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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.
The Thracians in the region were ruled by kings, who entered into unions with the Odrysian kingdom, Getae or Sapaeans - large Thracian states existing between V-I c. Between 336-280 BC these Thracian states along with Odessos were conquered by Alexander the Great.
Archaeological findings in the past years have indicated that the population of North-East Thrace was very diverse, including the region around Odessos. BC the region was populated with Scythians, who normally inhabit the central Eurasian Steppe (South Russia and Ukraine) and partly the area south of river Istros (the Thracian name of lower Danube).
Varna, historically known as Odessos, grew from a Thracian seaside settlement to a major seaport on the Black Sea.
Situated strategically in the Gulf of Varna, the city has been a major economic, social and cultural centre for almost three millennia.
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.