Saint Anastasia Island: the islet of monks and Bolshevik prisoners

Situated in the Black Sea near the Bulgarian city of Burgas, Saint Anastasia Island (остров Света Анастасия, ostrov Sveta Anastasia) is quite a curious little place. The islet hosts the buildings of the last preserved island monastery off the western Black Sea coast. The Saint Anastasia Monastery is documented from the 16th century, though it was abandoned by the 1920s, when the buildings were turned into a macabre island prison for political opponents of Bulgaria’s right-wing government of Aleksandar Tsankov.

After an extensive reconstruction and gentrification, Saint Anastasia Island will be opened for regular visits from 15th May this year. Three boats a day will take tourists to and from the islet, where visitors can see a lighthouse, a precious antique church and a quay. A restaurant will be serving authentic cuisine, including seafood options, and a small guest house offers the opportunity to spend a night on one of the Black Sea’s very few inhabitable islands.

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