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For the tall ship Kaliakra, see Kaliakra (Tall ship).
For the football (soccer) team, see PFC Kaliakra Kavarna.
The medieval fortress of Kaliakra
Location of KaliakraKaliakra (Bulgarian: Калиакра; historical names: Thracian: Tirizis, Turkish: Celigra Burun, Italian: Capo Calacria, Romanian: Caliacra) is a long and narrow headland in the Southern Dobruja region of the northern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, located 12 km east of Kavarna and 60 km northeast of Varna. The coast is steep with vertical cliffs reaching 70 m down to the sea.
Kaliakra is a nature reserve, where dolphins, cormorants and pinnipeds can be observed. It also features the remnants of the fortified walls, water-main, baths and residence of Despot Dobrotitsa in the short-lived Principality of Karvuna's medieval capital.The cove Bolata with a small sheltered beach lies just north at the mouth of a picturesque canyon, also part of the nature reserve
Name and history
The name "Kaliakra" is of Byzantine Greek origin. It is a combination of "καλός" ("beautiful") and "άκρα" ("headland" or "fortress") and is traditionally translated as "Beautiful Headland".
Kaliakra was the site of the naval Battle of Cape Kaliakra on 11 August 1791, part of the Russo-Turkish War of 1787–1792.
The first modern lighthouse on Kaliakra was built in 1866 by the Compagnie des Phares de l’Empire Ottomane; the present one (a 10-m cylindrical stone masonry tower with lantern and gallery) was erected in 1901, with focal plane height of 68 m and a white flash (every 5 seconds); it also has a radio navigation emitter and a foghorn.
Near Kaliakra, there is a large mediumwave broadcasting facility, which went never in service as planned. Currently (2009), several wind power facilities are under development in the vicinity.
Probably the most popular legend about the place is the one about 40 Bulgarian girls, who preferred to tie their hair together and jump into the Black Sea instead of the prospect to be captured by the Ottomans. An obelisk dedicated to this legend is placed at the entrance to the cape, called The Gate of the 40 Maidens.
Another legend tells the story of St Nicholas, the patron of seamen, who was running away from the Ottomans and God was making the earth under him longer and longer, so he could escape, and the cape was formed this way. The saint was eventually captured and a chapel was built in 1993, symbolizing his grave. A dervish monastery is also said to have existed on the same place during Ottoman rule, which is thought to have preserved the relics of Muslim Bektashi saint Sarı Saltık.
A third legend is about Lysimachus, a successor of Alexander the Great, who seized the royal treasure and escaped to Kaliakra, dying in a major storm along with his whole fleet.
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