The town of Provadia (population: 15 000; 220 m above sea-level) is situated on the banks of Provadia River in the south end of the gorge of the same name. It is 435 km north-east of Sofia, 55 km south-east of Shoumen, 47 km west of Varna, and 17 km south-west of Devnya. The town is known as "the salt-pan of Bulgaria"
The town is a successor of the Byzantine fortress Provaton (Provat) of 5th century, which in Greek means 'sheep'. The Bulgarian medieval fortification town on the same place was called Ovech. The remains of these fortresses can be found right above the town in the region of Tashhisar. In different documents the town appeared with the names of Bourfanto and Ovechgrad.
In 13th-14th centuries the town was a prospering crafts and trading centre.
Traders from Doubrovnik and Armenia came here to do business. Ovech was among the most important metropolitan centres in Bulgaria together with Turnovo, Preslav, Cherven, Drustur, and Sredets.
It was also called Purvada, Pravada but after all the present day name of Provadia was kept which sounds similar to the first Greek name of the settlement.
The climate is temperate. The average annual temperature is 11.9 degrees Celsius.
The terrain is predominantly flat and hilly-plateaued and rises up to 220 m above the sea level, which in combination with the water resources (The Provadiya River and its feeders), the fertile soils and the moderate climate is suitable for the cultivation of grain and essential oils cultures, perennial cultures and orchards .
Once covered with century-old forests, today the slopes of the Provadian plateau are covered with relatively young oak, hornbeam and lime trees.
The salt baths in Provadiya are the one of its kind in the country. They are situated in the southern part of the town. The water temperature is 23 degrees, the capacity - 280 l/min.
After the Liberation Provadia underwent a brisk development and now it is the west branch of the industrial axis Varna-Devnya-Provadia. Five kilometres south-east near the railway station of Mirovo is one of the biggest rock salt deposits in the country (about 3900 m deep), which serves for the production of cooking salt.
An oil-extracting factory is operating on the territory of the town.
Job opportunities are offered in companies involved into the food industry, the machine construction and the metallurgy and the chemical industry. Besides there are many companies involved into tailoring and construction.
The farming is well developed on the territory of the municipality - over 276 000 decars of land are under cultivation. There are 16 agricultural co-operations, 9 private associations, land leaseholders and many farmers.
The salt baths in Provadiya are the ones of their kind in Bulgaria. They only have an equivalent in Czech Republic - the Carlovy Vary baths. The salty spring in the Tuzlata area was found accidentally by a young gardener back in 1917.
Two pipes are providing curative water from two different springs - the Salty Water spring (a sodium chloride water) and the Ereka area spring (a chloride - hydro-carbonate - sodium water - a forth class mineral water).
The salty water has a good curative effect on diseases as rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatism, arthritis, exostosis, diseases of the peripheral nervous system - plexitis, radiculitis, sciatica, lumbago, and other polyneuritis; chronic gynaecological diseases, sterility, diabetes type 2, obesity.
The main landmark near the city is the ancient fortress Ovech. It was initially built as a defensive installation but later on turned into a larger settlement. At the end of the 16th century the fortress was on the decline. It has been reconstructed with the helpful donation of the PHARE program after an initiative of Provadiya municipality and has become a hot tourist destination.
The Town Museum of History; the Svetoslav Obretenov's House-Museum; the St. Nichola Church (1844); the Clock Tower (16th-17th century); the Old Bazaar, Sara Kaya rock monastery, the prehistoric and Thracian salt mine "The Salt-pan" famous for being the oldest mine where salt was derived from, the operating mosque "Yusuf bay" - built in 1623, old-houses which are also monuments of architecture.
Balneohotel. The Arkovna Hut (in the Prolet Park in the rest zone near the town, 1.5 km away from the bus station and 2 km from the railway station). It offers 15 beds in two-, three-, four-, and six-bed rooms. Reservations in the Tourist Association in the town (see below).
Tourist Information: in the hotel and at the Ovech Tourist Association (13, Tsar Osvoboditel Str., tel.: 0518 2040).
Passengers may travel to and from Provadia by either a bus or a train. The railway station is set on the main railway Sofia-Gorna Oryahovitsa-Varna. There are regular bus lines to Varna, Shumen, Devnya and other smaller towns and villages in the district. There is a bus station. Due to the short distance to Varna the town favours the use of air and sea transportation.
Text: Mirela - Varna office