The first traces of civilization in Varna and Varna region refer to the third millennium B.C. The oldest gold treasure of human civilization was discovered in Varna in 1972. It was worked out in 4000 B.C.
Herodotus wrote that Greek colonists were attracted by the hospitable sea and settled here 2,600 years ago. They found a local Thracian settlement bearing the name Odessos, which the Slavs eventually renamed Varna in the 7th century A.D. Under the Romans Odessos remained economically and culturally important. The Thermae, the largest ancient public buildings discovered in Bulgaria, date back to ancient times and are among the largest in Europe. The walls that are still preserved outline buildings that stand on more than 7 000 square meters.
The Proto - Bulgarians who arrived from the North in the spring of 681 defeated the armies of the Byzantine Emperor Constantine ІV at the mouth of Danube. The Peace treaty, signed in Varna afterwards, officially recognized the existence of the Bulgarian state.
Varna was marked in the historical sources by the battle in 1444 as well. The king Vladislav III Yagelo lost the battle against the Ottoman Turks which led to utter Ottoman slavery of Bulgarians, that continued about five centuries.
Varna was the last city, liberated by the Russian army. That happened on 27 July 1878, and the city was finally surrendered to the Russian and Bulgarian authorities on 23 October 1878. The temporary Russian management had to build an administrative machinery in a very short period of time. Removing the Turkish administrative authority, the Russians basically used the old administrative division of the country - vilaets, sandzhaks and kaazes, i.е. districts, regions, areas and municipalities.
The Russian authorities accepted the province as the largest administrative unit. Varna was defined as a center of a province, and major-general Ivan Kishelski - a Bulgarian on Russian service - was appointed the first governor. In October 1878 he was replaced by the chamber-cadet N. Baumgarten. The next governor was the famous Bulgarian politician Dragan Tsankov, the fourth was Dr. Panayot Minchovich, replaced on 20 December 1880 by Vasil Stoyanov (one of the founders of the Bulgarian literary union), who remained until the admittance of the Law for abolishing the provinces.
Varna province comprised Varna, Balchik, Mankalyan, Hadzhioglu, Pazardzhik (Dobrich), Provadiya and Shumen district. Later on Shumen and Mankalyan districts were removed. In the administrative division after 1880 Varna was designated for a headquarter of a region, consisting of Varna, Provadiya, Novoselska (Dalgopolska), Balchik, Dobrich and Kurtonabor (Tervel) area.
Following national liberation in 1878, the city developed quickly. Stylish buildings were erected , hence the more than 150 architectural monuments that exist today. The first cotton- spinning mill in Bulgaria began operating in 1982, the same year the Organization of the Merchant Mariners was founded. The first ship-building docks were built in 1907, and in 1912 the lighthouse on cape Galata was open to operation. In 1926 the marine baths were built. At that time arrived the first 1100 tourists, organized in groups.
In 1913 Balchik, Dobrich and Kurtonabor area were removed from the territory of the region. During the administrative re-organization in 1934, when the regions were removed and the regions formed, Varna was included in Shumen region. At that time region managers were outstanding participants in the liberating struggles, politicians and publicists, such as Ivan Drasov, Todor Peev, Gospodin Ivanov, Zheko Iv. Zhekov, etc.
After 9 September 1944 Varna was designated for a district centre and Georgi Traykov was appointed a region manager. By a Law for the division of the Republic into regions dated 1949, Varna became a region centre, comprising Varna, Provadiya, Dobrich, Balchik, General Toshevo and Tervel areas. On 18 August 1987 the ninth Common Public Meeting accepted a Decree for the new administrative division of the country, according to which the regions were liquidated and new districts formed. Firstly, Varna district comprised the territories of the former Varna, Dobrich and Shumen regions, however later the three of them were defined as separate districts.