kingdom in 1201, was captured by the Turks in 1391, and became an active seaport under their rule. In 1444 the Turks under Murad II won a decisive victory over Crusader forces led by Ladislaus III of Poland and Hungary, who was killed. The battle of Varna was the last major attempt by Christian Europe to stem the Ottoman tide. Varna was (1854) the chief naval base of the British and French forces in the Crimean War. The city was liberated from Turkish rule in 1878 and ceded to newly independent Bulgaria. It now has a university (founded 1920), a polytechnic institute, a naval academy, a medical college, and an archaeological museum as well as the ruins of a 5th-century basilica and a 6th-century Byzantine fortress. From 1949 to 1956 the city was named Stalin.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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