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Bulgaria is divided into 36 regions according to their major characteristics.
The regions of Southern Black Sea coast, Bourgas, Varna and Northern Black Sea coast offer excellent conditions for sea tourism and practicing water sports.
The opportunities for winter vacations and winter sports are great in Central Rhodopes, Pirin, Rila, Gabrovo region.
Country-, mountain- and eco tourism are developed in the mountains. Bulgaria is rich in cultural and archeological sights and offers opportunities for cultural tourism all over its territory.
The abundance of curative mineral springs in the country is concentrated in the regions of Central Rhodopes, Sredna gora, Vratsa Balkan, Varna Black Sea coast and Pirin.
Each region has unique culture and traditions, but they are all combined by the warm Bulgarian hospitality - an irresistible invitation to visit them!

Bulgaria at a glance

Area: 110,994 sq km (42,855 sq miles).
Population: 7,973,671 (2001).
Population Density: 71.8 per sq km.
Capital: Sofia - population: 1,173,811 (2001).
Geography: Bulgaria is situated in Eastern Europe and bounded to the north by the River Danube and Romania, to the east by the Black Sea, to the south by Turkey and Greece and to the west by Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The Balkan Mountains cross the country reaching to the edge of the Black Sea and its golden beaches. The land is heavily cultivated, covered with forests and crossed by rivers. Although Bulgaria lies in the very southeast corner of Europe the climate is never extreme in summer, even on the red-earthed plains of Southern Thrace. The Black Sea resorts have some of the largest beaches in Europe and offer sunbathing from May until October, while in winter heavy falls of snow are virtually guaranteed in the mountain skiing resorts.
Government: Democratic Republic since 1990. Head of State: President Georgi Sedefchov Parvanov since 2002. Head of Government: Prime Minister Simeon Borisov Sakskoburggotski since 2001.
Language: Bulgarian is the official language and the Cyrillic alphabet is used. Turkish and Macedonian are amongst the minority languages. English, German, French and Russian are spoken in major tourist resorts and hotels.
Religion: The majority of the population are Christian, the main denomination being Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Eastern Orthodox Chrisitianity is considered to be the traditional religion in Bulgaria. There is also a significant Muslim minority (9 per cent) and small Roman Catholic and Jewish communities.
Time: GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs are two-pin.
Telephone: IDD is available to main cities. Country code: 359. Outgoing international code: 00. Calls from some parts of the country must be placed through the international operator. There are many public telephones in the main towns. The national network of telecommunications is operated, for the present, by Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC) (website: http://www.btc.bg/).
Mobile telephone: GSM 900/1800, with good to patchy coverage in most urban centres. Network operators include MobilTEL (website: http://www.mobiltel.bg/) and GloBul (website: http://www.globul.bg/).
Fax: Facilities are available at BTA (Bulgarina Telegraph Agency) offices and most post offices.
Internet: The main ISPs are Geo Enterprise (website: http://www.geobiz.com/) and bol.bg (website: http://www.bol.bg/). There are Internet cafes and centres in Sofia and Plovdiv.
Telegram: International services are available.
Post: Airmail to Western Europe takes from 4 days to 2 weeks. The General Post Office in Sofia, at Four Gurko Street, is open 24 hours. Post office opening hours are usually Mon-Fri 0830-1730.
Press: The weekly newspaper, Sofia News, is available in English, as are two business publications Pari (money) and Capital. Both of these are published weekly and are available in print or Internet versions. The most popular dailies include Demokratsiya, Duma, Trud and 24 Chasa (24 Hours).
Radio: BBC World Service (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America (website: http://www.voa.gov/) can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

Bulgarian History
The Bulgarian lands are ancient crossroads. They were populated from remote antiquity and remember many ancient civilizations. The state of Bulgaria has 1300 years old history and according to the statistics it is ranked third (after Greece and Italy) for the number of its archaeological monuments.

The earliest inhabitants of the present Bulgarian lands were the Thracians.
Ancient Greek historian Herodotus describes the Thracians as the second biggest tribe in the Ancient world, after the Indians. The most famous Thracians were Spartacus and Orpheus.

Spartacus was born on the territory of present-day town of Sandanski (south-western Bulgaria) and as an adolescent was sold into slavery in ancient Rome. Later he became the legendary gladiator that led the biggest slave uprising in the Antiquity.

Orpheus is known for his incredible talent as a musician and singer. He was born near the present village of Guella in the Rhodope mountain a little before the Trojan war. The legend tells that he was the greatest singer of all time and even the wild animals stopped to listen to his music. Also he took part in the quest of the Argonauts together with Jason and Heracles.

The Bulgarians were the basic ethnic component in the structure of the Mediaeval Bulgarian State. Their original home land was in Central Asia, in the mountainous region of Pamir. As a highly developed civilization they had culturally dominated the territories of central Asia for a long time. In the middle of the 7th century Khan Asparuh united the ancient Thracian nation and the Slavic tribes and founded the mighty Bulgarian Kingdom on the crossroad with Asia and Africa.

Here are some highlights from Bulgarian plentiful heritage:

1. Bulgaria has a 1322 years of history, since 681 A.D.
2. Bulgaria has harbored and developed culture in 2 alphabets - the Cyrillic (9th century) and the Glagolitic (862), courtesy of Saints Cyril & Methodius (Cyrillic is the basis of most languages spoken in Eastern Europe today).
3. Bulgaria is the first Slavic nations that adopted Christianity.
4. Bulgaria was once one of the 3 biggest empires in Europe among the Frankish, and the Byzantine (it spanned between the Mediterranean, the Black, and the White Seas).
5. Bulgaria preserved its ethnic identity, religion, and culture after 200 years Byzantine and 500 years Turkish yokes!
6. Bulgaria, in its modern history never lost a battle and never lost a flag, captured by its enemies' armies.
7. Bulgaria in its modern history saved the lives of its 50,000-strong Jewish population, despite ill-fated and ill-judged alliance with Nazi Germany!
8. Bulgaria’s “Izlel e Delio Haidutin” folk song was sent in deep space on the board of the US Space Probe -Voyager I as part of a collection of our Civilization's finest cultural artifacts - a message to an alien intelligence!
9. Bulgaria gave birth to numerous scientists, artists, and athletes (among whom is John Atanasoff –the inventor of the computer).

Climate in Bulgaria

You can enjoy FOUR LOVELY AND TENDER SEASONS in Bulgaria. Beautiful blooming spring, dry and hot summer, long and pleasant autumn, and mild winter with lots of opportunity for skiing. Always lit by the sun Bulgaria has between 2200 and 2500 hours of sunlight per year. Average temperature (April - September): + 23 degrees C. The average yearly temperature is 14.7 degrees C. The climate is exceptionally favourable for growing vines, fruits and vegetables, and oil yielding rose for which Bulgaria has been renowned in Europe for centuries.

The climate in Northern Bulgaria is moderate continental, while the climate in Southern Bulgaria is intermediate continental tending to Mediterranean. The climate in the regions with an altitude of 1900-2000 m above sea level is mountainous and along the Black Sea coast it is maritime.

Political system in Bulgaria

Political system: According to the Constitution of Bulgaria, adopted by the Great National Assembly on July 13, 1991, Bulgaria is a parliamentary democratic republic in which the sovereign power belongs to the people who exercise it through their representative bodies, elected by direct and secret ballot. Every Bulgarian citizen over the age of 18 has the right to elect or to be elected.

The National Assembly, elected for a period of four years, is the supreme body of state power. The National Assembly enacts, amends and rescinds the laws, appoints and dismisses the Government and the Directors of the Bulgarian National Bank, draws up the state budget, adopts the resolutions for holding referenda, constitutes, transforms and abolishes ministries.

Bulgarian nature

Bulgaria sits at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, right in the belly of the Balkans. Any journey of length showcases the country's amazing variety of landforms.

Bulgaria simply resembles a continent in miniature because of its very varied relief and miraculous working of nature where measure is paramount. The country with a 1300 years old history lies in the North-eastern part of Balkan Peninsula and during the centuries has been an important crossroad between Europe and Asia.

Called the sleeping beauty of the Balkans by New York Times magazine, Bulgaria has four beautiful and mild seasons and a gorgeous nature.

Eye-catching mountain lakes, sunny beaches, gorgeous rose valleys, curative hot springs and deep chilly caves coexist in harmony. Bulgaria has a wide outlet on the Black Sea and river Danube and borders with Greece, Serbia, Romania, Turkey and Macedonia. The country territory is 111 000 square kilometers - 520 kilometers in length and 330 kilometers in width.

Hills and mountains are the predominant topographic features. As you move south of the Danube River you can count more than one hundred valleys before to reach the Valley of Roses. mountains take almost a quarter of the country's territory and largely determine its relief. Many caves some of them 3,5 million years old, gorgeous peaks and lakes, ancient Thracian tombs and temples land attraction to the mountains.

Bulgarian Black sea coast
The Bulgarian Black sea coast offers a lot of picturesque spots for traveling and spending a nice holiday. The city of Varna is the biggest city at the Bulgarian Black sea coast, situated at the Bay of Varna and offers unlimited number of accommodation facilities. The city is surrounded by lots of gardens, vineyards and deciduous groves. museums, the Cathedral of the Holly Mother, the Dolphin show, the Aquarium deserve special attention.

Second district centre is the town of Bourgas, situated in the farthest western part of Bourgas Bay. The town has many hotels of different categories, many private lodgings and interesting landmarks.

The older resort on the Bulgarian Black sea coast is St. St. Konstantin and Elena and it is only 9 km north-east of Varna and 479 km east of Sofia. More than 50 hotels in the resort offer accommodation.

The resort of Zlatni Pyasatci is the largest one on the northern Black sea coast. The constant temperature of 27 degrees C and the microclimate throughout the season make it a wonderful place for having a rest and fun. There is a casino, a number of bars, mini-golf playground, carriages and good conditions for practising all sorts of water sports.

The resort of Albena is located on a long sand stretch in the open northern part of Varna bay. Most of the hotels have a terraceline structure for getting more sun in summer days There is an annual auto-rally called Albena, folk festival for songs and dances, festival for TV programs, bridge competition, beach volleyball competition, etc. The resort has three camping sites - Albena, International and Ekzotika. The river of Batov is interesting with its location in a natural forest. Nearby is the village of Kranevo in the vicinity with remains of the ancient Kranea and Gerania. There are many youth and school camps, as well as running mineral water in the village.

The town of Balchik is famous with the botanical garden- the biggest and the most diverse in the Balkans and attractive to tourists with its ancient atmosphere that has been preserved for centuries now.

12 km away from the cape of Kaliakra is situated Kavarna - a Black sea port for passenger and cargo vessels of medium type. The town was once again built and became an agricultural and fishing centre. On the high hill of Chiracman one can find remains of Roman villas and walls, as well as medieval buildings and churches. The archeological excavations on the cape of Shabla are the most interesting sights for the visitors of the town. Three kilometers away from the town is the lake of Shabla where more than 100 000 species of wild geese nest.

The resort of Rousalka is situated 59 km of Varna. There is a typical bird's colony in a pretty rocky area near the sea. The village of Kamen Bryag is in the vicinity of the resort and there are interesting rock formations and wonderful rocky bays with a number of caves and reefs.

The mouth of Kamchia river is one of the most beautiful sights of the Bulgarian Black sea region. Over 40 species of beautiful trees and brushes grow in the forest. Ferns, reed and yellow water lilies also grow here. Nowadays the frequently flooded area is a reserve that is under the protection of UNESCO. The reserve is 40 km in length (throughout Longoza to the river month) and 5 km in width in some of its parts. There are does, deer, seahawk and eagles, wild boars, wild cats, etc.

The resort complex Shkorpilovtsi is near the village of the same name. To the north of the Black cape is the village of Bliznatzite.

Other famous resorts are: Sunny Beach, located between the village Vlas and Nessebar, Elenite, Dyuni, Kiten.

The town of Nessebar is situated on a small peninsula and its beach considered to be the best along the Black Sea coast. There are many churches, hotels and a regular transport connecting Bourgas and Pomorie to Nessebar and Sunny Beach. South of the town is the village of Ravda. There are melon fields, vines and gardens near the village where one can buy agricultural products at low prices. Near the mouth of the Aheloy river is the village Aheloy. This is where the Bulgarian Tzar Simeon I destroyed the armies of the Byzantine emperor.

The town of Sozopol lies on a small rocky peninsula in the farthest southern part of the Bourgas Bay. The landmarks in Sozopol form an attractive ensemble. The ancient churches of St. Zosim and St. Virgin Mary, the birthplaces of Mariata Stefanova and Kreanoolu, the odd cobbled streets and high fences are inseparable elements of a united complex of three centuries of story. Interesting places to visit are the Archeological Museum and the Art Gallery.

To the north is the well-known resort at the village of Chernomorets. 20 km to the south is the mouth of Ropotamo river. There is a biosphere reserve, camping sites, very near is the famous island of Snakes. After the mouth of the river is cape Maslen. Other smaller resorts are Tzarevo, Primorsko, Ahtopol, Obzor, Biala.

Close to the mouth of Veleka river is the village of Kosti famous for the fire-dancers. Near Ahtopol are the village of Varvara, the village of Sinemorets and Rezovo.

   
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Maps of Bulgaria:

http://www.bgmaps.com  

 

Airports of Bulgaria:

http://www.sofia-airport.bg

http://www.bourgas-airport.com

http://www.varna-airport.bg

 

Internet Map
     bourgas.org