|Welcome to BULGARIA|
BULGARIA in pictures|
The "Land of Roses", Bulgaria, is a small country of ancient culture, scenic beauty and friendly people. For centuries, the roads passing through its territory have been connecting Europe to the Mediterranean, Asia and Africa. Bulgaria's rich cultural heritage was influenced by Thracians, Greeks, and Romans, traces of which could be found throughout its present day territory. The country's breathtaking natural beauty, unique churches, charming rustic villages and enduring folklore are deeply moving and present a truly unforgettable experience to the visitor.
For years Bulgaria has been a favorite holiday destination for Eastern Europeans, but it was only recently discovered as such by the rest of the world. Not long ago it was voted No. 4 tourist destination worldwide by The Washington Post. The number of UK tourists visiting Bulgaria has also increased significantly during the first half of 2005.
A spokesman for Thomson Holidays UK commented recently that "Bulgaria's biggest selling points are the great beaches and sunny climate combined with attractions including wine tasting, aqua parks, ancient monuments, nature parks, music and flower festivals." He went on: "It's also really cheap when you get there - a pint of beer is 50p, a meal for two can be had for under £5, and a decent bottle of wine for around £2. The holidays are considerably cheaper than the equivalent in Spanish, Greek or Portuguese resorts."
The political progress and the economical growth of Bulgaria have led to the acceptance of the country in NATO in 2004 and its full EU membership is scheduled for 2007. International observers consider Bulgaria to be "a center of stability on the Balkans" and point it out as an example of safe, stable and liberal country, offering excellent investment opportunities.
Situated in Southeastern Europe, Bulgaria occupies the northeastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. Its territory is 110,993 sq. km. and it boasts one of the longest coastlines in Europe: an extensive 378 km of beautiful sandy beaches. To the north, most of the border with Romania passes along the Danube. Bulgaria also borders Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Turkey to the south-east, and Greece to the south.
By plain: Bulgaria is only 3 hours away from the UK. Most major airlines, as well as some charters, fly to the capital Sofia. It is also possible to fly directly to the seaside towns of Varna and Bourgas.
By car: enter through any one of the many border checkpoints. Foreign driving licenses are valid on Bulgarian territory. Car insurance is compulsory and if not previously arranged, it could be purchased on the Bulgarian border.
By train: The main European railway routes pass through Bulgaria. International trains link Sofia with many European capital cities and the domestic rail network ensures access to all large settlements.
Rugged snow-capped peaks and soft green slopes, cool forests carrying the aroma of herbs and wild fruit, quick-flowing rivers and crystal-clear blue lakes, mineral springs and nature reserves, rare plants and game, large resorts and small picturesque villages with living traditions and folklore - every Bulgarian landscape has its own characteristic appearance and fascination.
Bulgaria boasts the highest and largest unspoiled mountain ranges in Southeast Europe, harboring rich plant life and home to rare species of birds. Occupying almost half of the country's territory, they offer stunning views, are easily accessible, and are a prime destination for both winter and summer tourist activities.
The Black Sea Coast is well known for its clean, white sanded beaches, warm seas, and temperatures that average 80F (26C) during the summer. Its lively resorts are among the trendiest in today's Europe.
The predominant climate in Bulgaria is moderate and transitional continental with plenty of sunlight per year. There are four clearly marked seasons: spring is warm and sunny, summer is dry and balmy, autumn is hot and full of color, and winter is moderately cold, with snowfalls. The average summer temperatures rarely exceed 30°C. Average winter temperature is around O°C.
Population - 7,824 million inhabitants (2003)
Bulgarians are friendly and often recognized as extremely open to foreigners. They possess the typical Eastern hospitability and are closer to one another than many Western European people.
Capital: Sofia (1.2 m. population)
Nestled at the foot of the beautiful Vitosha Mountain, Sofia is the largest Bulgarian city and the second oldest capital city in Europe. It boasts a lively atmosphere, a remarkable architectural style and numerous museums, theatres, art galleries and churches. It also is the administrative, cultural, and industrial centre of the country, increasingly popular as an outsourcing location or headquarters for a number of international companies.
86.6% of the population are Orthodox Christians, 12% are Muslims, 2% - other. The Bulgarian Church is autonomous and headed by a Patriarch.
The official language is Bulgarian and the official alphabet is Cyrillic. To facilitate tourists, road and direction signs in populated areas, resorts, railway stations, airports and along the main motorways are also spelled in Roman letters. English, German, French, Russian and other languages are spoken in the country.