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..:. Preliminary Info
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BULGARIA

     You are always welcome to our country. Hereby is selected some important information concerning your visit to Bulgaria so it would be as pleasant and problem-free as possible.  
   
Advantages  
  • Over 1300 years of history. Beautiful nature and friendly people;
  • Well-developed and functioning multi-ethnical model with no ethnical problems;
  • Centre of stability on the Balkans;
  • Strategic geographic and cross-cultural location of the country;
  • Stable financial system;
         
 

Currency unit is the Bulgarian lev (BGL 1 = EUR 0,511). Time zone - (GMT+2:00).

 
  About Bulgaria Bulgarian News Bulgarian Telegraph Agency  
  www.bulgaria2net.com www.novinite.com www.bta.bg/site/en/indexe.shtml  
         
   
Country  

     Bulgaria lies in the southeastern part of Central Europe in the heart of the Balkan Peninsula and is one of the most ancient states in Europe. The population is almost 8 million citizens. The territory of the country totals 111, 000 sq km. To the south Bulgaria borders Turkey and Greece and to the west Serbia and Macedonia. The River Danube is the natural frontier with Romania on the north and the Black Sea forms Bulgaria's east border. The climate is moderate continental. Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic. Structure of the religious communities: Bulgarian Orthodox 83.5%, Muslim 13%, Roman Catholic 1%, Uniate Catholic 0.2%, Jewish 0.8%, Protestant, Gregorian-Armenian and other 1 %.

   
History  

     Until recently, the Thracians were considered to be the old­est population inhabiting the Bulgarian lands. However, the discovery of the unique necropolis near the lakes of Varna, dating back to the 5th Millennium BC, cast a new light on that issue and brought forward new hypotheses. Over 3000 golden items found there gave reasons to a number of scholars to believe that the first European civilization origi­nated on the shores of Varna lakes.

     The Thracian Tomb Temple at Starosel, 40 miles south of Plovdiv, dates back to the 4th or 5th century BC.

     At a later stage, the Thracian tribes became the predomi­nant population in the Bulgarian lands.

     In the 1st century AD the lands inhabited by the Thracians were included in the boundaries of the Roman Empire.

     In the year 681, Khan Asparukh moved the state centre of the Bulgarians southwards of the Danube and laid the foun­dations of the present Bulgarian State. Founded as an alliance of the Bulgarians and the Slavonic tribes inhabiting those territories, Bulgaria experienced times of glory and dramatic events. In the centuries following the 7th c., the Bulgarian State expanded its territory and established itself as a leading power in Europe. Christianity was adopted as official religion in Bulgaria as early as the 9th century, and the Bulgarian alphabet was also created at that time. About 886, Prince Boris I accom­modated the disciples of Cyril and Methodius , the creators of the Slavonic-Bulgarian letters, at St. Panteleimon's Monastery built upon his orders near Preslav. Thus the first Old-Bulgarian School of literature, known as the Pliska-Preslav School, was established. Its first objectives includ­ed preparations for the introduction of the Slavonic-Bulgarian script, transcripts of the major ecclesiastical books translated by Cyril and Methodius, and the composition of the most needed original theological works. Cyril and Methodius' disciples played a crucial part in disseminating the Slavonic alphabet in all Slavonic countries. The immediate result was the introduction of ser­mon preaching in Slavonic-Bulgarian. The fact that church literature was read in the popula­tion's native language made Christian religion more accessible and understandable to ordi­nary people.
In 1018, after long lasting wars, Byzantium conquered Bulgaria. As early as the first years of Byzantine rule the Bulgarians began their struggle for liberation. In 1186 the uprising led by the brothers boyars Asen and Petar overthrew the power of Byzantium. As a result the Second Bulgarian Kingdom was established, with Tarnovo as the capital city.

     The power of Bulgaria was restored under the rule of their youngest brother Tsar Kaloyan (1197-1207), and Tsar Ivan Asen II (1218-1241). The Second Bulgarian Kingdom reached its highest efflorescence establishing political hegemony in South-East Europe, expanding its borders, pushing forward economic and cultural development. After 1300 cultural life in Bulgaria marked a new uplift. The literary and artistic school of Tarnovo carried on the tradi­tions in the Bulgarian culture - evidenced in the mural paintings in the Boyana Church, the churches in Tarnovo, etc.

     In the beginning of the 14th century, Bulgaria was conquered by the Turkish invaders and became part of the Ottoman Empire. The Bulgarian Renaissance began in the 18th century as a process aimed at obtaining economic and spiritual independence. The centuries of yoke ended on 3 March 1878 after the end of the Russian-Turkish war. Bulgaria reappeared on the map of Europe, but the Bulgarian State did not include the whole Bulgarian ethnos. As a result long years of endeavours were needed to reunite the nation.

     On 6 September 1885 the Bulgarians managed to proclaim through their own efforts the Reunification of two parts of their fatherland - Northern and Southern Bulgaria. Years of vigorous economic development followed, and in the beginning of the 20th century the Bulgarian Kingdom became a leading country on the Balkans. During the period of 1912-1919 Bulgaria waged unsuccessful wars for national integration.

     After the end of World War II Bulgaria joined the Eastern Block countries. Since 1989 it has been regarded as one of the new Eastern European democracies. Bulgaria is already a full member of NATO and expects to join EU in 2007.



















   
Culture  

     Evidence of the life and craftsmanship of theThracians was produced by the archaeological excavations and finds in Plovdiv, Starosel, Varna, etc. Numerous votive tablets with the figure of the Thracian Horseman , as well as funeral masks, chain armours, chariots, utensils and decorations are found there. The Gold Treasure of Panagyurishte , the Gold Treasure of Valchitran and the Silver Treasure of Lukovit are among the most remarkable finds. The Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak is unique with its frescos.

     Over 20 settlements have been proclaimed as national architectural and historical sites. The most valuable cultural monuments are under the protection of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.

     The finds at the one-time settlements of Serdika (Sofia) and Philipopolis (Plovdiv) bear witness of the Roman times . Ruins of the ancient Greek colonies along the Bulgarian Black Sea coast are also preserved. They were founded in the 8th - 6th century BC, e.g. Odessos (Varna), Messembria (Nesebar), Apolonia (Sozopol).

     The relics of the three ancient Bulgarian capitals - Pliska, Veliki Preslav and Veliko Tarnovo - are well-known land­marks. The architectural complexes in the towns of Hisar and Vidin, Asen's Fortress near Plovdiv, the Church of Boyana near Sofia witness the period of the Bulgarian Middle Ages .

     On display in the Bulgarian museums are invaluable histor­ical finds, such as household articles, works of arts and crafts, jewellery, gold and silver treasures. About 8, 000 houses and buildings from the epoch of the Bulgarian Renaissance have been preserved in the country along with thousands of frescos, icons, works of the woodcarving art, etc.

     Other well-known monasteries are those of Bachkovo, Troyan, Dragalevtsi, Rozhen, and the monasteries in the vicinity of Veliko Tarnovo. The monasteries and the old Bulgarian churches have preserved unique icons, altars, frescos, invaluable relics, ancient manuscripts and works of art. Bulgaria is famous for its rich and unique folklore her­itage.

     Bulgarian folk music, folk songs and dances are well known in different parts of the world. Furthermore, the Bulgarian folk song "Outlaw Delyo" is one of the messages of mankind, sent flying to the outer space in search of alien civilizations. Bulgaria is home to many talented singers, musicians, composers, artists, writers and actors. The per­formances are acclaimed both nationally and international­ly. Annually staged international festivals with the participa­tion of prominent foreign performers also enhance the artis­tic life.













   Bulgaria, Plovdiv, FMI © BOI2004 WebTeam