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About Bulgaria

Bulgaria – a very attractive destination offering pleasures for every taste!

Bulgaria is a small country of millennium-long history which provides its visitors with more pleasure and surprises than one can imagine. It is compact and tourists can easily get to know it, discovering incredible places for recreation and tourism. Beautiful nature can be seen by visitors at every step – endless sand beaches and emerald sea, breathtaking mountain passes and picturesque gorges, rock pyramids and bizarre rock formations, head-whirling caves and waterfalls, curative mineral water-sources, crystal lakes and rivers full of fish, various flora and fauna, fertile lowlands, orchards and vineyards, ancient monuments of history and culture, hospitable people, enticing cuisine and wines famed ever since the Homeric Age. From ancient times Bulgaria's natural wonders – sculptured by rain, molded by rivers, mystically "carved" by winds, have been the heart of it's unique beauty.

Location:
Bulgaria is located in Southeastern Europe. To the north it borders Romania, to the east – the Black Sea, to the south – Turkey and Greece, to the west – Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia.
Total Area:110.910 sq. km
Climate:temperate; cold, damp winter; hot, dry summers
Terrain:mostly mountains with lowlands in the north and southeast
Population:7 351 234 million (2011 census)
Political System:Parliamentary Democracy
Capital:Sofia (1,4 million inhabitants)
Relief
Occupying the northeastern part of the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria possesses a variety of natural forms, located in the altitude range of 0 to 2,925 m. Its territory includes part of the lower Danubean Plain, the Balkan Range – part of the Alpine-and-Himalayan Chain, part of the Thracian Lowland and to the south – the mountain structures of the Macedonian-Thracian Massif. Its best-known mountains are Rila (its highest peak being Musala – 2,925 m.), Pirin (Vihren – 2,914 m.), Vitosha (Cherni Vrah – 2,290 m.), Stara Planina (Balkan Range, Botev – 2,376 m.), and the Rhodopes (Golyam Perelik – 2,191 m.). The mountains occupy half of the country's territory, with the high-mountain relief – i.e. at an altitude above 1,600 m, comprising 5 % of its entire area. The Bulgarian mountains are easily accessible and the presence of towns and villages in them, which have preserved the authentic Bulgarian spirit and hospitality, gives a chance for receiving and accommodating tourists at village houses.

Natural Phenomena
Bulgaria is a very attractive tourist destination because of the numerous natural phenomena, scattered across the country – mountain passes and gorges, rock pyramids and bizarre rock formations, numerous caves and waterfalls, beautiful secluded lakes.
Rila and Pirin Mountains impress with their cirques, glacial valleys and carling pinnacles.
There is a great diversity of Karst forms, among these some 4,300 caves. The deepest cave in Bulgaria is 415 m deep, and the longest – 15,535 m long. Many of the caves have been adapted for tourist visits. The best known are Ledenika, Magurata, and Saeva Dupka caves in the Balkan Range; Snezhanka (Snow White), Yagodina, Devil's Throat, and Uhlovitsa Cave – in the Rhodopes.
From December to April the highlands in Rila, Pirin, Vitosha, the Balkan Range and the Rhodopes offer favorable skiing conditions. The best-known mountain resorts are Borovets and Malyovitsa in Rila, Pamporovo in the Rhodopes, Bansko in Pirin, and Aleko in Vitosha - near the capital of Sofia.

Climate
From north to south on the territory of Bulgaria there are alternate temperate continental climate and transitional climate, while in the south an impact of the Mediterranean climate is felt. The average annual air temperature is 10.5 degrees centigrade (51 F). Altitude differences determine the vertical zoning of the climate. To the east there is an influence by the Black Sea – the summers are cooler and autumns - warmer and longer. The combination of the course of air and sea water temperatures with average values above 18 degrees C (65 F) is favorable to seaside vacationing in the period from May till early October. The soft transitional Mediterranean climate and the fertile soils are very suitable for growing the century-famed Bulgarian attar-yielding rose – a valuable raw material for perfumery, medical and food, wine and tobacco industries.

Waters
The territory of Bulgaria has about 500 deposits of mineral waters with over 1,600 water sources. They are localized chiefly at the mountain foothills. The spa resorts of national significance are Bankya, Velingrad, Sandanski, the mineral baths of Stara Zagora, Narechen, Sliven and Haskovo, as well as Kyustendil, Varshets, Pavel Banya, Hisar.
Climatic seaside resorts offering various recreation services are Balchik, Burgas, Varna (Golden Sands), Kiten, Pomorie, Primorsko, Nessebar (Sunny Beach), and Sozopol.
Picturesque lakes hide in the cirques of Rila and Pirin Mountains. Dam lakes of recreational potential are to be found in the Rhodope Mountain – namely Batak, Vatcha, Studen Kladenets, at the foot of the Balkan Range – Ticha, as well as in some other places.
There are good prerequisites for the development of adventure tourism: "wild waters" – rafting and canoe, diving, delta- and par drifting in the river valleys of Vatcha, Iskar, Chepelarska, Struma, and Mesta rivers.

Flora and Fauna
Bulgaria has many territories, which have remained in their natural state, unique natural nooks with a remarkable bio-diversity. A total of 12,360 species have been found in the composition of the contemporary vegetation, of which – 3,700 higher plants. The Bulgarian endemic plants – which are to be found nowhere else worldwide, with a number of more than 250: Rila primrose, Balkan violet, Bulgarian blackberry, Rhodopean tulip, etc. Bulgaria's fauna numbers some 13,000 species, which is 14 % of the total number of registered animal species in Europe. Rare mammal species live in this country. Reserves and hunting grounds are inhabited by pelicans, stags, deer, does, wild goats, quails, pheasants.
A network of 3 national parks has been set up (with a total area of 221,252.2 ha) – Rila, Pirin, and the Central Balkan, 9 natural parks (over 180,000 ha), natural reserves, as well as 2,234 protected territories and natural landmarks. Pirin National Park and Srebarna Biosphere Reserve have been included in UNESCO's world heritage list. Together with further 16 biosphere reserves they offer wonderful conditions for photo-hunting, scientific-and-cognitive tourism and hobby tourism.

Black Sea
The Black Sea forms the eastern boundary of Bulgaria for a distance of 378 km – from Romania in the north to Turkey in the south. The depths have always been low in oxygen, very salty and practically no life can exist there. Only the thin upper layer, rich in oxygen and with a low salt content, is capable of sustaining life. It is the habitat of the Black Sea flora and fauna (fishes, dolphins, mussels, oysters, crayfish, seals).
The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast has a mild, maritime climate. In summer the average daily duration of sunshine is more than 10 hours and in May and September it is at least 8 hours. There are a lot of mineral springs along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. A lot of settlements along the coast of Bulgaria were founded in the 7th - 6th century BC by the Ancient Greeks. At first the Greeks called the sea Axeinos, meaning "inhospitable" sea. Having settled down, they renamed it Euxinos – "hospitable". And since then it has been bearing its name.

Danube River

Danube River is the second longest in Europe. It passes through the territories of ten countries. For about 470 km it is a border between Bulgaria and Romania. The name comes from the name of a mythological creature. The main tributaries of Danube on our territory start from the Balkan Range with the exception of the longest one – Iskar River. The low speed of the water supported by the local climate is the main reason for freezing of the Danube in winter. This river is very important for the existence of several rare species of flora and fauna, populating the many islands and adjacent territories. There is a world famous natural reserve lake, Srebarna, formed by the waters of the river in the past. It is home for the dalmatian pelican.
The river has always played an important role in the life of the people. The national heritage consists of several ruins from different periods. Some of the most spectacular ones are Baba Vida Fortress, Seksaginta Prista, Dorostorum. Danube River is an important factor for the economy of the country. The only nuclear power station is built by the river and it is also a transport corridor which connects our country with the North See. Moments from the heroic history of Bulgaria have inspired the composing of the famous march song "Quiet white Danube".