Bulgaria is situated in South-Eastern Europe
and occupies an area of 111 000 sq.km in the North-Eastern part
of the Balkan Peninsula. Its length is 520 km and its width is 330
km. The overall length of its borders is 2245 km. Bulgaria borders
to the north on Rumania (the frontier line runs along the Danube
river and continues on land to the north-east), to the south - on
Greece and Turkey, to the west - on Serbia and Macedonia (former
Yugoslavia) and to the east - on the Black Sea. The average altitude
is 470 m.
about 8 million the average density of the population is 76, 2 people
per a square kilometer. The number of the town population (68, 3%)
prevails over the number of the rural population. The main part
of the population are Bulgarians numbering 7 200 000. Beside them
in the country live about 800 000 Bulgarian Turks, 300 000 Gypsies
and small number of Jews, Armenians, Russians and Greeks.
The relief of Bulgaria is extremely varied. Vast plains and valleys,
precipitous ravines and gorges, deep glens nestling among hills,
lowlands and high mountains alternate together on its comparatively
small territory. The average altitude above sea level is 470 m.
The Rila Mountains are the highest in Bulgaria as well as in the
whole Balkan Peninsula with Mt. Moussala - 2925 m.
34% of the seaside consists of beaches and dunes. Along the seaside
there are 18 lakes and many bays, the largest of which are the bays
of Varna and Bourgas.
The climate in Northern Bulgaria is moderate continental, while
the climate in Southern Bulgaria is intermediate continental tending
to Mediterranean. The climate in the regions with an altitude of
1900-2000 m above sea level is mountainous and along the Black Sea
coast it is maritime. The climate of the seaside regions is milder
in the winter and cooler in the summer than the climate of the interior
of the country. The average annual temperature is 10.5°C. The average
January temperature is around O°C. Average summer temperatures rarely
Sofia, population over one and half million
Other main cities
Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Rousse, Pleven, Veliko Turnovo
The official religion is Eastern Orthodox which is professed by
86, 6% of the population. 13, 1% of the population profess Islam
and 0, 3 profess other kinds of religion.
the official language is Bulgarian and uses only the Cyrillic alphabet.
To facilitate tourists, road and direction signs in populated areas,
resorts, railway stations, airports and along the main motorways
are also spelled in Roman letters. English, German, French, Russian
and other languages are spoken in the country.
Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic in which the sovereign power
belongs to the people who exercise it through their representative
bodies, elected by direct and secret ballot. Every Bulgarian citizen
over the age of 18 has the right to elect or to be elected. The
state power is divided into legislative, executive and judicial.
It will take you back dozens of centuries to Pliska, Preslav and
Veliko Tarnovo - the seats of the first Bulgarian khans, czars and
kings; to the stone carving of the Madara Horseman; to the Thracian
Gold Treasures; to the breathtaking murals of the Kazanlak Tomb
and the church in Boyana; to the quiet wisdom of the Rila Monastery
and to the towns of Koprivshtitsa, Melnick and Zheravna - Renaissance
legends of wood, stone and color.
MORE DETAILED: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgaria
It will be omnipresent in your days with unique finds in the museums,
including the world s oldest gold; with beautiful collections of
works from self-taught old masters to modern painters in the art
galleries; with classical concerts and folklore song-and-dance festivals.
Bulgaria offers excellent conditions for tourism. The Black Sea
Coast has become world known for its wonderful geographical and
climatic conditions: a warm sea, with almost imperceptible tides,
well-wooded shores and vast beaches covered with fine golden sand.
Modern resorts offer excellent conditions for rest and recreations,
such as Zlatni Pyassatsi (the Golden Sands), Drouzba, Slunchev Bryag
(the Sunny Beach), Rousalka, Albena, Duni, Elenite, St. Constantine
and Elena, motels, camping sites and summer camps.
Each of the Bulgarian mountains has a charm of its own - their
snow-capped peaks sparkling in the sun, covered with thick pine
or deciduous forests interspersed with fragrant alpine meadows.
There are numerous cosy chalets and pleasant holiday houses, snuggling
in the mountains folds. The mountain and ski resorts of Borovets,
Bansko, Pamporovo, Malyovitsa, Velingrad, Yundola and many others
are equally attractive in summer and in winter.
Bulgaria is also famous through its mineral springs (more than
500) and many of them are used for balnetherapy. Health resorts
(Spa) were built in Kyustendil, Vurshets, Sandanski, Pavel Banya,
Hisar, Bankya and in many other places of Bulgaria.
There are 2000 explored and unexplored caves in Bulgaria. In one
of them, the Magoura Cave, the unique rock drawings made by people
from the pre-historical time can be seen. The Belogradchik rocks,
the natural pyramids at Melnik, the Pobiti Kamuni (Stone Forests)
near Varna, the Er Kyupria (Devil s Bridges) in the Rhodopes are
some of the most curious sights of Bulgaria.
Beside the natural beauties of Bulgaria there are countless historical
and cultural monuments. The Thracian tumulus (burial mound) near
Kazanluk and the Proto-Bulgarian Madara Horseman near Shoumen are
two of them. Entire towns and villages in Bulgaria are nominated
as museum towns -Turnovo, Koprivshtitsa, Old Plovdiv, Melnik, Zheravna,
Kotel, Tryavna, Nessebur and many other places where memories of
the past still linger.
Passport and visa
EU nationals and some other European citizens do not need
The import of personal effects needed during the time of travel
or stay-consumer goods not exceeding the amounts stated in the customs
declaration, is permitted. It is prohibited to take out works of
art, coins and other objects of proven historic, scientific or artistic
value. International banning and restrictive regulations also applied.
Currency and currency exchange
The Bulgarian national monetary unit is the LEV.
1 EURO = approx. 2 LEVA
1 LEV = approx. LM 0.20
Coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 50 stotinki (coins, 100 stotinki = 1 LEV)
and banknotes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50,100, 200 leva are in use. The
exchange of currency is unrestricted and there is no compulsory
exchange. Upon departure from the country any unused Bulgarian currency
may be changed back into the respective national currency.
Medical and dental treatment is at a high level.
Banks usually work with clients from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., offices from
9 a.m. till 5 p.m. Most shops are open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from
Monday to Saturday and many are open on Sunday.
220 V - throughout the whole country.
Useful phone numbers
Emergency-112; Police – 166; Ambulance – 150; Road assistance –
146; Reliable taxi service – 973 2121
The following credit cards are accepted in many hotels, restaurants
and shops in Bulgaria: Diners Club, American Express, MasterCard,
Carte Blanche, Balkanamericard, Visa, Euro card, etc. They can be
used for payment of all standard services: hotel accommodation,
restaurants, nightspots, shopping, car rentals, air tickets, etc.
Winter time: GMT + 1 hour (October through March). Summer time:
GMT + 2 hours (April through September).
January 1 - New Year; March 3 –Liberation Day ; Easter; May 1 -
Labour day; May 24 - the Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture
and Slav Script; December 25 - Christmas.
With Bulgarian innate love of celebrating, entertainment was one
of the first sectors to recover from Communist austerity. Bulgarians
place a great deal of emphasis on friendships and amusement and
city dwellers meet up in cafes, restaurants and bars on most evenings,
especially in the summer. Coffee has a special place in the daily
lives of Bulgarians and you will find plenty of cafes offering excellent
quality espresso in and outdoors.
The cities (Sofia, Plovdiv, and Varna) as well as the big resorts
on the Black Sea coast boast a long list of discos, hip bars and
nightclubs with highly competitive prices. In smaller
towns, your options will be restricted to restaurants
but even there you can have plenty of fun. Most traditional restaurants
have live folk music and you will invariably be invited to get up
and join in the horo - the national dance.
Throughout the summer there are several art events
which now have a cult international following, such as the August
jazz festival in the mountain town of Bansko.
In Bulgaria, you can eat outdoors at least six months of the year
- either in a bustling central streets in Varna, Plovdiv or Sofia,
or in a quiet courtyards in small historical cities and sites, taking
you back a hundred plus years.
Sofia is chock-a-block with restaurants and a new one opens every
month. The higher class ones tend to favour international or Mediterranean
cuisines, though most offer some Bulgarian dishes. There are also
plenty of hip bistros, and most cafes serve snacks. People tend
to eat late and to eat slowly: food is about relaxation and enjoyment.
Whatever type of food you prefer; the quality will be high and the
Traditional Bulgarian cuisine can be enjoyed at a few specialized
restaurants in the cities. However, for the real thing, you need
to go to one of the many museum towns or villages (like Melnik,
Koprivshtitsa, Zheravna and Bozhentsi) whose preserved houses bring
back the atmosphere of late 19th century Bulgaria.
The food is great - fresh, simple and strong ...
Bulgarian cuisine is one of the tastiest in Europe. Food is still
cooked with fresh, naturally grown ingredients. It combines the
wonderfully rich Ottoman influence with a peasant cooking style
that uses flavour-packed vegetables and herbs. Yum! Start with a
salad of fresh tomatoes and home-made sheep cheese. Follow up with
a slow-baked stew in a clay pot and you are in heaven. There are
plenty of non-meat dishes too.
Bulgaria excels in sirene (a white salty cheese) and yoghurt.
The yoghurt is so good and so distinctive that it is exported world
wide simply as Bulgarian Yoghurt. Sirene is an ingredient for two
immiscible specialties. Try them. Number one is Shopska salad, made
with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and onion. Number two is
banitsa, a savoury flaky pastry that every Bulgarian grabs with
a coffee at street stands.
Meat lovers? The main dishes are chicken, pork and lamb-based
- typically hearty, simple and tasty. Grilled meats are popular
and include kyufteta (spicy meat balls), and kebapcheta (elongated
meat balls). Chushki byurek- peppers stuffed with cheese and herbs
and fried in breadcrumbs - are a great entree or a meal in a moment.
Festivals & Religion
Bulgaria preserved its Orthodox Christianity through five centuries
of Muslim domination and fifty years of Communist atheism. Nowadays
Bulgarians celebrate both Christian celebrations and traditional
festivals, many of which have their roots in pagan beliefs. In some
regions the predominant religion is Islam and in others the two
religions coexist peacefully side-by-side.
The Orthodox churches, with their dark, incense-filled interiors,
spectacular icons and heavy wood-and-gold icons engender a sense
of mystery and awe. Easter is the largest church celebration in
Bulgaria, when a sea of people with swaying candles gather around
the churches at midnight to hear mass.
The traditional holidays, rooted deep in folklore, are more prevalent
in rural Bulgaria than in the cities and tend to relate to the harvest
and health. At the start of Lent, the Koukeri, men disguised in
animal skins and furs, wearing grotesque painted masks, do the rounds
of the villages banging loud bells to ward off evil spirits and
ensure a good crop; whilst in the south east of Bulgaria Nestinari
still dance on burning embers to mark the beginning of summer on
the feast of Saints Constantine and Elena. Even sophisticated city
folk will get up at a wedding to join in the Horo - a dance in a
circle to folk music.
Festival of roses - in Kazanlak: 30 May-1 June
The Bulgarian rose production is popularised every year during the
Festival of Roses. This festival originates from the celebrations
held at the beginning of the rose-harvesting period. Old rose growers
used to organize pageantries in which manufacturers paraded, dressed
up in rose flowers.