Bulgarian Lev (BGN)
The official language is Bulgarian, which is used by almost 85% of the population. Other languages spoken include Turkish (9.6%) and Roma (4.1%).
The geographical relief of Bulgaria is varied. There are both zones of high and low landscapes throughout, crossing the entire country from East to West. The mountain ranges of Stara Planina, Pirin, the Rhodope mountains and Rila (whereby Mount Moussala is the highest peak in the Balkan Peninsula, at 2925 metres) take up a large portion of the country.
Bulgaria is located in the continental and Mediterranean climactic regions. The country is divided into these by Stara Planina, with the continental region to the North and the Mediterranean region to the South. In the level regions, the average temperatures vary from -10 to 2 °C in January, and from +25 to 35 °C in July. The average rainfall per annum is from approximately 450 mm at sea level to 1300 mm in the mountains.
7.6 million people (2007).
Sofia, the capital, has been in existence since the 7th century AD, although it bore several different names throughout the years – Triaditsa and Serdica. The current name of Sofia was given to the city at the end of the 14th century.
Sofia is the 12th largest city in the European Union, with a population of 1.27 million people.
Day of Bulgaria’s freedom from the Ottoman Empire – National public holiday for the Republic of Bulgaria
St. George’s Day – The day of bravery and of the Bulgarian Army.
Day of Bulgarian culture and education, and of the Cyrillic Alphabet
Day of enlightenment – Public holiday for all educational establishments
25th and 26th December
Four days (from Friday to Monday) around the date of the Resurrection of Christ
Bulgaria has a very ancient and rich history. In this small country, at the edge of Europe and Asia, almost all of the great ancient cultures and civilisations have made their mark. The Thracians, Ancient Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and the Ottoman Empire have all left behind a multitude of monuments, such as tombs, structures, temples and mosques.
The creators of modern Bulgaria are the proto-Bulgarians, whose name has survived through the ages, and the history of Bulgaria can be traced all the way back through to the 1st millennium BC. The proto-Bulgarians belong to the Caucasian part of the largest Indo-European family and they migrated to the Bulgarian Peninsula from Central Asia. With a highly organised and developed social structure, the proto-Bulgarians were the most influential cultural force in the Central Asian territories for many years. With a centralised structure, they had a very sophisticated philosophical understanding of the world for the time, as well as of public administration, social structure, war strategy, written communication, language and the building of structures.
The calendar used by the ancient Bulgarians has also been accepted by UNESCO as one of the best ever created, and is even more accurate than the Gregorian calendar we use today!
The majority of the Bulgarian population, 82.6%, are Orthodox Christians (belonging to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church), 12.2% are Muslim, 0.6% are Catholic and 0.5% are Protestant.
Bulgaria is a Parliamentary Republic, whereby the primary legislation is that of the Bulgarian Constitution, which was founded on the principle of the separation of powers into the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The principal government institutions of Bulgaria are the National Assembly, the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, the Council of Ministers and the Constitutional Court. The supreme power is that of the legislature, in the form of the Parliament (ie. the National Assembly).
The cultural heritage of Bulgaria is a rich and varied one. Built up from ancient times, this heritage possesses many lasting traces of different eras with exquisite traditions. The geographical layout of Bulgaria explains to a large extent the interweaving, mixed and collaborative nature of the different cultures, customs, religions, clans and peoples who lived there at various points in time and developed the country into what it is today.
Amongst the most precious of the finds in Bulgaria
is the Thracian cultural heritage, with a multitude
of incredible artistic and architectural
masterpieces. Thracian art, which went through a
long and complex process of development, has
left behind an astonishing collection of treasures,
tombs, temples, sanctuaries and even cities.
The Bulgarian Rose
Famous throughout the world is the Bulgarian rose, which grows in one of the most beautiful parts of Bulgaria, The Valley of the Roses (‘Dolinata na Rozite’). This flower is one of the national symbols, and also forms a number of products, including cosmetics, perfumes, rose preserve, rose liquor and rose honey.
One thing worth knowing about the Bulgarian people is their friendly and welcoming attitude. They are kind, fun-loving and will always lend a helping hand.
The main advantages of tourism in Bulgaria include the beauty and wide variety of natural landscapes, its safety, the healthy and season-appropriate climate, the rich cultural and historic heritage and the preserved traditions, customs and folklore. Of course, the sandy beaches in the summer and the snow-covered mountains in the winter are also a bonus!
Most Popular Beach Resorts
Sunny Beach, Golden Sands, Elenite, Nessebar, Albena, Pomorie, Sozopol, Duni, and others.
Most Popular Ski Resorts
Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo.