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Bulgaria ( Bulgaria ) is a state in southeastern Europe, located on the Balkan Peninsula. The Republic of Bulgaria is a hospitable country that welcomes tourists all over the world. The country differs in affordable recreation (compared to other European countries), while showing first-class service in all its manifestations. Bulgaria is the ski resorts with ski slopes of varying difficulty level, it is the golden sands of the Black Sea coast, it is wonderful nature and healing resorts.
Bulgaria – a country of Golden Sands.
The capital of
The capital of Bulgaria – the ancient city of Sofia (Sofia City), whose history counts more than one thousand years. The capital inherited its name from the main attraction – the Cathedral of St. Sophia. Sofia is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of Mount Vitosha. Sofia – the monuments of history and architecture, the magnificent mountain nature and green urban parks, large shopping and entertainment centers and hotels, ski resorts and mineral springs.
The flag (Flag of Bulgaria) is a rectangular cloth with a side ratio of 2:3, consisting of three horizontal stripes of equal width: white (top), green (intermediate) and red (bottom). The white strip represents peace and freedom; the green stripe represents Bulgaria’s natural riches and is considered the traditional color of the Bulgarian kings; and the red stripe represents the blood of Bulgarians spilled in the battles for state independence.
All flags of the world, see here.
The Coat of Arms of Bulgaria is a pomegranate colored shield, with the image of a lion standing on its hind legs, which is held by two golden shield-bearers lions. The shield is placed on the oak branches. At the top of the composition is a large crown of the Bulgarian kings, and at the bottom is a ribbon with the Bulgarian national motto “Unity gives strength” (“Unity rules strength”).
The lion symbolizes courage and bravery; the three lions represent the three historic regions of the state: Mesia, Thrace and Macedonia; the pomegranate color of the shield represents the blood of patriots, shed in battles for state independence; the golden color symbolizes wealth and abundance; the crown symbolizes history; the oak branches symbolize endurance, and their green color symbolizes fertility.
For all the flags of coats of arms of the world, see here.
Gorda Stara planina, to her the Dunava blue, slonce Trakija ogreva, over Pirina flamei.
My dear Rodino, thy earthly paradise, thy khubost, thy charm, ah, te nyamat krai.
Proud Balkan mountains, As far as the blue Danube, The sun warms Thrace, flaming over Pirin.
Sweet homeland, Thou art an earthly paradise itself, Thy beauty and thy loveliness, ah, they have no edge.
The official currency of Bulgaria is the Bulgarian lev, equal to 100 stotinki (alphabet BGN, code 975). The name lion, the currency got from the Dutch coin “leeuwendaalder”, which depicted a lion. In circulation there are coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 stotinki and 1 lev, as well as banknotes of denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 lev.
Bulgaria on the world map
Bulgaria is a state in the southeastern part of Europe, located on the Balkan Peninsula, on the Black Sea coast, with an area of 110,910 km². Bulgaria is bordered on the north by Romania, on the south by Turkey and Greece, on the west by Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia, and on the east by the Black Sea. Through the sea Bulgaria is connected to Russia, Ukraine and Georgia.
There are three geographic areas in the country: the first is the Danube Plain, the second is the mountain range, which consists of Balkan and Rhodope systems, and the third is the Southeast Plain. The main river of the country is the Danube, which forms a natural border between Bulgaria and Romania.
What is worth seeing in Bulgaria?
The sights of Bulgaria are monasteries and churches, historical monuments and museums, national parks and reserves, hot springs and ski resorts, beautiful beaches and invigorating water parks.
And here is a small list of attractions, which you should pay attention to when making a plan of excursions in Bulgaria :
- Aqua Planet Aquapark in Primorsko
- The Ancient Fortress of Serdika
- Bachkovo Monastery
- Varna Archeological Museum
- Rose Valley
- Dragalev Monastery
- Varna Stone Forest
- Banya-Bashi Mosque
- Aladzha Monastery
- National Art Gallery of Bulgaria
- San Anastasia Island
- Borisova Gradina Park
- Rila Monastery
- Virgin Mary Dormition Cathedral in Varna
- Thracian Tomb in Kazanlak
- The Monument of St. Alexander Nevsky in Sofia
- Chudnite rocks
Biggest cities in Bulgaria
- Sofia (the capital of Bulgaria)
- Stara Zagora
The climate in Bulgaria is temperate continental with distinctly enough division of the four seasons. In the southern part of the country and in the seaside areas the Mediterranean climate is dominant. The average summer temperature is +19 ° C +26 ° C, and in the hottest month – July, can reach +30 ° C. The water is warm until the end of September the average winter temperature is -1 ° C + 1 ° C, and in the mountainous areas can drop to -14 ° C – 16 ° C. The average annual rainfall is 900 – 1000 mm in the mountains and 650 – 700 mm on the plains.
The population of Bulgaria is 7,070,039 (as of February 2017), of which 82% are Bulgarians, 9.5% are Turks, 4.6% are Roma, and 0.3% are Russians. Armenians, Romanians, Ukrainians, Greeks, and Jews also live in the country. Average life expectancy of the local population is: men – 68 years, women – 75 years.
The official language of Bulgaria is Bulgarian. Bulgarian is spoken by 82% of the country’s population. Rather widespread are: Turkish – 9.5%, Romani – 4.6% and Russian – 0.3%. Less common: Armenian, Romanian, Greek, Ukrainian, Macedonian, Tatar, Arabic and Hebrew.
Religion in Bulgaria . The country’s constitution grants freedom of religion. Of the total population of the country, 82% identify themselves as religious. Of these, 85.2% are Orthodox Christians, 12.5% are Muslims, 1.1% are Catholics, 0.5% are Protestants, and a small portion of other world religions.
National Holidays in Bulgaria:
- January 1 – New Year’s Day January 6 – Epiphany
- January 7 – John the Baptist Day
- February 14 – Valentine’s Day (Valentine’s Day)
- March 3 – Liberation Day of Bulgaria from Ottoman slavery
- April-May – Orthodox Easter (Velikden)
- May 1 – Labor Day
- May 6 – George the Victorious Day (Day of the Armed Forces of Bulgaria)
- May 24th – Day of Slavonic Literature and Culture
- June 1 – International Children’s Day
- 15 August – Assumption of the Virgin Mary
- September 6 – Unification Day of Bulgaria
- 22 September – Independence Day
- 6 December – Constitution Day
- 24 December – Christmas Eve
- December 25 – Christmas Day
Here is a little list of the most common souvenirs that tourists usually take from Bulgaria:
- fragrant spices
- Bulgarian wines
- purses in the form of different animals, fruits or vegetables.
- copper tubes for brewing coffee
- natural cosmetics
- bee products
- wooden and ceramic goods
- Silver and gold jewelry
“No nail, no rod” or customs regulations
Bulgaria’s customs regulations do not restrict the import and export of foreign currency, however, amounts over $10,000 or €7,000 must be declared. Upon importation also jewelry, photo and video equipment should be declared, which should be taken out of the country.
Persons aged 17 years or older may bring: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250 grams of tobacco, 1 liter of spirits (over 22%), 2 liters of alcohol less than 22%, not more than 500 grams of coffee or 200 grams of coffee extract, 100 grams of tea or 40 grams of tea extract. As well as other items of personal use up to a value of 175 euros per person.
It is forbidden to import meat and dairy products (including sausages and chocolates) into Bulgaria. The exceptions are baby foods and special foods for people with various diseases, but in these cases the products must be well packaged and their weight should not exceed 2 kg. If meat and dairy products are found, they will be confiscated and the person carrying them will be fined. Importation of drugs, weapons, ammunition, explosives, potent psychotropic or poisonous substances, rare and protected animals and plants is prohibited in Bulgaria. As well as items of historical, artistic or other value.
Plants and Animals :
All animals, plants, and plant products must be presented to the quarantine service. The import and export of pets is permitted only with a certificate of vaccination against rabies, made no earlier than 12 months and no later than 30 days before the date of entry into Bulgaria. You must also have a medical certificate for your pet, obtained at least 5 days before entry into the country.
Voltage of the Electricity Supply in Bulgaria
Mains voltage: 230 V at 50 Hz. Outlet type: Type C, F.
Phone number and domain name of Bulgaria
Phone country code: +359 First level domain name: .bg
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The country of Bulgaria is located in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula and occupies about 20% of its area. The southern part of Bulgaria is bordered by Turkey and Greece, the eastern half is washed by the Black Sea. From the west it borders on Macedonia and Serbia, and from the north the republic borders on Romania. Sofia is the capital of the state. The largest cities are Burgas, Varna and Plovdiv.
Bulgaria is a popular tourist destination. For vacationers there are quite reasonable prices. Tourism is an important source of income for the republic, so for visitors are equipped with resort areas, where you can have a great vacation in summer and winter. There are many attractions and historical monuments, some of which are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The official language of Bulgaria is Bulgarian. Bulgarian is spoken by 85% of the country’s residents. It belongs to the Slavic group of languages and uses the Cyrillic alphabet for writing. Bulgarian language is very similar to Church Slavonic. Its characteristic feature is the absence of cases. This function in the language is performed by prepositions and the order of words in a sentence.
Official currency in Bulgaria since 1880 is Bulgarian lev (BGN), consisting of 100 stotinki. Despite the fact that Bulgaria is a member of the EU, the euro is not officially introduced in the country. There is a state-approved exchange rate for the Bulgarian lev to the euro. It’s equal to 1.95583 BGN for 1 EUR. The Bulgarian lev has been reissued four times. The last reissue of banknotes took place between 2005 and 2009. Bulgarian banknotes have denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 levs. Instead of the former 1 and 2 leva banknotes are now issued coins. But banknotes of this denomination are also in circulation.
Rates of exchange of the Central Bank of Russia on 05.09.2022.
Visas to Bulgaria
To enter Bulgaria you need a visa. If you want to visit the country for tourism purposes you must obtain Bulgarian visa category C. This is a short-term visa valid for one or more entries into the country, and the total duration of stay can’t exceed 90 days within a six-month period.
It is also possible to visit Bulgaria with a Schengen visa. The country has been a candidate for joining the Schengen Area since 2007. Therefore, tourists with valid Schengen visa may freely enter Bulgaria without any additional documents.
Capital city of Bulgaria
The capital of Bulgaria is Sofia, which has carried this status since 1879, when Bulgaria became independent. The city was founded as far back as the first century. It had several names but the current city received its present name at the end of the 14th century after the St. Sophia Cathedral was built there.
Geographically Bulgaria can be divided into three main areas with different types of tourist activity:
- Plain Bulgaria – the area in the north and center of the country, where the largest cities of Sofia and Plovdiv, the ancient capital Veliko Tarnovo are located, here you can find many historical monuments.
- Mountain Bulgaria – in the southwest of the country is situated the highest in the country Rila and Rhodope Mountains where are built several well-known ski resorts and summer tourist centers.
- The Black Sea coast is located in the east. There are two beach resorts concentrated around the major airports of Bulgaria, Burgas and Varna.
The most interesting historical and natural places in Bulgaria:
- Rila Monastery is located in Rila, surrounded on all sides by mountains. It is an important spiritual center of Bulgaria. It is richly decorated with frescoes. The main exhibit is the cross of monk Raphael, carved from linden wood with scenes from the Bible and figures of saints;
- Tsarevets Fortress is located in Veliko Tarnovo. It was built during the heyday of the city in the XII-XIV centuries, when it became the capital of the Second Bulgarian Kingdom;
- Old Nessebar is an ancient small town-museum with architectural monuments. An important commercial center in Byzantine times;
- Alexander Nevsky Cathedral – the main cathedral of Sofia with impressive size and complex architecture. The interior has many frescoes, mosaic panels, and valuable icons;
- Roman Amphitheater – built in the II century BC. It is the oldest in Bulgaria. Located in Plovdiv, as well as the ancient stadium, built on the model of the Delphi;
- Pirin is a national park, on the territory of which grows a lot of rare and endangered species of plants, including the Edelweiss-symbol of Pirin.
Beach recreation in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is famous for its seaside resorts. The main among many are Sunny Beach, which is located in the Burgas region and Golden Sands in Varna. The excellent beaches with wide coastline and fine sand, the Black Sea and comfortable climate make this country attractive for family holidays. Plenty of entertainment, delicious food and reasonable prices make the holidays unforgettable.
Beaches in Bulgaria are famous for landscaping and availability of developed infrastructure. The main stream of tourists comes here to relax on the Black Sea coast, enjoying the sea air and sunshine. It is this kind of recreation is considered basic. Bulgarian beaches in resort areas are mostly sandy and clean, specially adapted for comfortable rest. Access to the beaches is free, you have to pay only for beach equipment.
The most famous sea resorts in Bulgaria:
- Albena – Black Sea resort, located north of Varna. This place is intended for recreation of children. The international children’s film festival “Scarlet Sails” is held here.
- Golden Sands – this resort has existed since 1957 and annually receives a large number of tourists from Europe.
- Sunny Beach is the biggest resort in the East of Bulgaria. It is located between Burgas and Varna.
- Sveti Vlas is situated 10 km north of Sunny Beach. The biggest yacht port in Bulgaria is situated there.
- Sozopol is a southeastern Bulgarian resort. It is situated next to the oldest city in the country on the Black Sea coast.
- Elenite is a resort situated on the southern slopes of Stara Planina Mountain in the Burgas region.
Skiing in Bulgaria
For lovers of mountain skiing in the south of Bulgaria there are several ski resorts with pistes of varying difficulty levels. Here you can choose the track according to your skills and abilities. The snow cover on the slopes stays almost till April.
The most popular ski resorts in Bulgaria are:
- Borovets is a ski resort in the suburbs of Sofia. It became popular in the mid-20th century. The total length of ski tracks is 50 km. There are also two ski jumps – 50 and 75 m.
- Bansko is a young but developing ski resort in Bulgaria. Here are held stages of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup.
- Vitosha – the resort is named after the mountain range on which it is located. In summer it is a popular destination for hiking, and in winter it attracts fans of downhill skiing.
- Pamporovo is a ski resort in southern Bulgaria. The season lasts from December to the end of April.
Getting around the country
How to reach Bulgaria
The easiest way to get to Bulgaria is by plane. Regular year-round flights are operated to Sofia Capital Airport and two airports on the Black Sea coast – Burgas and Sofia. In winter, there are charter flights to Plovdiv airport, designed for tourists-skiers. Flight time from European Russia to any airport in Bulgaria is about 3 hours.
Fans of long trips can get to Bulgaria by car. For this purpose it is necessary to pass a distance of 2000 km and to cross several state borders.
Public transport in Bulgaria
Public transport works in all settlements of Bulgaria. The price for the tickets may differ in different settlements. The amount may vary from 0.5 to 0.7 BGN. There are bus and intercity tickets for different lengths of stay in the country.
The most common form of intercity transport in Bulgaria. The fare will depend on the route and the distance of the trip. Bus station or bus station exists in every more or less large settlement.
Only the biggest cities in Bulgaria are connected by rail. Train travel is the most budget-friendly, but trains are very rare here. The rolling stock is quite old, but has several levels of service. You can find out the schedule and prices, as well as buy tickets on the website of the Bulgarian Railways.
There are daily scheduled flights from Sofia to 2 airports in the east of the country – Burgas and Varna. The flight time is 1 hour.
In order to rent a car or travel in your own car you will need special documents – a driving license and insurance. There are rental stations in large Bulgarian cities, airports and resort areas.
Please note that to travel by your own or rent a car on Bulgarian roads you need to buy a special vignette and stick it on the windshield. Vignettes are sold at gas stations. Driving without a vignette is punishable by a fine. Rental cars may have a valid vignette, but not always. It is necessary to clarify this point when renting a car.
Peculiarities of Bulgaria
Here are a few characteristics of the country that are better to know when planning a trip to Bulgaria.
The people of Bulgaria are very hospitable and friendly people. For people visiting the country, it is enough to know one of the Slavic languages to understand the local dialect. As a rule, there are no special difficulties with communication. At most, some people explain themselves with simple gestures, understanding each other perfectly. It is known that the ancestor of all Baltic-Slavic languages is ancient Bulgarian language that contains a lot of borrowed words from languages of different countries.
An interesting peculiarity of Bulgarians is giving an opposite meaning to the word “yes” and “no”. If in many countries nodding of head means consent, that is “yes” and turning of head to the right and to the left means disagreement, that is “no” – in Bulgaria it is vice versa. So it is better to listen to words instead of paying attention to opponent’s head movements. When communicating with Bulgarians you can often hear the word “ciao” meaning “goodbye” and the word of gratitude “merci”.
The formation of Bulgarian cuisine was mainly influenced by the culinary traditions of local Slavs, but it adds “notes” of Turkish and Greek cuisine, distinguished by spicy flavors due to the spicy seasonings and abundance of vegetables. Preferably the food is cooked over an open fire and served in earthenware dishes.
Depending on the time of year, the assortment of dishes varies. In winter served hot dishes first, and in summer the table is rich with fresh vegetable salads and cold dishes. There are also interesting appetizers and famous Bulgarian stuffed cabbage rolls called sarmi.
Roast meat is the basis of most main dishes. It is used for roasts and other appetizing dishes.
Fish is also on the table. The price for fish dishes can be slightly more expensive than for meat dishes. Fresh fish is used to make delicious Bulgarian “plakija”.
The Bulgarian breakfast usually consists of cheese pies – “Banitsa”.
Much attention is given to desserts. Local pastries will not leave anyone indifferent. Lush cakes, amazing cakes with strawberry or raspberry filling and fruit salads leave a lasting impression on your palate.
As in many other countries, tea and coffee are common here. These drinks can be found everywhere and whenever you want. Bulgarians brew tea infused with herbs or fruits. Especially popular in the summer are juices made of fresh fruit.
The country uses a tax free system for a network of stores located mainly in the capital and the city of Plovdiv. Purchase of goods from 1000 BGN gives the right to return 20% of the tax paid. There should be special logos on the purchases. You can get a VAT refund at customs only if you have the appropriate documents – a foreign passport and a receipt for the goods packed in the store packaging. Damaged packaging is considered invalid.
Bulgaria is considered one of the popular and safe countries for a great and inexpensive holiday. If tourists observe the usual precautions, they have nothing to fear. It is undesirable to take large sums of money and other valuables, it is better to leave them in a designated hotel safe. It is necessary to keep a closer eye on your belongings, not leaving them unattended. If you follow these simple rules, the vacation in Bulgaria will be remembered for a long time, leaving bright memories.
When dealing with Bulgarians, you need to remember their peculiarities, and if necessary, to clarify everything, asking again.
Beach holidays can turn bad for those who don’t wear a hat and lies in the open sun for hours. It is enough to hide in the shade or under an umbrella, so as not to get sunstroke and “fried” in the sun.
You may come across stray dogs on the streets and some beaches may not function. Packs of dogs are best avoided and you should not wander around deserted areas alone.
It is advisable to monitor the freshness of food and proper storage, avoiding dirty places. Products bought at special retail outlets are not dangerous.
Tap water is considered safe for washing fruits and vegetables, but as a drinking water, it is not suitable, it must be boiled. It is best to buy mineral water, which is sold everywhere and is inexpensive. Thanks to natural springs, mineral water is in abundance, almost every village has a spring.