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 Bulgaria

Category: Resorts » International » Europe » Bulgaria | Author: alex | Views: 3446 | 26-03-2012, 20:05
Bulgaria

Official name: "The Republic of Bulgaria";

Capital: Sofia;

Area: 110 993.6 km. sq. m.;

Geographical location: South-Eastern Europe;

Climate: temperate continental and Mediterranean;

Population: 7,364,570 people.;

The biggest cities: Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas

Ethnic groups: Bulgarians - 84.8%, Turks - 8.8%, Roma - 4.9% and 0.7% other ethnic groups;

Language: Bulgarian;

Religion: Christianity-77.96%, Islam-10.02% , Judaism – 0.012% and the other-0.16%;

Currency: Lev (BGN, code 975);

Internet domain: .bg;

Phone code: 359;

Local time: UTC +2.

 

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Bulgaria

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Bulgaria

Map of Bulgaria 

Bulgaria

Coat of arms of Bulgaria 

 

Information about Bulgaria

Bulgaria can be proud of its beautiful nature. Clean, quiet sea, fine golden sand beaches (width 100-150 m), green forests and curative mineral springs - all this can be found on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The country has a lot of resorts, excellent service, and cheap food (one of the cheapest in Europe). Bulgaria is a leader in Europe for the number of mineral springs (more than 600) and nearly every region has its own spa centers, and their number is constantly growing.

 

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The geographical position of Bulgaria   

The territory of Bulgaria is 110 550 km. square. In the east, the country is washed with the Black Sea. It borders with Romania in the North, with Turkey and Greece in the South, with Serbia in the West. Although the country is relatively small, Bulgaria has extremely diverse landscape. The length of the borders of Bulgaria is 2.264 km. Of these, 680 km is the boundary river, and the Black Sea coast - 400 miles, the southern and western boundaries are defined mainly by mountain ranges.

The relief of Bulgaria is very diverse. There are  lowlands and plains, hills, low and high mountains, a large number of valleys and deep gorges. High and low landscape change each others from East to West. The parts from North to South are named the Danube plain, Thracian lowland, Rila Rhodope mountain range and Stara Planina.
Pirin (the mountain system), Rhodope and Rila are located in Bulgaria. The eastern region is hilly; the western part of Bulgaria is mountainous. Plateaus, plains and hilly land make a great part of Bulgaria.

 

Pictures of Bulgaria

Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria
Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria

 

The climate of Bulgaria

The country is located in the continental and Mediterranean climate zones. The weather changes according to the territory. Average rainfall in Bulgaria is about 630 millimeters per year. In the north-east and the Black Sea coast, and the Thracian Plain rainfall figure ranges up to 500 millimeters.

 

Flora and fauna of Bulgaria

 

Few countries in Europe can compete with Bulgaria on the diversity of flora and fauna. Hundreds of common and rare species can be seen not only in the national parks of the country, but also in many parts of Bulgaria.

The state protects about 10,000 species of plants. More than 30% of the area is covered with forests and some of them are under protection of UNESCO, for example, in the Pirin National Park and over 700 species of trees in the natural park Strandja.
In Bulgaria there are many coniferous forests - pine, spruce, white spruce, and others. Deciduous forests, especially oak and beech, and then hornbeam, ash, lime, hazel dominate in the Stara Planina, Central Strandja Mountain (which slopes are covered with young pines).

Two-thirds of all European bird species you can see it in Bulgaria, nearly 20% of them are included in the category of rare. On the territory of the country there are good conditions for many local and migratory waterfowl species, which inhabit on the Black Sea coast or at the numerous lakes. In mountains you can see songbirds and raptors.

Of the animals we should mention bears, wolves, wild goats and deer. The rivers and waters of the Black Sea are filled with more than 200 species of fish, a small number of otters and seals, and even rare bottlenose dolphins. Entomologists will find in Bulgaria more than 27,000 species of insects. However, tourists should not forget about the protection against mosquitoes, which can become unpleasant companions during your holidays.


Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria
Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria
Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria
Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria

 

History of Bulgaria 

Great Bulgaria is the first Bulgarian state,  about which historians have some information. It united the tribes of the Proto-Bulgarians, which inhabited the Black Sea and Azov steppes for a few decades.

On November 10, 1989 Bulgaria had big economical and political reforms. November 15, 1990 the country changed its name to "The Republic of Bulgaria". On April 2, 2004 the country joined NATO, and January 1, 2007 - the European Union.

During 4 years (from 2001 to 2005), the former king Simeon Saxe-Coburg Gotha, was the Prime Minister and leader of the party "Simeon II" (which was named after him). From August to July, 2005-2009, the coalition government with socialist Sergey Stanishev had leading positions in government. The representatives of the party of Simeon II and of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms of Ahmed Dogan were also in the government of Stanishev.

In the 2009 the Socialists and the Liberals lost parliamentary elections, giving a majority to the new party "GERD" leaded by charismatic Boiko Borisov. The ideology of the party is radical liberalism. "GERD" is heading to Europe and the participation of Bulgarian culture.
Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria

 

Culture of Bulgaria

Due to the fact that Bulgaria is located at the crossroad between East and West, the different traditions  have combined  here. The Greeks, Romans, Thracians, Macedonian, Serbian, Turkish, Slavic and Protobulgarian tribes have influenced on the Bulgarian culture. Bulgaria was used to be educational and cultural center of the Orthodox world. During Ottoman Yoke it struggled against convention to Islam. Also it was struggling for independence and reunification for many years. But without mixing of all these factors, Bulgaria would not be so original and unique.

The tribes that had inhabited the ancient Bulgaria have left an advanced material culture. The most famous monument of Bulgarian culture built in the Neolithic period is Varna necropolis.
Culture of Bulgaria can boast masterpieces of historic architecture and art. The Thracians left a number of artistic and architectural masterpieces, which testify of the high cultural development of the early settlers. Thracian art was developing from the early Late Bronze Age to the end of antiquity. During this time many temples and holy places of the city were built. Particularly impressive is the magnificence Thracian gold treasure of Panagyurishte Rogozen, Valtshitrana hoard, silver of Borov, the treasure of Vratsa, and others.
Also, the Thracians, who was inhabiting the country at the turn of our era, have left such famous monuments as the Tomb of Kazanlak and the Tomb in Sveshtari, which bear the imprint of the Greek cultural influence, and in our time under the protection of UNESCO.

At the time when the territory of modern Bulgaria was inhabited by nomadic Proto-Bulgarians the Bulgarian culture has been enriched by the original items. For example, bas-relief, engraved in the rock  about 710 years and known as "Madara Horseman". It is known that there were no religious contradictions between the proto-Bulgarians and Slavs. This can be seen on the graves of the IX century, in which the Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians were buried together. At the same time, Christians suffered from harassment.
Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria
Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria
Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria

 

Where to go in Bulgaria
 
  1. Sofia is the capital, city - millionaire and one of the oldest cities in Europe (about 5000 years). So long history it has because of its favorable geographical location. Bulgaria is situated in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula, at the crossroads of the main routes connecting the Middle East and Europe. From the 12th century the city was named Sophia after the Cathedral of St. Sophia. "It is growing, but it never gets old" - inscribed on the emblem of Sofia. The modern buildings live side by side with the city buildings and monuments of Thracian, Roman and Ottoman periods. More than 250 historical and architectural monuments have survived since that period. The most important tourism attractions are: the church of St. George Rotunda, the Church of St. Sofia, which can also be seen on the board of the city, St. Sophia Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky which keeps the world-famous icons and frescoes, unique church, which is located in the suburb of Sofia- Boyana. It has preserved painted walls, which is a prime example of medieval architecture (under UNESCO protection). Among other attractions are the mosque of  Vashi Bania (XVI century), Church of Sweta Nedelia, which is located near the Turkish bath, indoor market, Hali, the Synagogue and colorful women's market.
  2. Plovdiv is a city in southern Bulgaria. According to its population, area and development it is the second city in Bulgaria after Sofia. This city is called as the city of artists for the beauty of its historic center. In Plovdiv more than 200 historical buildings and monuments are under protection of law. The remains of the city forum, as well as an amphitheater of Philip II of Macedon, a stadium, baths and basilicas have been preserved since ancient times. Around the center there are the remains of Thracian fortress. The city has such historical monuments  as: "Juma" mosque and "Imaret" (were built during the reign of the Turks), Clock Tower, one of the oldest in Europe, the Church of St. Helen and St. Constantine (1832) in which you can see the unique carvings gilded iconostasis and icons by  Zachary Zograph, the famous master of the church and monastery painting, church of the Holy Week church of St. Demetrius and St. Marina. It is worth visiting the International Plovdiv Fair. It takes place twice a year - in early May (for consumer goods) and September (for industrial goods).
  3. Varna is the tourist capital of Bulgaria. In the Archaeological Museum of this city you can see the oldest (4 millennium BC), gold jewelry on the planet. In Varna there is also a museum of the Renaissance, the Ethnographic Museum, the Natural Science Museum, Park - Museum and the Museum named after Vladislav Varnenchik. The symbol of the city is the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary (19th century). Another attraction of the city is the botanical garden of the University of Sofia. More than 3,000 species of flowers and shrubs grow there. At the Seaside Park area there is a planetarium, a zoo, an aquarium, a national historical museum and other museums. Varna attracts tourists not only with its historical and cultural sights but also with popular resort  Golden Sands (20 km from the city). The width of the beaches is 100 m and the sand has really gold color. Even in July there is no sweltering heat here, and the calm sea remains warm at night.
  4. Burgas is the biggest industrial port in the country. It is located near three lakes: Burgos, Mandren and Atanasovsko. International Airport and railway station are located also there. Tourists are recommended to visit Seaside Park which is not worse than one in Varna. Near the park there is the city beach where guests can not only relax but also do different kinds of sports. In Bourgas tourists are recommended to visit such sights as: the Cathedral of Saints Cyril and Methodius, Catholic Cathedral, Armenian Church, the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Ivan Rilski, Natural Science and the historical museum, art gallery. In nearby areas there are many resorts: Sunny Beach, Nessebar, Sozopol, Pomorie, Primorsko, all together they are called Bourgas Riviera.

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What to see in Bulgaria    

  • Saint Sophia Cathedral is one of the most valuable monuments in Bulgaria. The capital of the country was named after it. The cathedral of St. Sophia was built in Roman times, the VI or VII. This architectural structure of medieval culture is unique – it has cruciform that for such an early time was outstanding. The building is covered with flat dome. In the basement of the church (crypt) there are graves. Unfortunately the church had been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt.  When the Turks captured Sofia in the end of the XVI century it was rebuilt into the mosque, during the earthquakes (in 1818 and in 1858) the cathedral was greatly damaged.  Nowadays, the Cathedral of St. Sophia is quite modest building. From the early rich internal decoration left nothing, some of the exterior walls have been also destroyed so that there is much work left to restore and to recreate the original appearance of the temple.
  • Castle of Queen Mary is located in the picturesque, port and seaside resort town Balchik (47 km north of Varna). The castle is located a mile from the city center. Romanian Queen Mary lived here from 1931 to 1938. Three-story castle was designed by Italian architect. It merged two architectural cultures: European and Oriental. This is due to the fact that the Queen was for rapprochement between the two religions - Christian and Muslim. The slender tower of the castle stands out among the others in that it resembles a minaret.
  • Botanical Garden is part of the castle of Queen Mary. In the beautiful garden, which is decorated with columns and fountains, grow more than 600 species of rare plants from various places on the planet. Trails in the park lined with white stone, and before they were laid with carpets. Among the flower beds you can also find historical monument: marble throne, a stone cross, and capitals.
  • Seaside Park (80 ha) is located on the beach near the center of Varna. On its territory there is the Palace of culture and sport, zoo, dolphinarium and the planetarium. The aquarium and the museum of nature are also worth visiting.
  • Varna Lake is the largest and deepest lake on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Interesting is that the water in it is salty, and it comes through the narrow channel, laid in the 1907. Salt water has killed all freshwater fish, and now only marine fish live here. In 1919  at the lake on a hill called Genoa, archaeologists found grave, consisting of three coffins inside of each others - gold, silver and alabaster. The artifact is stored in the Varna Archaeological Museum.
  • Archaeological Museum of Varna - contains the most interesting exhibits of ancient Bulgaria. Especially memorable is the collection of Phrakian gravestone sculptures. But the real decorations of the museum are gold artifacts which have been found in the territory Bulgaria.

 

Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria
Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria

 

What to do in Bulgaria  

  1. Beach Holidays - in the East of Bulgaria there are a lot of beaches of the Black Sea. The most popular resorts are: Kranevo, Golden Sands, Albena, Sunny Day and Sunny Beach. They are located far from big cities, so the relaxing is guaranteed. But at the same time there are many tourist attractions nearby.
  2. Ski tourism - Although Bulgaria is not very popular destination for winter tourism, it has several ski resorts in mountains. The ski slopes are covered with thick snow all the winter. The most popular ski resorts are in Vitosha, Borovets, Pamporovo and Bansko.
  3. Eco-tourism - Biosphere Reserve (600 ha) is located near the lake Srebarna. Its area includes the lake and part of the slopes, protecting bank of the Danube. In the reeds and rushes of the lake you can find 150 species of wetland birds, including pelicans, glossy ibises, swallows water, black water hens, egrets, wild ducks and geese, etc... Ecotourism lovers can also visit the Danube Island Vardi. This nature reserve is home to many bird colonies of herons, cormorants, and others. Well-known Vardimsky oak grows on this island. Many species of rare birds, which are listed as endangered live at the Durankulashskom swamp. On its territory there is a camping.
  4. Rest on the lakes - there are three lagoon-lakes in Burgas: Madrenskoe, Atanasovsko and Burgas. These lakes are nesting places for many migratory birds. Lake Burgas is inhabited by ibises, pelicans and herons. At Lake Pancharevo (5 km in length and about 1 km wide) tourists swim, sunbathe, and go fishing, surfing, rowing. Iskar Reservoir (25 miles from the capital) is the second largest in Bulgaria. On its shore there is a tourist complex Shtyrkelovo nest. At the reservoir Montana located a lot of rest complexes.
  5. Medical and Health holidays are especially popular in Bulgaria. The wonderful nature conditions have contributed to its development. Healthy climate and sea water, rich in salts and trace elements, mud, various kinds of herbs and mineral springs attract many tourists every year. The cardiovascular diseases and diseases of the nervous and musculoskeletal system, arthritis, stress, arthritis, neuroses, chronic pharyngitis and bronchitis are successfully treated here. Most large medical complexes are located in Chirpane, Kyustendil, Sandanski, the resorts of Golden Sands and Sunny Day.


 

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Cuisine of Bulgaria 

 

If you are a spicy food fun, you will highly appreciate the Bulgarian cuisine. In addition, Bulgarian cuisine is rich in different salads, soups and vegetables. One of the famous dishes of Bulgarian cuisine is a salad called "shopski", which includes cucumbers, tomatoes, sweet Bulgarian pepper, feta cheese and onions. Dishes in a pot enjoy also big popularity among tourists. It can be all kinds of meat, juicy chicken and delicious fish, baked with spices, onions, and served with excellent sauces.

Lovers of fish dishes will be also delighted with Bulgarian food. Seafood and fish is served in different forms: baked or grill on coals are especially delicious.
For dessert get ready to taste the air praline with fresh fruit, a variety of cake with cream and sugary sweets. Also, you can improve your health with fresh juices.

It is hardly to imagine an ideal romantic evening under the stars on the coast without Bulgarian wine from juicy grapes. Bulgarian wine list will please you with such grape varieties as Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay. Their wines are worthy of comparison with Bordeaux (this applies to red wines) and California (white wine). The most famous Bulgarian wine Gmza comes from the Danube area (for those who prefer red wine). Cabernet lovers should visit areas Svischova, Pavlikeni and the valley of the Yantra River. It should be noted that plenty sun and fresh sea air give some special flavor to the  Bulgarian wine.


Very popular among tourists such wines as the "Bear's Blood", "Kadarka," "Bull's Blood". Take the opportunity to taste the fascinating Bulgarian wines - you will not regret!

 

Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria
Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria

 

What to buy in Bulgaria

  • Painted pottery and lace;
  • carved wooden items, dolls, icons;
  • carpets and handmade embroidery;
  • Clothing and equipment for winter sports;
  • Herbal teas - a variety of mixtures which prevent a wide range of diseases, and keep your body in fit. Bulgarians believe in healing aroma of roses, and on base of it make a variety of cosmetic and hygiene items.
  • Wine "Miller", manufactured according to the ancient recipe. Just know that Winston Churchill  once tried it,  and the rest of his life was drinking only  Bulgarian wines, ordering  500 liters every year;
  • jewelry made of shells, coral and semi-precious stones;
  • Bulgarian vodka - named Rakki. It is made in the villages from different fruits. Bulgarians drink 50 grams of bRakki before each meal;
  • Communist and military symbols.

 

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Interesting facts about Bulgaria

— In Bulgaria, what we call affirmative nod means "no", and vice versa;
— Bulgaria is one of the largest wine producers in Eastern Europe. The country exports 80-85% of all produced wine;
— Dog Waltz in different countries has different names.  In Bulgaria it is called the cat's march;
— Being one of the most environmentally friendly countries in Europe, Bulgaria protects  bears, wolves, jackals in its forests;
— Bulgarian Peter Petrov was the first in the world who developed a wristwatch.
— Bulgaria has never lost any battles in its modern history and did not allow the enemy to capture the flags of military units;
— One of the symbols of Bulgaria is a rose. The quality of the oil from the Rose Valley near the town of Kazanlak is recognized as the best in the world. Flowers of Roses are always collected to the sound of the songs;
— On New Year's Eve, at the time,  when all gather together at holiday dinner,  the lights go out for three minutes in all houses. This time when guests are in the dark, called moments of New Year's kisses, it is considered that the darkness keeps all secrets of these moments;
— Bulgarians are the first people who were converted to Christianity;

 

Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria
Bulgaria Bulgaria Bulgaria



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