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The Republic of Bulgaria (officially: Republika
Balgarija) is located on the eastern half of the Balkan
Peninsula in Southeast Europe. With a land area of
110,994 km², the country is about the size of Bavaria
and Baden-W®Ļrttemberg combined. Immediate neighbors are
Romania in the north ,Serbia and Macedonia in the west,
Greece and Turkey in the south, and Bulgaria borders the
Black Sea in the east.
The country is mostly mountainous and only has
lowlands in the north and southeast. There are four
Firstly, the Thracian mountain range in the south,
which is made up of the Vitosha, Pirin and Rila
mountains and the Rhodopes and is up to 3,000 m high.
With the Musala (2 925 m), which is located about 60 km
southeast of the capital Sofia in the Rhodope Mountains,
the mountain range has the highest mountain in Bulgaria.
The Central Bulgarian Basin (also known as the
Thracian Lowlands), in which the cities of Sofia and
Plovdiv are located, is also worth mentioning.
The third and fourth major landscape are the Balkan
Mountains and the North Bulgarian Platte. The Balkans
have mountains up to a height of 2,100 m and, from west
to east, are divided into the western, central and
eastern Balkans, which in Kamp Emine extend to the coast
of the Black Sea. The north Bulgarian plate extends from
the mountain ranges of the Balkans in the center of the
country as the north Bulgarian Danube hill country to
the Danube on the northern border with Romania.
With the exception of the Danube, Bulgaria has
relatively short rivers. The main ones are Maritza,
Iskur, Struma and Arda. Half of the rivers flow into the
Black Sea, the other half into the Mediterranean.
Numerous lakes are located on the coast and in the
southern mountain ranges. A specialty are the
approximately 500 mineral springs that arise in the
Dry and hot summers alternate with cold, sometimes
cool, rainy winters. Although the Balkan Peninsula
borders the sea, the country is largely influenced by
the continental climate. The annual rainfall is
correspondingly low, which does not reach more than
approx. 650 mm per year even in the more fertile growing
areas, which makes additional irrigation of the
cultivated areas necessary. In Sofia in the west the
rainfall is 640 mm, in Varna on the Black Sea 475 mm.
Temperatures in Sofia average -2 °„ C in January, 21 °„ C
in July, and in Varna it is milder in winter due to the
influence of the sea. An average of 2.5 °„ C in January
and 24.4 °„ C in July.
Flora and fauna
The naturally growing flora of Bulgaria can be
divided into Mediterranean species that grow near the
sea and vegetation that grows at higher altitudes in the
mountains. Due to the intensive human use, the original
vegetation in the main settlement areas has been greatly
reduced. Nevertheless, the country has a high
biodiversity in flora and fauna, which is due to the
fact that the country was not covered by glaciers in the
ice age, but was a retreat for numerous species. There
are pine, spruce and fir forests in the higher mountain
regions, the lowlands are covered with deciduous oak and
maple. Olive trees and holm oaks can be found on the
The wild animals have largely withdrawn to the
sparsely populated mountain regions. For example,
wolves, brown bears and jackals still live here. Special
features of the Bulgarian animal world are imperial
eagles, Caspian turtles and some rare bat species.
From an ethnic point of view, the Bulgarian
population is very homogeneous: 83% are Bulgarians. The
largest minority are the Turks with 9.5%. These live
mainly in the northeast and east in the region of the
Rhodope Mountains. The Roma, 4.7%, Russians, Armenians,
Romanians and Macedonians represent further minorities.
The majority of the population lives in the cities of
the country. Of the total of 7.7 million Bulgarians,
around 1.2 million live in Sofia (agglomeration), the
country's capital. Other important cities include
Plovdiv (380,000 residents) on the Maritza River and
Varna (360,000) on the Black Sea.
Religious freedom has existed in Bulgaria since 1990,
previously over 60% of the population was considered to
be non-denominational. Today, around 86% of Bulgarians
who profess a religion are Orthodox Christians, 13% are
Muslims and 1.2% are Catholics. The official language is
Bulgarian, a South Slavic language that is spoken in
parts of Greece, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine in
addition to Bulgaria. The written language is based on
the Cyrillic alphabet; 98.5% of the population control
them. According to COUNTRYAAH,
the average life expectancy is 73 years.
Population growth has been negative for several years
due to the low birth rate and high emigration rate.
Bulgaria is, according to the 1991 constitution, a
parliamentary democracy with a multi-party system. In
direct election, the head of state, who is also the
commander-in-chief of the armed forces, is elected for
five years (since January 2012, Rossen Plewneliew). The
head of state has a suspensive right of veto over
parliamentary laws. The Prime Minister (since May 2013
Plamen Orescharski) leads the government and is
responsible to the Parliament. A legislative assembly is
made up of a people's assembly with 240 deputies elected
for four years.
Bulgaria is a central state, which is divided into 28
Bulgaria is the poorest member country of the
European Union. Corruption and involvement with
organized crime, a lack of competition orientation and a
lack of demand as well as the cumbersome bureaucracy
have a negative impact.
The main economic sectors in Bulgaria are energy
production, food and beverage, metal industry,
mechanical engineering, mining, software development.
Agriculture produces fruits and vegetables, tobacco,
wine, cereals, sunflowers and sugar beets.
The most important export goods are iron and steel,
petroleum, textile products and machines (main
customers: Turkey, Germany, Italy). Petroleum, chemical
products and raw materials are mainly imported from
Russia, Germany and Italy.
Tourism is an important industry. The thermal baths
and seaside resorts are significant sources of income
for foreign exchange.
Bulgaria has a well-developed road and rail network.
The main seaports are Varna and Burgas. There are
international airports in Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and
In 2001 Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Serbia
and Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia and Romania agreed a
free trade area with effect from 2003. In 2008 Bulgaria
agreed closer cooperation with Russia in the energy
The currency is the Bulgarian lev (= 100 stotinki).