Author: ROUSSEV IVAN
The Bulgarians are part of the old autochthonous population of Varna. Up until the beginning of the 19th c. they were not a big community mixed up with the other local Eastern Orthodox Christians, mostly with the Greeks. However, the process of palpable “bulgarization” of the town began in the 1840s, went on during the third quarter of the century, and culminated only after the restoration of the Bulgarian statehood in 1878. There are a few factors that led to the attraction of new Bulgarian settlers, but two of those are more fundamental: the abolition of state monopolies in the Ottoman Empire and the opening of the Western Black Sea Region to the European trade. Varna started being flooded by Bulgarians from the interior, most of whom were searching for a better living and enrichment while others were just attracted by the possibility to experience the modern, “the European” that had already started to get traction in the port city. According to some documents, which are not revealing the whole picture but only giving a fragmentary notion of the process, during the short period between 1868 and 1870 Varna’s population has grown by 2% due to the aforementioned internal migration. Other sources point to 144 settlers during the same time, most of them craftsmen: masons, bakers, diggers etc. They were coming from settlements with predominantly Bulgarian population during that time: Kotel and its region, Sliven, the towns and villages located on the southern slopes of the Balkan Mountains, Tarnovo, Gabrovo, Elena and its region, Eski Cuma (present day Targovishte), Shumen, Osman Pazar (present day Omurtag), Hacioglu Pazarcik (present day Dobrich), the Dobrudja towns, villages, and sheep-folds. Although the Bulgarians formed the bigger part of this migration wave to Varna, there were also migrants from Greek, Armenian, Jewish and other origins. Varna’s Bulgarian communal organization was instituted on May 11th, 1860. It developed the most significant cultural and educational activity among the Bulgarians in the Western Black Sea region. In 1860 the community founded a school for the Bulgarian children in Varna, and in 1865 – its own church. The primary goal of the community’s activity was the maintenance of the school as its device, written upon the communal seal, was “Concord and audacity, success, 1860”. For a relatively short period of time 106 marriages of Bulgarians were registered in the town.
In the 1850s - 1870s, two generations of activists of the Bulgarian community in Varna emerged on the historical scene and turned the town into a focal point of the Bulgarian national movement for a big area covering the northwestern coast of Black Sea as well as Dobrudja. Among the first generation of leaders of the Bulgarian community in Varna were: Hadji Stamat Siderov, Hadji Rali Mavridi (Mavridov), Sava and Nikola Georgievich, Konstantin M. Tulev, Hristo Popovich, Hristo T. Gruev, Stoian Hadji Ivanov, Yanaki Zekov, Spas Dimitrov, pop Konstantin Danovski et al.; among the second generation are: Yanko Slavchov, Andrea Astradjiev, Angel Georgiev, Veliko Hristov, et al.
 Русев, И. Варна през Късното Средновековие и Възраждането (края на XІV в. – 1878 г.). – В: Русев, И., В. Плетньов. История на Варна. Т. ІІ (VII в. – 1878 г.). Изд. „Славена” – Варна, 2012, с. 401–405.
 Тонев,В. Българското Черноморие през Възраждането. София, 1995, с. 69; Русев, И. Варна през Късното Средновековие и Възраждането (края на XІV в. – 1878 г.). – В: Русев, И., В. Плетньов. История на Варна. Т. ІІ (VII в. – 1878 г.). Изд. „Славена” – Варна, 2012, с. 403–404.
Русев, И. Варна през Късното Средновековие и Възраждането (края на XІV в. – 1878 г.). – В: Русев, И., В. Плетньов. История на Варна. Т. ІІ (VII в. – 1878 г.). Изд. „Славена” – Варна, 2012, с. 401–405.