The first evidence of settlement in what is now Dobrich date from 4th-3rd century BC. Ruins from 2nd-4th century and 7th-11th century have also been found, including a Bulgar necropolis featuring pagan graves in the centre of the town.
During the 11th century, Pecheneg invasions devastated the interior of Dobruja, leaving many settlements in the region uninhabited at the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
The settlement was founded for a second time in the 16th century by the Turkish merchant Hacıoğlu Pazarcık, whose name it bore until 1882. According to Turkish data from 1646–1650, there were over 1000 houses in the town, about 100 shops, 3 inns, 3 Turkish baths, twelve mosques and twelve schools.
From the 17th to the 19th century, the town developed as a handicraft, trade and agricultural centre, being famous for its weaving, homespun tailoring, coppersmith’s trade, leather-work and agricultural products, such as wheat, linseed, wool and cheese.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the town’s population reached 12,000, many of whom refugees from eastern Bulgaria after the Russo-Turkish Wars. The cultural appearance of the town was also formed. The first Orthodox church was built in 1843.
The town was liberated from the Ottoman Empire on 27 January 1878 and renamed Dobrich on 19 February 1882 after Dobrotitsa, a medieval ruler of Dobruja.This was done by means of a decree issued by knyaz Alexander I.
After the Treaty of Bucharest of 1913 (confirmed by the Treaty of Neuilly of 1919), Dobrich and the whole of Southern Dobruja were incorporated in Romania for a period until 1940. During that time, the city bore the name Bazargic and was centre of Caliacra County (judeţ in Romanian). On 25 September 1940, the Bulgarian army marched into the town after signing Treaty of Craiova in September 7, 1940; that date is celebrated as the town’s holiday.
During the period of Communist rule, Dobrich was renamed Tolbukhin (Толбухин) after Russian military commander Fyodor Tolbukhin. On 19 September 1990, a presidential decree restored the town’s old name of Dobrich.
“SVETI GEORGI” CITY PARK
The park opened in 1867, and in 1999 it was registered as a monument of landscape design. It offers a number of sports and recreation facilities.
In 2003, the 2.5-hectare garden of the old park was renovated under the Beautiful Bulgaria project – a joint project of the United Nations Organization and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.
The historical museum offers tourists a walk around the historical heritage of Dobrudzha – the crossroads of civilizations, where cultures from a number of regions in Southeast Europe meet. The museum boasts some 163,000 exhibits.
The historical museum of Dobrich was founded in 1953 as an institution for science, culture and education. It has collected, studied, stored and exhibited artifacts and nature samples from all over South Dobrudzha. It publishes a number of scientific and popular science books (among which the year-book Dobrudzha), and organizes international, national, and regional science forums. In 1968, the organization started Yordan Yovkov fund, which, twelve years later, was transformed into the today’s specialized museum of art, drama, and ballet Home of Yordan Yovkov.
The museum is one of the most interesting houses dating back to the Bulgarian National Revival. It was built in 1860 – 61, and was restored in 1970. The house has been registered as a monument of culture and architecture. Its rooms house the exhibition Customs and Finary from Dobrudzha. The collection contains costumes and textiles which are masterpieces of arts and crafts.
THE HALL OF THE ICONS (IN THE ART GALLERY)
It displays icons, pieces of our national heritage, which prove the high artistic standards and the talent of the Bulgarian icon-painters.
‘SAINT GEORGE’ CHURCH
The church was opened in 1843, burnt down in the Crimean War (1853 – 1856), and then rebuilt in 1868. It boasts a richly ornamented iconostas. Many of the icons were painted by Kozma Blazhetov of Debar.
THE HOUSE OF YORDAN YOVKOV AND YORDAN YOVKOV MUSEUM
They commemorate the classic of Bulgarian literature, the great writer and humanist, the master of the short story genre – Yordan Yovkov. Some of his works have been translated in 40 languages and included in anthologies of world literature.
The museum houses a remarkable piece of art – the ceramic collection The World of Yovkov’s Personages by artist Stoimen Stoilov.
On the 30th anniversary of the Union of Bulgarian Architects, the building of the museum was awarded the highest architectural design prize Archscar (architects A. Stoyanov, P. Ganchev, A. Koev, G. Mihaylov).
OLD DOBRICH OUTDOOR MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE AND ETHNOGRAPHY
The museum shows the architecture, customs, and crafts of Dobrich at the end of XIX and the beginning of XX AD. Its purpose is to preserve and develop the cultural and occupational traditions in the region.
The visitors will find out about the production processes of traditional arts and crafts – tailoring, knitting, wood turnery, goldsmith’s trade, etc. There is a bakery, a millet-ale (or boza) shop, and an old style café. Visitors can try their hand at pottery, visit the café and taste the famous byalo sladko, boza, and Bulgarian wine.
The museum, located in St. George City Park, has been in operation since 28th December 2005. The exhibition was founded with the financial support of the National Centre for Museums, Galleries and Art of the then Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Visitors can see the diorama cycles Water Caves (the last habitats of the monk seals), Wetlands (the areas next to water basins), Bustard, or Otis tarda (the most common bird species until the 1970s, which is now extinct and can only be spotted along the migration routes), the steppe (the most common biotope in Dobrudzha in the past), the longose (a type of forest with peculiar water cycle, now existing only near the mouth of the Batovska River), Agrocenosis (follows the changes in the biodiversity in Dobrudzha as a result of human activities; the adaptation of wildlife in the modern day agricultural regions), Forest (the deciduous forests and their impact on the climate and biodiversity), the Suha Reka Canyon (natural habitat for a variety of plant and animal species in an agricultural area). The exhibition not only educates visitors – it also entertains them and kindles their imagination.
THE ART GALLERY OF DOBRICH
The art gallery is over 35 years old and has the status of a city art museum. It features over 3,000 works of art – paintings, sculptures, black and white drawings, figurines and works of plastic arts by artists of various generations.
The works are exhibited in one of the stateliest buildings – a monument of architecture built in the 1930s. The art gallery boasts masters such as Mrkviska, Vladimir Dimitrov – Maystora (Vladimir ‘the Master’ Dimitrov), Zlatyu Boyadzhiev, Bencho Obreshkov, Alexander Petrov, Vasil Zahariev, Pencho Balkanski, Dechko Uzunov, etc. A number of traveling exhibitions from France, Spain, Poland, Slovakia, Cuba, etc. have been displayed here. The art gallery is a venue for concerts, video presentations, recitations and meetings. Visitors to Dobrich take particular interest in the resident exhibitions ‘Old masters’ and ‘Modern artists’. The art gallery organizes the international plein air ‘Paper’, and has published the catalogues of the exhibitions held from 1996 to 2003. A catalogue of the gallery is also available.
NATURE AND ANIMAL PROTECTION CENTRE
The centre is the only one of its kind not only in Bulgaria but also in Eastern Europe. Founded under a Bulgarian-Swiss project, it boasts an area of 16 hectares, 30-year-old vegetation (trees and bushes), and a convenient access.
The zoo houses over 100 animal species – deer, roe, llamas, mouflons, Przhevalski’s horses, goat, pheasants, bison, exotic and water birds, etc. – which live in conditions very close to their natural habitats.
A priority for the zoo is the reproduction and re-introduction of endangered animal species.