The city is referred to as the maritime capital of Bulgaria and headquarters the Bulgarian Navy and merchant marine.In 2008, Varna was designated seat of the Black Sea Euroregion by the Council of Europe.In the wider region of the Varna lakes (before the 1900s, freshwater) and the adjacent karst springs and caves, over 30 prehistoric settlements have been unearthed with the earliest artefacts dating back to the Middle Paleolithic or 100,000 years ago. BC) the area around Odessos had been populated with Thracians. BC local Thracians had active commercial and cultural contacts with people from Anatolia, Thessaly, Caucasus and the Mediterranean Sea.
By the late 10th century, the name Varna was established so firmly that when Byzantines wrestled back control of the area from the Bulgarians around 975, they kept it rather than restoring the ancient name Odessos.The latter is often said to be of Carian origin, though no modern scholarship supports this.Varna Peninsula on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after Varna.The Thracians in North-East Thrace seems to be underdeveloped compared to their counterparts in South Thrace.The people lived in two types of settlements: non-fortified, located in fertile lands near water sources and stone built fortresses in hard to reach mountain environment, where were usually located the kings’ residences.Conservatism is easily noticed in ceramic items and in religion.The highest deity of all was the Thracian horseman, who had different names and functions in different places.An example of their, probably accidental, presence, is the tumulus dated 8th-7th c. The region around Odessos was densely populated with Thracians long before the coming of the Greeks on the west seashore of the Black Sea. Around the city [Odessos] lives the Thracian tribe named Crobises.” This is also evidenced by various ceramic pottery, made by hand or by a Potter's wheel, bronze ornaments for horse-fittings and iron weapons, all found in Thracian necropolises dated 6th-4th c.BC near the villages of Dobrina, Kipra, Brestak and other, all in Varna Province.There is no doubt that interactions occurred mostly by sea and the bay of Odessos is one of the places where the exchanges took place.Some scholars consider that during the 1st millennium BC, the region was also settled by the half-mythical Cimmerians.