Not everyone gets the privilege to walk where once a great civilization walked before you, to touch the old stones that provided a home for that civilization, let alone be able to take a part of that experience with you. I was lucky enough to do just that when I set foot in Old Nessebar, Bulgaria, a city so ancient that it has seen the rise and fall of the Roman, Thracian, and Ottoman empires.
I had visited the city many times as a child, but I had never taken the time to appreciate it other than for the wonderful hide-and-seek crevices that were available. Now that I’ve lived in the United States for over eight years, I have begun to appreciate my home country more and more, and every time I go back, I make it a priority to visit every corner of the country and take in the beauty that was once unappreciated by my eyes.
The second I stepped off of the bus that had taken me across the modern bridge, I felt a very over-powering feeling. It was like I had stepped back in time to 600 B.C. When the Thracians and Greeks walked on the very cobblestones I was standing on. A towering ancient building welcomed me; it’s pale beige and red bricks warming underneath the scorching summer sun.
Every single ancient building left standing in Old Nessebar is a collection from different time periods that it had survived through. A 13th century church at one end, a theater from 2 B.C., and wooden houses from the Victorian era are among these survivors. It is hard for me to find a place that can truly take my breath away, but this place did it for me, despite the fact that I had visited so many times before.
Even the old dock caught my eye, with all the white fishing boats lined up like soldiers, floating peacefully in the vivid aqua waters. I could almost imagine my ancestors fishing in the sea or attending an ancient Greek drama in the amphitheater. Being in America half of my life, I have gotten used to a history that didn’t go much farther back than the 1700s, not counting the stories of the great American Indians.
Being in Old Nessebar, it was almost too much for my mind to take in, all of those centuries of civilizations and hardships collected all in one place. Stories like Alexander the Great’s travels or the life of Caesar seemed like fairy tales to me, but being in Old Nessebar, they seemed more real than ever.
I looked like a total tourist with my Canon Rebel XT in my hand, snapping away nearly two hundred shots of the ancient city from every possible view. There was no way I was going to let this place slip away from my memories even though after this trip, I doubt it ever would. Even now, as I look at the photographs of the ancient ruins, I could almost hear the echoes of history bouncing off the pale beige and red brick and stone walls.
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