Varna (Bulgarian: Варна, pronounced is the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and the third largest city in Bulgaria with a population of 335,949. It is also the fourth largest city on the Black Sea.
Often referred to as the marine (or summer) capital of Bulgaria, Varna is a major tourist destination, a starting point for all the resorts in the northern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, business and university centre, seaport, and headquarters of the Bulgarian Navy and merchant marine. In April 2008, Varna was designated seat of the Black Sea Euro-Region (a new regional organization, not identical to the Black Sea Euroregion) by the Council of Europe.
The Varna culture is a record holder, the oldest golden treasure in the world was discovered in Varna Necropolis, located in the present City of Varna consisting of artifacts dating to 4200-4600 BC.
Economically, Varna is among the best-performing and fastest-growing Bulgarian cities; unemployment, at 2.34% (2015), is over 3 times lower than the nation's rate; in 2015, median salary was one of the highest in the country, on a par with Sofia and Burgas. Many Bulgarians regard Varna as a boom town; some, including from Sofia and Plovdiv, or returning from western countries, but mostly from Dobrich, Shumen, and the greater region, are relocating there.
In September 2004, FDi magazine (a Financial Times Business Ltd publication) proclaimed Varna South-eastern Europe City of the Future citing its strategic location, fast-growing economy, rich cultural heritage and higher education. In April 2007, rating agency Standard & Poor's announced that it had raised its long-term issue credit rating for Varna to BB+ from BB, declaring the city’s outlook "stable" and praising its "improved operating performance".
In December 2007 (and again in October 2008), Varna was voted "Best City in Bulgaria to Live In" by a national poll by Darik Radio, the 24 Chasa daily and the information portal Darik.News.
There are five Bulgarian Academy of Sciences research institutes (of oceanology, fisheries, aero and hydrodynamics, and metallography) and Varna-Europa Academy, a government research institution (shipping), and a naval architecture design bureau. The Institute of Oceanology (IO-BAS) has been active in Black Sea deluge theory studies and deepwater archaeology in cooperation with Columbia University, MIT, UPenn, and National Geographic.
In 2007, Varna was home to a total of 2,500 faculty and researchers and over 30,000 students in 5 major universities. With a population of approximately 340,000, Varna has a large number of young people (around 158,000 under the age of 35). This is one of the reasons Varna was awarded the title of European Youth Capital 2017, by the European Youth Forum.
BATTI's headquarters are located in Varna. BATTI Varna was established in 2013 with the idea to create regional community of innovation support and technology professionals, to promote high standards in the provision of innovation support and technology transfer services to SMEs, NGOs, public sector, universities, etc. and to share professional experience and good practice, with a view to developing the knowledge economy, improving quality of life and boosting the wealth creation process in Varna and the Varna region.