Bulgaria is located in south-eastern Europe and is a predominantly mountainous country. The Danube forms the northern border, while the popular holiday resorts on the Black Sea coast are in the east.
The most populous are the areas around Sofia in the west, Plovdiv in the south and along the Danube plain.
From 1396 to 1878 Bulgaria was ruled by the Ottomans. In 1808 it became an independent kingdom and was a socialist people’s republic from 1946–1989. The establishment of parliamentary-democratic structures and economic development initially brought political instability in the 1990’s, and since 1996 there has been positive economic development. Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since 2007.
Abbreviated as BG by ABBREVIATIONFINDER, Bulgaria lies in south-eastern Europe between 41 ° and 44 ° north latitude and between 22 ° and 28 ° east longitude. With a total area of 111,000 km², the country occupies 22% of the Balkan Peninsula. The national territory has a length of 520 km and a width of 330 km.
Bulgaria shares borders with Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey. In the east, the Black Sea forms the natural border. The coastline is 3787 km. The border with Romania forms the Danube over a length of 471 km.
Important data about the country
including 85% Bulgarians, 8.5% Turks, 5% Sinti and Roma
|76.2 residents / km²
|Growth of population:
|-0.5% / year
|Form of government:
|Bulgarian, Cyrillic alphabet
|85% Bulgarian Orthodox Christians, 13% Sunni Muslims, 1% Roman Catholic Christians
|north of the Balkan Mountains continental climate with hot, dry summers and cold, damp winters, south of the Balkan Mountains a Mediterranean climate
|37% of the country’s area is arable land, 18% are meadows and pastures
|Agriculture 12%, industry 29%, services 59% (2002)
|Textiles, shoes, machines, food and beverages
|Gross domestic product:
|$ 15,486 million (2002)
|Gross National Product:
|US $ 1,770 per resident (2002)
In terms of surface shape, Bulgaria is a country of mountains with some larger mountain ranges. 28% of the national territory are covered by high and low mountain ranges, another 41% are hilly. The large mountain ranges divide the country into different regions.
The wide Danube lowlands and the adjoining Danube hill country stretch through the north of the country with heights of 100 to 400 m. Here you can find fertile black earth with a high proportion of humus.
To the south of it, the land rises gently to the rugged mountain ranges of the Balkans (up to 2376 m high), which runs through Bulgaria completely. The mountains then descend to the Thracian lowland, criss-crossed by river valleys, which extends to the Black Sea. It is a basin landscape that is divided into different parts. It is traversed by the Mariza river, which runs south to Turkey and Greece, and the rivers of the eastern lowlands that flow into the Black Sea.
Subsequently, the Vitosha Mountains, the Rhodope Mountains, the Pirin and the Rila Mountains with the 2925 m high Musala, the highest mountain in Bulgaria, extend over the whole of southern and western Bulgaria. These mountains separate Bulgaria from the Aegean Sea.
Climate and vegetation
In Bulgaria there are great contrasts in the landscape, which are also expressed in the climate and vegetation. The climate of the lowlands, which stretches north of the Balkan Mountains to the Danube, is shaped by continental influences. A transition to the Mediterranean climate can only be felt in the southern parts of the country and on the Black Sea coast. While in the north grass and grain fields predominate as Pontic flora with warm summers and cold winters, the climatic divide is located southof the densely forested Balkans, which keeps the cold north-east wind off, warm and fertile basin landscapes. To the west lies the high basin of Sofia, while on the southern border the high mountainous, densely forested Rhodopes determine the landscape.
Bulgaria, which was led by a communist party in a planned economy until 1989, has only been able to present positive key economic data since a severe economic and banking crisis in 1996. In response to the crisis, the government launched an economic reform program that brought severe social cuts but set the country on the path to a fresh start.
Textiles, iron and steel products, machines, as well as food and beverages dominate in foreign trade. The main imports are fuels (oil and gas from Russia), minerals and raw materials, machines, metals, chemical products and consumer goods. The main trading partners are Italy, Germany, the Russian Federation and Turkey.
The agriculture (37% of the country bear farming, 18% are meadows and pastures) employs 12% of the labor force, but is now surpassed in its contribution to the gross national product of the industry. In addition to tobacco, fruit and wine (on the Danube and Mariza), agriculture also supplies vegetables and rose oil for export. The following are also grown: Grain (wheat, maize), sugar beets, sunflowers (Danube Valley, Marizatal), cotton, tomatoes, peppers (Marizatal) and roses (in fields near Kazanlak). It is also significant that sericulture. Animal husbandry is particularly practiced in the mountains.
The industry is based on valuable lignite deposits located in the upper reaches of the Struma and near Dimitrovgrad and on iron ore near Sofia. Bulgaria also has bauxite and rock salt stores. Heavy, textile, food, tobacco, electrotechnical and chemical industries are already well developed. 33% of electricity is generated in nuclear power plants.
The Danube, the length of which on Bulgarian territory is 520 km, has an important location with the port of Ruse. The construction of the railway bridge from Russe to Giurgiu in Romania with a length of 2.2 km in 1954 was important for the development. Now a new bridge has been started. Although Russe is an industrial city, from where you can see Romania, it is characterized by many flower-filled plants and parks. The Black Sea ports of Varna and Burgas are also developed as seaside resorts.
Preferred tourist areas are the Black Sea and the mountains of Bulgaria.
In terms of its character, the Black Sea is an inland sea that is surrounded by land on almost all sides. The only connection to the outside is through the Bosporus to the Sea of Marmara and from there through the Dardanelles to the Mediterranean. The Black Sea lies at the interface between Europe and Asia. In the west are the coasts of the Balkans with Romania and Bulgaria, in the north Russia and Ukraine, in the west Georgia with the mountains of the Caucasus and in the south Turkey stretches.
The area of the Black Sea is 413,500 km². The sea spreads over a maximum length of 1148 km and a width of 615 km. Its maximum depth is 2245 m. The average depth is 1245 m.
The nameBlack Sea first appears in the Middle Ages. The name probably arose from “stormy sea” because the winds made sailing very dangerous. A number of large European rivers flow into this sea, such as the Danube, Dnepr, Dnestr, Don. The salinity is lower than in other seas, it is only 1.75%.
The sea has a positive influence on the climate of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. In August the water surface can reach 39 °C. Autumn has clear and hot sunny days. Since the summer temperatures are more favorable than in other areas of the Mediterranean with the same geographical latitude, numerous seaside resorts have developed here, for example near Varna. It is the third largest city after Sofia and Plovdiv. Due to its location on the Black Sea, it combines the function of a bathing, medicinal, harbor and industrial town. In the 1950’s, a modern seaside resort, “Golden Sands”, was built north of Varna. Similar to the “Sunny Beach” south of Varna and northeast of Burgas, many bathing and spa facilities were built.
Bulgaria has several interesting mountains and attracts numerous tourists.
The Rhodope Mountains form a labyrinth of mountains, valleys and gorges, their slopes have no steep inclines. Forests grow on the slopes and in the valleys and lush pastures have been created. The highest elevation of the mountain is 2191 m. Many rivers cut into the Rhodope Mountains, fed by many karst springs. Coniferous forest is characteristic of the western part of the mountain range, while different tree species thrive in the eastern part of the mountain range. The Balkan Mountains runs through Bulgaria in its entirety. Its length is 530 km, its width 15–50 km. Its highest point is 2376 m high. Beech forests with spruce trees grow in the lowest vegetation level on its slopes. Pine forests occur at higher altitudes. Dwarf trees grow in the subalpine zone, above which there are alpine pastures. The Pirin is the second highest mountain in Bulgaria. It has a greater number of peaks that are over 2000 m high. Its northern part is a real paradise for mountaineers because of the relief, the climate, the flora and fauna. Due to the great differences in altitude, there is an extraordinary variety of shapes. The alpine part of the mountains has peaks over 2700 m. The forests consist mainly of beech, spruce and fir species.
The Rila Mountains have ever-snow-capped peaks, jagged rock formations, deep gorges and icy mountain lakes. The highest mountain is the Musala with 2925 m. There are both winter sports centers and numerous health clinics (mineral springs). The monastery founded in the Rila Mountains in the 10th century is not only the oldest, but also the most stylish and largest monastery in Bulgaria. The monastery buildings (rebuilt in 1816 after being destroyed during the Turkish occupation) form an irregular square and enclose a large courtyard on which the church and tower from the 14th century stand.
The first settlements in what is now Bulgaria go back 7000 years. The history of the state begins with the settlement by the Thracians. After the Roman incursion at the turn of the ages, these areas fell to the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire when the Roman Empire was divided in 395. Then settled in the 6./7. Century Slavic tribes in this area and in the year 679 the first state was formed on the territory of today’s Bulgaria (First Bulgarian Empire). At the turn of the first millennium AD the state strengthened, but shortly afterwards the Byzantine emperor subjugated the Bulgarian empire. Bulgarian statehood did not take place until 1185 (Second Bulgarian Empire). But in 1396 the Ottoman Turks occupied all of Bulgaria and the area became part of the Ottoman Empire.Their rule brought the state stagnation for 500 years, because it was not until 1877/78 that the Ottoman rule was ended in the Russo-Turkish war. Bulgaria declared itself an independent empire in 1908. During the First World War, Bulgaria approached Germany and took part in the war on its side since 1915. Bulgaria also joined Germany, Italy and Japan in the Second World War. In 1943 the USSR declares war on the country and in 1944 Soviet troops invade Bulgaria.
Bulgaria becomes a People’s Republic in 1946 with a leading Communist Party and a ruling planned economy. Here, too, a political turning point occurred in 1989. Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since 2007.