The Republic of Bulgaria
Bulgaria is a wonderful South European country well known for its unique architectural and historical monuments, ancient cities, majestic mountains, golden beaches, healing mineral springs, and rich cultural traditions.
Bulgaria is situated in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. The unique country’s feature is its diverse relief. Here you can see plains, hills, plateaus, and mountains. In the east, Bulgaria has got access to the Black Sea, thus creating coastline of 380 kilometres long. In the northern and central parts of the country, snowy peaks of the Balkan mountain range and the Rhodopes can be seen. The highest mounts in the Rhodopes are Musala and Vihren. In the south, a large territory of Bulgaria is covered by green plains.
Ones of the most amazing places in Bulgaria are glacial mountain lakes. They were formed many centuries ago from glacial melt water. You are well advised to come to Srebarna Lake, located on the territory of Srebarna Nature Reserve, two kilometres southwards of the Danube. It is a very beautiful place that is often referred to as "the paradise for birds".
At the times of the Roman Empire, the territory of modern Bulgaria was under the Empire’s control. In the 6th century, Slavic tribes came here and created the Bulgarian Empire. In the 11th-12th centuries, Christianity was consolidated under the rule of the Byzantine Empire. For a long period of time, the country has been a part of the Ottoman Empire that didn’t prevent the Bulgarians from keeping their Orthodox principles. The domination of the Ottoman Empire in Bulgaria has undoubtedly influenced the country’s architecture. Today you can convince yourself of this in the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia – where Christian churches can be noted by you next to Turkish mosques. The most famous of them are Banya Bashi Mosque in Sofia, as well as Imaret Plovdiv and Tombul in Shumen. In addition, the capital has preserved a large number of cathedrals and churches, including well visited Hagia Sophia Church, and St Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
Elements of Ottoman architecture can be seen in Bulgarian estates and houses. Today you can notice one of its features – cosy houses in green gardens are surrounded by high stone walls. The Romans have exerted influence over the Bulgarian architecture as well. Plovdiv has preserved many ancient Roman structures, including the ancient theatre of Philippopolis built in the 2nd century AD. The theatre has been restored, so today you can visit one of theatrical plays or musical shows arranged there. In addition, those to be fond of history and antiquity can see many ancient buildings in such Bulgarian cities as Nesebar, Veliko Tarnovo and Varna. Nesebar, a city of churches protected by UNESCO, is home to one of the most beautiful creations of the 11th century – St Stephen Church. On the hills of Tsarevets Mount in the city of Veliko Tarnovo you are advised to visit ruins of Royal Palace, and Patriarchal Cathedral of the Holy Ascension of God.
Year-round recreation is an important Bulgarian advantage. In spring and autumn you can make a trip to ancient cities and explore unique attractions, as well as take a spa tour. Nature has generously endowed Bulgaria with mineral springs. Even in 5-4 centuries BC, healing properties of mineral water were used on the territory of Bulgaria. At the times of the Roman Empire, spa treatments reached its all time high – the Romans built famous spas, and some of them have survived till the present day. In the country there are about 250 of hydrothermal deposits, a large number of artesian wells and springs. Ones of the best spa resorts are located in Hisarya, Velingrad, Devin, Pomorie, Albena, Sandanski, and Bankya.
Great Bulgarian climate favours the growing of unique Damask Rose, essential oil of which is known for its healing properties and high quality. In the valley of the Tundzha River there is a popular tourist destination – the Rose Valley with its central town Kazanlak. In May, the valley turns into a blooming pink ocean. By the way, on the first weekend of June, the town hosts famous Rose Festival, which can give you a lot of striking impressions.
Along with mild climate, Bulgaria is famous for its golden sands and the clean Black Sea. Almost all the Black Sea coastline is a long beach with numerous resorts, such as Golden Sands and Sunny Beach.
In winter Bulgaria you won’t be boring as well. The Balkan Mountains are covered with loads of snow at this time of year, thus creating great conditions for skiing. Borovets offers you to enjoy skiing on high Yastrebets Mount. Young people would love Pamporovo, a ski resort, where ski carnivals and shows, parties and karaoke are arranged. In Bansko you should expect the longest ski season, and its tracks are prepared both for beginners and professionals.
Those to be fond of active rest can enjoy cycling in Bulgaria, going through country’s mountains and plains. You can go to explore caves, the number of which in Bulgaria reaches about 4000. The most popular cave is located on the territory of Vrachanski Balkan Nature Park in the Balkan Mountains. It is Ledenika Cave of about 300 meters long. In these mountains you’ll have an opportunity to see how good you are at climbing. Hiking in clean areas of nature reserves and national parks is very popular in Bulgaria. The real natural gem of the country is Ropotamo Nature Reserve. To the north of old town Balchik, you can find unique Kaliakra Nature Reserve.
Bulgaria will attract your attention with its beautiful villages, where you can learn ancient Bulgarian traditions, as well as learn wood carving, pottery, weaving and other crafts.
The Bulgarian national cuisine is famous for its variety and abundance of vegetables, delicious fish and meat, fragrant soups, cheese, especially sheep cheese, as well as various spices. At different times, the Bulgarian cuisine had a great influence of Greek, Georgian, Armenian and Turkish cuisines. Among the most popular Bulgarian dishes are Shopska salad, Pepper Burek and Ciorba. No one meal is complete without delicious local wine, the most famous varieties of which are Mavrud, Melnik, Merlot, Cabernet, Stambolovo, Sungurlare and others.
Come to friendly Bulgaria that is famous for its rich traditions and the ancient architecture. Here, modern beach and ski resorts are in harmony with measured life in villages on the plains.
Administrative division — Bulgaria
Sofia Population: 1359520
- Asenovgrad Population: 54092
- Blagoevgrad Population: 76829
- Burgas Population: 208402
- Dobrich Population: 94831
- Gabrovo Population: 67833
- Haskovo Population: 82886
- Kyustendil Population: 52346
- Montana Population: 50200
- Pazardzhik Population: 80797
- Pernik Population: 86341
- Pleven Population: 122149
- Plovdiv Population: 376000
- Shumen Population: 89054
- Sliven Population: 100695
- Stara Sagora Population: 143989
- Varna Population: 344000
- Veliko Tarnovo Population: 71755
- Vidin Population: 59728
- Yambol Population: 80116
- Blagoevgrad Population: 339790
- Burgas Population: 422458
- Dobrich Population: 422458
- Gabrovo Population: 127266
- Haskovo Population: 256408
- Kardzhali Population: 173417
- Kyustendil Population: 155907
- Lovech Population: 159878
- Montana Population: 164338
- Pazardzhik Population: 302204
- Pernik Population: 142519
- Pleven Population: 304040
- Plovdiv Population: 740878
- Razgrad Population: 142074
- Ruse Population: 265061
- Shumen Population: 194090
- Silistra Population: 142000
- Sliven Population: 218474
- Smolyan Population: 130043
- Sofia Population: 256140
- Sofia-Capital Population: 1402602
- Stara Zagora Population: 371917
- Targovishte Population: 142073
- Varna Population: 495056
- Veliko Tarnovo Population: 291121
- Vidin Population: 121465
- Vratsa Population: 223358
- Yambol Population: 156070