4. Analysis and evaluation of the policy for use of the property

Within the frames of the MP was executed a detailed analysis of the use of the property through the various urban functional systems. “The Ancient City of Nessebar” is a historic town with dynamic living functions, remaining constant population and increasing number of tourists. Because of that it is important to establish what is the efficiency of the urban functional systems and if they are in contradiction with the outstanding universal value of the property. Regarding the above, the following positive assessment could be done:

  • The housing maintains its leading role of the territory of the property and guarantees its vitality.

  • In order to overcome the problems caused by trade and public services, the Municipality of Nessebar commissioned, related to the MP, the development of schemes-concepts for movable trade structures and advertisement and information elements – the schemes could serve as basis for adopting of specific rules in this field.

  • In the town there exists a well-developed social infrastructure in the field of culture and education, with key role of museum network.

  • The communication and transport system provides the access and service of the territory, preserving the above-mentioned continuity of the traditional street directions and areas. The pedestrian movement is provided by a well-developed network of pedestrian ways, to which was added the new panoramic alley, as well as by seasonal organisation of the traffic, restricting the car access to the property;

  • The town has developed, though to some extent amortised infrastructural networks for water supply, drainage, electric supply and telecommunication;

At the same time, the present functional use of the territory creates the following more serious problems:

  • The problems with the housing function in the traditional residential structure are caused by the severe regimes restricting the change of the environment, by absolute lack of compensating stimuli. They come into a difficult to overcome contradiction with the natural striving of the local population for a higher living standard and especially – with the searched by some of the owners maximum economic efficiency from the use of their dwellings for tourist functions. Result of this contradiction is the relatively low living standard and the pointed violation in the urban fabric, threatening the outstanding universal value of the property.

  • Excessive concentration of functions in the fragile historic fabric of the property is reached – satiating with trade, dining places, parking places, transport, etc. There is a tendency for concentration of these functions in the Ancient City and a definite reluctance for their transferring to the New Town (through the construction of buffer car parks, secondary trade centres, etc.). The result is the pointed seasonal compromising of the public areas and of the environment around the valuable archaeological sites, churches, examples of vernacular architecture, which has a negative effect on the outstanding universal value.

  • Negative effect has also the prevailing characteristics of the following functions: banal trade with low quality of the offered goods and services1, uniform hotel services, insufficient relation to the local crafts, production and traditions. Gradual decline of some traditional forms of labour is observed: wine production, fishing declines as well as other forms of the intangible heritage of the property. Preferable activity becomes renting – renting of areas for various seasonal tourist activities. These conditions restrict the possibilities to use the cultural tourism potential of the property as resource for achieving high living standard, unique atmosphere and functions, specific for the Ancient City. The strong commercialisation and banal use of the functions do not correspond to the historic notion of the town as spiritual and literary centre, centre of Christian culture.

  • Despite of the traffic organisation there are frequent violations of the restriction of the access and parking of motor vehicles within the boundaries of the Ancient City. This undermines the conditions for socialisation of the heritage sites, deteriorates the quality of the environment, causes discomfort to residents and visitors, and creates a negative image of the local government. During the Public Discussion the local people sharply put forward the question for imposing strict restrictions and for an effective control.

The general assessment of the urban functional systems, related to the various degrees of importance of the specific zones from the territory and the area of The Ancient City of Nessebar, shows which of the existing in these zones functions are compatible and which are incompatible with the outstanding universal value of the property. From that point of view five main groups of areas and sites could be differentiated (depicted on SCHEME № 6: Evaluation of the functional structure):

Scheme 6: Evaluation of the functional structure

  • Areas and sites with compatible functions and effectively used – the fishermen harbour (the southern harbour); the open-air theatre; the churches of St. Stephen, St. Spas (Saviour), etc.;

  • Areas and sites with compatible functions but inadequately used – great part of the public areas;

  • Areas and sites with traditional trade functions which are compatible but inadequately organised – trade functions along the main urban thoroughfares and their adjoining streets;

  • Areas and sites with ineffective use (with almost lost functions or without functions) – mainly territories along the periphery of the peninsula, in its south-east and south parts;

  • Areas and sites with incompatible functions and conflict use – urban areas around the Old Metropolitan church and the small east square; the areas around some of the churches (occupied by trade and public services); the coastal territories along the north and south seashore; the built-up parts of the mainland.

The overall conclusion is that on the peninsula are concentrated too many functions, the number of which is still growing. The fragile structure of the property is not adapted to receive them and is inevitably destroyed. In the absence of clear rules, over the years Nessebar has been targeted by economic interests for an ever greater satiation of various functions. A striking example of this is the intention to build a dolphinarium on the north coast under the basilica of Holy Virgin Eleousa. Had it not been rejected by the mayor, there would have been irreversible consequences for the property.

1 On the Public Discussion of the MP the citizens of Nessebar showed sharp criticism of the character of trade in the Ancient City.