Bulgaria Destinations Travel Guide


Language: Bulgarian

Currency: Lev (BGN)

Calling code: 359

History of Bulgaria


Description of Bulgaria

Bulgaria (in Bulgarian, България), officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a sovereign country member of the European Union located southeast of the European continent. It borders Romania to the north (largely separated by the Danube), Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, and with Greece and Turkey to the south. The Black Sea is located in the east of the country.

With a territory of 110 879 km², Bulgaria is ranked 15th in Europe for its surface, with several mountainous areas defining the landscape, notably the Stara Planina (the Balkans) and the Ródope mountains, as well as the Rila mountains, which include the highest peak in the Balkan region, the Musala. On the contrary, the Danube plain in the north and the Thracian high plain in the south, are the lowest and most fertile regions of Bulgaria. The 354 km of coasts in the Black Sea constitute the entire eastern limit of the country.The capital and largest city is Sofia, with a permanent population of 1,270,284 inhabitants.

The appearance of an ethnic group and a unified Bulgarian state date back to the seventh century. All the Bulgarian political entities that emerged later conserve the traditions (the name of the ethnic group, the language and the alphabet) of the First Bulgarian Empire (681-1018), which came to encompass most of the Balkans and logically became a cultural center for the Slavs in the Middle Ages With the fall of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 / 1422), its territory fell under Ottoman rule for almost five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) led to the creation of the autonomous Principality of Bulgaria in 1878, which gained full sovereignty in 1908. In 1945, after the Second World War, it became a socialist state and was part of the East Block, until the political changes in Eastern Europe in 1989 and 1990, when the Communist Party allowed multi-party elections and Bulgaria made a transition to parliamentary democracy and capitalist free market economy with mixed results.

Bulgaria functions as a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic. In addition to being a member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, it has a high human development index of 0.794, the 56th highest in 2016.


Travel Destinations in Bulgaria

Blagoevgrad Province
Burgas Province
Dobrich Province
Gabrovo Province
Haskovo Province
Kardzhali Province
Kyustendil Province
Lovech Province
Montana Province
Pazardzhik Province
Pernik Province
Pleven Province
Plovdiv Province
Razgrad Province
Ruse Province
Shumen Province
Silistra Province
Sliven Province
Smolyan Province
Sofia Province
Stara Zagora Province
Targovishte Province
Varna Province
Veliko Tarnovo Province
Vidin Province
Vratsa Province
Yambol Province


Smolyan Province


Chudni Mostove



Sofia Province




Vitosha National Park


Stara Zagora Province

Stara Zagora

Shipka Pass


Targovishte Province



Varna Province


Aladzha Monastery


Veliko Tirnovo Province

Veliko Tarnovo

Emen Gorge

Nicopolis ad Nestum


Vidin Province



Magura Cave


Vratsa Province


Ledenika Cave


Yambol Province




Emergency phones

Police 166

Ambulance 150

Fire 160

Road assistance 146

Telephone information: 144

Traffic police: +359 2/ 982 72 823, 866 50 60



The name of the country comes from the name of the Turkic tribes of the Bulgars, who inhabited the steppes of the Northern Black Sea region to the Caspian Sea and the North Caucasus from the 4th century and migrated in the 2nd half of the 7th century partially to the Danube region, and later to the Middle Volga region and a number of other regions. Some historians question the identification of the Bulgars as a Turkic tribe, suggesting a hypothesis about their northern Iranian origin. The ethnonym "Bulgars" may have originated from the proto-Turkic word bulģha ("mix", "shake", "stir") and its derivative bulgak ("uprising", "disorder"). Alternative etymologies deduce the origin of the ethnonym from the Mongolian bulğarak ("separate") or from the combination of the Proto-Turkic bel ("five") and gur ("arrow" in the sense of "tribe"), the alleged division of the Utigurs or Onogurs ("ten tribes").

An alternative hypothesis of the origin of the name of the country connects it with the peculiarities of the pronunciation of the name of the Volga River, on the banks of which these tribes lived, and gradually transformed: Volga - Volgarii - Volgaria - Bolgaria - Bulgaria.


History of Bulgaria

The oldest constantly inhabited city in Europe is the Bulgarian 6-thousand-year-old city of Plovdiv. The most ancient population of the modern territory of Bulgaria, about which reliable information is available, were the Thracians, Indo-European tribes who lived here at least from the 1st millennium BC. By the 1st century BC. Thracian lands became part of the Roman Empire and were divided between the provinces of Thrace and Moesia. Several centuries earlier, Greek colonies appeared on the coast, from which the Thracians as a result adopted the ancient Greek language. After the division of the Roman Empire in 395 into the Western and Eastern, both provinces passed into the Eastern Roman Empire. From the 7th century, as a result of the Great Migration of Peoples, the southern Slavs began to settle on the Balkan Peninsula, gradually assimilating the remains of the Thracians.

The first Bulgarian state, about which accurate historical information was preserved, was Great Bulgaria, a state that united the Proto-Bulgarian tribes and other tribes in the Black Sea and Azov steppes for several decades. The capital of the state is Fanagoria, and its founder and ruler was Khan Kubrat.


First Bulgarian Kingdom

After the death of Khan Kubrat, the state broke up and some tribes migrated in different directions: Khan Batbayan blocked the departure of his brothers; Kotrag Khan at the mouth of the Kama and Volga (Itil) founded the Volga Bulgaria (66? –1237); Khan Asparuh went to Lesser Scythia (the mouth of the Danube), and from here headed to the Balkans, establishing the Bulgarian Khanate. There is a legend that before his death, Khan Kubrat bequeathed to his sons to be one, like a bunch of arrows, but the Khazars managed to include Great Bulgaria in the Khazar Khaganate. The Bulgarians made many raids in the Balkans in the VI - early VII century, so they were well acquainted with the Balkans (Marcellin Komit in 491-498, the first raid; Zabergan in 558). On the territory of Byzantium north of the Balkan Mountains, Slavic tribes were numerous, but because of their fragmentation, they could not resist the well-organized Byzantine forces. The Slavs did not have horse troops, the militia consisted only of infantry, and they needed an alliance with the horse people. And the Bulgarians had one of the best cavalry of the time - among the Bulgarians, the “horse riding” started at the age of 3-4 years old. In the territory of modern northern Bulgaria there was an alliance of Seven Slavic tribes - from the Timok River to the west, the Balkan Mountains to the south, the Black Sea to the east and the Danube to the north - these were the Slavic tribes with whom the Bulgarian khan Asparuh made an alliance. This union was mutually beneficial, although until the baptism of Bulgaria in 863, the Bulgarians constituted the aristocracy and the supremacy of the army. The official reference point for the existence of the First Bulgarian Khanate is the signing of an agreement between the Bulgarians and Byzantium after the military defeat of the last (680-681 year) at the mouth of the Danube, according to which Byzantium undertook to pay tribute to the Bulgarians. The capital of the state was the city of Pliska. The state included Turkic-speaking Proto-Bulgarians, Slavs and a small part of the local Thracians. Subsequently, these ethnic groups formed the Slavic Bulgarian people, who received the name of the country and spoke the language from which modern Bulgarian originated. At the beginning of the 9th century, the territory of the state expanded significantly due to the conquered Avar Haganate.

Until 865, the rulers of Bulgaria wore an unknown title ("khanas yuvigiy" - the great khan, military leader and priest; "sarakt" - the state). Under (Prince) Boris I, the country officially adopted Christianity (at that time the church was not yet divided into western and eastern branches) and the rulers began to bear the title of prince and then king. Under Tsar Simeon, the state reached its geopolitical peak and included the territories of modern Bulgaria, Romania, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, the eastern part of modern Hungary, as well as southern Albania, part of continental Greece, southwestern Ukraine and almost the entire territory of European Turkey. Preslav became the capital, as opposed to the former pagan capital. During the time of Boris and Simeon, the Bulgarian state also experienced an unprecedented cultural heyday, which began with a change in the then existing writing of the initial letters Cyril and Methodius for the translation of Christian books, due to a misunderstanding of some Slavic letters that were abolished and the introduction of several Greek, later named Cyrillic, was created huge corps of medieval Bulgarian literature. Bulgarian literature - the oldest of the Slavic originated in 886, with the advent of the Preslav book school. And the Old Bulgarian language, also known as "Church Slavonic", had a powerful influence on the Christianization of many Slavic countries (especially Kievan Rus) and the development of Slavic culture.


Very often, the Bulgarian kingdom was forced to fight with Byzantium. After successful wars and conquests, the ambitions of the educated Simeon grew so much that he believed that he should become the emperor of Byzantium, conquering it, and also sought international recognition of the status of an empire (kingdom) for his state and independent church. His dreams came true partly during the reign of his son, but Simeon was mistaken in appointing his second son, Peter I, as his heir, who believed that his calling was to be a monk, not a king. At the end of Peter's reign, the empire of the Bulgarians began to crumble under the blows of Byzantium and the Hungarians, and the final blow was the campaign of the Kiev prince Svyatoslav, who with the help of a not very large army temporarily captured the capital and part of the territory. The future tsar and commander Samuel managed to regain most of the empire’s territory, but the capital and Thracian territories, which made up the “heart of the country”, as well as the northwestern territories that were left to the Magyars, were lost.

In 1018, after the death of Samuel, Bulgaria was conquered by Byzantium and ceased to exist for almost two centuries. From 1018 to 1187, the territory of Bulgaria was a province of Byzantium, although the autonomy of the Bulgarian church (Archbishop of Ohrid) was confirmed. The country experienced two unsuccessful revolts during this time, Peter II Delyan and Konstantin Bodin. In the XI century, Bulgaria as part of Byzantium was consistently threatened by the Normans, Pechenegs and Hungarians. In 1185-1187, an uprising led by the brothers Ivan Asen I and Peter IV led to the liberation of the country from Byzantine rule and the establishment of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom.


Second Bulgarian Kingdom

The Bulgarians of the Asen clan, who lived in Tarnovo, in 1185 sent an embassy to the Byzantine emperor Isaac Anel with a request to confirm their possessions. Arrogant refusal and beating of the embassy became a signal for rebellion. In a short time, an uprising swept the territory from the Balkan Mountains to the Danube. Since then, the union of the Bulgarians with the Polovtsians, known in Bulgaria as the Cumans, began - the Polovtsians repeatedly fought alongside the Bulgarians against the Byzantines.

The second Bulgarian kingdom existed from 1187 to 1396, the city of Tarnovo became the new capital. In 1197, Asen I was killed by the rebellious boyar Ivanko, who switched to the side of Byzantium. Peter, the middle of the brothers, also fell at the hands of the killers. In southern Bulgaria, there were two independent states - headed by the governor Dobromir Chrys in the current city of Melnik, and the despot Slav in the Rhodope Mountains, his fortress Tsepina now does not exist. The new king Kaloyan, who took the throne in 1197, firmly crushed the opposition and began the rapid expansion of Bulgaria. The last stronghold of Byzantium in northern Bulgaria, Odessos (now Varna), was taken by storm on March 24, 1201, on Easter Sunday. The entire Byzantine garrison was killed, and buried in the moats of the fortress. Kaloyan, who during the reign of his brother Asen I was a hostage in Constaninople, received a good Greek education. However, he earned the nickname "Romeo Killer." According to the Byzantine chronicler Georgy Acropolitan, “He avenged the Romans for the evil that Emperor Vasily I did to the Bulgarians and called himself Romeo-killer ... Indeed, no one else did the Romans so much grief!” Using the defeat of Byzantium by the crusaders, he inflicted several major defeats The Latin Empire, defeating the troops of the IV Crusade, and extended its influence to most of the Balkan Peninsula. After the capture of Constantinople by the troops of the fourth crusade, Kaloyan began correspondence with Pope Innocent, and received the title “emperor” from him. In 1205, shortly after the crusaders were defeated, Bulgarian forces crushed the Byzantine uprising in the city of Plovdiv - the leader of the uprising, Alexei Aspieta, was hanged head down.

After the death of Kaloyan, Bulgaria lost a significant part of the territory, but then reached its highest power under Tsar Ivan Asen II (1218–1241), who controlled almost the entire Balkan Peninsula. In 1235, the Bulgarian patriarchy was restored, but Ivan Asen II maintained his relations with the Catholic countries throughout his reign. In the last year of his reign, he defeated the Mongols who came from Hungary.


After the death of Ivan Asen II, the state began to weaken. The Mongols nevertheless ravaged him in 1242, and Bulgaria was forced to pay tribute to them. In the XIII century, Bulgaria again lost most of its territories, which passed to Hungary and the heirs of Byzantium, and also lost control of Wallachia. The Asenian Dynasty was interrupted in 1280. Tsar Theodore Svyatoslav from the next dynasty, Terters, in 1300 signed an agreement with the Tatars, according to which he received Bessarabia and stopped paying tribute. In 1322, he also signed an agreement with Byzantium, ending a long period of wars.

The further history of Bulgaria is a constant war with Hungary and Serbia. A brief heyday falls on the beginning of the reign of Tsar John Alexander (1331–1371), when Bulgaria was able to defeat the Serbs and establish control over the Rhodopes and the Black Sea coast. At this time also accounted for the rise of culture, called the "second golden age."

In 1353, the Turks crossed over to Europe, taking Plovdiv in 1362, Sofia in 1382, and Veliko Tarnovo in 1393, after a three-month siege. After the death of John-Alexander, Bulgaria split into two states - with the capitals in Vidin and Veliko Tarnovo - and could not provide the Ottomans with any resistance. The last city of the Tarnovo kingdom, Nikopol, was taken by the Turks in 1395, and the Vidin kingdom in 1396. The second Bulgarian kingdom ceased to exist.

The economy of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom was based on agriculture (Danube plain and Thrace) and ore mining and smelting of iron. Gold mining was also developed in Bulgaria.


Vidin kingdom

After the fall of the Tarnovo kingdom in 1395 and the conquest of the Vidin kingdom in 1396, Constantine II Asen, son of Ivan Sratsimir, ascended the throne of Vidin. He ruled both as a vassal of the Turkish Sultan, then as a Hungarian king, and also declared independence for a while, but nevertheless his power extended to at least a part of the former Vidin kingdom. In the period from 1396 to 1422, these remnants of the Vidin kingdom were Bulgaria. The dispute between Tarnovo and Vidin was gone. A number of foreign states recognized Constantine II Asen precisely as the ruler of Bulgaria. In this form, Bulgaria continued to exist until 1422, when, after the death of Constantine II Asen, the Vidin kingdom ceased to be mentioned in the sources (apparently it was finally eliminated by the Turks).


Ottoman rule

At the end of the 14th century, Bulgaria was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. At first she was in vassal dependence, and in 1396, Sultan Bayazid I annexed her after defeating the crusaders at the Battle of Nikopol. The result of five hundred Turkish rule was the complete ruin of the country, the destruction of cities, in particular fortresses, and a decrease in population. Already in the XV century, all Bulgarian authorities at a level higher than the communal (villages and cities) were dissolved. The Bulgarian church lost its independence and was subordinate to the Patriarch of Constantinople. The period from 1396 to 1878 in Bulgarian history is known as the period of the Turkish yoke.

The land formally belonged to the Sultan as the representative of Allah on earth, but in reality they received it for use by the Sipahs, who were supposed to put cavalry in wartime on the orders of the Sultan. The number of troops was proportional to the size of land ownership. For the Bulgarian peasants, this system of feudal land tenure was at first easier than the old feudal Bulgarian, but the Turkish government was deeply hostile to all Christians. Despite the fact that those peasants who lived on land owned by Islamic religious institutions - the waqif - possessed some privileges, all the Bulgarians were in disempowered status of the so-called "paradise". Literally translated, this word means the same as the Christian clergy has the word "flock" (as historians have established, some Muslims also entered the paradise, especially peasants, artisans and other poor and vulnerable segments of the medieval population of the empire). The freedom of the Bulgarians living in the Ottoman Empire was limited, as the Turks attributed them to "second-class citizens." The rights of the indigenous Bulgarian population in the occupied lands were considered not equal to the rights of the Turks, including due to religion. The testimony of Christians against the Turks was not accepted by the court. Bulgarians could not carry weapons, ride horses, their houses could not be higher than the houses of Muslims (including non-Turks), and also had many other legal restrictions. Most of the Bulgarians remained Christians, who forcibly converted to Islam Bulgarians - the so-called. Pomaks, mainly in the Rhodope Mountains, preserved the Bulgarian language and many traditions.


The Bulgarians resisted and raised numerous uprisings against the Ottoman Empire, the most famous of which were the uprising of Konstantin and Fruzhin (1408-1413), the First Turnovskoy uprising (1598), the Second Turnovskoy uprising (1686), the Karposz uprising (1689). They were all crushed.

In the XVII century, the Sultan power, and with it the institutions established by the Ottomans, including land tenure, began to weaken, and in the XVIII century went into crisis. This led to the strengthening of local authorities, sometimes establishing very strict laws on their lands. At the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries Bulgaria actually fell into anarchy. This period is known in the history of the country as Kurdjalism according to the gangs of Kurdzhali who terrorized the country. Many peasants fled from rural areas to cities, some emigrated, including to the south of Russia.

At the same time, the 18th century was marked by the beginning of the Bulgarian Renaissance, associated primarily with the names of Paisius Hilendarsky, who wrote Bulgarian history in 1762, and Sophronius Vrachansky and with the national liberation revolution. This period continued until Bulgaria gained independence in 1878.

The Bulgarians were recognized as a separate national religious group in the Ottoman Empire (before that, they were administratively considered as members of the millet-i-room, uniting all the Orthodox subjects of the Sultan under the supervision of the Ecumenical Patriarch) due to the Sultan firman under the vizier Aali-Pasha, proclaimed on February 28, 1870 which established the autonomous Bulgarian exarchate.


Principality of Bulgaria

Part of Bulgaria received administrative autonomy rights as part of the Ottoman Empire after the defeat of Turkey in the war with Russia in 1877-1878 (See the articles San Stefano Peace and Berlin Congress). The origins of modern Bulgarian statehood were the Russian administration, which ruled Bulgaria. The borders of the new state were determined by the Berlin Congress of 1878, greatly curtailed liberated Bulgaria in favor of the Ottoman Empire and other neighboring states. In 1879, a fairly liberal constitution was adopted by the Constituent Assembly in the medieval Bulgarian capital Tarnovo, which established a constitutional monarchy in the young state with the new capital, the city of Sofia.

The state became a principality led by Prince Alexander Battenberg (prinz Alexander Joseph von Battenberg). After the abdication of Prince Alexander Battenberg in 1886 and the regency period in 1887, Ferdinand I entered the throne (the prince from July 7, 1887 to September 22, 1908, when the Principality of Bulgaria was declared independent of the Ottoman Empire - the king from September 22, 1908 to October 3 1918). The annexation of September 6, 1885 by the Principality of Bulgaria autonomous as part of the Ottoman Empire, the region of Eastern Rumelia caused the start of the Serbian-Bulgarian War of 1885 on November 14, which ended with the victory of the Principality of Bulgaria. The Bucharest Peace Treaty of February 19, 1886 recognized the international recognition of the act of reunification of the Principality with Eastern Rumelia.


Third Bulgarian Kingdom

During the next weakening of the Ottoman Empire and the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary, the Bulgarian prince Ferdinand I, taking advantage of the moment and by prior secret agreement with Vienna, proclaimed on September 22, 1908 the independence of the principality and its transformation into a kingdom. The adoption of the title of king expressed the actual status of full legal independence and complete sovereignty over Eastern Rumelia. The necessary constitutional amendments were introduced by the V Grand National Assembly in 1911.

In 1912-1913 she participated in the Balkan wars, as a result of which she gained territorial acquisitions in Macedonia and Thrace at the expense of the Ottoman Empire and access to the Aegean Sea.


During the first world war

At the beginning of the war, Bulgaria declared neutrality, but soon the Bulgarian government decided to take the side of the Central Bloc powers. Bulgaria entered the First World War on October 14, 1915, declaring war on Serbia. Bulgarian troops participated in operations against Serbia and Romania, fought on the Thessaloniki front. During the war, Bulgarian troops occupied a significant part of the territory of Serbia, Romania and Greece. In September 1918, the Allied forces managed to break through the front of the Bulgarian army, and on September 29, 1918 Bulgaria was forced to sign a truce with the countries of the Entente. In 1919, the Neuilly Treaty was concluded, according to which Bulgaria, as a losing side in the war, lost a significant part of its territory and access to the Aegean Sea. On October 2, 1918, Tsar Boris III ascended the throne after the abdication of his father, Tsar Ferdinand. After 1920, Bulgaria became one of the largest centers of Russian white emigration. Until 1944, the 3rd Division of the Russian All-Military Union operated in Bulgaria. In the periods between the wars, Tsar Boris III successfully repelled the attacks of various governments that tried to take power from the monarch and make the monarchy purely formal.


During the Second World War

By the beginning of World War II, Tsar Boris III sought to ensure the neutrality of Bulgaria. The government of Bogdan Filov (1940-1943) refused to accept the proposal of the USSR to conclude a Soviet-Bulgarian agreement on friendship and mutual assistance.

In August 1940, Bulgaria filed territorial claims of Romania, demanding the return of the southern part of the Dobrudja Highlands, lost as a result of the defeat in the Second Balkan War in 1913. On September 7, 1940, the Craiova Agreement was signed, according to which Bulgaria received back the required territories.

In January 1941, the first units of German troops entered the territory of Bulgaria (German security teams in the uniform of military personnel of the Bulgarian army). On February 2, 1941, Bulgaria and Germany signed a protocol on the deployment of German troops in Bulgaria.

On March 1, 1941, an agreement was signed in Vienna on the accession of Bulgaria to the Berlin Pact;

On April 6, 1941, the German invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece began. Bulgaria provided its territory for the deployment of German troops and aircraft, but the Bulgarian armed forces did not take part in the hostilities. On April 19–20, 1941, in accordance with the agreement between Germany, Italy and the Bulgarian government, parts of the Bulgarian army crossed the borders with Yugoslavia and Greece without declaring war and occupied territories in Macedonia and Northern Greece.

December 13, 1941 Bulgaria declared war on Great Britain and the USA.

At the beginning of 1943, the Nazis demanded the deportation of 48 thousand Bulgarian Jews, but the government did not comply with this requirement because of protests from the public and the church, Tsar Boris III in 1943 also condemned the German deportation requirement.

At the same time, Bulgaria extradited Nazi Germany to 11,343 Jews who lived in the territories occupied by Bulgaria that did not belong to it until 1941.

In 1943, after the defeats of the Germans at El Alamein (October 23 - November 4, 1942) and Stalingrad (November 19, 1942 - February 2, 1943), Tsar Boris began to seek contact with Anglo-American circles. This aroused Hitler's suspicions. Boris was called to Hitler’s headquarters for explanation and died on August 28, 1943, while returning to Sofia.

On May 18, 1944, the government of the USSR demanded that the government of Bulgaria stop providing assistance to the German army.

On August 12, 1944, the government of the USSR repeatedly demanded that the government of Bulgaria stop providing assistance to the German army.

On August 26, 1944, the Bagryanov government announced the complete neutrality of Bulgaria and demanded the withdrawal of German troops from the country.

In early September 1944, Bulgaria broke off relations with Germany (the new government of Muravyov), preparing to declare war of the latter by September 7-8.

On September 5, the USSR government regarded the activities of the Bulgarian government as a continuation of cooperation with Germany (as of September 5, 1944, there were 30,000 German troops in Bulgaria) and announced that it was at war with Bulgaria.

On September 8, 1944, Red Army troops entered Bulgaria, and in the evening of the same day the Communist opposition carried out a coup against the government, establishing the government of the Patriotic Front. On October 28, 1944, representatives of the USSR, Great Britain and the USA signed an armistice agreement with Bulgaria in Moscow. In accordance with it, parts of the Bulgarian army together with the Red Army participated in operations to liberate the territory of Yugoslavia, Hungary and Austria from the German troops. In battles against the German bloc, 33,000 Bulgarian soldiers died.


People's Republic of Bulgaria

After the king’s death, his six-year-old son Simeon II entered the throne. In fact, the state was governed by its regents. The reign of the young king was short-lived - he had to flee with his family to Egypt, and then to Spain, since the People’s Republic of Bulgaria was proclaimed after the referendum of September 15, 1946.

February 10, 1947 Bulgaria signed the Paris Peace Treaty.

The republic developed along the socialist path until the end of 1989, when the country emerged from the influence of the USSR.


Modern Bulgaria

On November 10, 1989, profound economic and political reforms began in Bulgaria. Since November 15, 1990, the country has been called the Republic of Bulgaria. On April 2, 2004, Bulgaria joined NATO, and on January 1, 2007, it joined the European Union.

The post-socialist presidents of Bulgaria were Pyotr Mladenov, Zhelyu Zhelev, Pyotr Stoyanov, Georgy Parvanov, Rosen Plevneliev.

In the mid-1990s, the Socialists were in power. In 2001-2005, the former Tsar Simeon II, who headed his own party, the National Movement Simeon II, was the Prime Minister of Bulgaria.

In the parliamentary elections on June 25, 2005, the Coalition for Bulgaria, which is based on the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), won 82 out of 240 deputy mandates and received the right to form a new government. However, although the socialists became the largest faction in parliament, they could not approve the government on their own, since for this they needed the support of at least 40 more deputies. The government was formed with the help of the so-called "broad coalition" with the participation of the Turkish minority party DPS and the Simeon II National Movement. The government was headed by Sergei Stanishev (BSP) and was in power from August 2005 to July 2009.

The next parliamentary elections in Bulgaria on July 5, 2009 were won by the centre-right opposition party GERB, led by the charismatic mayor of Sofia, Boyko Borissov. His party inflicted a crushing defeat on the socialists, winning 117 out of 240 seats in the country's parliament. The Coalition for Bulgaria (BSP) received 40 mandates, DPS - 38, Attack - 21, Blue Coalition - 15, Order, Law and Justice - 10. The government, formed on July 27, 2009, was headed by Boyko Borisov. The GERB party, although it is quite populist in its rhetoric, but, in fact, its ideology is radical liberalism, it advocates a European choice for Bulgaria and its further participation in Euro-Atlantic cooperation.

On February 15, 2013, mass protests began in connection with an increase in electricity bills, the current prime minister tried to save the situation by dismissing the Minister of Economy, but on February 19, 2013 B. Borisov resigned. On February 21, the Bulgarian Parliament accepted the resignation of Boyko Borisov's cabinet. In the parliamentary elections that followed, the BSP, DPS and Ataka united and formed a coalition government.

In March 2022, amendments to the law on citizenship were adopted in the last reading, abolishing the “golden passports” for those who invest at least 1 million leva or $568 thousand in the country's economy. The amendments will come into force in six months.



The territory of Bulgaria is 110,550 km², slightly larger than Iceland. The country is located on the western coast of the Black Sea, in the north it borders with Romania, in the south with Greece and Turkey, in the west with Serbia and North Macedonia. Despite its relatively small size, Bulgaria's landscape is very diverse. The length of the borders of Bulgaria is 2264 km. The river border in this case totals 680 km, and the Black Sea coast - 400 km; the southern and western borders are defined mainly by mountain ranges.


Relief and topography

The relief of Bulgaria is heterogeneous. In a relatively small area of ​​the country there are lowlands, plains, hills, low and high mountains, a large number of valleys and deep gorges. The main feature of Bulgaria's topography is the alternation of high and low landscape stripes that run from east to west across the country. These bands (called geomorphological regions) from north to south are named: Lower Danube Lowland, Stara Planina, Upper Thracian Lowland and Rila-Rhodope Mountains. There are 3 mountain systems in Bulgaria: Pirin, Rila and Rhodopes. The easternmost regions near the Black Sea are hilly, they gradually gain height towards the west, and the extreme western part of the country is high-mountainous. More than two thirds of the country are plains, plateaus or hilly lands with a height of less than 600 m. Plains (below 200 m) make up 31% of the territory, plateaus and hills (200-600 m) - 41%, low mountains (600-1000 m) 10% , medium mountains (1000-1500 m) 10%, and high mountains (more than 1500 m) 3%. The average height of Bulgaria is 470 m.

The Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains) begins in the Timoshko Valley in Serbia and continues south to the Sofia Basin in central-western Bulgaria. From there, the mountains go east to the Black Sea. Stara Planina is about 600 km long and 30-50 km wide. Their highest stretch is in central Bulgaria, where Mount Botev is located, the highest point of the Balkan Mountains with a height of 2376 m. The Balkan Mountains gradually decrease to the cliffs of the Black Sea coast. The southern slopes of Stara Planina and Sredna Gora pass into the Upper Thracian Lowland and the Sofia Basin. Triangular in shape, the Upper Thracian Plain begins at a point east of the mountains near Sofia and expands eastward towards the Black Sea. On it are the valley of the Maritsa River and the lowlands, which are located between the river and the Black Sea. Like the Lower Danubian Plain, most of the Upper Thracian Plain is hilly and is not a plain in the usual sense. Most of the territory is suitable for agriculture.

Relatively high mountains occupy the area between the Upper Thracian Plain and the Sophia Basin and the border with Greece in the south. There are three ranges in the west of the country: Vitosha south of Sofia, Rila further south and Pirin in the southwestern part of the country. They are the highest topographic region in Bulgaria and the entire Balkan Peninsula. The Rila range includes Mount Musala with a height of 2925 m, the highest mountain in the Balkan countries. About a dozen other mountains in the Rila system are over 2600 m high. The highest mountains are characterized by sparse bare rocks and occasional lakes above the tree line. The lower peaks are covered with alpine meadows. The Pirin Range is characterized by rocky peaks and stone slopes. Its highest peak is Vihren with a height of 2915 m, the second highest peak in Bulgaria. Further to the east are the Rhodopes.


Rivers and climate

Stara Planina divides Bulgaria into two almost equal river systems. A large system provides a catchment area for the northern part of Bulgaria, its flow goes to the Black Sea, mainly along the Danube River. This system covers the entire Lower Danube Plain and extends 48-80 km inland from its coastline. The second system collects the flow of water from the Upper Thracian lowland and most of the highlands of the countries of the south and southwest into the Aegean Sea. Of all the rivers, only the Danube is navigable, but many other rivers and tributaries in Bulgaria have a high potential for hydroelectric power generation and as a source of irrigation water.

The area of ​​​​Bulgaria is small, but its climate is quite diverse. The country is located in the continental and Mediterranean climatic zones. The Bulgarian mountains and valleys are natural barriers or channels for air masses, which creates a sharp contrast in the weather over relatively short distances. The continental climate zone is somewhat larger, since continental air masses easily fall on the Danube lowland. The impact of the continental climate is stronger in winter when heavy snowfalls occur; The influence of the Mediterranean climate is stronger during the summer when the weather is hot and dry. The barrier effect of the Balkan Mountains is felt throughout the country: on average, northern Bulgaria is one degree colder and receives 192 mm more rain than southern Bulgaria. Since the Black Sea is not large enough to be the main factor influencing the weather in the country, it has a predominant effect only on its coast.

The average rainfall in Bulgaria is about 730 mm per year. Dobruja in the northeast, the Black Sea coast, and parts of the Upper Thracian Plain usually receive less than 500 mm of precipitation and there are often droughts, especially in late August and early September. The rest of the territory of the Upper Thracian Lowland and the Danube Upland receives slightly less than the national average; The Upper Thracian lowland often experiences a summer drought. In the higher areas, which receive the most rainfall in the country, the average rainfall can be over 2540 mm, in the mountains there is a huge amount of snow and sometimes frosts down to -30°C. Snow cover from late September to early June.


Culture of Bulgaria


Bulgarian literature - the oldest of the Slavic ones - arose as early as 886, with the emergence of the Preslav book school.

Old Bulgarian literature originated in connection with the state's desire to convert to Christianity the pagan Proto-Bulgarians and Slavs (since these two elements of the Bulgarian Khanate still existed separately), as well as the remnants of the entire pre-Slavic and pre-Bulgarian population. The southern half of Bulgaria was subjected to a greater degree of Greek (Byzantine) influence, so Christianity penetrated there gradually and earlier. The outstanding literary monuments of the ancient period of Bulgarian literature, ending in 1393, and the middle period, which lasted until the appearance of the book of Paisius, are: the Zografsky and Mariinsky gospels, Savvin's book and the Suprasl collection. From St. Clement survived: the lives of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, "The Sinai breviary" and "Eulogy to St. Cyril"; from John the Exarch: "Heaven", "Shestodnev"; from Chernorizets the Brave: “On the Letters”, from Prezviter Kozma: “A Conversation against the Bogomils”; from unknown authors - the lives of various saints and many apocrypha. From the Middle Bulgarian period there remained: "Synodik Borila", "Dobromir Gospel", "Apostle of Ohrid", "Aesop's Tales" and numerous lives of saints and written by Patriarch Evfimy Tyrnovskiy: "The Life of St. etc. The production of translated literature increased so much that Bulgaria began to supply other Slavic countries with this literature.

In the first centuries of the Turkish yoke, the literary life of Bulgaria moved to Kyiv and Moscow, as well as to Romania and other neighboring regions. In Bulgaria itself, regarding the development of literature, there were no signs of life: a fact that says a lot about the nature of the Turkish yoke, from the first footnote to this, all the information for change was taken from volumes 1, 2, 3, 5 of the Encyclopedia of Bulgaria series, Publishing house of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences about the low political level of the masses, about their backwardness. At the beginning of the 18th century, in connection with the national awakening of the Bulgarians, literary life grew stronger. The new Bulgarian literature is connected with the period of political renaissance in Bulgaria. The epoch of national renaissance, national revolutionary, liberation struggle has its own literature. It begins with a book by Paisiy Hilendarsky, a monk from the Svyatogorsk monastery, “The Slavic-Bulgarian History of the Peoples and Kings of Bulgaria” (1762). This book has played a huge cultural role in the life of the Bulgarian nation. The nature of this literature in its further development was Ch. arr. propaganda and journalistic.


Architecture and fine arts

The need to build temples for worship marked the beginning of Bulgarian architecture proper. The most famous monuments of Bulgarian architecture of that time are the Rila Monastery and Boyana Church.

Byzantine traditions contributed to the development of fine arts. Evidence of the originality of the Bulgarian school of icon painting are the icons using not boards but ceramics as a basis. At the same time, the existence of fairly strict canons in icon painting somewhat limited the development of their own traditions. The frescoes of the cave churches in Ivanovo bear both the imprint of national traditions and the features of the “Paleologian revival”. Also known are the murals of the Boyana Church (especially frescoes dating back to 1259 depicting the founders of the monastery (ktitors) - Kaloyan and Desislava), the Rotunda of St. George and the Rila Monastery. At the same time, Eastern Bulgaria experienced Byzantine cultural influence to a greater extent, and very little of the ancient settlements of the Thracians was preserved in it, while in Southwestern Bulgaria (modern North Macedonia) national traditions were better preserved than Byzantine ones.

After the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878, its art and architecture were gradually integrated into the European artistic process.



Bulgarian music is part of Bulgarian, Balkan, European and world culture. Bulgarian music sounds specific, original and original.

Church singing in the Old Bulgarian language originates from the establishment of Christianity, but during the Byzantine domination (1018-1187), the penetration of canonized Byzantine singing into the Bulgarian church delayed the development of Bulgarian national religious chants connected with the folk basis. After the liberation from the rule of Byzantium and the formation of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom (1187-1396), Bulgarian culture began to flourish. In the 13th-14th centuries, under the influence of folk musical art, the Bulgarian chant was formed, samples of which were preserved in the liturgical singing of the Russian Orthodox Church of the 17th-18th centuries. Since that time, the “Zograph Trefology” (XIII century) and the “Synodikon on Tsar Boril” (XIV century) have been preserved - the only written monuments with musical notation that have come down to us. Many Byzantine choristers are of Bulgarian origin. The most famous of them is the singer and composer John Kukuzel, nicknamed the "Angelic" (he lived in a monastery in Byzantium). He created the neo-Byzantine neumental notation ("cukuzel neumes"), which is used in modern church music to this day.

During the Ottoman rule there were no musical institutions and musical pedagogy in Bulgaria. The first musicians were foreigners, as well as Bulgarians who received musical education abroad. Representatives of the “first generation of Bulgarian composers” came from this milieu: Emanuil Manolov, Angel Bucureshliev, Dobri Hristov, Panayot Pipkov, Georgi Atanasov, Nikola Atanasov and others. These composers published collections of Bulgarian folklore and created their own adaptations of folk music. Emanuil Manolov wrote the first Bulgarian opera - "The Beggar". Just like Emanuil Manolov, conductor Dimitar Manolov, being a graduate of the Moscow Conservatory, made a significant contribution to the development of the Bulgarian musical and performing arts. Georgy Atanasov created the operas "Altsek", "Kosara", "Launchy Vodnitsa". Panayot Pipkov created the first Bulgarian children's operettas "Children and Birds" and "Schuretz and Mravki". His most famous work is the Hymn of Saints Cyril and Methodius. Nikola Atanasoff wrote the first Bulgarian symphony. The greatest theorist of Bulgarian church and folk music at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries was Dobri Hristov, a graduate of the Prague Conservatory and student of Antonin Dvorak.

Events such as the creation in 1921 of the National Academy of Music "Professor Pancho Vladigerov", the emergence of the first symphony orchestras, music schools, marked the beginning of the development of professional classical music in Bulgaria.


Ballet, theater, cinema

The first amateur dance troupes in Bulgaria appeared in Sofia in 1900.

Theater in Bulgaria began to develop in the middle of the XIX century. A significant role in the development of the director's theater was played by N. O. Massalitinov. After World War II, socialist realism was actively planted in the Bulgarian theater.

The first feature film in Bulgaria, The Gallant Bulgarian, was staged in 1915 by theater actor Vasil Gendov. In 1933, the first sound film, Slave Revolt, was filmed. The films "Escape from captivity" (in the original "Kalin Orel"), "Alarm", "Heroes of September", "Under the Yoke", "Song of a Man", "Stars" (together with the GDR, directed by Konrad Wolf) filmed in 1950 years won prizes at international film festivals. In the 1960s, the films “How Young We Were”, “Marriage Permit”, “Chronicle of Feelings”, “The Peach Thief”, “The Smell of Almonds”, “The Longest Night” appeared.



The first feature film in Bulgaria, The Gallant Bulgarian, was staged in 1915 by theater actor Vasil Gendov. In 1933, the first sound film, Slave Revolt, was filmed. The films "Escape from captivity" (in the original "Kalin Orel"), "Alarm", "Heroes of September", "Under the Yoke", "Song of a Man", "Stars" (together with the GDR, directed by Konrad Wolf) filmed in 1950 years won prizes at international film festivals. In the 1960s, the films “How Young We Were”, “Marriage Permit”, “Chronicle of Feelings”, “The Peach Thief”, “The Smell of Almonds”, “The Longest Night” appeared.

Bulgarian cuisine is the national cuisine of Bulgaria and other countries of Southeast Europe. Bulgarian cuisine is similar to Turkish and Greek. This is due to the similar geographical position of the countries and the commonality of the original products, long-term historical ties.

Bulgarian cuisine is based on the extensive use of vegetables, herbs and fruits. The cuisine is rich in recipes for salads, hot and cold soups. A feature of cooking is the heat treatment of products on low heat for an hour, the products are mainly cooked simultaneously as part of one dish. Another feature is the massive use of fresh and canned herbs added in the preparation of meat dishes. More often, in comparison with other cuisines, onions, garlic, red, black and allspice, bay leaves, parsley, savory, mint are used in dishes. Bulgarian cuisine is very greasy and mushy. This is especially true for hot dishes.

As in any national cuisine, in Bulgarian there are dishes that are prepared for certain folk, religious or public holidays. For example, lean sarmi and chushki (peppers) on Christmas Eve, kapama (a stew of several types of meat and sausage with sauerkraut) and other dishes with sauerkraut on New Year's Day, fish on St. Nicholas (December 6), kozunak on Velik Den (Easter), lamb on the Day of Courage (St. George's Day).



Sports in Bulgaria developed after the participation of the country in the 1st Modern Olympic Games in 1896, where Bulgaria was one of 14 countries that sent their athletes to them. Nowadays the most popular sport in Bulgaria is football. The Bulgarian national football team at the 1994 World Cup in the United States took 4th place. Bulgaria has traditionally high achievements in weightlifting and athletics, wrestling, boxing, volleyball, artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, shooting and rowing.

In 2013 Bulgaria hosted the European Biathlon Championship.



Tourism in Bulgaria makes up a significant share of the country's GDP. Most tourists visit the resort either in summer or in winter according to the season. The prospect of tourism development in Bulgaria is bright, the country has both cultural and natural attractions. In 2015, the Daily Mail newspaper named Bulgaria's resorts the most inexpensive in Europe. The grocery basket at the key Bulgarian resorts is much cheaper than the similar one at the resorts of Italy, Spain and Turkey[64]. In addition, there are only two non-tourist months in Bulgaria - October and November. The Black Sea March is already a confident spring with flowering trees, in June they bathe in the Black Sea with might and main - until September. The ski season starts in December and lasts until February.

The Black Sea coast of Bulgaria is a popular beach tourism destination. Bulgaria was one of the most important resorts for the socialist countries of Eastern Europe. The industry experienced a downturn in the 1990s, but is now on the rise. The bulk of tourists come from Western and Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Germany, Russia, Ukraine and the UK.

The most popular Black Sea resorts are: Albena, Golden Sands, Riviera, St. Constantine and Elena, Obzor, Sunny Beach, Sozopol, Elenite, St. Vlas.

Balneo (SPA) resorts: Velingrad, Sandanski, Hisar, Pavel Banya, Narechenski Bani, Varshets

Ski resorts: Bansko, Borovets, Pamporovo, Vitosha. At the ski resorts, as well as at the Black Sea, the hotel base and mountain infrastructure are being actively updated. New tracks are being built, modern lifts are being installed (for example, Doppelmayer). The resorts have a small total length of slopes, slopes of medium and low complexity prevail, which makes Bulgaria inferior to popular alpine destinations. In March 2008, the European downhill tournament for men took place in Bansko.



January 1 - New Year in Bulgaria, St. Basil, national holiday.
January 6 - Epiphany (Jordan Day).
January 7 - Epiphany (Midsummer Day).
February 14 - Tryphon Zarezan, St. Trifo (holiday of winegrowers).
March 1 - Grandmother Marta - Martenitsy (the arrival of spring, an ancient pre-Christian holiday).
March 3 - Day of the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman yoke (approved in memory of the victory of the Russian army and the Bulgarian militia over the Turkish troops on March 3, 1878), a national holiday.
May 1 - Labor Day (the day of international solidarity of workers), a national holiday.
May 6 - Day of Courage and the Bulgarian Army (St. George's Day), a national holiday.
May 11 - Day of Saints Cyril and Methodius.
May 24 is the Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment, Culture and Slavic Literature.
June 2 - Day of Hristo Botev and those who died for the freedom of Bulgaria, a national holiday.
September 6 is the Day of the Unification of Bulgaria, a national holiday.
September 22 - Independence Day of Bulgaria (the day of the proclamation of the sovereign Bulgarian kingdom).
November 1 - Day of People's Awakeners.
December 8 - Student's Day in Bulgaria.
December 24 - Christmas Eve, a national holiday (the eve of the holiday of the Nativity of Christ).
December 25 - Christmas (Christian holiday, celebrated according to the modern New Julian calendar), a national holiday.