Welcome to Bulgaria
The land of roses, Bulgaria, is a small country of ancient culture, scenic beauty, friendly people, hospitality and warmth.
Each of the Bulgarian mountains- Rila, Pirin, the Rhodopes, the Balkan Range, Vitosha etc., has a charm of its own.. Rugged snow-capped peaks and soft green slopes, cool forests carrying the aroma of herbs and wild fruit, quick-flowing rivers and crystal-clear blue lakes, mineral springs and bioreserves, rare plants and game, large climatic and ski resorts and small picturesque villages with living traditions and folklore.
Bulgaria possesses beautiful beaches, and is becoming a real resort paradise. The Black Sea Coast on its East border is famous for its calm and safe sea, clear water and healthy air, fine golden sand and natural dunes, mineral water springs, blue flag winning resorts, holiday villages and campsites.
Further, there are numerous mineral springs on the territory of Bulgaria, with water temperatures ranging from 20 to 60 degrees Celsius, whose baths and health spas are and known for their curative properties even in antiquity. The climate is healthy and has a marked curative effect in certain regions of the country. The varied relief. warm sea, fresh verdure and mountains air, combined with various treatment procedures, exert a favourable influence on a number of ailments.
Bulgaria is situated in south-eastern Europe and occupies the central part of Balkan peninsula on both sides of the Balkan Range (the Balkans), from which the peninsula hase taken its name. It has a territory of about 111 000 square kilometers.
The grater part of the northern border with Romania passes along the Danube, and the eastern border is the Black Sea. To the south Bulgaria borders- on Greece and Turkey, to the west – on Serbia and Macedonia (former Yugoslavia).
Temperate continental with clearly marked four seasons. A Mediterranean influence is felt in the country’s southern regions. The average annual temperature is 10.5°C.The average January temperature is around O°C.and the average summer temperature 30°C. In general the climate is mild and suitable for traveling all-the-year-round.
The population of Bulgaria numbers about 8 million. The average density is 76,2 people per a square kilometer. The main part of the population is Bulgarians. Beside them in the country live Turks, Gypsies and small number of Jews, Armenians, Russians and Greeks. 86.6% of the population is Eastern Orthodox, 13% are Muslims, 1,5% Roman catholic, others.
The official language is Bulgarian and uses only the Cyrillic alphabet. To facilitate tourists, road and direction signs in populated areas, resorts, and railways 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.
Winter time: GMT + 2 hours( October through March).
Summer time: GMT + 3 hours (April through September).
Passports and Visas
When entering Bulgaria, you will need a valid passport. No entry visas are required for citizens of the EU and EFTA members, if their stay does not exceed 1 month.
January 1 – New Year
March 3 – Bulgaria’s Liberation from Ottoman rule – the National Day
Easter – one week after the Catholic Easter
May 6 – Bulgarian Army Day
May 24 – Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture and the Slav Script
September 6 – Bulgaria’s Unification
September 22 – Independence Day
December 25-26 – Christmas
Sofia, the capital, is the largest city. Some 250 historic, archeological and architectural monuments have been preserved in the modern capital, the center of the country’s political and cultural life, a tourist destination and hospitable venue of major international forums
Other major cities are Plovdiv-site of a major annual international trade fair, the Black Sea cities of Varna and Burgas, and Ruse on the Danube River.
The unit of currency in Bulgaria is the lev, divided into 100 stotinki. The Bulgarian National Bank is the bank of issue and handles government funds and state-owned enterprises.
In 1991, Bulgaria chose the road to a rapid and radical economic reform. The major objectives of this Program were to curb inflation, slow down the decline of economy, achieve relative stability of the national currency and encourage private sector rapid growth. Within the first 4 years, the cornerstones of legal and institutional framework of the market economy were put in place.
In 1996 and 1997 Bulgarian GDP dropped down. The main reasons for the decline were structural reform slowdown, delay in privatization and the loss of international market position for Bulgarian companies following the disintegration of the CMEA. The embargo on ex-Yugoslavia, which caused losses estimated at more than 4 bln. $ Plus debts of over 2.5 bln. $, owed to Bulgaria by third world countries further contributed to the negative trends in Bulgarian economy.
In the first quarter of 1997, a new agreement with the IMF was reached, which marked the introduction of a currency board (July 1997). A set of radical austerity measures was implemented.
The German mark was chosen as reserve currency and the Bulgarian lev was pegged to it at a 1000 BGL/1 DEM exchange rate. Compared to the macroeconomic indicators’ value from the beginning of 1997, the currency board policy resulted in considerable decrease of inflation rate, increased credibility of the national currency and a reduced interest rate. Furthermore, all these factors, leading to a sharp decrease in the loans interest rate within the economy, subsequently reduced the government’s debt interest payments, as well as the share of short-term debt, issued to finance the budget deficit.
After the change in Government in the beginning of 1997 and the introduction of the currency board agreement Bulgaria marked one of Central and Eastern Europe’s most remarkable economic rebounds. The achieved level of macroeconomic stabilization, the resumption of growth, curbing inflation to one-digit levels has been made possible by a combination of strong political will and timely external support from the IMF, World Bank, EBRD and other international institutions.
The Bulgarian State was founded at the end of the VII century (681) by Slavs and proto-Bulgarians led by Khan Asparouh, son of the ruler of the proto-Bulgarian Kingdom, Khan Koubrat.
As early as the IX century the country emerged as one of the powerful states in Europe.. During the second half of the IX century the Bulgarian people became converted to Christianity and Bulgaria joined the family of Christian states. After that historical act the country adopted the Slavonic script and literacy created by the Thessalonians brothers Cyrix and Methods in 855. It was then disseminated in other countries as well. Even today Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Serbs and others use it..
In its thirteen-century long history Bulgaria fell twice under foreign domination. After nearly two centuries of Byzantine oppression, the Second Bulgarian State, founded in 1185, restored rapidly its grandeur. At the end of the XIV century Bulgaria was conquered by the Ottomans that were invading Europe and the Bulgarian state ceased to exist for nearly five centuries.. It was as late as 1878 that, as a result of the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) and the national liberation movement, the beginning of the Third Bulgarian Kingdom was set, which lasted until 1944.
According to the Yalta agreements between Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt, Bulgaria was given to the USSR as zone of political influence. In November 1989 Bulgaria broke with the totalitarian communist model of government rule. Today the country is a parliamentary republic.
How to reach Bulgaria
The national carrier Balkan Bulgarian Airlines, private Bulgarian airline companies, as well as many foreign airlines link the country to Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America.
The country can be entered through any one of the many border checkpoints. Foreign driving licenses are valid on Bulgarian territory. Insurance is compulsory – it can either be taken out beforehand or on the Bulgarian border. The speed limit in the country is as follows: 60 km/h in populated areas, 80 km/h outside populated areas, 120 km/h on motorways. Petrol stations are located at every 30 to 50 km.