Bulgaria has no national legal regulation on the practice of nudism, Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova told the National Assembly during Question Time on September 8.
Angelkova was answering a question about the continuing dispute between the concession-holders and naturists at Delfin (“Dolphin”) Beach on Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.
There was no explicit prohibition or sanctions regarding nudism, “there is no explicit order as to how visitors can use beaches, in terms of their appearance,” she told Parliment.
“The only legal regulation that can be applied in this case is the ordinance adopted by the respective municipality,” Angelkova said.
She said that her ministry was “fully co-operating” in dialogue between the two sides.
There was no basis for allegations of irregularities in the awarding of the concession for the beach, she said. There had been no appeal in the Supreme Administrative Court against the award of the tender within the 14-day term provided for by law.
Angelkova said that current regulations said that contracts for leasing a beach specified that half of the area had to be set aside for free-of-charge use of the beach. The concession-holder was obliged to place signs indicating which part of the beach was free-of-charge.
The Tourism Ministry carried out regular checks on the entire Bulgarian Black Sea coast during the summer season to establish whether this rule was being kept to, she said.
In July 2017, police fined nudists at Delfin Beach. Police from the town of Tsarevo and municipal officials descended following a complaint about public nudity at the beach, on Bulgaria’s southern Black Sea coast between Varvara and Ahtopol.
Tsarevo’s municipal ordinance on public order and the environment includes a provision prohibiting, at any time of year, “obscene and scandalous conduct and other acts that violate the accepted norms of morality and decency in streets, squares, parks and other public places or public and/or residential buildings”.
The mayor of the town, Georgi Lapchev, said at the time that nudists on Delfin beach could be penalised because the beach could be considered a public place and being naked there could be considered improper behaviour.
Bulgaria has a few spots along its Black Sea coastline where nudity is customary, while topless bathing is nothing out of the ordinary on many Bulgarian beaches.
(Photo: Marek Bernat)