The Beautiful Cape Kaliakra
According to a Bulgarian legend, during the Ottoman conquest forty local maidens tied their hair together and jumped from the rocks of Cape Kaliakra to the sea below in order to escape being raped at the hands of the Turks.
Today, Cape Kaliakra, on a rocky, narrow peninsula jutting into the Black Sea north of Varna, is highly revered by the locals for its beautiful scenery more than its history serving as a fortress in both Roman and Byzantine times.
There is a connection to more recent history at the cape, as it overlooks the area of the Black Sea where two important naval battles took place. In 1791, the Russian navy defeated the Turkish fleet here. And more recently, the Bulgarian navy sunk the Ottoman gunship Hamidie here in 1912. In one of the caves on the cape there is a museum which marks these naval battles, but unfortunately it was closed when we visited.
And finally, two more legends about Cape Kaliakra. Muslims believe that one of the caves contains the grave of Sari Saltuk, a mystical Turkish hero who came here to kill a seven-headed dragon and rescue two of the sultan's daughters. As for Christians, there is a claim that the cape marks the final resting place of St. Nicholas, the savior of seafarers from shipwreck and the saint who guides fishermen towards their prey. From atop the rocky cape we could see small fishing boats dotting the sea, but no dragons, seven-headed or otherwise, were to be seen.