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Coordinates : 42°45′N 25°30′E / 42.750°N 25.500°E / 42.750; 25.500

Republic of Bulgaria Република България (Bulgarian ) Republika Bǎlgariya

Flag Coat of arms

MOTTO:

* Съединението прави силата (Bulgarian ) * "Sǎedinenieto pravi silata" (transliteration ) * " Unity makes strength
Unity makes strength
"

ANTHEM: Мила Родино (Bulgarian) Mila Rodino (transliteration) Dear Motherland

Location of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
(dark green)

– in Europe
Europe
(green "> (green) –

Capital and largest city Sofia
Sofia
42°41′N 23°19′E / 42.683°N 23.317°E / 42.683; 23.317

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES Bulgarian

OFFICIAL SCRIPT Cyrillic
Cyrillic

ETHNIC GROUPS (2011 )

* 84.8% Bulgarians
Bulgarians
* 8.8% Turks * 4.9% Roma * 1.5% others

RELIGION Bulgarian Orthodox Church

DEMONYM Bulgarian

GOVERNMENT Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic

• PRESIDENT Rumen Radev
Rumen Radev

• PRIME MINISTER Boyko Borisov

LEGISLATURE National Assembly

FORMATION

• FIRST BULGARIAN EMPIRE 681–1018

• SECOND BULGARIAN EMPIRE 1185–1396

• PRINCIPALITY OF BULGARIA 3 March 1878

• DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE FROM THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE 5 October 1908

AREA

• TOTAL 110,993.6 km2 (42,854.9 sq mi) (103rd )

• WATER (%) 0.3

POPULATION

• 31 DECEMBER 2016 ESTIMATE 7,101,859 (102nd )

• DENSITY 64.9/km2 (168.1/sq mi) (95th )

GDP
GDP
(PPP ) 2017 estimate

• TOTAL $152.374 billion (76th )

• PER CAPITA $21,578 (62nd )

GDP
GDP
(NOMINAL) 2017 estimate

• TOTAL $55.954 billion (81st )

• PER CAPITA $7,924 (75th )

GINI (2016) 38.3 medium

HDI (2015) 0.794 high · 56th

CURRENCY Lev (BGN )

TIME ZONE EET (UTC +2)

• SUMMER (DST ) EEST (UTC +3)

DRIVES ON THE right

CALLING CODE +359

ISO 3166 CODE BG

INTERNET TLD .bg

BULGARIA (/bʌlˈɡɛəriə, bʊl-/ ( listen ); Bulgarian : България, tr. Bǎlgariya), officially the REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA (Bulgarian: Република България, tr. Republika Bǎlgariya, pronounced ), is a country in southeastern Europe
Europe
. It is bordered by Romania
Romania
to the north, Serbia
Serbia
and Macedonia to the west, Greece
Greece
and Turkey
Turkey
to the south, and the Black Sea
Black Sea
to the east. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres (42,855 sq mi), Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is Europe's 16th-largest country .

Organised prehistoric cultures began developing on current Bulgarian lands during the Neolithic
Neolithic
period. Its ancient history saw the presence of the Thracians
Thracians
, Greeks , Persians , Celts , Romans , Goths , Alans and Huns . The emergence of a unified Bulgarian state dates back to the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681 AD, which dominated most of the Balkans
Balkans
and functioned as a cultural hub for Slavs
Slavs
during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
. With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78 led to the formation of the Third Bulgarian State. The following years saw several conflicts with its neighbours, which prompted Bulgaria
Bulgaria
to align with Germany
Germany
in both world wars. In 1946 it became a one-party socialist state as part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc . In December 1989 the ruling Communist Party allowed multi-party elections, which subsequently led to Bulgaria's transition into a democracy and a market-based economy.

Bulgaria's population of 7.2 million people is predominantly urbanised and mainly concentrated in the administrative centres of its 28 provinces . Most commercial and cultural activities are centred on the capital and largest city, Sofia
Sofia
. The strongest sectors of the economy are heavy industry, power engineering, and agriculture, all of which rely on local natural resources.

The country's current political structure dates to the adoption of a democratic constitution in 1991. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is a unitary parliamentary republic with a high degree of political, administrative, and economic centralisation. It is a member of the European Union
European Union
, NATO
NATO
, and the Council of Europe
Europe
; a founding state of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Europe
(OSCE); and has taken a seat at the UN Security Council three times.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology

* 2 History

* 2.1 Prehistory and antiquity * 2.2 First Bulgarian Empire * 2.3 Second Bulgarian Empire * 2.4 Ottoman rule * 2.5 Third Bulgarian state

* 3 Geography

* 3.1 Environment * 3.2 Biodiversity
Biodiversity

* 4 Politics

* 4.1 Government * 4.2 Legal system * 4.3 Administrative divisions

* 4.4 Foreign relations

* 4.4.1 Relations with Russia
Russia

* 4.5 Military

* 5 Economy

* 5.1 Science and technology * 5.2 Infrastructure

* 6 Demographics

* 6.1 Language * 6.2 Literacy and education * 6.3 Religion * 6.4 Healthcare * 6.5 Population growth and birthrates

* 7 Culture

* 7.1 Cuisine

* 7.2 UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage

* 7.2.1 Cultural * 7.2.2 Natural

* 7.3 Sports

* 8 See also * 9 Footnotes * 10 References * 11 Bibliography * 12 External links

ETYMOLOGY

See also: Bulgars
Bulgars

The country's name, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is taken from the word, Bulgars
Bulgars
, an extinct tribe of Turkic origin, which created the country. Within Bulgaria, some historians question the identification of the Bulgars as a Turkic tribe, in favor of their North Iranian origin. 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 word bulģha ("to mix", "shake", "stir") and its derivative bulgak ("revolt", "disorder") Alternate etymologies include derivation from a Mongolic cognate bulğarak ("to separate", "split off") or from a compound of proto-Turkic bel ("five") and gur ("arrow" in the sense of "tribe "), a proposed division within the Utigurs or Onogurs ("ten tribes").

HISTORY

Main article: History of Bulgaria

PART OF A SERIES ON THE

HISTORY OF BULGARIA

* Odrysian kingdom 460 BC – 46 AD * Roman times 46–681 * Dark Ages 6th–7th cent.

* First Bulgarian Empire 681–1018

* Christianization * Golden Age 896–927 * Cometopuli dynasty 968–1018

* Byzantine
Byzantine
Bulgaria
Bulgaria
1018–1185

* Second Bulgarian Empire 1185–1396

* Second Golden Age 1230–1241 * Mongol invasion 1274–1300 * Recovery and expansion 1300–71 * Bulgarian–Ottoman wars 1371–96

* Ottoman Bulgaria
Bulgaria
1396–1878

* Resistance after 1413 * National Revival 1762–1878 * Establishment of the Bulgarian Exarchate
Bulgarian Exarchate
1870 * Liberation War 1877–1878

* Third Bulgarian State 1878–present

* Serbo-Bulgarian War 1885 * Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
1912–1913 * World War I
World War I
1915–1918 * World War II 1941–1945 * Communist era 1946–1990 * Transition era since 1990

* List of monarchs * Military history * Struggle for Macedonia 1893–1945

Main category Bulgaria
Bulgaria
portal

* v * t * e

PREHISTORY AND ANTIQUITY

Further information: Neolithic
Neolithic
Europe
Europe
, Odrysian kingdom , Thracians , and Slavs
Slavs

Human activity in the lands of modern Bulgaria
Bulgaria
can be traced back to the Paleolithic
Paleolithic
. Organised prehistoric societies in Bulgarian lands include the Neolithic
Neolithic
Hamangia culture , Vinča culture and the eneolithic Varna culture (fifth millennium BC). The latter is credited with inventing gold working and exploitation. Some of these first gold smelters produced the coins, weapons and jewellery of the Varna Necropolis treasure , containing the oldest golden jewellery in the world with an approximate age of over 6,000 years. This site also offers insights for understanding the social hierarchy of the earliest European societies.

Thracians
Thracians
, one of the three primary ancestral groups of modern Bulgarians, began appearing in the region during the Iron Age
Iron Age
. In the late 6th century BC, the Persians conquered most of present-day Bulgaria. and kept it until 479 BC . With influence from the Persians, the bulk of the Thracian tribes were united in the Odrysian kingdom in the 470s BC by king Teres , but were later subjugated by Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great
and by the Romans in 46 AD.

After the division of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
in the 5th century the area fell under Byzantine
Byzantine
control. By this time, Christianity
Christianity
had already spread in the region. A small Gothic community in Nicopolis ad Istrum produced the first Germanic language book in the 4th century, the Wulfila Bible . The first Christian monastery in Europe
Europe
was established around the same time by Saint Athanasius
Saint Athanasius
in central Bulgaria.

From the 6th century the easternmost South Slavs
Slavs
gradually settled in the region, assimilating the partly Hellenised or Romanised Thracians.

FIRST BULGARIAN EMPIRE

Main article: First Bulgarian Empire Khan Krum feasts with his nobles after the battle of Pliska. His servant (far right) brings the wine-filled skull cup of Nicephorus I .

In 680 the Turkic semi-nomadic Bulgar tribes under the leadership of Asparukh moved south across the Danube
Danube
and settled in the area between the lower Danube
Danube
and the Balkan , establishing their capital at Pliska . A peace treaty with Byzantium in 681 marked the beginning of the First Bulgarian Empire . The Bulgars
Bulgars
gradually mixed with the local population, adopting a common language on the basis of the local Slavic dialect.

Succeeding rulers strengthened the Bulgarian state throughout the 8th and 9th centuries. Krum doubled the country's territory, killed Byzantine
Byzantine
emperor Nicephorus I in the Battle of Pliska
Pliska
, and introduced the first written code of law. Paganism was abolished in favour of Eastern Orthodox Christianity
Christianity
under Boris I in 864. This conversion was followed by a Byzantine
Byzantine
recognition of the Bulgarian church and the adoption of the Cyrillic alphabet developed at Preslav
Preslav
which strengthened central authority and helped fuse the Slavs
Slavs
and Bulgars
Bulgars
into a unified people. A subsequent cultural golden age began during the 34-year rule of Simeon the Great , who also achieved the largest territorial expansion of the state.

Wars with Magyars and Pechenegs and the spread of the Bogomil heresy weakened Bulgaria
Bulgaria
after Simeon's death. Consecutive Rus\' and Byzantine
Byzantine
invasions resulted in the seizure of the capital Preslav
Preslav
by the Byzantine
Byzantine
army in 971. Under Samuil , Bulgaria
Bulgaria
briefly recovered from these attacks, but this rise ended when Byzantine
Byzantine
emperor Basil II defeated the Bulgarian army at Klyuch in 1014. Samuil died shortly after the battle, and by 1018 the Byzantines had ended the First Bulgarian Empire.

SECOND BULGARIAN EMPIRE

Main article: Second Bulgarian Empire

After his conquest of Bulgaria, Basil II
Basil II
prevented revolts and discontent by retaining the rule of the local nobility and by relieving the newly conquered lands of the obligation to pay taxes in gold, allowing them to be paid in kind instead. He also allowed the Bulgarian Patriarchate to retain its autocephalous status and all its dioceses , but reduced it to an archbishopric . After his death Byzantine
Byzantine
domestic policies changed and a series of unsuccessful rebellions broke out, the largest being led by Peter Delyan . In 1185 Asen dynasty
Asen dynasty
nobles Ivan Asen I
Ivan Asen I
and Peter IV organised a major uprising which resulted in the re-establishment of the Bulgarian state. Ivan Asen and Peter laid the foundations of the Second Bulgarian Empire with Tarnovo as the capital. The walls of Tsarevets fortress in Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo
, the capital of the second empire

Kaloyan
Kaloyan
, the third of the Asen monarchs, extended his dominion to Belgrade
Belgrade
and Ohrid . He acknowledged the spiritual supremacy of the pope and received a royal crown from a papal legate . The empire reached its zenith under Ivan Asen II (1218–1241), when commerce and culture flourished. The strong economic and religious influence of Tarnovo made it a " Third Rome ", unlike the already declining Constantinople.

The country's military and economic might declined after the Asen dynasty ended in 1257, facing internal conflicts, constant Byzantine and Hungarian attacks and Mongol domination . By the end of the 14th century, factional divisions between the feudal landlords and the spread of Bogomilism had caused the Second Bulgarian Empire to split into three tsardoms— Vidin
Vidin
, Tarnovo and Karvuna —and several semi-independent principalities that fought each other, along with Byzantines, Hungarians, Serbs, Venetians and Genoese . By the late 14th century the Ottoman Turks had started their conquest of Bulgaria and had taken most towns and fortresses south of the Balkan mountains.

OTTOMAN RULE

Main article: Ottoman Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Hristo Botev , a prominent revolutionary in the April Uprising

Tarnovo was captured by the Ottomans after a three-month siege in 1393. After the Battle of Nicopolis
Battle of Nicopolis
in 1396 brought about the fall of the Vidin
Vidin
Tsardom, the Ottomans conquered all Bulgarian lands south of the Danube. The nobility was eliminated and the peasantry was enserfed to Ottoman masters, with much of the educated clergy fleeing to other countries. 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 , and their culture was suppressed. Ottoman authorities established the Rum Millet , a religious administrative community which governed all Orthodox Christians regardless of their ethnicity. Most of the local population gradually lost its distinct national consciousness, identifying as Christians. However, the clergy remaining in some isolated monasteries kept it alive, and that helped it to survive as in some rural, remote areas, as well as in the militant Catholic community in the northwestern part of the country.

Several Bulgarian revolts erupted throughout the nearly five centuries of Ottoman rule, most notably the Habsburg -backed Tarnovo uprisings in 1598 and in 1686 , the Chiprovtsi Uprising in 1688 and Karposh\'s Rebellion in 1689. In the 18th century, the Enlightenment in Western Europe
Europe
provided influence for the initiation of a movement known as the National awakening of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
. It restored national consciousness and became a key factor in the liberation struggle, resulting in the 1876 April Uprising . Up to 30,000 Bulgarians
Bulgarians
were killed as Ottoman authorities put down the rebellion. The massacres prompted the Great Powers to take action. They convened the Constantinople Conference in 1876, but their decisions were rejected by the Ottomans. This allowed the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
to seek a solution by force without risking military confrontation with other Great Powers, as had happened in the Crimean War
Crimean War
. In 1877 Russia
Russia
declared war on the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
and defeated its forces with the help of Bulgarian volunteers .

THIRD BULGARIAN STATE

Main articles: History of Bulgaria (1878–1946) , People\'s Republic of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
, and History of Bulgaria since 1989 The Russian and Bulgarian defence of Shipka Pass was crucial for the independence of Bulgaria.

The Treaty of San Stefano
Treaty of San Stefano
was signed on 3 March 1878 by Russia
Russia
and the Ottoman Empire, and included a provision to set up an autonomous Bulgarian principality roughly on the territories of the Second Bulgarian Empire. 3 March has since become Liberation Day
Liberation Day
, a public holiday in Bulgaria, though the holiday was suppressed and fell out of favour following the left-wing uprising in 1944.

The other Great Powers immediately rejected the treaty out of fear that such a large country in the Balkans
Balkans
might threaten their interests. It was superseded by the subsequent Treaty of Berlin , signed on 13 July, which provided for a much smaller state comprising Moesia
Moesia
and the region of Sofia
Sofia
, leaving large populations of Bulgarians
Bulgarians
outside the new country. This played a significant role in forming Bulgaria's militaristic approach to foreign affairs during the first half of the 20th century.

The Bulgarian principality won a war against Serbia
Serbia
and incorporated the semi-autonomous Ottoman territory of Eastern Rumelia
Eastern Rumelia
in 1885, proclaiming itself an independent state on 5 October 1908. In the years following independence, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
increasingly militarised and was often referred to as "the Balkan Prussia
Prussia
".

Between 1912 and 1918, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
became involved in three consecutive conflicts—two Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
and World War I
World War I
. After a disastrous defeat in the Second Balkan War , Bulgaria
Bulgaria
again found itself fighting on the losing side as a result of its alliance with the Central Powers in World War I. Despite fielding more than a quarter of its population in a 1,200,000-strong army and achieving several decisive victories, at Doiran and Dobrich
Dobrich
, the country capitulated in 1918. The war resulted in significant territorial losses, and a total of 87,500 soldiers killed. More than 253,000 refugees immigrated to Bulgaria from 1912 to 1929 due to the effects of these wars, placing additional strain on the already ruined national economy.

The political unrest resulting from these losses led to the establishment of a royal authoritarian dictatorship by Tsar
Tsar
Boris III (1918–1943). Bulgaria
Bulgaria
entered World War II in 1941 as a member of the Axis but declined to participate in Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa
and saved its Jewish population from deportation to concentration camps . The sudden death of Boris III in the summer of 1943 pushed the country into political turmoil as the war turned against Germany
Germany
and the communist guerrilla movement gained momentum. The government of Bogdan Filov subsequently failed to achieve peace with the Allies. Bulgaria did not comply with Soviet demands to expel German forces from its territory, resulting in a declaration of war and an invasion by the USSR in September 1944. The communist-dominated Fatherland Front took power, ended participation in the Axis and joined the Allied side until the war ended. Bulgarian soldiers with wire cutters during WWI

The left-wing uprising of 9 September 1944 led to the abolition of monarchic rule, but it was not until 1946 that a one-party people\'s republic was established. It became a part of the Soviet sphere of influence under the leadership of Georgi Dimitrov
Georgi Dimitrov
(1946–1949), who laid the foundations for a rapidly industrialising Stalinist state which was also highly repressive with thousands of dissidents executed. By the mid-1950s standards of living rose significantly, while political repressions were lessened. By the 1980s both national and per capita GDPs quadrupled, but the economy remained prone to debt spikes, the most severe taking place in 1960, 1977 and 1980. The Soviet-style planned economy saw some market-oriented policies emerging on an experimental level under Todor Zhivkov (1954–1989). His daughter Lyudmila bolstered national pride by promoting Bulgarian heritage, culture and arts worldwide. In an attempt to erase the identity of the ethnic Turk minority, an assimilation campaign was launched in 1984 which included closing mosques and forcing ethnic Turks to adopt Slavic names. These policies (combined with the end of communist rule in 1989) resulted in the emigration of some 300,000 ethnic Turks to Turkey.

Under the influence of the collapsing of the Eastern Bloc , on 10 November 1989 the Communist Party gave up its political monopoly, Zhivkov resigned, and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
embarked on a transition to a parliamentary democracy. The first free elections in June 1990 were won by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP, the freshly renamed Communist Party). A new constitution that provided for a relatively weak elected president and for a prime minister accountable to the legislature was adopted in July 1991. The new system initially failed to improve living standards or create economic growth—the average quality of life and economic performance remained lower than under communism well into the early 2000s. A 1997 reform package restored economic growth, but living standards continued to suffer. After 2001 economic, political and geopolitical conditions improved greatly, and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
achieved high Human Development status. It became a member of NATO
NATO
in 2004 and participated in the War in Afghanistan . After several years of reforms it joined the European Union
European Union
in 2007 despite continued concerns about government corruption.

GEOGRAPHY

Main article: Geography of Bulgaria
Geography of Bulgaria
Belogradchik Rocks

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
occupies a portion of the eastern Balkan peninsula, bordering five countries— Greece
Greece
and Turkey
Turkey
to the south, Macedonia and Serbia
Serbia
to the west, and Romania
Romania
to the north. The land borders have a total length of 1,808 kilometres (1,123 mi), and the coastline has a length of 354 kilometres (220 mi). Its total area of 110,994 square kilometres (42,855 sq mi) ranks it as the world's 105th-largest country. Bulgaria's geographic coordinates are 43° N 25° E .

The most notable topographical features are the Danubian Plain , the Balkan Mountains , the Thracian Plain
Thracian Plain
, and the Rhodope Mountains . The southern edge of the Danubian Plain slopes upward into the foothills of the Balkans, while the Danube
Danube
defines the border with Romania. The Thracian Plain
Thracian Plain
is roughly triangular, beginning southeast of Sofia
Sofia
and broadening as it reaches the Black Sea
Black Sea
coast . Left: Pirin
Pirin
Mountain in western Bulgaria Right: Maslen nos Primorsko
Primorsko
on the Black Sea
Black Sea
coast

The Balkan mountains run laterally through the middle of the country. The mountainous southwest of the country has two alpine ranges—Rila and Pirin
Pirin
, which border the lower but more extensive Rhodope Mountains to the east. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is home to the highest point of the Balkan peninsula, Musala , at 2,925 metres (9,596 ft) and its lowest point is sea level. Plains occupy about one-third of the territory, while plateaus and hills occupy 41 per cent. The country has a dense network of about 540 rivers, most of which are relatively small and with low water levels. The longest river located solely in Bulgarian territory, the Iskar , has a length of 368 kilometres (229 mi). Other major rivers include the Struma and the Maritsa
Maritsa
in the south.

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
has a dynamic climate, which results from its being positioned at the meeting point of Mediterranean and continental air masses and the barrier effect of its mountains. Northern Bulgaria averages 1 °C (1.8 °F) cooler and registers 200 millimetres (7.9 in) more precipitation annually than the regions south of the Balkan mountains. Temperature amplitudes vary significantly in different areas. The lowest recorded temperature is −38.3 °C (−36.9 °F), while the highest is 45.2 °C (113.4 °F). Precipitation averages about 630 millimetres (24.8 in) per year, and varies from 500 millimetres (19.7 in) in Dobrudja
Dobrudja
to more than 2,500 millimetres (98.4 in) in the mountains. Continental air masses bring significant amounts of snowfall during winter.

ENVIRONMENT

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
adopted the Kyoto Protocol and achieved the protocol's objectives by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from 1990 to 2009 by 30 percent. However, pollution from factories and metallurgy works and severe deforestation continue to cause major problems to the health and welfare of the population. In 2013, air pollution in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
was more severe than any other European country. Urban areas are particularly affected by energy production from coal-based powerplants and automobile traffic, while pesticide usage in the agriculture and antiquated industrial sewage systems produce extensive soil and water pollution with chemicals and detergents . Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is home to Maritsa
Maritsa
Iztok-2 , a lignite -fired power station causing the highest damage costs to health and the environment in the entire European Union
European Union
according to the European Environment Agency . It is the only EU member which does not recycle municipal waste, although an electronic waste recycling plant opened in June 2010. The situation has improved in recent years, and several government-funded programs have been put into place in an attempt to reduce pollution levels. According to Yale University's 2012 Environmental Performance Index , Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is a "modest performer" in protecting the environment. Over 75% of surface rivers meet the standards for good quality. An improvement of water quality began in 1998 and has maintained a sustainable trend of moderate improvement.

BIODIVERSITY

See also: Category:Lists of biota of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
. See also: List of fish of the Black Sea
Black Sea
Alluvial forest (Longoz) in Kamchia Biosphere Reserve

The interaction of climatic, hydrological, geological and topographical conditions have produced a relatively wide variety of plant and animal species. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is one of the countries with highest biodiversity in Europe. Bulgaria's biodiversity is conserved in three national parks, 11 nature parks and 16 biosphere reserves . Nearly 35 per cent of its land area consists of forests, where some of the oldest trees in the world, such as Baikushev\'s pine and the Granit oak
Granit oak
, grow. Most of the plant and animal life is central European, although representatives of Arctic and alpine species are present at high altitudes. Its flora encompass more than 3,800 species of which 170 are endemic and 150 are considered endangered. A checklist of larger fungi of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
reported that more than 1,500 species occur in the country. Animal species include owls , rock partridges , wallcreepers and brown bears . The Eurasian lynx and the eastern imperial eagle have small, but growing populations.

In 1998, the Bulgarian government approved the National Biological Diversity Conservation Strategy, a comprehensive programme seeking the preservation of local ecosystems, protection of endangered species and conservation of genetic resources. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
has some of the largest Natura 2000
Natura 2000
areas in Europe
Europe
covering 33.8% of its territory.

POLITICS

Main article: Politics of Bulgaria The National Assembly building in Sofia
Sofia

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is a parliamentary democracy in which the most powerful executive position is that of prime minister. The political system has three branches—legislative, executive and judicial, with universal suffrage for citizens at least 18 years old. The Constitution of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
provides also possibilities of direct democracy. Elections are supervised by an independent Central Election Commission that includes members from all major political parties. Parties must register with the commission prior to participating in a national election. Normally, the prime minister-elect is the leader of the party receiving the most votes in parliamentary elections, although this is not always the case.

Political parties gather in the National Assembly , which consists of 240 deputies elected to four-year terms by direct popular vote. The National Assembly has the power to enact laws, approve the budget, schedule presidential elections, select and dismiss the Prime Minister and other ministers, declare war, deploy troops abroad, and ratify international treaties and agreements. The president serves as the head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and has the authority to return a bill for further debate, although the parliament can override the presidential veto by a simple majority vote of all members of parliament.

GOVERNMENT

The first GERB
GERB
government was formed after the centre right political party won the 2009 general election in July with 117 seats in the National Assembly and ruling as a minority government without support from the other political parties in the parliament. However, the government resigned on 20 February 2013 after nationwide protests caused by high costs of utilities, low living standards and the failure of the democratic system. The protest wave was marked by self-immolations, spontaneous demonstrations and a strong sentiment against political parties. As a consequence, the Parliament was dissolved and a new provisional government was set up by the President. The subsequent snap elections in May 2013 resulted in a narrow win for GERB
GERB
. However, with no support from the other three political parties that entered the parliament, on 24 May, GERB
GERB
leader Boyko Borisov returned the president's mandate to form a government. The Bulgarian Socialist Party nominated the ex-Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski for the post of Prime Minister in May 2013. Only two weeks after its initial formation the Oresharski government came under opposition criticism and had to deal with another wave of large-scale protests some with more than 11 000 participants. The government survived five votes of no-confidence before voluntarily resigning on 23 July 2014. On 6 August, a caretaker government led by Georgi Bliznashki was sworn into office and the Oresharski government was officially dissolved. 2013 Bulgarian protests against the first Borisov cabinet

A new round of snap elections in October 2014 resulted in a third GERB
GERB
victory with around a third of the vote. A record of eight parties won seats, the first time since the beginning of democratic elections in 1990 that more than seven parties entered parliament. After being tasked by President Rosen Plevneliev to form a government, Borisov's GERB
GERB
formed a coalition and members of the parties in the Reformist Bloc (Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria
Bulgaria
(DSB) , Union of Democratic Forces (SDS) , Bulgaria
Bulgaria
for Citizens Movement (DBG) , Alternative for Bulgarian Revival and Bulgarian Agrarian National Union (BZNS) ) were chosen for Minister positions. However, Boyko Borisov made a vow in 2016 – should GERB
GERB
President nominee Tsetska Tsacheva does not win the Bulgarian presidential election, 2016
Bulgarian presidential election, 2016
, he would resign as a Prime Minister. GERB
GERB
lost at this election from the independent candidate Rumen Radev
Rumen Radev
who was, nevertheless, supported by the Bulgarian Socialist Party . Subsequently, Boyko Borisov resigned for the second time. The new president Rumen Radev
Rumen Radev
formed a caretaker government led by Ognyan Gerdzhikov officially dissolving the Second Borisov Government .

At the next snap elections in March 2017 , GERB
GERB
won for the fourth time and four other parties entered the parliament – Bulgarian Socialist Party , Patriotic Front , Movement for Rights and Freedoms and Volia .

LEGAL SYSTEM

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
has a typical civil law legal system. The judiciary is overseen by the Ministry of Justice. The Supreme Administrative Court and the Supreme Court of Cassation are the highest courts of appeal and oversee the application of laws in subordinate courts. The Supreme Judicial Council manages the system and appoints judges. Bulgaria's judiciary, along with other institutions, remains one of Europe's most corrupt and inefficient.

Law enforcement is carried out by organisations mainly subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior . The National Police Service (NPS) combats general crime, maintains public order and supports the operations of other law enforcement agencies. NPS fields 27,000 police officers in its local and national sections. The Ministry of Interior also heads the Border Police Service and the National Gendarmerie —a specialised branch for anti-terrorist activity, crisis management and riot control. Counterintelligence and national security are the responsibility of the State Agency for National Security, established in 2008.

ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS

Main articles: Provinces of Bulgaria
Provinces of Bulgaria
and Municipalities of Bulgaria
Bulgaria

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is a unitary state . Since the 1880s, the number of territorial management units has varied from seven to 26. Between 1987 and 1999 the administrative structure consisted of nine provinces (oblasti, singular oblast ). A new administrative structure was adopted in parallel with the decentralisation of the economic system. It includes 27 provinces and a metropolitan capital province (Sofia-Grad). All areas take their names from their respective capital cities. The provinces subdivide into 264 municipalities .

Municipalities are run by mayors, who are elected to four-year terms, and by directly elected municipal councils. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is a highly centralised state, where the national Council of Ministers directly appoints regional governors and all provinces and municipalities are heavily dependent on it for funding.

* Blagoevgrad
Blagoevgrad
* Burgas
Burgas
* Dobrich
Dobrich
* Gabrovo * Haskovo * Kardzhali * Kyustendil * Lovech * Montana * Pazardzhik
Pazardzhik
* Pernik
Pernik
* Pleven
Pleven
* Plovdiv
Plovdiv
* Razgrad * Ruse * Shumen * Silistra * Sliven * Smolyan * Sofia
Sofia
Province * Stara Zagora
Stara Zagora
* Targovishte * Varna
Varna
* Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo
* Vidin
Vidin
* Vratsa
Vratsa
* Yambol
Yambol

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Main article: Foreign relations of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
The EU parliament in Brussels. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is one of 28 member states of the European Union.

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
became a member of the United Nations
United Nations
in 1955 and since 1966 has been a non-permanent member of the Security Council three times, most recently from 2002 to 2003. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
was also among the founding nations of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 1975. It joined NATO
NATO
on 29 March 2004, signed the European Union Treaty of Accession on 25 April 2005, and became a full member of the European Union
European Union
on 1 January 2007. Polls carried out seven years after the country's accession to the EU found only 15% of Bulgarians
Bulgarians
felt they had personally benefited from membership, with almost 40% of the population saying they would not bother to vote in the 2014 EU elections . Euro-Atlantic integration became a priority for the country since the fall of Communism, although the Communist leadership also had aspirations of leaving the Warsaw Pact and joining the European Communities by 1987.

Bulgaria's relationship with its neighbours since 1990 has generally been good. The country also plays an important role in promoting regional security. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
has an active tripartite economic and diplomatic collaboration with Romania
Romania
and Greece, maintains strong relations with EU members, the United States, and Russia, and continues to improve its traditionally good ties with China
China
and Vietnam
Vietnam
. The HIV trial in Libya , which followed after the imprisonment of several Bulgarian nurses in Benghazi
Benghazi
in 1998, had a significant impact on relations between Bulgaria, the European Union, and Libya. It resulted in the release of the nurses by Muammar Gaddafi's government, which was granted a contract to receive a nuclear reactor and weapons supplies from France
France
in exchange.

Relations With Russia

See also: Bulgaria–Russia relations
Bulgaria–Russia relations
The Monument to the Tsar Liberator , erected in honour of Russian Emperor Alexander II

Bulgaria's relations with the Russian Federation are currently on a good or fair level. Both countries have had centuries-long interactions, sharing a common heritage. The Cyrillic
Cyrillic
alphabet originated during 9th century and it was created by Clement and Naum , who were the students of Cyril and Methodius, which later accepted the Orthodox Slavic countries as their standard letter. Relations between Russia
Russia
and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
have dated back as far as the 19th century. Both nations had the tradition of calling monarchs tsars , a Slavic word for caesar or emperor. The Russian Empire
Russian Empire
was the first country to recognize Bulgaria, and greatly helped Bulgaria
Bulgaria
in its war of independence from Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
in 1877–1878. During the Cold War
Cold War
, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
became an ally of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
as a satellite state.

MILITARY

Main article: Military of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Mikoyan MiG-29 jet fighters of the Bulgarian Air Force

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
hosted six KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft and 200 support personnel for the war effort in Afghanistan in 2001, which was the first stationing of foreign forces on its territory since World War II. International military relations were further expanded in April 2006, when Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and the United States
United States
signed a defence cooperation agreement providing for the usage of Bezmer and Graf Ignatievo air bases, the Novo Selo training range, and a logistics centre in Aytos as joint military training facilities . The same year Foreign Policy magazine listed Bezmer Air Base as one of the six most important overseas facilities used by the USAF due to its proximity to the Middle East
Middle East
. A total of 756 troops are deployed abroad as part of various UN and NATO
NATO
missions. Historically, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
deployed significant numbers of military and civilian advisors in Soviet-allied countries, such as Nicaragua and Libya (more than 9,000 personnel).

Domestic defence is the responsibility of the all-volunteer military of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
, consisting of land forces , navy and air force . The land forces consist of two mechanised brigades and eight independent regiments and battalions; the air force operates 106 aircraft and air defence systems in six air bases, and the navy operates a variety of ships, helicopters and coastal defence measures. Following a series of reductions beginning in 1990, the number of active troops contracted from 152,000 in 1988 to about 32,000 in the 2000s, supplemented in 2010 by a reserve force of 302,500 soldiers and officers and 34,000 paramilitary servicemen. The inventory is mostly of Soviet origin, such as MiG-29
MiG-29
fighters, SA-10 Grumble SAMs and SS-21 Scarab
SS-21 Scarab
short-range ballistic missiles . As of 2012 , the government planned to spend $1.4 billion for the deployment of new fighter jets, communications systems and cyber warfare capabilities. Total military spending for 2016 was BGN 1.3 billion (USD 560m).

ECONOMY

Main article: Economy of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Rates of economic growth (green and red) and unemployment (blue)

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
has an open market economy in the upper middle income range, where the private sector accounts for more than 80% of GDP. From a largely agricultural country with a predominantly rural population in 1948, by the 1980s Bulgaria
Bulgaria
had transformed into an industrial economy with scientific and technological research at the top of its budgetary expenditure priorities. The loss of COMECON markets in 1990 and the subsequent "shock therapy " of the planned system caused a steep decline in industrial and agricultural production, ultimately followed by an economic collapse in 1997. The economy largely recovered during a period of rapid growth several years later, but the average salary remains one of the lowest in the EU at 1,036 leva (€529) per month in March 2017. More than a fifth of the labour force are employed on a minimum wage of €1 per hour. Wages, however, account for only half of the total household income, owing to the substantial informal economy which amounts to almost 32% of GDP. Bulgarian PPS GDP
GDP
per capita stood at 47 per cent of the EU average in 2015 according to Eurostat
Eurostat
data, while at the same time the cost of living in the country was 47 per cent of the EU average as well. The currency is the lev , which is pegged to the euro at a rate of 1.95583 levа for 1 euro. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is not yet part of the eurozone but is showing progress. Sunny Beach on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast

Economic indicators have improved after the financial crisis of 2007–2008 . After several consecutive years of high growth, GDP contracted 5.5 per cent in 2009 and unemployment remained above 12 per cent. Industrial output declined 10 per cent, mining by 31 per cent, and ferrous and metal production marked a 60 per cent drop. Positive growth was restored in 2010, although investments and consumption continue to decline steadily due to rising unemployment. The same year, intercompany debt exceeded €51 billion, meaning that 60 per cent of all Bulgarian companies were mutually indebted. By 2012, it had increased to €83 billion, or 227 per cent of GDP. The government implemented strict austerity measures with IMF and EU encouragement to some positive fiscal results, but the social consequences of these measures have been "catastrophic" according to the International Trade Union Confederation . Corruption remains another obstacle to economic growth. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is one of the most corrupt European Union
European Union
members and ranks 75th in the Corruption Perceptions Index . Weak law enforcement and overall low capacity of civil service remain as challenges in curbing corruption. However, fighting against corruption has become the focus of the government because of the EU accession, and several anti-corruption programs have been undertaken by different government agencies. Bulgaria (orange) and its largest export partners by share of total exports

Economic activities are fostered by the lowest personal and corporate income tax rates in the EU, and the third-lowest public debt of all member states at 28.7% of GDP
GDP
in 2016. In 2016, GDP
GDP
(PPP ) was estimated at $143.1 billion, with a per capita value of $20,116. Sofia
Sofia
and the surrounding Yugozapaden
Yugozapaden
planning area are the most developed region of the country with a per capita PPS GDP
GDP
of €20,600 ($27,400) in 2014. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is a net receiver of funds from the EU. The absolute amount of received funds was €589 million in 2009.

The labour force is 2.45 million people, of whom 7.1 per cent are employed in agriculture, 35.2 per cent are employed in industry and 57.7 per cent are employed in the services sector. Extraction of metals and minerals, production of chemicals , machinery and vehicle components, petroleum refining and steel are among the major industrial activities. Mining and its related industries employ a total of 120,000 people and generate about five per cent of the country's GDP. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is Europe's sixth-largest coal producer. Local deposits of coal, iron, copper and lead are vital for the manufacturing and energy sectors. Almost all top export items of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
are industrial commodities such as oil products, copper products and pharmaceuticals. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is also a net exporter of agricultural and food products, of which two-thirds go to OECD countries. It is the largest global producer of perfumery essential oils such as lavender and rose oil . Agriculture has declined significantly in the past two decades. Production in 2008 amounted to only 66 per cent of that between 1999 and 2001, while cereal and vegetable yields have dropped by nearly 40 per cent since 1990. Of the services sector, tourism is the most significant contributor to economic growth. In recent years, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
has emerged as a travelling destination with its inexpensive resorts and beaches outside the reach of the tourist industry. Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet
ranked it among its top 10 destinations for 2011. Most of the visitors are British, Romanian, German and Russian. The capital Sofia
Sofia
, the medieval capital Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo
, coastal resorts Golden Sands and Sunny Beach and winter resorts Bansko
Bansko
, Pamporovo and Borovets
Borovets
are some of the locations most visited by tourists.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Main article: Science and technology in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
A supercomputer cabinet at NCSA

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
spends 0.95% of GDP
GDP
on research and development. Chronic underinvestment in research since 1990 forced many scientific professionals to leave the country. As a result, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
scores low in terms of innovation, competitiveness and high-value added exports. Principal areas of research and development are energy, nanotechnology , archaeology and medicine. Trakia motorway
Trakia motorway

Bulgaria's strategic geographic location and well-developed energy sector make it a key European energy centre despite its lack of significant fossil fuel deposits. Nearly 34 percent of its electricity is produced by the nuclear power station at Kozloduy and public opinion strongly supports nuclear energy development. The rapid expansion of alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power stations make Bulgaria
Bulgaria
one of the fastest-growing wind energy producers in the world. The country aims to produce 16 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.

The national road network has a total length of 40,231 kilometres (24,998 mi), of which 39,587 kilometres (24,598 mi) are paved, and recently most major roads have recently been brought to standards. Railroads are a major mode of freight transportation, although highways carry a progressively larger share of freight. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
has 6,238 kilometres (3,876 mi) of railway track and currently a total of 81 kilometres (50 miles) of high-speed lines are in operation. Rail links are available with Romania, Turkey, Greece, and Serbia, and express trains serve direct routes to Kiev
Kiev
, Minsk
Minsk
, Moscow
Moscow
and Saint Petersburg . Sofia
Sofia
and Plovdiv
Plovdiv
are the country's air travel hubs, while Varna
Varna
and Burgas
Burgas
are the principal maritime trade ports. Varna is also scheduled to be the first station on EU territory to receive natural gas through the South Stream pipeline.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Main article: Demographics of Bulgaria

The population of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is 7,364,570 people according to the 2011 national census. The majority of the population, or 72.5 percent, reside in urban areas; approximately one-sixth of the total population is concentrated in Sofia. Bulgarians
Bulgarians
are the main ethnic group and comprise 84.8 percent of the population. Turkish and Roma minorities comprise 8.8 and 4.9 percent, respectively; some 40 smaller minorities comprise 0.7 percent, and 0.8 percent do not self-identify with an ethnic group.

DISTRIBUTION OF LANGUAGES OF BULGARIA (2001)

Bulgarian   84.5%

Turkish   9.6%

Roma (Gypsy)   4.1%

others   0.9%

undeclared   0.9%

LANGUAGE

All ethnic groups speak Bulgarian , either as a first or as a second language. Bulgarian is the only language with official status and native for 85.2 percent of the population. The oldest written Slavic language, Bulgarian is distinguishable from the other languages in this group through certain grammatical peculiarities such as the lack of noun cases and infinitives , and a suffixed definite article .

LITERACY AND EDUCATION

Students at the Technical University of Sofia
Sofia

Government estimates from 2003 put the literacy rate at 98.6 percent, with no significant difference between the sexes. Educational standards have been traditionally high , although still far from European benchmarks and in continuing deterioration for the past decade. Bulgarian students were among the highest-scoring in the world in terms of reading in 2001, performing better than their Canadian and German counterparts; by 2006, scores in reading, math and science had deteriorated. State expenditures for education are far below the European Union
European Union
average. The PISA study of 2015 found 41.5% of pupils in the 9th grade to be functionally illiterate in reading, maths and science. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
ranked 45th out of 72 countries surveyed. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Science partially funds public schools, colleges and universities, sets criteria for textbooks and oversees the publishing process. The State provides free education in primary and secondary public schools. The educational process spans through 12 grades, where grades one through eight are primary and nine through twelve are secondary level. High schools can be technical, vocational, general or specialised in a certain discipline, while higher education consists of a 4-year bachelor degree and a 1-year master's degree. See also: Special
Special
Education Bulgaria
Bulgaria

RELIGION

Main article: Religion in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgarian Orthodox Theophany Crucession

The Constitution of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
defines it as a secular state with guaranteed religious freedom, but designates Orthodoxy as a "traditional" religion. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church gained autocephalous status in 927 AD, and currently has 12 dioceses and over 2,000 priests. More than three-quarters of Bulgarians
Bulgarians
subscribe to Eastern Orthodoxy. Sunni Muslims are the second-largest community and constitute 10 percent of the religious makeup, although a majority of them are not observant and find the use of Islamic veils in schools unacceptable. Less than three percent are affiliated with other religions , 11.8 percent do not self-identify with a religion and 21.8 percent refused to state their beliefs.

HEALTHCARE

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
has a universal healthcare system financed by taxes and contributions. The National Health
Health
Insurance Fund (NHIF) pays a gradually increasing portion of the costs of primary healthcare . Projected healthcare expenditures for 2013 amount to 4.1 percent of GDP. The number of doctors is above the EU average with 181 physicians per 100,000 people, but distribution by fields of practice is uneven, there is a severe shortage of nurses and other medical personnel, and the quality of most medical facilities is poor. Personnel shortages in some fields are so severe that patients resort to seeking treatment in neighboring countries. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
ranks 121st globally by average life expectancy, which stands at 74.5 years for both genders. The primary causes of death are similar to those in other industrialised countries, mainly cardiovascular diseases , neoplasms and respiratory diseases.

POPULATION GROWTH AND BIRTHRATES

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is in a state of demographic crisis. It has had negative population growth since the early 1990s, when the economic collapse caused a long-lasting emigration wave. Some 937,000 to 1,200,000 people—mostly young adults—left the country by 2005. The total fertility rate (TFR) was estimated in 2013 at 1.43 children born/woman, which is below the replacement rate of 2.1. A third of all households consist of only one person and 75.5 percent of families do not have children under the age of 16. Consequently, population growth and birth rates are among the lowest in the world while death rates are among the highest. The majority of children are born to unmarried women (of all births 57.4 percent were outside marriage in 2012).

* v * t * e

Largest cities or towns in Bulgaria 2011 Census

RANK NAME PROVINCE POP. RANK NAME PROVINCE POP.

Sofia
Sofia

Plovdiv
Plovdiv
1 Sofia
Sofia
Sofia-Capital 1,204,685 11 Pernik
Pernik
Pernik
Pernik
80,191

Varna
Varna

Burgas
Burgas

2 Plovdiv
Plovdiv
Plovdiv
Plovdiv
338,153 12 Haskovo Haskovo 76,397

3 Varna
Varna
Varna
Varna
334,870 13 Yambol
Yambol
Yambol
Yambol
74,132

4 Burgas
Burgas
Burgas
Burgas
200,271 14 Pazardzhik
Pazardzhik
Pazardzhik
Pazardzhik
71,979

5 Ruse Ruse 149,642 15 Blagoevgrad
Blagoevgrad
Blagoevgrad
Blagoevgrad
70,881

6 Stara Zagora
Stara Zagora
Stara Zagora
Stara Zagora
138,272 16 Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo
Veliko Tarnovo
68,783

7 Pleven
Pleven
Pleven
Pleven
106,954 17 Vratsa
Vratsa
Vratsa
Vratsa
60,692

8 Sliven Sliven 91,620 18 Gabrovo Gabrovo 58,950

9 Dobrich
Dobrich
Dobrich
Dobrich
91,030 19 Asenovgrad Plovdiv
Plovdiv
50,846

10 Shumen Shumen 80,855 20 Vidin
Vidin
Vidin
Vidin
48,071

CULTURE

Main article: Culture of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Thracian golden wreath in the National Historical Museum Bulgarian folk dancers and musicians in traditional attire Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila Traditional Bulgarian all-male horo danced in the ice-cold river on Epiphany

Nine historical and natural objects have been inscribed in the list of UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Sites : the Madara Rider , the Thracian tombs in Sveshtari and Kazanlak , the Boyana Church , the Rila Monastery , the Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo , Pirin
Pirin
National Park , Sreburna Nature Reserve and the ancient city of Nesebar
Nesebar
. Nestinarstvo , a ritual fire-dance of Thracian origin, is included in the list of UNESCO
UNESCO
Intangible Cultural Heritage . Fire is an essential element of Bulgarian folklore, used to banish evil spirits and diseases. Bulgarian folklore personifies illnesses as witches and has a wide range of creatures, including lamya , samodiva (veela ) and karakondzhul . Some of the customs and rituals against these spirits have survived and are still practised, most notably the kukeri and survakari. Martenitsa
Martenitsa
is also widely celebrated.

Slavic culture
Slavic culture
was centred in both the First and Second Bulgarian Empires during much of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
. The Preslav
Preslav
, Ohrid and Tarnovo literary schools exerted considerable cultural influence over the Eastern Orthodox world. Many languages in Eastern Europe
Europe
and Asia use Cyrillic
Cyrillic
script, which originated in the Preslav
Preslav
Literary School around the 9th century. The medieval advancement in the arts and letters ended with the Ottoman conquest when many masterpieces were destroyed, and artistic activities did not re-emerge until the National Revival in the 19th century. After the Liberation, Bulgarian literature quickly adopted European literary styles such as Romanticism
Romanticism
and Symbolism . Since the beginning of the 20th century, several Bulgarian authors, such as Ivan Vazov , Pencho Slaveykov , Peyo Yavorov , Yordan Radichkov and Tzvetan Todorov
Tzvetan Todorov
have gained prominence. In 1981 Bulgarian-born writer Elias Canetti
Elias Canetti
was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature
.

Bulgarian folk music is by far the most extensive traditional art and has slowly developed throughout the ages as a fusion of Eastern and Western influences. It contains Far Eastern, Oriental, medieval Eastern Orthodox and standard Western European tonalities and modes. The music has a distinctive sound and uses a wide range of traditional instruments, such as gadulka , gaida (bagpipe ), kaval and tupan . One of its most distinguishing features is extended rhythmical time, which has no equivalent in the rest of European music. The State Television Female Vocal Choir is the most famous performing folk ensemble, and received a Grammy Award
Grammy Award
in 1990. Bulgaria's written musical composition can be traced back to the early Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and the works of Yoan Kukuzel
Yoan Kukuzel
(c. 1280–1360). Classical music, opera and ballet are represented by composers Emanuil Manolov , Pancho Vladigerov and Georgi Atanasov and singers Ghena Dimitrova , Boris Hristov and Nikolay Gyaurov . Bulgarian performers have gained popularity in several other genres like progressive rock (FSB ), electropop (Mira Aroyo ) and jazz ( Milcho Leviev ).

The religious visual arts heritage includes frescoes , murals and icons , many produced by the medieval Tarnovo Artistic School . Vladimir Dimitrov , Nikolay Diulgheroff
Nikolay Diulgheroff
and Christo are some of the most famous modern Bulgarian artists. Film industry remains weak: in 2010, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
produced three feature films and two documentaries with public funding. Cultural events are advertised in the largest media outlets, including the Bulgarian National Radio
Bulgarian National Radio
, and daily newspapers Dneven Trud
Dneven Trud
, Dnevnik and 24 Chasa .

While major sections of Bulgaria\'s media are controlled by state entities, including Bulgarian National Television
Bulgarian National Television
, the Bulgarian National Radio , and the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency
Bulgarian Telegraph Agency
, reporting is generally deemed to be unbiased by direct government interference, although there is no specific legislation to maintain this. Written media has no legal restrictions, and a large number of private television and radio stations also exist. Despite this, traditional Bulgarian media outlets are experiencing negative economic and political pressures, and instances of self-censorship have emerged. Meanwhile, internet media is growing in popularity due to its lack of censorship and the diversity of content and opinions it presents.

CUISINE

Bulgarian cuisine is similar to those of other Balkan countries and demonstrates a strong Turkish and Greek influence. Yogurt
Yogurt
, lukanka , banitsa , shopska salad , lyutenitsa and kozunak are among the best-known local foods. Oriental dishes such as moussaka , gyuvech , and baklava are also present. Meat consumption is lower than the European average, given a notable preference for a large variety of salads.

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is also famous for its wines and spirits. Until 1989, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
was the world's second-largest wine exporter. In 2016 it is the world 22nd in wine production. For 2016 Bulgaria
Bulgaria
produced 128m litres of wine, 62m litres expected for export, mainly to Romania, Poland
Poland
and Russia. The 5 most popular grapes used for production of Bulgarian wine
Bulgarian wine
are Mavrud , Rubin, Shiroka Melnishka Losa , Dimiat , Cherven Misket . Rakia is a traditional fruit brandy which was consumed in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
as early as the 14th century.

UNESCO
UNESCO
WORLD HERITAGE

Boyana Church Madara Rider Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak
Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak
Nesebar
Nesebar
Rila Monastery Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari Pirin
Pirin
National Park Srebarna Reserve UNSECO World Heritage cultural sights in Bulgaria : Natural site : Cultural site

Cultural

* Boyana Church (1979) * Madara Rider (1979) * Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo (1979) * Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak
Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak
(1979) * Ancient City of Nesebar
Nesebar
(1983) * Rila Monastery (1983) * Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari (1985)

Natural

* Pirin
Pirin
National Park (1983) * Srebarna Nature Reserve
Srebarna Nature Reserve
(1983)

SPORTS

Main article: Sport in Bulgaria
Bulgaria

Bulgaria
Bulgaria
performs well in sports such as wrestling , weight-lifting , boxing , gymnastics, volleyball , football and tennis . The country fields one of the leading men's volleyball teams, ranked sixth in the world according to the 2013 FIVB rankings. Football is by far the most popular sport. Some famous players are Dimitar Berbatov , former Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur
forward, Georgi Asparuhov , former Levski Sofia
Sofia
forward and Hristo Stoichkov
Hristo Stoichkov
, winner of the Golden Boot and the Golden Ball and the most successful Bulgarian player of all time. Prominent domestic clubs include PFC CSKA Sofia
Sofia
and PFC Levski Sofia
Sofia
. The best performance of the national team at FIFA World Cup finals came in 1994 , when it advanced to the semi-finals by defeating consecutively Greece
Greece
, Argentina
Argentina
, Mexico and Germany
Germany
, finishing fourth. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
has participated in most Olympic competitions since its first appearance at the 1896 games , when it was represented by Charles Champaud
Charles Champaud
. The country has won a total of 218 medals: 52 gold, 86 silver, and 80 bronze, which puts it in 24th place in the all-time ranking .

Stefka Kostadinova is the reigning world record holder in the women's high jump at 2.09 metres (6 feet 10 inches), which she jumped during the 1987 World Championships in Athletics in Rome
Rome
. Her world record is one of the oldest in modern athletics. Altogether Kostadinova set seven world records – three outdoors and four indoors. She also holds the women's world record for having jumped over 2.00 metres (6 feet 7 inches) 197 times.

Yordanka Donkova is a former hurdling athlete , notable for winning an Olympic gold medal and bronze medal as well as 9 medals at European indoor and outdoor championships. Donkova set four 100 m hurdles world records in 1986. Her fifth world record, a time of 12.21 set in 1988, stood until 2016.

Petar Stoychev is a long distance marathon swimmer who set a new swimming world record for crossing the English Channel
English Channel
in 2007.

Maria Gigova and Maria Petrova have each held a record of three world-titles in rhythmic gymnastics .

Kaloyan
Kaloyan
Mahlyanov (Калоян Махлянов), known as Kotoōshū Katsunori
Kotoōshū Katsunori
is a former professional sumo wrestler who became the first European to earn the title ozeki in Japan.

Veselin Topalov became FIDE World Chess Champion
World Chess Champion
by winning the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005 . He lost his title in the World Chess Championship 2006 against Vladimir Kramnik
Vladimir Kramnik
.

The Bulgarian national volleyball team has regularly featured in the Top 10, and has earned silver medals at the 1980 Summer Olympics , the 1970 FIVB Volleyball
Volleyball
Men\'s World Championship and the 1951 European Championship , as well as numerous bronze medals, including at the 2007 World Cup in Japan.

SEE ALSO

* * Outline of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
* * * International rankings of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
* List of twin towns and sister cities in Bulgaria
Bulgaria

FOOTNOTES

* ^ 19 February in the Julian calendar
Julian calendar
used at the time. * ^ 22 September in the Julian calendar
Julian calendar
used at the time.

REFERENCES

* ^ A B NSI Census data 2011 , p. 4. * ^ География на България. Физическа и икономическа география. АИ „Марин Дринов“. 1997. * ^ География на България. „ФорКом“. 2002. ISBN 9544641238 . * ^ Пенин, Румен (2007). Природна география на България. Булвест 2000. p. 18. ISBN 9789541805466 . * ^ NSI Census data 2015 . * ^ A B "Bulgaria". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 15 October 2017. * ^ " Gini coefficient
Gini coefficient
of equivalised disposable income (source: SILC)". Eurostat
Eurostat
Data Explorer. Retrieved 31 March 2016. * ^ " Human Development Report 2015" (PDF). HDRO (Human Development Report Office) United Nations
United Nations
Development Programme . Retrieved 14 December 2015. * ^ Dobrev, Petar. "Езикът на Аспаруховите и Куберовите българи". 1995. (in Bulgarian) * ^ Bakalov, Georgi. Малко известни факти от историята на древните българи. Part 1 ">(PDF). p. 3. * ^ Bowersock, Glen W. ">(PDF). Revista Pontica. 37–38. pp. 9–20. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ Chapman, John (2000). Fragmentation in Archaeology: People, Places, and Broken Objects. Routledge. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-415-15803-9 . * ^ Roberts, Benjamin W.; Thornton, Christopher P. (2009). "Development of metallurgy in Eurasia". Department of Prehistory and Europe, British Museum
British Museum
. p. 1015. Retrieved 8 June 2012. In contrast, the earliest exploitation and working of gold occurs in the Balkans during the mid-fifth millennium BC, several centuries after the earliest known copper smelting. This is demonstrated most spectacularly in the various objects adorning the burials at Varna, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
(Renfrew 1986; Highamet al. 2007). In contrast, the earliest gold objects found in Southwest Asia date only to the beginning of the fourth millennium BC as at Nahal Qanah in Israel (Golden 2009), suggesting that gold exploitation may have been a Southeast European invention, albeit a short-lived one. * ^ Sigfried J. de Laet, ed. (1996). History of Humanity: From the Third Millennium to the Seventh Century BC. UNESCO
UNESCO
/ Routledge. p. 99. ISBN 978-92-3-102811-3 . Retrieved 8 June 2012. The first major gold-working centre was situated at the mouth of the Danube, on the shores of the Black Sea
Black Sea
in Bulgaria
Bulgaria
... * ^ Grande, Lance (2009). Gems and gemstones: Timeless natural beauty of the mineral world. The University of Chicago Press. p. 292. ISBN 978-0-226-30511-0 . Retrieved 20 December 2011. The oldest known gold jewelry in the world is from an archaeological site in Varna Necropolis, Bulgaria, and is over 6,000 years old (radiocarbon dated between 4,600BC and 4,200BC). * ^ "The Gumelnita Culture". Government of France. Retrieved 4 December 2011. The Necropolis at Varna
Varna
is an important site in understanding this culture. * ^ A B C D " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
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United States
Central Command. Archived from the original on 18 October 2011. Retrieved December 2011. Check date values in: access-date= (help ) * ^ A B "Bulgar (people)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 24 May 2012. * ^ Boardman, John; Edwards, I.E.S.; Sollberger, E. (1982). The Cambridge Ancient History – part1: The Prehistory of the Balkans, the Middle East
Middle East
and the Aegean World, Tenth to Eighth Centuries BC. 3. Cambridge University Press. p. 53. ISBN 0521224969 . Yet we cannot identify the Thracians
Thracians
at that remote period, because we do not know for certain whether the Thracian and Illyrian tribes had separated by then. It is safer to speak of Proto- Thracians
Thracians
from whom there developed in the Iron Age... * ^ Kidner; et al. (2013). Making Europe: The Story of the West (2 ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 57. ISBN 978-1111841317 . (...) In addition, the Persians gained Thrace (modern-day Bulgaria) * ^ Thonemann, Peter; Price, Simon (2010). The Birth of Classical Europe: A History from Troy to Augustine. Penguin UK. ISBN 978-0141946863 . Darius extended the eastern and western boundaries of the empire still further, conquering the Indus Valley and much of modern Bulgaria
Bulgaria
(ancient Thrace) * ^ A B Roisman & Worthington 2011 , pp. 135–138, 343–345. * ^ Roisman & Worthington , pp. 135–138, 343–345. * ^ "The Expedition of Cyrus". Retrieved 24 December 2014. * ^ Nagle, D. Brendan (2006). Readings in Greek History: Sources and Interpretations. Oxford University Press. p. 230. ISBN 0-19-517825-4 . However, one of the Thracian tribes, the Odrysians, succeeded in unifying the Thracians
Thracians
and creating a powerful state * ^ Hornblower, Simon (2003). The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Oxford University Press. p. 1515. ISBN 0-19-860641-9 . Shortly afterwards the first King of the Odrysae, Teres attempted to carve an empire out of the territory occupied by the Thracian tribes (Thuc.2.29 and his sovereignty extended as far as the Euxine and the Hellespont) * ^ Ivanov, Lyubomir (2007). ESSENTIAL HISTORY OF BULGARIA IN SEVEN PAGES. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. p. 2. Retrieved 20 December 2011. In particular, in the mid-4th century a group of Goths
Goths
settled in the region of Nikopolis ad Istrum (present Nikyup near Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria), where their leader Bishop Wulfila (Ulfilas) invented the Gothic alphabet and translated the Holy Bible into Gothic to produce the first book written in Germanic language. * ^ Hock, Hans Heinrich; Joseph, Brian D. (1996). Language History, Language Change and Language Relationship: an introduction to historical and comparative linguistics. Walter de Gruyter & Co. p. 49. ISBN 3-11-014784-X . Retrieved 20 December 2011. The oldest extensive text is a Gothic Bible translation produced by the Gothic bishop Wulfilas (meaning 'Little Wolf') in the 4th century * ^ "The monastery in the village of Zlatna Livada – the oldest in Europe" (in Bulgarian). LiterNet. 30 April 2004. Retrieved 30 March 2012. * ^ D. Angelov (1971). "The Formation of the Bulgarian Nation". Наука и изкуство, "Векове". pp. 409–410. * ^ Browning, Robert (1988). Byzantium and Bulgaria. Studia Slavico-Byzantina et Mediaevalia Europensia. I. pp. 32–36. * ^ Trever, Albert Augustus. History of Ancient Civilization. Harcourt, Brace. p. 571. The Thracian interior, however, was never really Romanized or even Hellenized * ^ Zlatarski, Vasil (1938). History of the First Bulgarian Empire. Period of Hunnic-Bulgarian domination (679–852) (in Bulgarian). p. 188. Retrieved 23 May 2012. * ^ Runciman, Steven (1930). A History of the First Bulgarian Empire. G. Bell and Sons. p. 26. * ^ Ivanov, Lyubomir (2007). ESSENTIAL HISTORY OF BULGARIA IN SEVEN PAGES. Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. pp. 2–3. Retrieved 31 July 2012. * ^ "Krum (Bulgar khan)". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 23 December 2011. * ^ "The Spread of Christianity". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 27 July 2014. Although Boris's baptism was into the Eastern church, he subsequently wavered between Rome
Rome
and Constantinople until the latter was persuaded to grant de facto autonomy to Bulgaria
Bulgaria
in church affairs. * ^ Crampton, R.J. (2007). Bulgaria. Oxford University Press. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-19-954158-4 . * ^ "Reign of Simeon I". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 27 July 2014. Bulgaria's conversion had a political dimension, for it contributed both to the growth of central authority and to the merging of Bulgars
Bulgars
and Slavs
Slavs
into a unified Bulgarian people. * ^ Crampton, R.J. (2007). Bulgaria. Oxford University Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-19-954158-4 . No single act did more, in the long run, to weld Christian Slav and Proto-Bulgar into a Bulgarian people than the conversion of 864. * ^ The First Golden Age . * ^ "Reign of Simeon I". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 4 December 2011. Under Simeon's successors Bulgaria
Bulgaria
was beset by internal dissension provoked by the spread of Bogomilism (a dualist religious sect) and by assaults from Magyars, Pechenegs, the Rus, and Byzantines. * ^ Browning, Robert (1975). Byzantium and Bulgaria. Temple Smith. pp. 194–5. ISBN 0-85117-064-1 . * ^ "Reign of Simeon I". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 20 January 2012. * ^ "Samuel". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 20 January 2012. * ^ Scylitzae, Ioannis (1973). Synopsis Historiarum. Corpus Fontium Byzantiae Historiae (Hans Thurn ed.). p. 457. ISBN 978-3-11-002285-8 .

* ^ Pavlov, Plamen (2005). "The plots of \'master Presian the Bulgarian\'". Rebels and adventurers in medieval Bulgaria
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Basil II
freely entered the then capital of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Ochrid. * ^ A B Ostrogorsky, Georg (1969). History of the Byzantine
Byzantine
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Byzantine
heartland in Asia Minor was lost to the Turks during the late 11th century. * ^ "The Golden Horde". Library of Congress
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Greece
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Bulgaria
Is Testing the Ground for Euro Area Accession: EU". euinside.eu. 21 October 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2017. * ^ "Unemployment rate". Eurostat. Retrieved 14 August 2012. * ^ A B "Real GDP
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* ^ "Economist: financial crisis brewed by U.S. market fundamentalism". Xinhua News Agency
Xinhua News Agency
. 12 March 2009. Archived from the original on 23 November 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Looming Recession to Fuel Further Bulgaria\'s Jobless Rate". Novinite. 25 April 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012. * ^ "Inter-company debt – one of Bulgarian economy\'s serious problems". Bulgarian National Radio. 17 June 2010. Archived from the original on 1 November 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2012. * ^ "Business points to a major disproportion in Bulgaria" (in Bulgarian). Dir.bg. 14 January 2013. Retrieved 14 January 2013. * ^ "ITUC Frontlines Report 2012: Section on Bulgaria". Novinite. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2012. * ^ " Corruption Perceptions Index: Transparency International". Transparency International
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. 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2013. * ^ "Snapshot of the Bulgaria
Bulgaria
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. Central Intelligence Agency . Retrieved 17 March 2013. * ^ "Field listing of labor force by occupation". Central Intelligence Agency . 2010. Retrieved 21 March 2013. * ^ " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Automotive Report". Economist Intelligence Unit . 11 March 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. In particular, offset arrangements linked to the contract of Daimler (Germany) to supply vehicles to the Bulgarian armed forces have been boosting the local automotive parts sector. * ^ "Industries Field Listing". Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
. 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Bulgaria: Selling off steel". Oxford Business Group. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ A B "Bulgaria\'s ore exports rise 10% in H1 2011 – industry group". The Sofia
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Echo. 18 August 2011. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Total Primary Coal Production (Thousand Short Tons)". U.S. Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 15 December 2011. * ^ Resource Base . * ^ A B " Bulgaria
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– Economic Summary, UNData, United Nations". United Nations. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Agricultural Policies in non- OECD
OECD
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. 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Bulgarian lavender producers worried about demand drop". China Post. 14 July 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ " Bulgaria
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– Natural conditions, farming traditions and agricultural structures". Food and Agriculture Organization. Archived from the original on 28 March 2008. Retrieved 2 November 2011. * ^ A B "General information to the tourism sector in Bulgaria" (PDF). OECD
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Library. 2007. Retrieved 21 March 2013. * ^ " Bulgaria
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Echo. 15 July 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ " Europe
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. 31 October 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Nights spent by foreigners and arrivals of foreigners in accommodation establishments by country of origin in 2012". National Statistical Institute. 22 February 2013. Archived from the original on 29 May 2013. Retrieved 18 March 2013. * ^ "Bulgarian tourism gets 42M leva boost". The Sofia
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Echo. 20 January 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ " Eurostat
Eurostat
R&D statistics". Eurostat. 1 February 2017. Retrieved 1 February 2017. * ^ Shopov, V. (2007). "The impact of the European scientific area on the 'Brain leaking' problem in the Balkan countries". Nauka (in Bulgarian) (1). * ^ "Country Profile – Bulgaria" (PDF). Innovation Union Competitiveness Report 2011. European Commission
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. 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ " Bulgaria
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ranks bottom in meeting EU\'s Lisbon criteria – World Economic Forum". The Sofia
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Echo. 27 October 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ " Bulgaria
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(in Bulgarian). Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (via the Marin Drinov publishing house). p. 162. ISBN 954-430-994-2 . 16 June 1990: Onboard research on the Mir Space Station under the Interkosmos program begin with the Bulgarian-developed SVET space greenhouse ... * ^ " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
is CERN\'s 20th Member State". CERN
CERN
press office. 18 June 1999. Retrieved 18 March 2013. * ^ "199 български учители посетили CERN". BNews. 15 December 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2013. * ^ "IT Services: Rila Establishes Bulgarian Beachhead in UK". findarticles.com. 24 June 1999. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "ICT Sector Generates 10% of Bulgaria\'s GDP
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– Association". Novinite. 1 December 2011. Retrieved 18 March 2013. * ^ "BAS now has the only supercomputer in the Balkans" (in Bulgarian). Dnevnik. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "IBM Supercomputer Boosts Bulgaria\'s Advance Towards Knowledge-Based Economy". IBM Press Room. 9 September 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ Capital.bg. "БАН купува суперкомпютър за 3.3 млн.лв". capital.bg. * ^ " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
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2006 , p. 14. * ^ "Bulgaria: 2011 Telecommunication Market and Regulatory Developments" (PDF). European Commission. 2011. p. 2. Retrieved 19 March 2013. * ^ " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Opens Tender for Fourth Mobile Operator". Novinite. 3 October 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Energy Hub". Oxford Business Group. 13 October 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "About the plant" (in Bulgarian). AETs Kozloduy EAD. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Country profile: Bulgaria". ENS News (11). 2006. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "EU Energy factsheet about Bulgaria" (PDF). European Commission. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 October 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
set for massive growth in wind power". European Wind Energy Association. 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "AES wind farm kicks off in Bulgaria". PhysOrg. 6 October 2009. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "World rankings by total road length". The World Factbook
The World Factbook
. Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "The trains from Plovdiv
Plovdiv
to Dimitrovgrad now with 160 km/h". Dariknews. Retrieved 1 July 2012. * ^ " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
to Turkey
Turkey
wiring underway". Railway Gazette International. Retrieved 11 May 2012. * ^ "Bozhkov is building the "Maritsa" high-speed rail line". Standart (in Bulgarian). Retrieved 11 May 2012. * ^ "The Plovdiv- Burgas
Burgas
train will travel with 200 km/h" (in Bulgarian). Snews.bg. Retrieved 11 May 2012. * ^ "Trains in Bulgaria". EuRail. Retrieved 2 May 2012. * ^ "South Stream\'s Russian gas for Europe". RIA Novosti
RIA Novosti
. 20 January 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2012. * ^ NSI Census data 2011 , p. 3. * ^ NSI Census data 2011 , p. 7. * ^ NSI Census data 2011 , p. 12. * ^ "Population by mother tongue". NSI. * ^ Paul Robert Magocsi (1999). Encyclopedia of Canada\'s peoples. University of Toronto Press. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * ^ James David Bourchier
James David Bourchier
(1911). " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
– Language". Encyclopædia Britannica 1911. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * ^ A B Library of Congress
Library of Congress
2006 , p. 6. * ^ A B "Education in Bulgaria" (PDF). 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2013. * ^ "International study: 40% of Bulgarian ninth-graders functionally illiterate in science, maths and reading". The Sofia Globe. 2016-12-06. Retrieved 2017-05-21. * ^ "Structure of the Education System in Bulgaria". Ministry of Education, Youth and Science of Bulgaria. Archived from the original on 11 January 2012. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * ^ "The Bulgarian Constitution". Parliament of Bulgaria. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ Kiminas, D. (2009). The Ecumenical Patriarchate. Wildside Press LLC. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-4344-5876-6 . Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ Carvalho, Joaquim (2007). Religion and power in Europe: conflict and convergence. Pisa University Press. p. 257. ISBN 978-88-8492-464-3 . Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Bulgarian Orthodox Church". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ A B NSI Census data 2011 , p. 5. * ^ "Bulgaria\'s Muslims not deeply religious: study". Hürriyet Daily News. Agence France-Presse. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2013. * ^ A B Georgieva, Lidia; Salchev, Petko (2007). " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Health system review" (PDF). Health
Health
Systems in Transition. European observatory on health systems and policies. 9 (1): xvi, 12. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ Library of Congress
Library of Congress
2006 , p. 7. * ^ "Budget 2013 sets 4.1 % of GDP
GDP
for healthcare" (in Bulgarian). Investor. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2013. * ^ " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
has one of the EU\'s highest hospital coefficient" (in Bulgarian). Econ Online Magazine. 17 February 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "The Bulgaria
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Health
and Healthcare". Novinite. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 20 January 2012. * ^ "The Bulgaria
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Health
and Healthcare". Novinite. 7 January 2013. Retrieved 21 February 2013. * ^ "Life expectancy at birth rankings". Central Intelligence Agency . 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2017. * ^ "World Bank: The demographic crisis is Bulgaria\'s most serious problem". Klassa. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2013. * ^ A B "Demographic crisis in Bulgaria
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deepening". Bulgarian National Radio. 12 March 2012. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013. * ^ A B "Will EU Entry Shrink Bulgaria\'s Population Even More?". Deutsche Welle. 26 December 2006. Retrieved 11 April 2016. * ^ Roth, Klaus; Lauth Bacas, Jutta (2004). Migration In, From, and to Southeastern Europe. The British Library. ISBN 9783643108968 . Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "The World Factbook". Cia.gov. Retrieved 25 February 2014. * ^ "Country Comparison :: Population growth rate". Central Intelligence Agency . 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Birth rates by country". Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
. 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2013. * ^ "Death rates by country". Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
. 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2013. * ^ " Eurostat
Eurostat
– Tables, Graphs and Maps Interface (TGM) table". Epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu. 17 October 2013. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014. * ^ http://www.nsi.bg/EPDOCS/Census2011final.pdf * ^ " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
– Profile". UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * ^ MacDermott, Mercia (1998). Bulgarian Folk Customs. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. p. 226. ISBN 1-85302-485-6 . Retrieved 20 December 2011. While dancing round fires and jumping over fires forms part of many Slav customs, dancing on fire does not, and it is therefore likely that nestinarstvo was inherited by the Bulgarians from the Hellenized Thracians
Thracians
who inhabited the land before them. * ^ "Nestinarstvo, messages from the past: the Panagyr of Saints Constantine and Helena in the village of Bulgari". UNESCO. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * ^ MacDermott, Mercia (1998). Bulgarian folk customs. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. pp. 65–70. ISBN 1-85302-485-6 . Retrieved 24 April 2013. * ^ Creed, Gerald W. (2011). Masquerade and Postsocialism: Ritual and Cultural Dispossession in Bulgaria. Indiana University Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-253-22261-9 . * ^ "The Martenitsa
Martenitsa
Story". The Sofia
Sofia
Echo. 29 February 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2012. * ^ Giatzidis, Emil (2002). An Introduction to post-Communist Bulgaria: Political, economic and social transformation. Manchester University Press. p. 11. ISBN 0-7190-6094-X . Retrieved 20 December 2011. Thus, with its early emphasis on Christian Orthodox scholarship, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
became the first major centre of Slavic culture
Slavic culture
* ^ Riha, Thomas (1964). Readings in Russian Civilization. University of Chicago press. p. 214. ISBN 0-226-71853-0 . Retrieved 20 December 2011. And it was mainly from Bulgaria
Bulgaria
that a rich supply of literary monuments was transferred to Kiev
Kiev
and other centres. * ^ McNeill, William Hardy (1963). The Rise of the West. The University of Chicago Press. p. 49. ISBN 0-226-56141-0 . Retrieved 20 December 2011. Accordingly, when Bulgaria
Bulgaria
was converted to Christianity
Christianity
(after 865), bringing massive Slavic-speaking populations within the pale of Christendom, a new literary language, Old Church Slavonic, directly based upon Bulgarian speech, developed for their use. * ^ Ertl, Alan W (2008). Toward understanding Europe: A political précis of continental integration. Universal Publishers, Inc. p. 436. ISBN 1-59942-983-7 . Retrieved 20 December 2011. At the beginning of the 10th century a new alphabet – the Cyrillic alphabet – was developed on the basis of Greek and Glagolitic cursive at the Preslav Literary School. * ^ A B " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
– The arts". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. The early impetus of Bulgarian traditions in the arts was cut short by the Ottoman occupation in the 14th century, and many early masterpieces were destroyed. ... the foundations were laid for later artists such as Vladimir Dimitrov, an extremely gifted painter specializing in the rural scenes of his native country ... At the beginning of the 21st century, the best-known contemporary Bulgarian artist was Christo, an environmental sculptor known for wrapping famous structures * ^ " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
– The arts". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. World classics and modern foreign dramas are typically produced, as well as both modern and traditional Bulgarian plays, including those by Ivan Vazov and poet Peyo Yavorov ... These included poets such as Pencho Slaveykov, Yavorov, and Dimcho Debelyanov ... More recent authors of note include poet Atanas Slavov, Yordan Radichkov, and Blaga Dimitrova. * ^ "French-Bulgarian Theorist Tzvetan Todorov
Tzvetan Todorov
Wins Top Spanish Award". Novinite. 18 June 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ Lorenz, Dagmar C. G. (17 April 2004). "Elias Canetti". Literary Encyclopedia. The Literary Dictionary Company Limited. ISSN 1747-678X . Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ Kremenliev, Boris A. (1952). Bulgarian-Macedonian Folk Music. University of California Press. p. 52. Retrieved 20 December 2011. Bulgaria's scales are numerous, and it may be demonstrated that they are a fusion of Eastern and Western influences. ... first, Oriental scales; second, church modes: the osmoglasie ... third, the conventional scales of Western Europe. ... Among the scales which have comes to the Balkans
Balkans
from Asia, the pentatonic is one of the most widely used in Bulgaria. Whether it came from China
China
or Japan, as Dobri Hristov suggests * ^ "32nd Grammy Awards Winners". Grammy Awards. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * ^ Lang, David Marshall (1976). The Bulgarians: from pagan times to the Ottoman conquest. Westview Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-89158-530-5 . John Kukuzel, the eminent Bulgarian/born reformer of Byzantine
Byzantine
music. * ^ "The 2011/2012 season of the National Opera and Ballet House". Bulgarian National Radio
Bulgarian National Radio
. 25 October 2011. Archived from the original on 23 June 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Obituary: Ghena Dimitrova". The Telegraph. 13 June 2005. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ Forbes, Elizabeth (29 June 1993). "Obituary: Boris Christoff". The Independent. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ Kozinn, Allan (29 June 1993). "Boris Christoff, Bass, Dies at 79; Esteemed for His Boris Godunov". The New York Times
The New York Times
. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Nicolai Ghiaurov, Operatic Bass, Dies at 74". The New York Times. 3 June 2004. Retrieved 13 December 2013. * ^ Grabar, André (1928). La peinture religiouse en Bulgarie. P. Geuthner. p. 95. ASIN: B005ZI4OV8 * ^ "Media Landscape – Bulgaria". European Journalism Centreaccessdate=2 May 2014. * ^ Library of Congress
Library of Congress
Federal Research Division (October 2006). "Country Profile: Bulgaria" (PDF). Library of Congress. pp. 18, 23. Retrieved 4 September 2009. Mass Media: In 2006 Bulgaria's print and broadcast media generally were considered unbiased, although the government dominated broadcasting through the state-owned Bulgarian National Television (BNT) and Bulgarian National Radio
Bulgarian National Radio
(BNR) and print news dissemination through the largest press agency, the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency. Human Rights: In the early 2000s, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
generally has been rated highly on the issue of human rights. However, some exceptions exist. Although the media have a record of unbiased reporting, Bulgaria's lack of specific legislation protecting the media from state interference is a theoretical weakness. * ^ Media Landscape – Bulgaria, European Journalism Centre Archived 22 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ Footprint of Financial Crisis in the Media, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Country Report, Open Society Institute, December 2009 Archived 3 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine
Wayback Machine
. * ^ A B Albala, Ken (2011). Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 61, 62. ISBN 978-0-313-37626-9 . Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bounces Back". Novinite. 7 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012. * ^ " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
ranks 22nd in wine". Novinite.com. 21 October 2016. * ^ " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
wine production 2016". See news. 14 February 2017. * ^ "Wines of Bulgaria". Chicago now. * ^ "Archeological Find Proves Rakia Is Bulgarian Invention". Novinite. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ A B C "Bulgaria- Sport and recreation". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011. In international sports competition, Bulgarians
Bulgarians
have excelled in tennis, wrestling, boxing, and gymnastics, but the country's greatest repute may be in weight-lifting. ... Fans of football (soccer), the most popular sport in Bulgaria, were buoyed by the success of the national team in the 1994 World Cup, when it advanced to the semi-final match under the leadership of forward Hristo Stoichkov. The premier league in Bulgaria has 16 teams, of which four play in Sofia: CSKA, Levski, Slavia, and Lokomotiv. * ^ " FIVB official rankings as per October 7, 2013". International Volleyball
Volleyball
Federation (FIVB). 7 October 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2013. * ^ " Hristo Stoichkov
Hristo Stoichkov
– Bulgarian League Ambassador". Professional Football Against Hunger. Archived from the original on 6 November 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * ^ "Rankings of A Group". BgClubs. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ Ingo Faulhaber. "Best club of 20th century ranking at the official site of the International Federation of Football History and Statistics". Iffhs.de. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * ^ "Athens 1896". Bulgarian Olympic Committee. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * ^ "Bulgaria". Official website of the Olympic movement. Retrieved 4 December 2011.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

* "National Statistical Institute of Bulgaria" (in Bulgarian). National Statistical Institute of Bulgaria. 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2017. * Chary, Frederick B. The History of Bulgaria (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations) (2011) excerpt and text search * Crampton, R. J. A Concise History of Bulgaria (2005). Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-61637-9 . * Bell, John D., ed. (1998). Bulgaria
Bulgaria
in Transition: Politics, Economics, Society, and Culture after Communism. Westview. ISBN 978-0-8133-9010-9 * Ghodsee, Kristen R. (2011) Lost in Transition: Ethnographies of Everyday Life After Communism. Duke University Press. * Ghodsee, Kristen R. (2010) Muslim Lives in Eastern Europe: Gender, Ethnicity and the Transformation of Islam in Postsocialist Bulgaria. Princeton University Press. * Ghodsee, Kristen R. (2005) The Red Riviera: Gender, Tourism and Postsocialism on the Black Sea. Duke University Press. * "Country Profile: Bulgaria" (PDF). Library of Congress
Library of Congress
Country Studies . Library of Congress. 2006. Retrieved 1 April 2016.

* Curtis, Glenn E.; Mitova, Pamela; Marsteller, William; Soper, Karl Wheeler (1993) . "Country Study: Bulgaria". Library of Congress Country Studies . Library of Congress
Library of Congress
. Retrieved 4 December 2011.

* "Historical Setting". Chapter 1. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "The First Golden Age". Chapter 1. Retrieved 13 October 2012. * "The Final Move to Independence". The Bulgarian Independence Movement. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "San Stefano, Berlin, and Independence". The Bulgarian Independence Movement. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * " Bulgaria
Bulgaria
in World War II: The Passive Alliance". World War II. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "Wartime Crisis". World War II. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "After Stalin". Communist Consolidation. Retrieved 24 April 2012. * "Domestic Policy and Its Results". Communist Consolidation. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "Foreign Affairs in the 1960s and 1970s". The Zhivkov Era. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "The Political Atmosphere in the 1970s". The Zhivkov Era. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "Topography". The Society and its Environment. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "Climate". The Society and its Environment. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "The Economy". Chapter 3. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "Resource Base". The Economy. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "Government and Politics". Chapter 4. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "Arms Sales". National Security. Retrieved 4 December 2011. * "Military Personnel". National Security. Retrieved 20 December 2011. * Roisman, Joseph; Worthington, Ian (2011). A Companion to Ancient Macedonia. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-14-4435-163-7 .

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