Greek traders who settled here in the 6th century BC initially called the place Krounoi (meaning ‘town of springs’), but later changed the name to Dionysopolis in honour of the god of wine. The Romans came later and fortified the town, and viticulture remained an important mainstay of the local economy. The town was rebuilt on higher ground in the 6th century AD after being destroyed by a tidal wave. In medieval times, Balchik (possibly meaning ‘town of clay’) thrived on the export of grain from the hinterlands. In 1913, Balchik (and the rest of the region) was annexed by Romania; it was literally sold back to Bulgaria in 1940 for 7000 ‘golden leva’.