Kaliakra is a cape in the Southern Dobruja region of the northern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, which ends with a long and narrow headland 12 kilometres (7 mi) east of Kavarna, 60 kilometres (37 mi) northeast of Varna and 65 kilometres (40 mi) southwest of Mangalia. The coast is steep with vertical cliffs reaching 70 metres (230 ft) down to the sea. Kaliakra is a nature reserve, where dolphins and cormorants can be observed. It sits on the Via Pontica, a major bird migration route from Africa into Eastern and Northern Europe. Many rare and migrant birds can be seen here in spring and autumn and, like much of this coastline, is home to several rare breeding birds (e.g. pied wheatear and a local race of European shag). The rest of the reserve also has unusual breeding birds; saker falcon, lesser grey shrike and a host of others.
It also features the remnants of the fortified walls, water-main, baths and residence of Despot Dobrotitsa in the short-lived Despotate of Dobruja’s medieval capital. The Bolata Cove with a small sheltered beach lies just north at the mouth of a picturesque canyon, also part of the nature reserve
Kaliakra was the site of the naval Battle of Cape Kaliakra on 11 August 1791, part of the Russo-Turkish War (1787–1792).
The first modern lighthouse on Kaliakra was built in 1866 by the Compagnie des Phares de l’Empire Ottoman; the present one, a 10-metre (33 ft) cylindrical stone masonry tower with lantern and gallery, was erected in 1901, with focal plane height of 68 metres (223 ft) and a white flash (every 5 seconds); it also has a radio navigation emitter and a foghorn.
Near Kaliakra, there is a large mediumwave broadcasting facility, which never went into service as planned. As of 2009, several wind power facilities are under development in the vicinity. The area now has three championship golf courses designed by the legendary golfers Gary Player and Ian Woosnam.
Photography: Nikolay Dimitrov