Bulgaria, Geography, General Info
Geographic information about Bulgaria
Bulgaria is located in Southeastern Europe; the country occupies the north-eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula.
To the North, via the Danube River, it borders on Romania, to the West – on Serbia and Montenegro and on the Republic of Macedonia. To the South its neighbors are Greece and Turkey. To the East Bulgaria touches the Black Sea, which links it also to Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia.
Surface: 110 912 sq. km (43 000 sq. miles).
Population: 7.93 million (2001census). But for my own opinion now Bulgarians are not more than 6 million.
Official name: Republic of Bulgaria.
Government Type: Parliamentary democracy.
Capital city: Sofia (1.2 million inhabitants). Here I think they are maybe 1.5 inhabitants.
Official Language: Bulgarian, alphabet – Cyrillic.
In 855 A.D. the missionary brothers Cyril & Methodius developed the first Bulgarian Alphabet (Glagolic) which was said to more accurately reflect the sounds of the Bulgarian language (the Greek alphabet had been used till then).
Religion: East Orthodox Christians (82.7 %), Muslims (12.1 %), Catholics (0.6 %), Protestants (0.5 %), Others (4.1 %).
Time zone: GMT (London) + 2 hours.
Bulgaria possesses a variety of natural forms, located in the range of 0 and 2925 m attitude. The Bulgarian Black Sea coastline is 378 km (240 miles) long. 30 % of the territory of the country is mountainous. The mountains: The Balkans – locally know as Stara Planina run out centrally across the country; the Rila with Musala – the highest peak of the Region; Pirin and Rhodope ranges with their charming mountain/ski resorts and unspoiled national parks; there are also a few other small mountains like Sredna Gora, Stranja, Sakar and etc. Bulgaria can also boast the hottest mineral spring in Europe: Sapareva Banya (102° C) at the foot of Rila Mountain. Overall the country is blessed with approximately 500 mineral springs, many thermal with a vast range of healing properties.
Flora and Fauna:
Numerous plant and animal species are to be found in the various regions of Bulgaria. There are 3 national parks, 9 natural parks and 16 bio-reserves. The Pirin National Park and the Srebarna Biosphere-Reserve are on UNESCO's World Heritage List.
Bulgaria's land is fertile, producing a large variety of crops such as wheat, corn, barley, tobacco, potatoes, tomatoes and cucumbers etc. The central plains of Bulgaria are home to the famous Valley of the Roses which not only produces high quality "attar" much coveted by global markets but the festival associated with the rose petal harvest is a major tourist attraction in June.
Bulgaria's climate is temperate continental with some Mediterranean influence. There are four distinct seasons and on the whole the weather is easily and accurately predicted. Summer is warm, autumn – long and sunny, while winter in the mountains – with thick snow. Spring in Bulgaria tends to be the most unpredictable of all seasons with the possibility of snowfall above 1000 meters as late as mid-April. On the whole March and April are great months for skiing if there has been good snow cover. The weather in the mountains is predominantly sunny, whereas the towns may be overcast or foggy. May is a little more fickle. All too often in recent years there has been a stark transition from cold and wet weather in May to heat waves in June.
The Bulgarian monetary unit is the Bulgarian Lev (BGL). 1 Lev = 100 stotinki. Presently coins in circulation are of nominal values 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 stotinki and 1 lev. The banknotes are: 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Leva.