Travel Guide

 

 

People

Population: 7.5 million (July 2004 est.).

Population growth rate: -0.92 % (2004 est.).

Life expectancy at birth: 71.7 years.

Religions: Bulgarian Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Roman Catholic 1.7%, Jewish 0.1%, Protestant, Gregorian-Armenian, and other 3.4% (1998).

Ethnic groups: Bulgarian 83.9%, Turk 9.4%, Roma 4.7%, other 2% (including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, Circassian) (2001).

Language: Bulgarian, secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic breakdown.

Nationality: Bulgarian(s).

 

Map Bulgaria

 

Geography

 

Country name: Republic of Bulgaria.

Capital: Sofia.

Government type: parliamentary democracy.

Independence: 3 March 1878 (as an autonomous principality within the Ottoman Empire); 22 September 1908 (complete independence from the Ottaman Empire).

Constitution: adopted 12 July 1991.

Administrative divisions: 28 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast); Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Khaskovo, Kurdzhali, Kyustendil, Lovech, Montana, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Ruse, Shumen, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofiya, Sofiya-Grad, Stara Zagora, Turgovishte, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Vidin, Vratsa, Yambol.

Terrain: mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast.

Total area: 110,910 km˛.

Coastline: 354 km.

Highest point: Musala 2,925 m.

Climate: Temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers.

Ports and harbors: Burgas, Lom, Nesebur, Ruse, Varna, Vidin.

Bulgaria has a strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia.

 

Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy. Bulgaria became a member of the European Union in 2007.

 

Europe

 

Burgas Bulgaria

 

The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. By the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks.

Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent in 1908. Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946.

 

Main source: CIA - The World Factbook 2004.

 

Rila Monastery

 

Economy

Bulgaria, a former communist country striving to enter the European Union, has experienced macroeconomic stability and strong growth since a major economic downturn in 1996 led to the fall of the then socialist government. As a result, the government became committed to economic reform and responsible fiscal planning. A $300 million stand-by agreement negotiated with the IMF at the end of 2001 has supported government efforts to overcome high rates of poverty and unemployment.

Currency: lev (BGL).

GDP (purchasing power parity): US$ 57.1 billion (2003 est.).

GDP per capita (purchasing power parity): US$ 7,600 (2003 est.)

GDP growth rate: 4.4% (2003 est.).

Agriculture - products: vegetables, fruits, tobacco, livestock, wine, wheat, barley, sunflowers, sugar beets.

Industries: electricity, gas and water; food, beverages and tobacco; machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel.

 

 

Burgas, Bulgaria, the second largest port on the Black Sea coast, 390 km east of Sofia.

 

Sofia, capital of Bulgaria. In the background, the neo-Byzantine St Alexander Nevski Cathedral, built between 1882 and 1912 .

 

Rila Monastery of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, a cultural symbol in the Rhodope Mountains of southwestern Bulgaria. It was included in the UNESCO List of World Heritage in 1983.

 

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Sofia Bulgaria