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Bulgarians ( bg, българи, Bǎlgari, ) are a
nation A nation is a community A community is a social unit (a group of living things) with commonality such as Norm (social), norms, religion, values, Convention (norm), customs, or Identity (social science), identity. Communities may share a sense ...

nation
and South Slavic
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
native to
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
and its
neighbouring region
neighbouring region
.


Etymology

Bulgarians derive their ethnonym from the ''
Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages * ...

Bulgars
''. Their name is not completely understood and difficult to trace back earlier than the 4th century AD, but it is possibly derived from the
Proto-Turkic The Proto-Turkic language is the linguistic reconstruction Linguistic reconstruction is the practice of establishing the features of an unattested ancestor language of one or more given languages. There are two kinds of reconstruction: * Inter ...
word ''bulģha'' ("to mix", "shake", "stir") and its derivative ''bulgak'' ("revolt", "disorder"). Alternative etymologies include derivation from a compound of Proto-Turkic ''bel'' ("five") and ''gur'' ("arrow" in the sense of "
tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group. The predominant usage of the term is in the discipline of anthropology. The definition is contested, in part due to conflicting theoretical understa ...
"), a proposed division within the
Utigurs Utigurs were Eurasian nomads, nomadic equestrians who flourished in the Pontic–Caspian steppe in the 6th century AD. They were similar to the Kutrigurs to their west. Etymology The name ''Ut(r)igur'', recorded as , and , is generally considered ...
or
Onogurs The Onoğurs or Oğurs (Ὀνόγουροι, Οὔρωγοι, Οὔγωροι; Onογurs, Ογurs; "ten tribes", "tribes"), were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at lea ...
("ten tribes").


Citizenship

According to the Art.25 (1) of
Constitution of Bulgaria The Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Конституция на Република България, ''Konstitutsia na Republika Balgaria'') is the supreme and basic law of the Republic of Bulgaria. The current constitution was ado ...
, a Bulgarian citizen shall be anyone born to at least one parent holding a Bulgarian citizenship, or born on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, should they not be entitled to any other citizenship by virtue of origin. Bulgarian citizenship shall further be acquirable through naturalization. About 77% of Bulgaria's population identified themselves as ethnic Bulgarians in 2011 Bulgarian census.


Ethnogenesis

The population of Bulgaria is descended from peoples of vastly different origins and numbers, and is thus the result of a "melting pot" effect. The main ethnic elements which blended in to produce the modern Bulgarian ethnicity are: *
Thracians The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking people, who inhabited large parts of Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. ...
- a native ancient
Balkan The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch t ...

Balkan
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
people, from whom cultural and ethnic elements were retained;"Many Thracian survivals have been detected in the sphere of Bulgarian national costume and folk tradition." ''The Bulgarians: from pagan times to the Ottoman conquest'', David Marshall Lang, Westview Press, 1976, , p. 27. *
Early Slavs The early Slavs were a diverse group of Tribe, tribal societies who lived during the Migration Period and the Early Middle Ages (approximately the 5th to the 10th centuries) in Central and Eastern Europe and established the foundations for the Sl ...
- an Indo-European group of tribes who migrated from
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
into the Balkans in the period of 6th-7th centuries CE and imposed their language and culture on the local Thracian, Roman and Greek communities. *
Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages * ...

Bulgars
- a semi-nomadic conglomerate of tribes from
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north, including the former Soviet Union, Soviet republics of the Sov ...

Central Asia
who arrived in the 7th century CE, federated with the local Slavic and Slavicized populations, organized the early medieval Bulgarian statehood and bequeathed their
ethnonym An ethnonym (from the el, ἔθνος 'nation' and 'name') is a name A name is a term used for identification by an external observer. They can identify a class or category of things, or a single thing, either uniquely, or within a given ...
to the modern Bulgarian nation, while eventually assimilating into the local Slavic population. From the indigenous Thracian people certain cultural and ethnic elements were taken. Other pre-Slavic Indo-European peoples, including
Dacians The Dacians (; la, Daci ; grc-gre, Δάκοι, Δάοι, Δάκαι) were a Thracians, Thracian people who were the ancient inhabitants of the cultural region of Dacia, located in the area near the Carpathian Mountains and west of the Black Sea ...
(if distinct from Thracians),
Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-European peoples The Indo-European languages ar ...

Celts
,
Goths The Goths ( got, 𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰, translit=''Gutþiuda''; la, Gothi) were a Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between West ...
,
Romans Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
,
ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of History of Greece, Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, antiquity ( AD 600). This era was ...
,
Sarmatians The Sarmatians (; Ancient Greek, Greek: ; la, Sarmatae , ) were a large Iranian peoples, Iranian confederation that existed in classical antiquity, flourishing from about the fifth century BC to the fourth century AD. Originating in the centr ...
,
Paeonians Paeonians were an ancient Indo-European people that dwelt in Paeonia. Paeonia was an old country whose location was to the north of ancient Macedonia, to the south of Dardania, to the west of Thrace and to the east of Illyria, most of their lan ...

Paeonians
and
Illyrians The Illyrians ( grc, Ἰλλυριοί, ''Illyrioi''; la, Illyrii) were a group of Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking peoples, who inhabited the western Balkan Peninsula in ancient times. They constituted one of the three main Paleo ...

Illyrians
also settled into the later Bulgarian land. The
Thracian language The Thracian language () is an extinct and poorly attested language, spoken in ancient times in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography ...
was still spoken in the 6th century, probably becoming extinct afterwards, but that in a later period the Bulgarians replaced long-established Greek/Latin toponyms with Thracian, might suggest that it had not been completely obliterated then. Some pre-Slavic linguistic and cultural traces might have been preserved in modern Bulgarians (and Macedonians).
Scythia Minor Scythia Minor or Lesser Scythia (: , ) was in ancient times the region surrounded by the at the north and west and the at the east, roughly corresponding to today's , with in , and in . By the 7th century BC, several Greek colonies were bui ...
and
Moesia Moesia (; Latin: ''Moesia''; el, Μοισία, Moisía) was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans south of the Danube River. It included most of the territory of modern-day Central Serbia, Kosovo and the northern ...
Inferior appear to have been
Romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign lan ...
, although the region became a focus of barbarian re-settlements (various Goths and Huns) during the 4th and early 5th centuries AD, before a further "Romanization" episode during the early 6th century. According to archeological evidence from the late periods of Roman rule, the Romans did not decrease the number of Thracians significantly in major cities. By the 4th century the major city of
Serdica Serdika or Serdica is the historical Roman Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Rom ...

Serdica
had predominantly Thracian populace based on epigraphic evidence, which shows prevailing Latino-Thracian given names, but thereafter the names were completely replaced by Christian ones. The early Slavs emerged from their original homeland in the early 6th century, and spread to most of the eastern
Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the westernmost peninsulas of the of Eurasia, it shares the continental landmass of with both ...

Central Europe
,
Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical reg ...

Eastern Europe
and the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
, thus forming three main branches: the
West Slavs The West Slavs are a subgroup of Slavic peoples who speak the West Slavic languages. They separated from the early Slavs, common Slavic group around the 7th century, and established independent polities in Central Europe by the 8th to 9th centuri ...
in eastern Central Europe, the
East Slavs The East Slavs are the most populous subgroup of the Slavs. They speak the East Slavic languages, and formed the majority of the population of the medieval state Kievan Rus', which all three independent East Slavic states (Belarus, Russia, and U ...
in Eastern Europe, and the
South Slavs The South Slavs are a subgroup of Slavic peoples Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group of people who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic linguistic group of the Indo-European languages. They are n ...
in
Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the ...

Southeastern Europe
(Balkans). The latter gradually inflicted total linguistic replacement of Thracian, if the Thracians had not already been Romanized or Hellenized. Most scholars accept that they began large-scale settling of the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
in the 580s based on the statement of the 6th century historian
Menander Menander (; grc-gre, Μένανδρος ''Menandros''; c. 342/41 – c. 290 BC) was a Greek dramatist A playwright or dramatist is a person who writes play (theatre), plays. Etymology The word "play" is from Middle English pleye, from Old ...
speaking of 100,000 Slavs in
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
and consecutive attacks of Greece in 582. They continued coming to the Balkans in many waves, but also leaving, most notably
Justinian II Justinian II ( gr, Ἰουστινιανός, Ioustinianos; la, Flavius Iustinianus Augustus; 668 – 11 December 711), surnamed Rhinotmetos or Rhinotmetus (, "the slit-nosed"), was the last Byzantine emperor of the Heraclian dynasty, reigning f ...
(685-695) settled as many as 30,000 Slavs from Thrace in
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
. The grouped the numerous Slavic tribes into two groups: the
Sklavenoi The ' (in Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repub ...
and Antes. Some Bulgarian scholars suggest that the Antes became one of the ancestors of the modern Bulgarians. The
Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages * ...

Bulgars
are first mentioned in the 4th century in the vicinity of the North
Caucasian Caucasian may refer to: Anthropology *Anything from the Caucasus region **Peoples of the Caucasus, humans from the Caucasus region **Languages of the Caucasus, languages spoken in the Caucasus region ** ''Caucasian Exarchate'' (1917–1920), an ...
steppe In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may include: * the montane grasslands and shrublands biome * the temperate grassland ...

steppe
. Scholars often suggest that the ultimate origins of the Bulgar is
Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages ** Turkic alphabets (disambiguation) ** Turkish language, the most widely spoken Turkic language * T ...
and can be traced to the
Central Asia Central Asia is a region in Asia which stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China and Mongolia in the east, and from Afghanistan and Iran in the south to Russia in the north, including the former Soviet Union, Soviet republics of the Sov ...

Central Asia
n
nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo ...

nomad
ic
confederations A confederation (also known as a confederacy or league) is a union of sovereign groups or states united for purposes of common action. Usually created by a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in ...
, specifically as part of loosely related Oghuric tribes which spanned from the Pontic steppe to central Asia. However, any direct connection between the Bulgars and postulated Asian counterparts rest on little more than speculative and "contorted etymologies". Some Bulgarian historians question the identification of the Bulgars as a Turkic tribe and suggest an
Iranian Iranian may refer to: * Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subreg ...
origin. In the 670s, some Bulgar tribes, the Danube Bulgars led by
Asparukh Asparuh (also ''Ispor''; bg, Аспарух, Asparuh or (rarely) bg, Исперих, Isperih) was а ruler of Bulgars in the second half of the 7th century and is credited with the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681. Early life ...
and the Bulgars, led by Kouber, crossed the Danube river and settled in the Balkans with a single migration wave, the former of which
Michael the Syrian Michael the Syrian ( ar, ميخائيل السرياني, Mīkhaʾēl el Sūryani:),( syc, ܡܺܝܟ݂ܳܐܝܶܠ ܣܽܘܪܝܳܝܳܐ, Mīkhoʾēl Sūryoyo), died 1199 AD, also known as Michael the Great ( syr, ܡܺܝܟ݂ܳܐܝܶܠ ܪܰܒ݁ܳܐ, Mī ...
described as numbering 10,000. The Bulgars are often not thought to have been numerous, becoming a ruling elite in the areas they controlled. However, according to
Steven Runciman Sir James Cochran Stevenson Runciman (7 July 1903 – 1 November 2000), known as Steven Runciman, was an English historian best known for his three-volume ''A History of the Crusades ''A History of the Crusades'' by Steven Runciman, published ...
a tribe that was able to defeat a Byzantine army, must have been of considerable dimensions. Asparukh's Bulgars made a tribal union with the
Severians The Severians or Severyans or Siverians (russian: Северяне; ua, Сiверяни, translit=Siveriany; be, Севяране) were a tribe The term tribe is used in many different contexts to refer to a category of human social group. ...
and the " Seven clans", who were re-settled to protect the flanks of the Bulgar settlements in
Scythia Minor Scythia Minor or Lesser Scythia (: , ) was in ancient times the region surrounded by the at the north and west and the at the east, roughly corresponding to today's , with in , and in . By the 7th century BC, several Greek colonies were bui ...
, as the capital
Pliska Pliska ( , cu, Пльсковъ, translit=Plĭskovŭ) was the first capital of the First Bulgarian Empire The First Bulgarian Empire (Old Church Slavonic: блъгарьско цѣсарьствиѥ, ''blŭgarĭsko cěsarĭstvije'') was a Midd ...

Pliska
was built on the site of a former Slavic settlement. During the Early Byzantine Era, the Roman provincials in Scythia Minor and Moesia Secunda were already engaged in economic and social exchange with the 'barbarians' north of the
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is the List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central Europe, Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. It ...

Danube
. This might have facilitated their eventual Slavonization, although the majority of the population appears to have been withdrawn to the hinterland of
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...

Constantinople
or
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...
prior to any permanent Slavic and Bulgar settlement south of the Danube. The major port towns in Pontic Bulgaria remained Byzantine Greek in their outlook. The large scale population transfers and territorial expansions during the 8th and 9th century, additionally increased the number of the Slavs and Byzantine Christians within the state, making the Bulgars quite obviously a minority. The establishment of a new state molded the various Slav, Bulgar and earlier or later populations into the "Bulgarian people" of the First Bulgarian Empire speaking a
South Slavic language The South Slavic languages are one of three branches of the Slavic languages. There are approximately 30 million speakers, mainly in the Balkans. These are separated geographically from speakers of the other two Slavic branches ( West and Eas ...
. In different periods to the
ethnogenesis Ethnogenesis (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is app ...
of the local population contributed also different Indo-European and Turkic people, who settled or lived on the Balkans.


Bulgarian ethnogenetic conception

The Bulgarians are usually regarded as part of the ethnolinguistic group.Expansions: Competition and Conquest in Europe Since the Bronze Age, Reykjavíkur Akademían, 2010,
p. 194.
/ref> However the controversial issue of their ethnogenesis is a popular subject in the works of the
nationalist Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation (as in a in-group and out-group, group of people),Anthony D. Smith, Smith, Anthony. ''Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History''. Polity (publisher), Polity, ...
scientists. The fierce debates started in the 19th century and the questionable proportions of the presumed Thracian, Bulgar, and Slavic ancestry, have depended on the
geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...

geopolitical
situation of the country and on ideological and political predilections. These supposed proportions have been changed several times during the 20th century, emphasizing usually the Slavic part of Bulgarian ancestry, related to the traditionally strong
Russophilia Russophilia (literally love of Russia Russia (russian: link=no, Россия, , ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by area, largest country ...
in the country. However, during the 1970s the
Thracology Thracology ( bg, Тракология, Trakologiya; ro, Tracologie) is the scientific study of and antiquities and is a regional and thematic branch of the larger disciplines of and . A practitioner of the discipline is a Thracologist. Thracolo ...
was especially supported by the communist authority, as an attempt to underline the indigenous influence into the Bulgarian ethnogenesis. After the
fall of Communism The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted at the end of communist rule throughout the world, including in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. The period is often also called ...
, the spiritualized image of the Thracians began to fade. Following the cooling of the relations with Russia, and the country's EU accession, the opinion on significant Bulgar genetic impact, was launched among nationalist circles, that lately have downplayed the country's Slavic ancestry.


Genetic origins

According to a triple analysis –
autosomal An autosome is any chromosome that is not a sex chromosome (an allosome). The members of an autosome pair in a diploid Ploidy () is the number of complete sets of chromosome A chromosome is a long DNA molecule with part or all of the ...
,
mitochondrial A mitochondrion (, plural mitochondria) is a double membrane-bound organelle In cell biology, an organelle is a specialized subunit, usually within a cell (biology), cell, that has a specific function. The name ''organelle'' comes from the ide ...

mitochondrial
and
paternal A father is the male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot sexual reproduction, reproduce sexu ...
— of available data from large-scale studies on
Balto Balto (1919 – March 14, 1933) was a Siberian Husky The Siberian Husky is a medium-sized working sled dog A sled dog is a dog The domestic dog (''Canis familiaris'' or ''Canis lupus familiaris'') is a domesticated form of wolf. The d ...

Balto
-
Slavs Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group of people who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic linguistic group of the Indo-European languages. They are native to Eurasia, stretching from Central Europe, ...

Slavs
and their proximal populations, the whole genome SNP data situates Bulgarians in a cluster with
Romanians The Romanians ( ro, români, ; dated exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeas ...
,
Macedonians Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
and Gagauzes, and they are at similar proximity to
Montenegrins Montenegrins (Montenegrin language, Montenegrin and Serbian language, Serbian: Crnogorci / Црногорци, or ; literal translation, lit. "Black Mountain People") are a South Slavs, South Slavic ethnic group native to Montenegro. Genetic orig ...
and
Serbs Serbs ( sr-Cyr, Срби, Srbi, ) are a South Slavic ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from ...
.


History

The First Bulgarian Empire was founded in 681. After the adoption of
Orthodox Christianity Orthodoxy (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxima ...
in 864 it became one of the cultural centres of Slavic Europe. Its leading cultural position was consolidated with the invention of the
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, Mongolic, Uralic languages, Uralic, Caucas ...
in its capital
Preslav The modern Veliki Preslav or Great Preslav ( bg, Велики Преслав ), former Preslav (until 1993), is a city and the seat of government of the Veliki Preslav Municipality (Great Preslav Municipality, new Bulgarian: ''obshtina''), which ...
at the eve of the 10th century. The development of
Old Church Slavonic Old Church Slavonic or Old Slavonic () was the first Slavic literary language A literary language is the form of a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (S ...
literacy in the country had the effect of preventing the assimilation of the
South Slavs The South Slavs are a subgroup of Slavic peoples Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group of people who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic linguistic group of the Indo-European languages. They are n ...
into neighbouring cultures and it also stimulated the development of a distinct ethnic identity. A symbiosis was carried out between the numerically weak Bulgars and the numerous Slavic tribes in that broad area from the Danube to the north, to the
Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between Europe's Geography of Europe, Balkan peninsula and Asia's Anatolia peninsula. The sea has an area of some 215,000 square kilometres. In ...

Aegean Sea
to the south, and from the
Adriatic Sea The Adriatic Sea () is a body of water separating the Italian Peninsula from the Balkans. The Adriatic is the northernmost arm of the Mediterranean Sea, extending from the Strait of Otranto (where it connects to the Ionian Sea) to the northwest ...

Adriatic Sea
to the west, to the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
to the east, who accepted the common ethnonym "''Bulgarians''". During the 10th century the Bulgarians established a form of national identity that was far from modern nationalism but helped them to survive as a distinct entity through the centuries. In 1018 Bulgaria lost its independence and remained a Byzantine subject until 1185, when the
Second Bulgarian Empire The Second Bulgarian Empire (: Ц(а)рьство бл(ъ)гарское; bg, Второ българско царство, ''Vtorо Balgarskо Tsarstvo'') was a n state that existed between 1185 and 1396. A successor to the , it reached the p ...

Second Bulgarian Empire
was created. Nevertheless, at the end of the 14th century, the
Ottomans The Ottoman Turks or Osmanlı Turks ( tr, Osmanlı Türkleri), were the Turkic people The Turkic peoples are a collection of ethnic groups of Central Asia, Central, East Asia, East, North Asia, North and West Asia as well as parts of Europe and ...
conquered the whole of Bulgaria. Under the Ottoman system, Christians were considered an inferior class of people. Thus, Bulgarians, like other Christians, were subjected to heavy taxes and a small portion of the Bulgarian populace experienced partial or complete Islamisation. Orthodox Christians were included in a specific ethno-religious community called ''
Rum Millet Rūm millet (millet-i Rûm), or "''Roman nation''", was the name of the Eastern Orthodox Christian The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-l ...
''. To the common people, belonging to this Orthodox commonwealth became more important than their ethnic origins. This community became both, basic form of social organization and source of identity for all the ethnic groups inside it. In this way, ethnonyms were rarely used and between the 15th and 19th centuries, most of the local people gradually began to identify themselves simply as ''Christians''. However, the public-spirited clergy in some isolated monasteries still kept the distinct Bulgarian identity alive, and this helped it to survive predominantly in rural, remote areas. Despite the process of ethno-religious fusion among the Orthodox Christians, strong nationalist sentiments persisted into the Catholic community in the northwestern part of the country. At that time, a process of partial hellenisation occurred among the intelligentsia and the urban population, as a result of the higher status of the Greek culture and the
Greek Orthodox Church The Greek Orthodox Church (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population ...

Greek Orthodox Church
among the Balkan Christians. During the second half of the 18th century, the
Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * Age of Enlightenment, period in Western intellectual history from the late 17th to late 18th century, centered in France but also encompassing: ** Midlands Enlightenment ...
in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
provided influence for the initiation of the
National awakening of Bulgaria The National awakening of Bulgaria refers to the Bulgarian nationalism that emerged in the early 19th century under the influence of western ideas such as liberalism Liberalism is a Political philosophy, political and moral philosophy based ...
in 1762. Some Bulgarians supported the Russian Army when they crossed the Danube in the middle of the 18th century. Russia worked to convince them to settle in areas recently conquered by it, especially in
Bessarabia Bessarabia (; gag, Besarabiya; ro, Basarabia; russian: Бессарабия, ''Bessarabiya''; tr, Besarabya; uk, Бессара́бія'', Bessarabiya''; bg, Бесарабия, ''Besarabiya'') is a historical region Historical regions (or ...

Bessarabia
. As a consequence, many Bulgarian colonists settled there, and later they formed two military regiments, as part of the Russian military colonization of the area in 1759–1763.


Bulgarian national movement

During the Russo-Turkish Wars (1806–1812) and (1828–1829) Bulgarian emigrants formed the Bulgarian Countrymen's Army and joined the
Russian Army The Russian Ground Forces (russian: Сухопутные войска В Sukhoputnyye voyska ''Overland Troops'') are the Army, land forces of the Russian Armed Forces. Mission The primary responsibilities of the Russian Ground Forces ...

Russian Army
, hoping Russia would bring Bulgarian liberation, but its imperial interests were focused then on
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
and Valachia. The
rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire The rise of the Western notion of nationalism Nationalism is an idea and movement that promotes the interests of a particular nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a common language, history, ethnicity, or a comm ...
led to a struggle for cultural and religious autonomy of the Bulgarian people. The Bulgarians wanted to have their own schools and liturgy in Bulgarian, and they needed an independent ecclesiastical organisation. Discontent with the supremacy of the Greek Orthodox clergy, the struggle started to flare up in several Bulgarian dioceses in the 1820s. It was not until the 1850s when the Bulgarians initiated a purposeful struggle against the
Patriarchate of Constantinople The Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople ( el, Οἰκουμενικόν Πατριαρχεῖον Κωνσταντινουπόλεως, translit=Oikoumenikón Patriarkhíon Konstantinoupóleos, ; la, Patriarchatus Oecumenicus Constantino ...
. The struggle between the Bulgarians and the Greek
Phanariotes Phanariots, Phanariotes, or Fanariots ( el, Φαναριώτες, ro, Fanarioți, tr, Fenerliler) were members of prominent Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδ ...
intensified throughout the 1860s. In 1861 the
Vatican Vatican City Vatican City (), officially the Vatican City State ( it, Stato della Città del Vaticano; la, Status Civitatis Vaticanae),—' * german: Vatikanstadt, cf. '—' (in Austria: ') * pl, Miasto Watykańskie, cf. '—' * pt, Ci ...
and the Ottoman government recognized a separate Bulgarian Uniat Church. As the Greek clerics were ousted from most Bulgarian bishoprics at the end of the decade, significant areas had been seceded from the Patriarchate's control. This movement restored the distinct Bulgarian national consciousness among the common people and led to the recognition of the Bulgarian Millet in 1870 by the Ottomans. As result, two armed struggle movements started to develop as late as the beginning of the 1870s: the
Internal Revolutionary Organisation The Internal Revolutionary Organisation ( bg, Вътрешна революционна организация) or IRO was a Bulgarians, Bulgarian revolutionary organisation founded and built up by Bulgarian revolutionary Vasil Levski in the period ...
and the
Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee {{Multiple, {{Unreferenced, date=September 2007 {{Refimprove, date=September 2007 150px, Statute of the Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee, cover, 1870 The Bulgarian Revolutionary Central Committee ( bg, Български революц ...
. Their armed struggle reached its peak with the
April Uprising The April Uprising ( bg, Априлско въстание, ''Aprilsko vǎstanie''), called the Bulgarian Horrors or Bulgarian atrocities in Britain, was an insurrection organised by the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire from April to May 1876, ...

April Uprising
which broke out in 1876. It resulted in the
Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 ( tr, 93 Harbi, lit=War of ’93, named for the year 1293 in the Islamic calendar; bg, Руско–турска Освободителна война, Rusko-turska Osvoboditelna vojna, "Russian–Turkish Liber ...
, and led to the foundation of the third Bulgarian state after the
Treaty of San Stefano The 1878 Treaty of San Stefano (russian: Сан-Стефанский мир; Peace of San-Stefano, ; Peace treaty of San-Stefano, or ) was a treaty between the Russian and Ottoman empires signed at San Stefano, then a village west of Constanti ...

Treaty of San Stefano
. The issue of
Bulgarian nationalism , showing the boundaries of Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is ...
gained greater significance, following the
Congress of Berlin The Congress of Berlin (13 June – 13 July 1878) was a to reorganise the states in the after the , which had been won by Russia against the . Represented at the meeting were Europe's then six : Russia, Great Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, ...
which took back the Macedonia and
Adrianople Edirne (, ), formerly known as Adrianople or Hadrianopolis (), is a city in Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the ...
regions, returning them under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Also an autonomous Ottoman province, called
Eastern Rumelia Eastern Rumelia ( bg, Източна Румелия, ''Iztochna Rumeliya''; ota, , ''Rumeli-i Şarkî''; el, Ανατολική Ρωμυλία, ''Anatoliki Romylia'') was an autonomous province (''oblast An oblast (; ; Cyrillic , bg, к ...
was created in
Northern Thrace Northern Thrace or North Thrace ( bg, Северна Тракия, as opposed to Western Thrace and East Thrace to the south; tr, Kuzey Trakya; el, Βόρεια Θράκη), also called Bulgarian Thrace, constitutes the northern and largest part ...
. As a consequence, the Bulgarian national movement proclaimed as its aim the inclusion of most of
Macedonia Macedonia most commonly refers to: * North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia until February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in ...
,
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
and
Moesia Moesia (; Latin: ''Moesia''; el, Μοισία, Moisía) was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans south of the Danube River. It included most of the territory of modern-day Central Serbia, Kosovo and the northern ...
under Greater Bulgaria. Eastern Rumelia was annexed to Bulgaria in 1885 through bloodless revolution. During the early 1890s, two pro-Bulgarian revolutionary organizations were founded: the
Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization The Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO; bg, Вътрешна Македонска Революционна Организация (ВМРО), ''Vatreshna Makedonska Revolyutsionna Organizatsiya'' (VMRO); mk, Внатрешн ...
and the
Supreme Macedonian-Adrianople Committee Supreme Macedonian-Adrianople Committee (SMAC), ( bg, Върховен македоно - одрински комитет, (ВМОК)), also known as Supreme Macedonian Committee was a Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or ...
. In 1903 they participated in the unsuccessful Ilinden-Preobrazhenie Uprising against the Ottomans in Macedonia and the Adrianople Vilayet. Macedonian Slavs were identified then predominantly as Bulgarians, and significant Bulgarophile sentiments endured up among them until the end of the Second World War. In the early 20th century the control over Macedonia became a key point of contention between Bulgaria, Greece, and
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...

Serbia
, who fought the First Balkan War of and the Second Balkan War of . The area was further fought over during the World War I and the World War II (1941–1944).


Demographics

Most Bulgarians live in
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
, where they number around 6 million, constituting 85% of the population. There are significant Bulgarian minorities in
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may ref ...
,
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...
,
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or Shqipëria), officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a par ...
,
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
(
Banat Bulgarians The Banat Bulgarians ( Banat Bulgarian: ''Palćene'' or ''Banátsći balgare''; common bg, Банатски българи, Banatski balgari; ro, Bulgari bănățeni; sr, / ), also known as Bulgarian Roman Catholics and Bulgarians Paulicians ...
), as well as in
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
and
Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to ...
(see
Bessarabian Bulgarians The Bessarabian Bulgarians ( bg, бесарабски българи, ''besarabski bǎlgari'', ro, bulgari basarabeni) are a Bulgarian minority group of the historical region of Bessarabia, inhabiting parts of present-day Ukraine Ukraine ( ...
). Many Bulgarians also live in the diaspora, which is formed by representatives and descendants of the old (before 1989) and new (after 1989) emigration. The old emigration was made up of some 2,470,000 economic and several tens of thousands of political emigrants, and was directed for the most part to the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Brazil and Germany. The new emigration is estimated at some 970,000 people and can be divided into two major subcategories: permanent emigration at the beginning of the 1990s, directed mostly to the
U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all ...
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...
, Austria, and
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...
and labour emigration at the end of the 1990s, directed for the most part to
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
, Italy, the UK and Spain. Migrations to the West have been quite steady even in the late 1990s and early 21st century, as people continue moving to countries like the US, Canada and Australia. Most Bulgarians living in Canada can be found in Toronto, Ontario, and the provinces with the most Bulgarians in Canada are
Ontario ("Loyal she began, loyal she remains") , Label_map = yes , image_map = Ontario in Canada 2.svg , map_alt = Map showing Ontario's location east/central of Canada. , coordinates = , cap ...

Ontario
and
Quebec ) , image_shield=Armoiries du Québec.svg , image_flag=Flag of Quebec.svg , coordinates= , AdmittanceDate=July 1, 1867 , AdmittanceOrder=1st, with New Brunswick ("Hope restored") , image_map = New Brunswick in Canada 2.svg , ...

Quebec
. According to the 2001 census there were 1,124,240 Bulgarian citizens in the city of
Sofia Sofia ( ; bg, София, Sofiya, ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, largest city of Bulgaria. It is situated in the Sofia Valley at the foot of the Vitosha mountain in the western parts of the country ...

Sofia
, 302,858 in
Plovdiv Plovdiv ( bg, Пловдив, ) is the second-largest city in Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a co ...

Plovdiv
, 300,000 in
Varna Varna may refer to: Places Europe * Varna, Bulgaria, a large city in Bulgaria. ** Varna Province **Varna Municipality **Gulf of Varna **Lake Varna *Vahrn, or Varna, a municipality in Italy *Varniai, a city in Lithuania *Varna (Šabac), a villag ...
and about 200,000 in
Burgas Burgas ( bg, Бургас, ), sometimes transliterated as ''Bourgas'', is List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, the second largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast in the region of Northern Thrace and the fourth-largest in Bulgaria after Sof ...

Burgas
. The total number of Bulgarians stood at over 9 million.


Associated ethnic groups

Bulgarians are considered most closely related to the neighbouring Macedonians. The ethnic Macedonians were considered Bulgarians by most ethnographers until the early 20th century and beyond with a big portion of them evidently self-identifying as such. The majority of the Slavic-speakers of Greek Macedonia and part of the Torlaks in Serbia have also had a history of identifying as Bulgarians and many were members of the
Bulgarian Exarchate The Bulgarian Exarchate ( bg, Българска екзархия ''Bǎlgarska ekzarhiya'', tr, Bulgar Eksarhlığı) was the official name of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church before its autocephaly was recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of ...

Bulgarian Exarchate
, which included most of the territory regarded as Torlak. The greater part of these people were also considered Bulgarians by most ethnographers until the early 20th century and beyond.


Culture


Language

Bulgarians speak a
South Slavic language The South Slavic languages are one of three branches of the Slavic languages. There are approximately 30 million speakers, mainly in the Balkans. These are separated geographically from speakers of the other two Slavic branches ( West and Eas ...

South Slavic language
which is
mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include p ...
with
Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
and to a lesser degree with
Serbo-Croatian Serbo-Croatian () – also called Serbo-Croat (), Serbo-Croat-Bosnian (SCB), Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian (BCS), and Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian (BCMS) – is a South Slavic language The South Slavic languages are one of three branche ...
, especially the eastern dialects. The lexical similarities between Bulgarian and Macedonian are 86%, between Bulgarian and other Slavic languages between 71% and 80%, but with the Baltic languages they are 40–46%, while with English are about 20%. Only fewer than a dozen Bulgarian words are derived from Turkic Bulgar. Bulgarian demonstrates some linguistic developments that set it apart from other Slavic languages shared with
Romanian Romanian may refer to: *anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Euro ...
,
Albanian Albanian may refer to: *Pertaining to Albania in Southeast Europe; in particular: **Albanians, an ethnic group native to the Balkans **Albanian language **Albanian culture **Demographics of Albania, includes other ethnic groups within the country ...

Albanian
and
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
(see Balkan language area). Bulgarian was influenced lexically by medieval and modern
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
, and
Turkish Turkish may refer to: * of or about Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western Asia. It shares borders with Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), offi ...
. Medieval Bulgarian influenced the other South Slavic languages and Romanian. With Bulgarian and Russian there was a mutual influence in both directions. Both languages were official or a lingua franca of each other during the Middle Ages and the Cold War. Recently, Bulgarian has borrowed many words from German, French and English. The Bulgarian language is spoken by the majority of the
Bulgarian diaspora The Bulgarian diaspora includes ethnic Bulgarians living outside Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a ...

Bulgarian diaspora
, but less so by the descendants of earlier emigrants to the U.S., Canada,
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Argentina
and
Brazil Brazil ( pt, Brasil; ), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 211 mill ...

Brazil
. Bulgarian linguists consider the officialized
Macedonian language Macedonian (; , , ) is an Eastern South Slavic The Eastern South Slavic dialects form the eastern subgroup of the South Slavic languages The South Slavic languages are one of three branches of the Slavic languages The Slavic lang ...
(since 1944) to be a local variation of Bulgarian, just as most ethnographers and linguists until the early 20th century considered the local Slavic speech in the Macedonian region. The president of Bulgaria,
Zhelyu Zhelev Zhelyu Mitev Zhelev ( bg, Желю Митев Желев; 3 March 1935 – 30 January 2015) was a Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links= ...
, declined to recognize Macedonian as a separate language when the Republic of Macedonia became a new independent state. The Bulgarian language is written in the
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, Mongolic, Uralic languages, Uralic, Caucas ...
.


Cyrillic alphabet

In the first half of the 10th century, the
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, Mongolic, Uralic languages, Uralic, Caucas ...
was devised in the
Preslav Literary School The Preslav Literary School ( bg, Преславска книжовна школа), also known as the Pliska Literary School or Pliska-Preslav Literary school was the first literary school in the medieval First Bulgarian Empire, Bulgarian Empire ...
,
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a country in Southeast Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia ...

Bulgaria
, based on the
Glagolitic The Glagolitic script (, ''glagolitsa''; Bulgarian and Macedonian: глаголица, romanized as ''glagolitsa'' and ''glagolica'' respectively; Croatian: ; Czech: ; Slovak: ''hlaholika'') is the oldest known Slavic alphabet An a ...

Glagolitic
, the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...

Greek
and
Latin alphabet The Latin alphabet or Roman alphabet is the collection of letters originally used by the ancient Romans In historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived ...

Latin alphabet
s. Modern versions of the alphabet are now used to write five more
Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages spoken primarily by the Slavs, Slavic peoples or their descendants. They are thought to descend from a proto-language called Proto-Slavic language, Proto- ...

Slavic languages
such as
Belarusian Belarusian may refer to: * Something of, or related to Belarus * Belarusians, people from Belarus, or of Belarusian descent * A citizen of Belarus, see Demographics of Belarus * Belarusian language * Belarusian culture * Belarusian cuisine * Byeloru ...
,
Macedonian Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
, Russian,
Serbian Serbian may refer to: * someone or something related to Serbia, a country in Southeastern Europe * someone or something related to the Serbs, a South Slavic people * in both meanings, depending on the context, it may refer to: ** Serbian language ...
and
Ukrainian Ukrainian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Ukraine * Something relating to Ukrainians an East Slavic people from Eastern Europe * Something relating to Demographics of Ukraine, in terms of demography: population of Ukraine * Somethi ...
as well as
Mongolian Mongolian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Mongolia, a country in Asia * Mongolian people, or Mongols * Mongolia (1911–24), the government of Mongolia, 1911–1919 and 1921–1924 * Mongolian language * Mongolian alphabet * Mongo ...

Mongolian
and some other 60 languages spoken in the former
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It was nominally a of multiple national ; in practice and were highly until its final years. The ...
. was the most important cultural centre of the
Slavic people Slavs are an ethno-linguistic group of people who speak the various Slavic languages of the larger Balto-Slavic language, Balto-Slavic linguistic group of the Indo-European languages. They are native to Eurasia, stretching from Central Europe, ...
s at the end of the 9th and throughout the 10th century. The two literary schools of
Preslav The modern Veliki Preslav or Great Preslav ( bg, Велики Преслав ), former Preslav (until 1993), is a city and the seat of government of the Veliki Preslav Municipality (Great Preslav Municipality, new Bulgarian: ''obshtina''), which ...
and
Ohrid Ohrid ( mk, Охрид ) is a city in North Macedonia and is the seat of the Ohrid Municipality. It is the largest city on Lake Ohrid and the List of cities in North Macedonia, eighth-largest city in the country, with the municipality recording ...
developed a rich literary and cultural activity with authors of the rank of Constantine of Preslav,
John Exarch John the Exarch (also transcribed Joan Ekzarh; ) was a medieval Bulgarian scholar, writer and translator, one of the most important men of letters working at the Preslav Literary School The Preslav Literary School ( bg, Преславска к ...
,
Chernorizets HrabarChernorizets Hrabar ( chu, Чрьнори́зьць Хра́бръ, ''Črĭnorizĭcĭ Hrabrŭ'', bg, Черноризец Храбър)Sometimes modernized as ''Chernorizetz Hrabar'', ''Chernorizets Hrabr'' or ''Crnorizec Hrabar'' was a Bulgarian m ...
, Clement and Naum of Ohrid. Bulgaria exerted similar influence on her neighbouring countries in the mid- to late 14th century, at the time of the Tarnovo Literary School, with the work of Patriarch Evtimiy,
Gregory Tsamblak Gregory Tsamblak or Grigorij Camblak ( bg, Григорий Цамблак; (c. 1365–1420) was a Bulgarian writer and cleric who was the metropolitan of Kiev between 1413 and 1420. A Bulgarian noble, Tsamblak lived and worked Bulgaria, but also ...

Gregory Tsamblak
,
Constantine of KostenetsConstantine of Kostenets ( bg, Константин Костенечки, Konstantin Kostenechki; born ca. 1380, died after 1431), also known as Constantine the Philosopher ( sr, Константин Филозоф), was a medieval Bulgarian scholar, ...
(Konstantin Kostenechki). Bulgarian cultural influence was especially strong in
Wallachia Wallachia or Walachia (; ro, Țara Românească, lit=The Romanian Land' or 'The Romanian Country, ; archaic Archaic is a period of time preceding a designated classical period, or something from an older period of time that is also not found ...
and
Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to ...

Moldova
where the
Cyrillic script The Cyrillic script ( ) is a writing system used for various languages across Eurasia and is used as the national script in various Slavic languages, Slavic, Turkic languages, Turkic, Mongolic languages, Mongolic, Uralic languages, Uralic, Caucas ...
was used until 1860, while
Church Slavonic Church Slavonic (црькъвьнословѣньскъ ѩзыкъ, ''crĭkŭvĭnoslověnĭskŭ językŭ'', literally "Church-Slavonic language"), also known as Church Slavic, New Church Slavonic or New Church Slavic, is the conservative ...
was the official language of the princely and of the church until the end of the 17th century.


Name system

There are several different layers of Bulgarian names. The vast majority of them have either Christian (names like Lazar, Ivan, Anna, Maria, Ekaterina) or origin (Vladimir, Svetoslav, Velislava). After the Liberation in 1878, the names of historical
Bulgarian Bulgarian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Bulgaria * Bulgarians, a South Slavic ethnic group * Bulgarian language, a Slavic language * Bulgarian alphabet * A citizen of Bulgaria, see Demographics of Bulgaria * Bulg ...

Bulgarian
rulers like ,
Krum Krum ( bg, Крум, el, Κρούμος/Kroumos), often referred to as ''Krum the Fearsome'' ( bg, Крум Страшни) was the Khan (title), Khan of First Bulgarian Empire, Bulgaria from sometime between 796 and 803 until his death in 814. ...

Krum
,
Kubrat Kubrat ( el, Κοβρᾶτος, Kούβρατος; bg, Кубрат ) was the ruler of the Onogur–Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic semi-nomadic warrior tribes that flour ...

Kubrat
and
Tervel Khan Tervel ( bg, Тервел) also called ''Tarvel'', or ''Terval'', or ''Terbelis'' in some Byzantine sources, was the khan of Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Репу ...
were resurrected. The Bulgar name Boris has spread from Bulgaria to a number of countries in the world. Most Bulgarian male surnames have an ''-ov'' surname suffix (
Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hieroglyphs () were the formal writing system A writing system is ...
: ''-ов''), a tradition used mostly by Eastern Slavic nations such as
Russia Russia ( rus, link=no, Россия, Rossiya, ), or the Russian Federation, is a country spanning Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the eastern region of . There is no consistent definition of the precise area it covers, partly because th ...

Russia
,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
and
Belarus , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Minsk Minsk ( be, Мінск , russian: link=no, Минск) is the capital and the largest city of Belarus, located on the Svislach (Berezina), Svislach and the now subterranean Nyamiha, Niam ...

Belarus
. This is sometimes transcribed as ''-off'' or ''-of'' (John Atanasov—
John Atanasoff John Vincent Atanasoff, , (October 4, 1903 – June 15, 1995) was an American physicist and inventor, best known for being credited with inventing the first electronic digital computer. Atanasoff invented the first electronic digital computer in ...
), but more often as ''-ov'' (e.g.
Boyko Borisov Boyko Metodiev Borisov ( bg, Бойко Методиев Борисов, ; born 13 June 1959) is a Bulgarian politician serving as the prime minister of Bulgaria The Prime Minister of Bulgaria ( bg, Министър-председател, ...

Boyko Borisov
). The ''-ov'' suffix is the Slavic gender- agreeing suffix, thus ''Ivanov'' ( bg, Иванов) literally means "Ivan's". Bulgarian middle names are patronymic and use the gender- agreeing suffix as well, thus the middle name of Nikola's son becomes ''Nikolov'', and the middle name of Ivan's son becomes ''Ivanov''. Since names in Bulgarian are gender-based, Bulgarian women have the ''-ova'' surname suffix (Cyrillic: ''-овa''), for example, ''Maria Ivanova''. The plural form of Bulgarian names ends in ''-ovi'' (Cyrillic: ''-ови''), for example the ''Ivanovi'' family (). Other common Bulgarian male surnames have the ''-ev'' surname suffix (Cyrillic: ''-ев''), for example ''Stoev'', ''Ganchev'', ''Peev'', and so on. The female surname in this case would have the ''-eva'' surname suffix (Cyrillic: ''-ева''), for example: ''Galina Stoeva''. The last name of the entire family then would have the plural form of ''-evi'' (Cyrillic: ''-еви''), for example: the ''Stoevi'' family (). Another typical Bulgarian surname suffix, though less common, is ''-ski''. This surname ending also gets an ''–a'' when the bearer of the name is female (''Smirnenski'' becomes ''Smirnenska''). The plural form of the surname suffix ''-ski'' is still ''-ski'', e.g. the ''Smirnenski'' family ( bg, Смирненски). The ending ''–in'' (female ''-ina'') also appears rarely. It used to be given to the child of an unmarried woman (for example the son of ''Kuna'' will get the surname ''Kunin'' and the son of ''Gana'' – ''Ganin''). The surname suffix ''-ich'' can be found only occasionally, primarily among the Roman Catholic Bulgarians. The surname ending ''–ich'' does not get an additional ''–a'' if the bearer of the name is female.


Religion

Most Bulgarians are at least nominally members of the
Bulgarian Orthodox Church The Bulgarian Orthodox Church ( bg, Българска православна църква, translit=Balgarska pravoslavna tsarkva), legally the Patriarchate of Bulgaria ( bg, Българска патриаршия, links=no, translit=Balgarska p ...
founded in 870 AD (
autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchy, hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used i ...
since 927 AD). The
Bulgarian Orthodox Church The Bulgarian Orthodox Church ( bg, Българска православна църква, translit=Balgarska pravoslavna tsarkva), legally the Patriarchate of Bulgaria ( bg, Българска патриаршия, links=no, translit=Balgarska p ...
is the independent national church of Bulgaria like the other national branches of the and is considered a dominating element of Bulgarian national consciousness. The church was abolished once, during the period of Ottoman rule (1396—1878), in 1873 it was revived as
Bulgarian Exarchate The Bulgarian Exarchate ( bg, Българска екзархия ''Bǎlgarska ekzarhiya'', tr, Bulgar Eksarhlığı) was the official name of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church before its autocephaly was recognized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of ...

Bulgarian Exarchate
and soon after raised again to Bulgarian
Patriarchate Patriarchate ( Greek: , ''patriarcheîon'') is an ecclesiological term in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of ...
. In 2011, the Orthodox Church at least nominally had a total of 4,374,000 members in Bulgaria (59% of the population), down from 6,552,000 (83%) at the 2001 census. 4,240,000 of these pointed out the Bulgarian ethnic group. The Orthodox Bulgarian minorities in
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country at the crossroads of Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions ...

Romania
, Serbia,
Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, Elláda, ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe () is a geographical subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geogr ...

Greece
, Albania,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in . It is the in Europe after , which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with to the north; , , and to the west; and to the south; and has a coastli ...

Ukraine
and
Moldova Moldova (, ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to ...

Moldova
nowadays hold allegiance to the respective national Orthodox churches. Despite the position of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as a unifying symbol for all Bulgarians, small groups of Bulgarians have converted to other faiths through the course of time. During Ottoman rule, a substantial number of Bulgarians converted to Islam, forming the community of the
Pomaks Pomaks ( bg, Помаци, Pomatsi; el, Πομάκοι, Pomákoi; tr, Pomaklar) are Bulgarian-speaking Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, diff ...

Pomaks
or
Muslim Bulgarians The Bulgarian Muslims or Muslim Bulgarians ( bg, Българи-мохамедани, ''Bǎlgari-mohamedani'', as of recently also Българи-мюсюлмани, ''Bǎlgari-mjusjulmani'', locally called '' Pomak'', ''ahryan'', ''poganets'', '' ...
. In the 16th and the 17th centuries Roman Catholic missionaries converted a small number of Bulgarian
Paulicians Paulicians ( xcl, Պաւղիկեաններ, ''Pawłikeanner''; el, Παυλικιανοί; Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, ISO 233: , Arabic pr ...
in the districts of
Plovdiv Plovdiv ( bg, Пловдив, ) is the second-largest city in Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, Република България, links=no, Republika Bǎlgariya, ), is a co ...

Plovdiv
and
Svishtov Svishtov ( bg, Свищов ) is a town in northern Bulgaria, located in Veliko Tarnovo Province on the right bank of the Danube river The Danube ( ; ) is Europe's List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river after the Volga ...

Svishtov
to
Roman Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian r ...

Roman Catholicism
. Nowadays there are some 40,000 Roman Catholic Bulgarians in Bulgaria, additional 10,000 in the
Banat Banat (, ) is a geographical and historical region straddling between Central and Eastern Europe Eastern Europe is the region of the European continent between Western Europe and Asia. There is no consistent definition of the precise area it ...

Banat
in Romania and up to 100,000 people of Bulgarian ancestry in South America. The Roman Catholic Bulgarians of the Banat are also descendants of
Paulicians Paulicians ( xcl, Պաւղիկեաններ, ''Pawłikeanner''; el, Παυλικιανοί; Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, ISO 233: , Arabic pr ...
who fled there at the end of the 17th century after an unsuccessful uprising against the Ottomans. Protestantism was introduced in Bulgaria by missionaries from the United States in 1857. Missionary work continued throughout the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. Nowadays there are some 25,000 Protestant Bulgarians in Bulgaria.


Art and science

Boris Christoff Boris Christoff ( bg, Борис Кирилов Христов, Boris Kirilov Hristov, ; 18 May 1914 – 28 June 1993) was a Bulgarian opera Opera is a form of theatre in which music is a fundamental component and dramatic roles are tak ...
,
Nicolai Ghiaurov Nicolai Ghiaurov (or ''Nikolai Gjaurov'', ''Nikolay Gyaurov'', bg, Николай Гяуров) (September 13, 1929 – June 2, 2004) was a Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria ( bg, ...
,
Raina Kabaivanska ) , birth_date = , birth_place = Burgas Burgas ( bg, Бургас, ), sometimes transliterated as ''Bourgas'', is the second largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast in the region of Northern Thrace and the fourth-largest in Bulgaria ...
and
Ghena Dimitrova Ghena Dimitrova ( bg, Гeна Димитpова, 6 May 1941 – 11 June 2005) was a Bulgarians, Bulgarian operatic soprano. Her voice was known for its power and extension used in operatic roles such as Turandot in a career spanning four decades. ...
made a precious contribution to opera singing with Ghiaurov and Christoff being two of the greatest bassos in the post-war period. The name of the harpist- Anna-Maria Ravnopolska-Dean is one of the best-known harpists today. Bulgarians have made valuable contributions to world culture in modern times as well.
Julia Kristeva Julia Kristeva (; born Yuliya Stoyanova Krasteva, bg, Юлия Стоянова Кръстева; on 24 June 1941) is a Bulgarians in France, Bulgarian-French philosopher, literary critic, semiotics, semiotician, psychoanalysis, psychoanalyst, ...

Julia Kristeva
and
Tzvetan Todorov Tzvetan Todorov (; ; bg, Цветан Тодоров; 1 March 1939 – 7 February 2017) was a Bulgarian- French historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survi ...
were among the most influential European philosophers in the second half of the 20th century. The artist
Christo Christo Vladimirov Javacheff (1935–2020) and Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon (1935–2009), known as Christo and Jeanne-Claude, were artists noted for their large-scale, site-specific art, site-specific environmental art, environmental art in ...
is among the most famous representatives of
environmental art Environmental art is a range of artistic practices encompassing both historical approaches to nature in art and more recent ecological and politically motivated types of works. Environmental art has evolved away from formal concerns, for example ...
with projects such as the
Wrapped Reichstag ''Wrapped Reichstag, Project for Berlin'' was a 1995 environmental artwork in which artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped the Berlin Reichstag building in fabric. History A German citizens' group unsuccessfully advocated for the project in ...
. Bulgarians in the diaspora have also been active. American scientists and inventors of Bulgarian descent include
John Atanasoff John Vincent Atanasoff, , (October 4, 1903 – June 15, 1995) was an American physicist and inventor, best known for being credited with inventing the first electronic digital computer. Atanasoff invented the first electronic digital computer in ...
, Peter Petroff, and Assen Jordanoff. Bulgarian-American
Stephane Groueff Stephane Groueff (May 22, 1922 – May 2, 2006) was a writer, journalist and a political refugee, born in Sofia, Bulgaria. Biography He was studying law in the University of Geneva when the communists seized power in his country in 1944. His fath ...
wrote the celebrated book "
Manhattan Project The Manhattan Project was a research and development Research and development (R&D, R+D), known in Europe as research and technological development (RTD), is the set of innovative activities undertaken by corporations or governments in ...
", about the making of the first atomic bomb and also penned "Crown of Thorns", a biography of
Tsar Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ''tzar'', or ''csar'', is a Royal and noble ranks, title used to designate Orthodox Slavs, East and South Slavic monarchs. In this last capacity it lends its name to a system of government, tsarist autocra ...

Tsar
Boris III of Bulgaria Boris III ( bg, Борѝс III; 28 August 1943), originally Boris Klemens Robert Maria Pius Ludwig Stanislaus Xaver (Boris Clement Robert Mary Pius Louis Stanislaus Xavier), was the Tsar , by Ivan Makarov Tsar ( or ), also spelled ''czar'', ...

Boris III of Bulgaria
. According to
Mensa International Mensa is the largest and oldest high IQ society A high-IQ society is an organization that limits its membership to people who have attained a specified score on an intelligence quotient, IQ test, usually in the top two percent of the populatio ...
, Bulgaria ranks 2nd in the world in Mensa IQ test-scores and its students rate second in the world in scores. Also, international MENSA IQ testing completed in 2004 identified as the world's smartest woman (and one of the smartest people in the world) Daniela Simidchieva of Bulgaria, who has an IQ of 200. As of 2007
CERN The European Organization for Nuclear Research (french: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN (; ; derived from the name ), is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laborat ...
employed more than 90 Bulgarian scientists, and about 30 of them will actively participate in the
Large Hadron Collider The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle collider A collider is a type of particle accelerator , a synchrotron collider type particle accelerator at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) ...
experiments.


Cuisine

Famous for its rich salads required at every meal, Bulgarian cuisine is also noted for the diversity and quality of
dairy product Dairy products or milk products are a type of food Food is any substance consumed to provide Nutrient, nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or Fungus, fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such a ...
s and the variety of local wines and alcoholic beverages such as
rakia Rakia, Rakija or Raki (), is the collective term for fruit spirits (or fruit brandy Fruit spirit (or fruit brandy) is a distilled beverage Liquor or spirit (also hard liquor, or distilled alcohol) is an alcoholic drink An alcoholi ...

rakia
,
mastika Greece's Chios Mastiha Ouzo and Mastiha Liqueur Mastika or mastiha is a liqueur seasoned with mastic, a resin with a slightly pine or cedar-like flavor gathered from the mastic tree, a small evergreen tree native to the Mediterranean region. ...
and . Bulgarian cuisine features also a variety of hot and cold soups, an example of a cold soup being tarator. There are many different Bulgarian pastries as well such as
banitsa Banitsa ( bg, баница,Macedonian: баница) also transliterated as banica and banitza) is a Bulgarian traditional pastry dish, prepared by layering a mixture of whisked eggs, natural yogurt and pieces of white brined cheese between fil ...

banitsa
. Most Bulgarian dishes are oven baked, steamed, or in the form of stew. Deep-frying is not very typical, but grilling—especially different kinds of meats—is very common. Pork meat is the most common meat in the Bulgarian cuisine. Oriental dishes do exist in Bulgarian cuisine with most common being , gyuvetch, and
baklava Baklava (, or ; ota, باقلوا) is a layered pastry dessert made of filo Filo or phyllo is a very thin unleavened dough Image:Dough.jpg, Freshly mixed dough in the bowl of a Mixer (cooking), stand mixer Dough is a thick, malleable, so ...

baklava
. A very popular ingredient in Bulgarian cuisine is the Bulgarian white brine cheese called "
sirene Sirene ( sq, djathë i bardhë; bg, сирене ; mk, сирење; sr, сир, italics=no/) also known as "white brine sirene" ( bg, бяло саламурено сирене, links=no) is a type of brined cheese made in the Balkans ...

sirene
" (сирене). It is the main ingredient in many salads, as well as in a variety of pastries. Fish and chicken are widely eaten and while beef is less common as most cattle are bred for milk production rather than meat,
veal Veal is the meat of calves Calves is a hamlet in Póvoa de Varzim Póvoa de Varzim (, ) is a Portugal, Portuguese city in Norte Region, Portugal, Northern Portugal and sub-region of Greater Porto, 30 km from its city centre. It sits ...

veal
is a natural byproduct of this process and it is found in many popular recipes. Bulgaria is a net exporter of lamb and its own consumption of the meat is prevalent during its production time in spring.
Bread and salt Bread and salt is a welcome greeting ceremony in some Slavic, Nordic, Baltic, Balkan The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geo ...
tradition in context of welcoming, which is spread in Balto-Slavs, is the usual welcoming of strangers and politicians.


Folk beliefs and customs

Bulgarians may celebrate Saint Theodore's Day with horse racings. At Christmas Eve a
Pogača Pogača is a type of bread baked in the ashes of the fireplace, and later on in the oven, similar to focaccia. found in the cuisines of the Carpathian Basin, the Balkan cuisine, Balkans, and Turkish cuisine, Turkey. It can be leavened or unleavene ...
with fortunes is cooked, which are afterwards put under the pillow. At
Easter Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer''; "Easter Sunday", used by James Ussher''The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, Volume 4'' and Samuel Pepys''The Diary of Samuel Pe ...

Easter
the first egg is painted red and is kept for a whole year. On the
Baptism of Jesus The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist John the Baptist ''Yohanān HaMatbil''; la, Ioannes Baptista; grc-gre, Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστής, ''Iōánnēs ho baptistḗs'' or , ''Iōánnēs ho baptízōn'', or , ''Iōánnēs ho pr ...

Baptism of Jesus
a competition to catch the cross in the river is held and is believed the sky is "opened" and any wish will be fulfilled. Bulgarians as well as
Albanians The Albanians (; sq, Shqiptarët, ) are an ethnic group native to the Balkan Peninsula and are identified by a common Albanian Cultural heritage, ancestry, Albanian culture, culture, Albanian history, history and Albanian language, language. ...

Albanians
nod the head up and down to indicates "no" and shake to indicate "yes". They may wear the
martenitsa A Martenitsa ( bg, мартеница, pronounced ; mk, мартинка, martinka; el, μάρτης; ro, mărțișor) is a small piece of adornment, made of white and red yarn and usually in the form of two dolls, a white male and a red female. ...

martenitsa
(мартеница)—an adornment made of white and red yarn and worn on the wrist or pinned on the clothes—from 1 March until the end of the month. Alternatively, one can take off the martenitsa earlier if one sees a stork (considered a harbinger of spring). One can then tie the martenitsa to the blossoming branch of a tree. Family-members and friends in Bulgaria customarily exchange martenitsas, which they regard as symbols of health and longevity. When a stork is seen, the martenitsa should be left on a tree. The white thread represents peace and tranquility, while the red one stands for the cycles of life. Bulgarians may also refer to the holiday of 1 March as (Баба Марта), meaning ''Grandmother March''. It preserves an ancient pagan tradition, possibly celebrating the old Roman new Year, beginning on 1 March, identical with Romanian Mărțișor. Pagan customs found their way to the Christian holidays. The ancient ritual of
kukeri Image:Kukeri Rodopi.JPG, Kukeri from Smolyan File:Кукерски маски от Пернишко.jpg, Kukeri masks from Pernik, near Sofia Kukeri ( bg, кукери; singular: kuker, кукер) are elaborately costumed Bulgarian men, ...

kukeri
(кукери), similar to Slovenian
Kurentovanje Kurentovanje is Slovenia's most popular and ethnologically significant carnival event first organised in 1960 by Drago Hasl. This 11-day rite of spring and fertility highlight event is celebrated on Shrove Sunday in Ptuj, the oldest documented c ...
,
Busójárás The Busójárás (Hungarian language, Hungarian, meaning "Busó-walking"; in Croatian: ''Pohod bušara'') is an annual celebration of the Šokci living in the town of Mohács, Hungary, held at the end of the Carnival season ("Farsang"), ending the ...
and
Halloween Halloween or Hallowe'en (a contraction of "All Hallows' evening"), less commonly known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in many countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast o ...

Halloween
, is performed by costumed men in different times of the year and after Easter. This seeks to scare away evil spirits and bring good harvest and health to the community. Goat is symbolized, that was left from the Thracian cult of
Dionysian Mysteries#REDIRECT Dionysian Mysteries in '' Bacchus'' by Caravaggio, alt=Painting of Dionysus with garland, food and wine The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performe ...
. The ritual consists of dancing, jumping, shouting and collect gifts from the houses in an attempt to banish all evil from the village. The adornments on the costumes vary from one region to another. The Thracian Heros remains in the image of
Saint George Saint George (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxi ...

Saint George
, at whose feast the agriculture is celebrated, a lamb is traditionally eaten, accomplished with ritual bathing. Saint Tryphon's fertility and wine is attributed a Thracian origin, considered to preserve the cult to
Sabazius 200px, Bronze hand used in the worship of Sabazios (British Museum). Roman 1st–2nd century CE. Hands decorated with religious symbols were designed to stand in sanctuaries or, like this one, were attached to poles for processional use. Another si ...
as the
Kukeri Image:Kukeri Rodopi.JPG, Kukeri from Smolyan File:Кукерски маски от Пернишко.jpg, Kukeri masks from Pernik, near Sofia Kukeri ( bg, кукери; singular: kuker, кукер) are elaborately costumed Bulgarian men, ...

Kukeri
. This is followed in February by Pokladi, a tradition of setting massively large fire and jump over as at the Kupala Night and a competition between couples to eat an egg on a thread is held. Another characteristic custom called
nestinarstvo The Anastenaria ( el, Αναστενάρια, bg, Нестинарство, translit=Nestinarstvo), is a traditional barefoot fire-walking ritual with ecstatic dance performed in some villages in Northern Greece and Southern Bulgaria. The commun ...

nestinarstvo
(нестинарство), or ''firedancing'', distinguishes the
Strandzha Strandzha ( bg, Странджа, also transliterated as ''Strandja'', ; tr, Istranca , or ) is a mountain massif In geology, a massif ( or ) is a section of a planet's Crust (geology), crust that is demarcated by geologic fault, faults ...

Strandzha
region, as well as Dog spinning. The authentic nestinarstvo with states of
trance Trance is a state of semi-consciousness in which a person is not self-aware and is either altogether unresponsive to external stimuli (but nevertheless capable of pursuing and realizing an aim) or is selectively responsive in following the dir ...

trance
is only preserved in the village Balgari. This ancient custom involves dancing into fire or over live embers. Women dance into the fire with their bare feet without suffering any injury or pain. Slavic pagan customs are preserved in Bulgarian Christian holidays. The
Miladinov brothers from February 25th, 1846 about his search for Bulgarian folk songs and artifacts in Macedonia. and issued in Plovdiv Plovdiv ( bg, Пловдив, ) is the List of largest cities and second largest cities by country, second-largest city in Bulga ...
and foreign authors noticed that even pagan prayers are preserved quoting plenty of Slavic pagan rite songs and tales remained in Bulgarians, including
Macedonians Macedonian most often refers to someone or something from or related to Macedonia (disambiguation), Macedonia. Macedonian may specifically refer to: People Modern * Macedonians (ethnic group), the South Slavic ethnic group primarily associated w ...
and
Pomaks Pomaks ( bg, Помаци, Pomatsi; el, Πομάκοι, Pomákoi; tr, Pomaklar) are Bulgarian-speaking Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, diff ...

Pomaks
, mainly dedicated to the divine nymphs samovili and peperuna for the feasts
surva Surva is a village in Viljandi Parish, Viljandi County in Estonia. (retrieved 15 March 2020) References

Villages in Viljandi County {{Viljandi-geo-stub ...
,
Saint George's Day Saint George's Day, also called the Feast of Saint George, is the feast day The calendar of saints is the traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saint In religious belief, a s ...
,
Koleda 200px, Russian Christmas postcard. 1910s Koliada or koleda (Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hierog ...

Koleda
, etc. with evidence of toponymy throughout the regional groups linking directly to the deities
Svarog Svarog is a Slavic god of fire and Blacksmith, blacksmithing, sometimes, on the basis of a etymology rejected by modern scholarship, interpreted as a sky god. He is mentioned in only one source, the ''Primary Chronicle'', which is problematic in ...
,
Perun In Slavic paganism, Slavic mythology, Perun (Cyrillic script, Cyrillic: Перýн) is the highest god of the Pantheon (religion), pantheon and the god of sky, thunder, lightning, storms, rain, law, war, fertility and oak trees. His other attri ...
,
Hors Hors, Khors ( orv, Хърсъ, ) is a Slavic god of uncertain functions mentioned since the 12th century. He is generally interpreted as a sun god, sometimes as a moon god. The Iranian etymology of this god's name is most commonly recognized, alt ...

Hors
and
Veles Veles may refer to: * Veles (god), Slavic deity * Veles Municipality, in North Macedonia * Veles, North Macedonia, a city, seat of the municipality, formerly called Titov Veles * Veles Bastion, Stribog Mountains on Brabant Island, Antarctica *Veles ...
, while the regional group Hartsoi derive their name from god
Hors Hors, Khors ( orv, Хърсъ, ) is a Slavic god of uncertain functions mentioned since the 12th century. He is generally interpreted as a sun god, sometimes as a moon god. The Iranian etymology of this god's name is most commonly recognized, alt ...

Hors
. Songs dedicated to the Thracian divinity
Orpheus Orpheus (; Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Dark Ages (), the period (), and the period (). Ancie ...

Orpheus
were found in Pomaks, who is said to marry the samovili. The old Bulgarian name of the
Presentation of Jesus at the Temple The Presentation of Jesus at (or in) the Temple is an early episode in the life of Jesus, describing His presentation at the Temple in Jerusalem, to be redeemed by the parents' sacrifice from His birth-state of sanctity, i.e. and predestined by ...
was ''Gromnitsa'' and ''Perunov den'' dedicated to the supreme Slavic thunder god
Perun In Slavic paganism, Slavic mythology, Perun (Cyrillic script, Cyrillic: Перýн) is the highest god of the Pantheon (religion), pantheon and the god of sky, thunder, lightning, storms, rain, law, war, fertility and oak trees. His other attri ...
. In the mix of Christian and pagan patrons of thunder, at
Saint Elijah Elijah ( ; , meaning "My El (deity), God is Yahweh/YHWH") or Greek form Elias ( ), ''Elías''; syr, ܐܸܠܝܼܵܐ, ''Elyāe''; Arabic language, Arabic: إلياس or إليا, ''Ilyās'' or ''Ilyā''. was, according to the Books of Kings in ...
's feast day Ognyena Maria is worshiped, the Slavic goddesses assisting Perun that took a substitutional dual position of the Christian Mother of God. The custom for rain begging Peperuna is derived from the wife of Perun and the god of the rain Dodola, this was described by a 1792 Bulgarian book as a continued worship of Perun at times of absence of rain with a ritual performed by a boy or a girl dressed like Perun. Similar rain begging is called German (mythology), German. In case of continuous lack of rain, a custom of driving out the zmey from the area is performed. In the dualistic Slavic belief the zmey may be both good tutelary spirit and evil, in which case is considered not local and good, but evil and trying to inflict harm and drought. Saint Jeremiah's feast is of the snakes and the reptiles, there is a tradition of jumping over fire. At the Rusalka, Rusalska Week the girls don't go outside to prevent themselves from diseases and harm that the dead forces Nav', Rusalii can cause. This remained the holiday of the samovili. The men performing the custom are also called Rusalii, they don't let anybody pass through between them, don't talk with each other except for the evening, avoid water, if someone lacks behind a member swoops the sword over the lacker's head to prevent him from evil spirits. If the group encounter on their way a well, dry tree, old cemeteries, crossroads, they go round them three times. Before leaving rusalii say goodbye to their relatives as if they went to war, which is not surprising because some of them are killed. When two rusalii groups met there was a fight to the death in which the dead were buried in special "rusaliyski cemetery." Each year there are holidays in honour of wolves and mouses. A relief for the scared believers is celebrated at the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, when according to Bulgarian belief all the List of Slavic mythological figures, mythical figures go back to their caves in a mythical village in the middle of nowhere Zmeykovo of the zmey king, along with the rusalki, samodivi, and return at Annunciation. According to other beliefs the danger peaks at the so-called few days around the New Year Eve "Dirty Days", this time starts at
Koleda 200px, Russian Christmas postcard. 1910s Koliada or koleda (Cyrillic , bg, кирилица , mk, кирилица , russian: кириллица , sr, ћирилица, uk, кирилиця , fam1 = Egyptian hieroglyphs Egyptian hierog ...

Koleda
, which merged with Christmas, when groups of kids koledari visit houses, singing carols and receiving a gift at parting. It is believed that no man can go in Zmeyovo and only the magpie knows the location of this place. At many of the holidays a sexual taboo is said to be practiced to prevent conceiving a vampire or werewolf and not to work, not to go to Vechornytsi, Sedenki or go out. Need fire, Live fire is set in case of epidemics. Babinden for example is rooted in the mother-goddess. On the day of St. Vlas, the tradition of a "wooly" god
Veles Veles may refer to: * Veles (god), Slavic deity * Veles Municipality, in North Macedonia * Veles, North Macedonia, a city, seat of the municipality, formerly called Titov Veles * Veles Bastion, Stribog Mountains on Brabant Island, Antarctica *Veles ...
established itself, a god who is considered to be a protector of shepherds, and bread is given to the livestock on that day. The ancient Slavic custom to marry died people occurred in Bulgarian society. Survakane is performed each new year with a decorated stick by children, who hit adults on the back for health at the New Year Eve, usually in exchange of money. In the Chech region there is a custom forbidding "touching the land", i.e. construction and agriculture, at the equinox on 25 March and the same custom is found in Belarusian Volhynia and Polesia. Bulgarian mythology and fairy tales are mainly about forest figures, such as the dragon zmey, the nymphs samovili (samodivi), the witch veshtitsa. They are usually harmful and devastating, but can also help the people. The samovili are said to live in beeches and sycamores the, which are therefore considered holy and not permitted burning. Samovili, although believed to be masters of everything between the sky and the earth, "run away" from fraxinus, garlic, dew and walnut. Walnut remained in Christianity to be used in prayers to "see" the dead in Spirits Day. Dictamnus is believed to be their favourite herb, which is intoxicating. The samovili are spirits in Bulgarian beliefs are the diseases themselves and punish people, kidnap shepherds, make blind the people or drown them and are in white colored dress, they are in odd numbers, which suggest they are ones of the "dead". Epic heroes as Prince Marko are believed to be descended from the samodivi. The elm is believed to scare the evil forces. Sacral trees in Bulgarian beliefs are beeches and oaks. Hawthorn is believed to expel all evil forces and is applied to cure suspected vampires. The tradition forbids killing of sacred animals - deer, while it is hold a belief the samodivi runaway from horse. The alleged as "unclean" animals resembling the devil such as the goat are, however, exempted from being eaten as the holy ones. The zmey is transhuman and can turn "into" animals, plants and items, he is also "responsible" for diseases, madness and missing women. The female version of the Slavic zmey is Lamia and Ala (demon), Ala is another version. The girls who practiced Lazarice, Lazaruvane and other rituals "could not" be kidnapped by the zmey. The main enemy of the Sun is the zmey, which tries to eat the Sun, which scene is preserved in church art. The sun is painted one eyed as recorded by beliefs Perun stabbed one of the sun's eyes to save the world from overheating. The Vampire hunter, born on Saturday are thought as having supernatural powers, those born at the wolves' holidays and a number of people are alleged as werewolf, varkolaks and vampires. The most spread Bulgarian view of the vampire was that of a rolling bulbous balloon of blood derived from the Slavic term ''pir'' "drink". Rusalka is believed to be a variety of the samodivi and Nav', but the latter are considered little fairies. The Thursdays remained feasts of Perun in Bulgarian beliefs. The wind and the hot steam of the bread is believed to be the souls of the dead. From Easter to Feast of the Ascension it is believed that the death are in the flowers and the animals. Marzanna, Mora in Bulgarian beliefs is a black hairy evil spirit with four firing eyes associated with nightmares when causing someone to scream, similarly to Kikimora. Polunoshtnitsa and Poludnica are believed to be evil spirits causing death, while to Leshy, Lesnik, Domovoi, Domovnik and Vodyanoy, Vodnik a dualistic nature is attributed. Thanks to the Volkhv, Vlshebnik, a man of the community, a magician and a priest, communication with the "other" world was held. Torbalan is the Sack Man used to scare children, along with Baba Yaga, who is a witch in her Bulgarian version. Kuma Lisa and Hitar Petar are the tricky fox and villager from the fairy tales, the tricked antagonist is often Nasreddin Hoca, whereas Bay Ganyo is a ridiculed Bulgarian villager. Ivancho and Mariika are the protagonists of the jokes. Despite eastern Ottoman influence is obvious in areas such as cuisine and music, Bulgarian folk beliefs and mythology seem to lack analogies with Turkic mythology, Tengriism, paganism and any non-European folk beliefs, sо in pre-Christian times the ancient
Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages * ...

Bulgars
were much inferior to the Slavs in the ethnogenesis and culture that resulted in modern Bulgarians. The Slavic language was officialized at the same time with Christianity, so Slavic paganism has never been a state religion of Bulgaria or more influential than Tengriism. Most of Bulgarian land lack any pagan archeology left from the Bulgars, despite early Christianization and that during most of the pagan period medieval Bulgarian borders spread significantly only in today's northern Bulgaria. Although legacy indicating ancient Bulgars, Bulgar culture is at most virtually absent in modern Bulgarian culture, some authors claim there is a similarity between the dress and customs of the Chuvashes, who descend from the Volga Bulgars, and the Bulgarian ethnographic group ''Kapantsi'' from Targovishte Province and Razgrad Province, among whom the claim that they are direct descendants of 's
Bulgars The Bulgars (also Bulghars, Bulgari, Bolgars, Bolghars, Bolgari, Proto-Bulgarians) were Turkic Turkic may refer to: * anything related to the country of Turkey * Turkic languages, a language family of at least thirty-five documented languages * ...

Bulgars
is popular., but Slavic elements are found among them.


Folk dress and music

The Bulgarian folk costumes feature long white robes, usually with red embrdoiery and ornaments derived from the Slavic Rushnyk, Rachenik. The Bulgarian folk costume is considered to be mainly derived from the dress of the ancient Slavs, the female dress with the overgarments joined at the shoulders that evolved from Sarafan and all the types of soukman, saya and aprons fasten at the waist are said to be directly descended from the ancient Slavs only with negligible mutation. The women's head-dress, which turned to be a must for the Bulgarian costume is a decoration with flowers optionally on a headband, that distinguishes all the Balto-Slavic peoples and is not found in western cultures. The male dress is of likewise origin, usually Riza "robe", poyas "belt", poturi "full-bottomed breeches" typical for the Slavs and often a Opanak, tsarvul and kalpak for shoes and jacket. Among the most similar relatives of the latter for example is Ukrainian Culture#Jewelry, Ukrainian hutsul, but the kalpak is attributed to Ottoman influence. The male skirt fustanella appears on the dress only of the Macedonian Bulgarians and is of indigenous Balkan origin or influence. In some dress of
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
the symbol of the snake as in medieval tombs is found and is considered a Thracian cultural legacy and belief. Folk songs are most often about the nymphs from Bulgarian and West Slavs, West Slavic mythology ( samovili) and the epic heroes (yunaks). Instruments Gadulka, Gusle, Gusla, Duduk, gaida Dvoyanka are analogous to other Slavic gudok, dudka and Dvodentsivka. Kaval is common in the Balkans and Turkey and is akin to Arab Kawala, as well as Tapan, Goblet Drum, Zurna. The most spread dance is a circle dance called horo (dance), horo and khorovod. Songs are generally loud. Recent eastern influences from the genre music chalga and turbo-folk even brought a prestige for the masculine voices of females. Valya Balkanska is a folk singer thanks to whom the Bulgarian language, Bulgarian speech in her song "Izlel ye Delyo Haydutin" will be played in the Outer space for at least 60,000 years more as part of the Voyager Golden Record selection of music included in the two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977.


Sport

As for most European peoples, association football, football became by far the most popular sport for the Bulgarians. Hristo Stoichkov was one of the best football (soccer) players in the second half of the 20th century, having played with the national team and FC Barcelona. He received a number of awards and was the joint top scorer at the 1994 World Cup. Dimitar Berbatov, formerly in Manchester United F.C., Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Tottenham Hotspur, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Bayer Leverkusen and others, the national team and two domestic clubs, is still the most popular Bulgarian football player of the 21st century. In the beginning of the 20th century Bulgaria was famous for two of the best wrestlers in the world – Dan Kolov and Nikola Petroff. Stefka Kostadinova is the best female high jumper, still holding the world record from 1987, one of the oldest unbroken world records for all kind of athletics. Ivet Lalova along with Irina Privalova is currently the fastest white woman at 100 metres. Kotoōshū Katsunori, Kaloyan Mahlyanov has been the first European sumo wrestler to win the Emperor's Cup in Japan. Veselin Topalov won the 2005 World Chess Championship. He was ranked No. 1 in the world from April 2006 to January 2007, and had the second highest Elo rating of all time (2813). He regained the world No. 1 ranking again in October 2008.


Symbols

The national symbols of the Bulgarians are the Flag of Bulgaria, Flag, the Coat of Arms of Bulgaria, Coat of Arms, the National anthem of Bulgaria, National anthem and the National Guards Unit of Bulgaria, National Guard, as well other unofficial symbols such as the Samara flag. The national flag of Bulgaria is a rectangle with three colours: white, green, and red, positioned horizontally top to bottom. The colour fields are of same form and equal size. It is generally known that the white represents – the sky, the green – the forest and nature and the red – the blood of the people, referencing the strong bond of the nation through all the wars and revolutions that have shaken the country in the past. The Coat of Arms of Bulgaria is a state symbol of the sovereignty and independence of the Bulgarian people and state. It represents a crowned rampant golden lion on a dark red background with the shape of a shield. Above the shield there is a crown modeled after the crowns of the emperors of the
Second Bulgarian Empire The Second Bulgarian Empire (: Ц(а)рьство бл(ъ)гарское; bg, Второ българско царство, ''Vtorо Balgarskо Tsarstvo'') was a n state that existed between 1185 and 1396. A successor to the , it reached the p ...

Second Bulgarian Empire
, with five crosses and an additional cross on top. Two crowned rampant golden lions hold the shield from both sides, facing it. They stand upon two crossed oak branches with acorns, which symbolize the power and the longevity of the Bulgarian state. Under the shield, there is a white band lined with the three national colours. The band is placed across the ends of the branches and the phrase "Unity Makes Strength" is inscribed on it. Both the Bulgarian flag and the Coat of Arms are also used as symbols of various Bulgarian organisations, political parties and institutions. The horse of the Madara Rider is preserved on the back of the Bulgarian stotinka.


Maps

File:VolkBalk-1908.jpg, Map of A. Scobel, Andrees Allgemeiner Handatlas, 1908 File:The Balkan Peninsula, Distribution of Races. EB 1911.png, Distribution of the Balkan peoples in 1911, Encyclopædia Britannica File:Ethnicturkey1911.jpg, Ethnic groups in the Balkans and Asia Minor by William R. Shepherd, 1911 File:Ethnic map (1914).jpg, Distribution European peoples in 1914 according to L. Ravenstein Carte Ethnographique de L'Europe.jpg, Swiss ethnographic map of Europe published in 1918 by Juozas Gabrys File:Mother language in 1965 Turkey census - Pomak.png, Percentage of Pomak language, Pomaks by first language according to the 1965 Census excluding Bulgarian language, Bulgarian File:Odeska2001bulgarians.PNG, Distribution of Bulgarians in Odessa Oblast, Ukraine according to the 2001 census File:Zaporizka2001bolgarian.PNG, Distribution of Bulgarians by first language in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine according to the 2001 census File:Ethnic composition of Bulgaria, 2011.PNG, Distribution of predominant ethnic groups in Bulgaria according to the 2011 census File:Bulgari_Romania_(2002).png, Distribution of Bulgarians in Romania according to the 2002 census File:Ponderea bulgarilor în Republica Moldova la nivel de comune.jpg, Distribution of Bulgarians in Moldova according to the 2004 census


See also

*Macedonian Bulgarians *Macedonians (ethnic group) *Thracian Bulgarians


References


Sources

* * *


External links

* {{Authority control Bulgarian people, Ethnic groups in Albania Ethnic groups in Bulgaria Ethnic groups in Greece Ethnic groups in Macedonia (region) Ethnic groups in Moldova Ethnic groups in Serbia Ethnic groups in North Macedonia Ethnic groups in Turkey Ethnic groups in Ukraine Slavic ethnic groups South Slavs