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History of industries    EN


More than 50 types of crafts were practiced in Varna in the 1860s and the 1870s: apart from those existing in every town like tanners, shoe makers, tailors, bakers, butchers, some crafts specific only to the big town were also to be found here – many confectioners, ‘decorators’, pharmacists, as well as such characteristic of the sea center – boatmen, oarsmen, oakum-makers. Most numerous was the group of Varna’s bricklayers, masons, tile-makers, nail-makers (which indicates the presence of intensive construction works in the town at that time), followed by the cartwrights and carters (called taligadzhis and arabadzhis) who operated the busy traffic in the harbor. This diversity of crafts is indicative to the already established appearance of a big town, a major administrative and commercial center, a trade center, which was important for the region around it. Most of Varna’s craftsmen were small-scale commodity producers with low or moderate incomes. According to some incomplete data from the 1870s the following crafts with the respective number of workshops and workers were practiced in Varna:

Shoemakers – 70 workshops – 140 workers

Cloth-weavers – 18-20 workshops – 80 workers

Tanners – 9 workshops – 60 workers

Coopers – 13 workshops – 39 workers

Cartwrights – 11 workshops – 22 workers

Carpenters – 7 workshops – 14 workers

Joiners – 2 workshops, 6 workers

Mutafchis (makers of goat’s-hair articles) – 3 workshops – 12 workers

Blacksmiths – 3 workshops – 10 workers.

Some of the raw materials for the crafts production were coming directly from Western Europe and the countries from the East (for the shoemakers, mutafchis, blacksmiths), others relied on local raw materials. The production’s consumers came both from Varna and from the region, Dobrich, Provadiya. More and more the population from all around Dobrudja started to rely on it, too.

Considering the data for the released guild’s teskeres (crafts licenses) the hierarchy of Varna’s crafts towards the last quarter of the 19th century assumes a new appearance. From 166 craftsmen included into the available information the construction workers were most numerous (24 in total, 6 of which were recorded as masons), followed by the bakers (15 masters), the cartwrights (18) etc.[1]

In the early 1890 there were 389 workshops in Varna as 120 of them belonged to shoemakers, 20 to coopers, 27 to carpenters, 27 to cartwrights, 17 to blacksmiths, and mutafchis, cloth-weavers, and tanners had 3-4 workshops each. The first modern workshop for needlecraft and men’s clothing trade was founded by Yanko Kalchev in 1898. In 1908 E. Dukov opened a workshop for clothing production from local and imported textiles, and the workshop of D. Todorov for needlecraft and clothing trade started work in 1910. The first cooperative shoemaker’s called ‘Trud’ (Work) as well as Nesim Levi’s shoemaker’s workshop were established in 1911.

During the second half of the 19th and the early 20th century, but mainly after the Liberation (1878) following manufacturing and industrial enterprises were established:

The steam mill of the French Charnaux – opened in 1852

The water-mills of D. Agalidis.

Factory for production of alcoholic beverages – established by Nikola Provadaliev in 1860.

Factory for macaroni production – established in 1880.

Factory for soap production – established in 1880.

Factory for tobacco processing – established in 1880. The number of tobacco factories in Varna would grow to 7 (in the late 1890s), but in 1903 there were only 3 factories for cutting and packing tobacco left in the town. The most modern one among them was Mihail Avgerinidis’ factory called ‘Momiche’ (Girl).

Factory for beer production, built in 1884 by the merchants Kasabov and Ftichev. There were 6 laborers working in the factory, the capacity of which amounted to 70 000 okas (1 oka = ca. 1225 gr.) of beer.

The ‘Fortuna Brothers’ factory – soap production and trade, established in 1887. Its yearly production amounted to 350 000 lv. The factory took part of the fairs in Chicago and Brussels where it received golden medals.

Factory for soap production belonging to N. Siropulo – opened in 1888 with 6 laborers and a capacity of 75 000 okas of soap.

Factory of Hristo Rizo – soap production and trade. Established in 1889. It received a golden medal on the First Bulgarian Fair in Plovdiv in 1892.

Factory for soap production established at the beginning of the 20th century by the ‘T. Petrov and Iv. Petrov & Cie.’ company.

The ‘Prince Boris’ joint-stock company build a big textile factory in the region of the old train station. It started work in January 1899 and engaged 577 female workers.

Modern textile factory called ‘Progress’ built by Georgi H. Dechev. The factory had 200 looms for the production of cotton textiles.

Factory of Kuyumdzheli Brothers – soap production and trade.

Factory of M. Zarakosta – production of alcoholic beverages.

Varna’s industrial association ‘Sila’ (Power) built a big rolling mill at the beginning of the 20th century.

Leather factory of Domuschioglu – beginning of the 20th century.

Plant oil factory of St. Moshanov (1907-1909).

Brewing factory ‘Galata’ of Varna’s Brewing Association.

Steam-dyeing factory ‘Orel’ (Eagle) with owner Asen Nikolov.

Factory for cement articles of the ‘Al. Vasilev & Cie.’ company.

Factory for the production of bricks and Marseille tiles, belonging to architect At. Nestorov.

First Bulgarian Privileged Factory for canned foods ‘Genovi Brothers’.

Penchev and Partamyan’s Modern Blacksmith’s Shop and Factory – 1907.

Factory for the production of iron cases of L. Yavandzhiyan – 1907.

Dyeing factory established in 1909 by the entrepreneur Asen Nikolov. It was later turned into a leather factory and in 1918 it became property of the ‘Tekstil’ (Textile) joint-stock company for production of cotton textiles.

Factory for the production of cooking and heating stoves, machine parts, metal installations and other metal articles, established in 1910 by the joint venture of Kirchev and Baklov, which was changed over to a joint-stock company by the name of ‘Vulkan’ (Volcano) in 1919.

Factory for the production of copper and aluminum, opened in 1911 by Yanko Zantopulo.

Furniture-constructing factory ‘Ts. Simeonov Tsenov Cie. Zhelyazko Lolov’ – established in 1911.

Enterprise for furniture production and trade ‘Jack Roth and Leon Papo’ – established in 1911.

Carpenter’s production cooperation ‘Sila’ (Power) - 1912[2].


[1] Тодоров, Н. Социално-икономическият облик на Варна през 60-те и 70-те години на XIX в. – ИВАД, XIV, 1963, с. 121; Тонев,В. Българското Черноморие през Възраждането. София, 1995, с. 80–81.

[2] Дряновски, Б. Варна през 1878–1944 г. – История на Варна. Т. III, Изд. „Славена“, Варна /под печат/.



Тодоров, Н. Социално-икономическият облик на Варна през 60-те и 70-те години на XIX в. – ИВАД, XIV, 1963, с. 121;

Тонев, В. Българското Черноморие през Възраждането. София, 1995, с. 80–81.

Дряновски, Б. Варна през 1878–1944 г. – История на Варна. Т. III, Изд. „Славена“, Варна /под печат/.