Currency: Lev (BGN)
Calling code: 359
History of 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.
Blagoevgrad Province (Bulgaria)
Burgas Province (Bulgaria)
Dobrich Province (Bulgaria)
Gabrovo Province (Bulgaria)
Haskovo Province (Bulgaria)
Kardzhali Province (Bulgaria)
Kyustendil Province (Bulgaria)
Lovech Province (Bulgaria)
Montana Province (Bulgaria)
Pazardzhik Province (Bulgaria)
Pernik Province (Bulgaria)
Pleven Province (Bulgaria)
Plovdiv Province (Bulgaria)
Ruse Province (Bulgaria)
Shumen Province (Bulgaria)
Sliven Province (Bulgaria)
Smolyan Province (Bulgaria)
Sofia Province (Bulgaria)
Stara Zagora Province (Bulgaria)
Targovishte Province (Bulgaria)
Varna Province (Bulgaria)
Veliko Tirnovo Province (Bulgaria)
Vidin Province (Bulgaria)
Vratsa Province (Bulgaria)
Yambol Province (Bulgaria)
Bulgaria is a states in the South- Eastern Europe in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. It borders Romania in the North, Macedonia, Serbia in the West and Turkey, Greece in the South. The eastern part of the country borders with a Black Sea. The country has mostly mountainous terrain with ridges Stara Planina, Middle Mountain, Rila, Pirin and Rhodopes. The highest peak is Mount Musala at a height of 2925 meters.
Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic. The head of the state is the president who gets elected every five years.
More than 85% of the country are Eastern Orthodox. About 12% are Sunni Muslims who usually live in the south part of the country. Jews make up 0.8%, Roman Catholics 0.5% and Protestants 0.5%. Additionally they are many cults and charismatic movements that were usually found around Christianity or Eastern Religions. Among these the woman who is believed by some to be a prophet, Vanga is probably most famous in Bulgaria and abroad.
Bulgarians are probably the only people in the World who shake their head in agreement and nod their heads in denial.
The official language in the country is Bulgarian. Most people are fluent in English, German, French. Older generations usually speak Russian as a second language.
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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. e. By the 1st
century BC e. 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.
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).
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.