Bulgaria is located on the Balkan Peninsula of South East Europe. It is bound by Romania to the north, Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro (Serbia Rep.) to the west, Turkey to the southeast, Greece to the south and the Black Sea to the east. The country is divided into three topographical zones all of which lie parallel east to west of each other. (1.) The Danubian Tablelands in the north, (2.) the Stara Planina or the Balkan Mountains in the center and (3.) the Thracian Plains as well as the Rhodope and Pirin Mountains in the south and southwest. The principal rivers are the Maritsa, Iskur, Yantra and Struma which flow either north or south. Major Cities (pop. est.); Sofia 1,114,000, Plovdiv 345,000, Varna 307,000, Burgas 198,000, Ruse 170,000 (1993). Land Use; forested 35%, pastures 17%, agricultural-cultivated 39%, other 9% (1993).



Cyrillic. Signs along international motorways, in airports and resorts are also spelled in Roman letters.

86.6% of the population is Eastern Orthodox, 13% are Muslims. The Bulgarian Church is autonomous and headed by a Patriarch.

State government

Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic.

Official holidays

January 1 - New Year
March 3 - Bulgaria's Liberation from Ottoman rule - the National Day
Easter - one week after the Catholic Easter

May 1 - Labour Day
May 6 - Bulgarian Army Day
May 24 - Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture and the Slav Script
September 6 - Bulgaria's Unification
September 22 - Independance Day
December 25-26 - Christmas

Capital
Sofia (pop. 1,141,000)

Large Cities
Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas, Veliko Turnovo

Nature
Bulgaria occupies a relatively small area - 111 000 sq. km, but is nevertheless distinguished by generous and varied nature - a sea with a 380 km. long coastal strip and golden beaches, 16 mountains with their own characteristic features, shelters valleys and high plateaus, over 550 curative mineral springs, dozen of unique natural phenomena and 2000 thrilling caves, a healthy climate and diverse flora and fauna.

As a whole Bulgaria's vegetation can be ranked among the Central European forest region, but the influence of the South Russian and Asia Minor regions is also felt. The higher part of Bulgarian mountains are covered by sub -Arctic vegetation, among which juniper forests predominate. In fact, Bulgaria boasts 3000 higher plant varieties - almost twice as many as in England.

More then one quarter of the country's territory is covered with forests. The edelweiss which grows in places difficult of access in the Pirin Mountains and the Balkan Range, is one of the rare plants growing in the country.


Bulgaria is famous for its oleaginous rose which bloom in the Valley of Roses. The Bulgarian tobacco brands are world - famous.

The Bulgarian fauna is no less interesting, with almost 13 000 animal species and subspecies, or about 14 percent of all European species.
Fishing is possible in lakes, dams, mountain brooks and sea, hunting - in special hunting grounds.

Culture
One has to see the magnificent Thracian treasures, the monumental but beautiful work of the Greek and Roman cities in order to understand why Bulgaria became the cradle of Slav culture.

For thirteen centuries the Bulgarian has been creating literature, art and music. Bulgarian culture has given the world men of great achievements, unparalleled in history.

In the 9th centurie the brothers Cyril and Methodius, recognised as the patrons of Europe, upset the trilingual dogma and created the alphabet of the Slav peoples.

During the 14th centurie John Koukouzel - The Angel-voiced carried out a reform in Eastern Orthodox church music. Unknown painters created masterpieces which have become part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage.


Born from the power of tradition, modern Bulgarian culture, too, triumphs in the world. A quatrain of the great Bulgarian poet Hristo Botev has found a place in the Sorbonne, Boris Christoff and a whole host of Bulgarian singers have conquered the world's opera stages, the "Mystery of Bulgarian Voices" has astounded melomaniacs, the paintings of Vladimir Dimitrov-The Master can be seen in the world's finest galleries.
Bulgaria The Country
Relief
Extremely varied: large plains and lowlands, low and high mountains, valleys and lovely gorges.

Climate
Temperate continental with clearly marked four seasons.
A Mediterranean influence is felt in the country's southern regions.
The average annual temperature is 10.5C.
The average January temperature is around OC.
Average summer temperatures rarely exceed 30C.

Population
8,428,006

Bulgarian.
English, German, French and Russian is spoken in the country's resorts, hotels and restaurants.