Varna is the third largest city in Bulgaria and the largest city and seaside resort on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is situated strategically in the Gulf of Varna, and was historically known as Odessos. Varna Culture is known for the oldest gold jewellery ever found in the world and dates to 4200-4600 BC.

Theophanes the Confessor first mentioned the name Varna in the 6-7th century. The city itself was named after Lake Varna, and the name Varna is of much more antiquity than the city of Varna.

Lake Varna, an elongated lake by shape, is the largest by volume and deepest lake along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, divided from the sea by a 2 km-wide strip of sand.

Lake Varna, Bulgaria

A number of rivers pour into the lake, including Devnya and Provadiyska that empty near the western shores of Lake Beloslav, which is connected to Lake Varna. Until the 20th century, fresh water from the lake emptied into the Black Sea through the Devnya River. The name Devnya is definitely of Sanskritic origin. There are lakes in India which have this name, for example there is one in Kumaon in Uttarakhand. Even Provadiya is Sanskritic, and can be explained by ‘Pravadin’ (प्रवादिन्), ‘that which makes a sound’.

About the name Varna its been said that it could be of Varangian origin, as Varangians had been crossing the Black Sea for many years, reaching Constantinople in the early Middle Ages. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language states that the name might derive from the Proto-Indo-European root *u̯er- “to flow, wet, water, river”. But PIE itself is best expounded upon by Sanskrit which contains  words with the most appropriate meanings – ‘Vari’ (वरी) is river or stream, ‘vArI’ (वारी) is water, ‘vAri’ (वारि) is rain, vArira (वारिर) cloud, variSA (वरिषा) rainy season.

According to Theophanes, in 680 Asparukh, the founder of the First Bulgarian Empire, routed an army of Constantine IV near the Danube delta and, pursuing it, reached the so-called Varna near the city, which was then called Odessos . The latter is often said to be of Carian origin, which was spoken in ancient Anatolia. The Carian language is also of Indo-European origins and hence the name Odessos can be explained by the Sanskrit ‘audaKa’ (औदका) which means ‘town surrounded by water’.

The name Odessa can be explained
by Sanskrit ‘Audaka’ which means
‘town surrounded by water’


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