Euxinograd (Bulgarian: Евксиноград [ɛfˈksinoɡrat], also transliterated as Evksinograd) is a former late 19th-century Bulgarian royal summer palace and park on the Black Sea coast, 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) north of downtown Varna. It is currently a governmental and presidential retreat hosting cabinet meetings in the summer and offering access for tourists to several villas and hotels. Since 2007, it is also the venue of the Operosa annual opera festival.
The construction of the palace began soon after the land which it occupies was given to Knyaz Alexander Battenberg as a present by the Greek bishopric on 16 March 1882. There had previously been small monasteries called St. Demetrius and St. Constantine at that place, the buildings of which were subsequently converted into another small residence.
Viennese architect Viktor Rumpelmayer provided the original design for the palace. The palace was initially named Sandrovo in 1885 after the Italian diminutive of Alexander's name — Sandro. Later the knyaz extended the estate to its contemporary area of 80 hectares (200 acres). However, no buildings were constructed at the time.
The palace was built during the rule of Knyaz (later Tsar) Ferdinand. The pediment and other materials from the right wing of Château de Saint-Cloud in France, a former royal residence, were brought to Bulgaria by Ferdinand and integrated in the Euxinograd palace. Ferdinand invited the Swiss architect Hermann Mayer and Bulgarian architect Nikola Lazarov to finish the design of the palace. It was renamed Euxinograd in 1893 on the insistence of Princess Marie Louise, Ferdinand's first wife. The name comes from the Ancient Greek term for the Black Sea, Εὔξεινος Πόντος (Euxeinos Pontos, "hospitable sea") and the South Slavic suffix –grad, meaning "town" or, historically, "fortress".
After the abolition of the monarchy in Bulgaria, following a referendum held under the auspices of the Communists in 1946, Euxinograd became a summer residence of the then-Communist authorities. The democratic changes in 1989 made the former royal palace a presidential and governmental residence and opened it for the public.
Modelled after the French Château de Saint-Cloud, Euxinograd is often considered to be one of the finest examples of post-Liberation architecture in Bulgaria. After the French château was destroyed during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, Ferdinand acquired the pediment of its right wing for Euxinograd palace in 1890–1891. The palace was modelled after the French 18th-century château style, with a high metal-edged French-style mansard roof, figured brickwork and a clock tower.
Euxinograd has three storeys. The first houses the reception halls, the music hall and the dining room, the second is the place where the chambers of the royal family are located, and the third was intended for the staff. The furniture is made of mahogany and walnut wood. The giant chandelier decorated with a royal crown and gold lilies is a gift from the House of Bourbon. The doorhandles of the toilets bear the coat of arms of Tsar Ferdinand. The sundial, a gift from Queen Victoria, is another object of interest.
The palace's wine cellar was established in 1891 for the needs of the Bulgarian Royal Family and takes up two underground floors. It still produces high-quality white wine (twelve varieties) and brandy (seven varieties). The wine produced in the palace nowadays is thought of as one of the best in Bulgaria. The Euxinograd cellar has been preserving valuable 125-year-old French wines since the Liberation of Bulgaria. In addition, the Euxinograd complex also includes a former royal stable called Shtala (Щала; from German Stall).
The Euxinograd park, the arrangement of which began in 1890 and took several decades, is home to over 310 plant varieties from Asia, South America, North Africa and Southern France, said to be picked out by Ferdinand himself. It occupies an area of over 550 decare. The park is a combination of both the English and French landscaping styles, English garden and garden à la française, and was mostly designed by Édouard André. It has two bridges, a metal one and a cement one, which imitates a fallen tree. The area is surrounded by vineyards.
The tiny Kestrichka Bara River flows through the park. The park also features a small lake full of lilies, French-made bronze figures and a sculpture of Neptune. More than 50,000 trees were purchased from Marseille and fertile soil was brought from the mouth of the Kamchiya River.
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