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       Bulgaria
(Bulgarian: България), officially the Republic of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Република България), is a country on the Balkan Peninsula, in Eastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the east, Greece and Turkey to the south, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, and Romania to the north, mostly along the Danube. Bulgaria also shares a maritime border with Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, and Georgia. The capital of Bulgaria is Sofia.
       Bulgaria is a country with an ancient history dating back to prehistoric times, the Thracian, Greek and Roman worlds of antiquity and the powerful Bulgarian Empire of the Middle Ages founded in 681. Geographically and climatically, Bulgaria is noted for its diversity, with the landscape ranging from the Alpine snow-capped peaks in Rila, Pirin and the Balkan Mountains to the mild and sunny weather of the Black Sea coast, from the typically continental Danubian Plain (ancient Moesia) in the north to the strong Mediterranean influence in the valleys of Macedonia and the lowlands in the southernmost parts of Thrace.
       Bulgaria joined NATO on March 29, 2004 and the European Union on January 1, 2007. The country has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, and is a founding member of OSCE. As a Consultative Party to the Antarctic Treaty, Bulgaria takes part in the governing of the territories situated south of 60 south latitude.

    History     Main article: History of Bulgaria

The Panagyuriste Thracian gold treasure

 

 
 

  The Panagyuriste Thracian gold treasure    
                4-th  ...  3-rd century BC

         The Thracians were an ancient people who inhabited what is now Bulgaria. They were divided in numerous tribes until king Teres united most of them in a single state around 500 BC. This kingdom was called the Odrysian state and reached its peak under the kings Sitalkes and Cotys I (383-359 BC). In 341 BC it was destroyed by the Macedonian state but rose from its ashes at the end of the 4th century BC under Seuthes III. In 188 BC the Romans invaded Thrace and the wars with them continued to AD 45, when it became a Roman Province.
        The Thracians did not have writing and now their legacy survives mainly in the numerous treasures and tombs they left. It is believed that the oldest golden treasure the one of Varna, which is 6,500 years old, is Thracian-made. One of the most talented ancient commanders, Spartacus, was a Thracian born in the Rhodope Mountains.
        In the 632, the Bulgars, led by Khan Kubrat formed an independent state, often called Great Bulgaria (also known as Onoguria), between the lower course of the Danube to the west, the Black and the Azov Seas to the south, the Kuban river to the east, and the Donets river to the north. The capital of the state was Phanagoria, on the Azov.
       The pressure from peoples further east (such as the Khazars) led to diminiton of Great Bulgaria in the second half of the 7th century. One Bulgar tribe migrated to the confluence of the Volga and Kama Rivers and formed a new state called Volga Bulgaria.
       Another Bulgar tribe, led by Khan Asparuh, moved westward, occupying todays southern Bessarabia. After a successful war with Byzantium in 680, Asparuhs khanate conquered Moesia and Dobrudja and was recognised as an independent state and formed the First Bulgarian Empire in 681. In 717 the Bulgarians helped relieve the Arab siege of Constantinople, killing some 40,000-60,000 soldiers. Their khan Tervel was called by his contemporaries The Saviour of Europe. In 864 Bulgaria accepted the Orthodox Faith and became a major European power in the 9th and the 10th century, while fighting with the Byzantine Empire for the control of the Balkans.. The greatest territorial extension was reached under Simeon I, the first Tsar, covering most of the Balkans. Following a decline in the middle of the 10th century, warned out by the wars with Croatia and frequent Serbian rebellions sponsored by Byzantine gold, the Bulgarian state was crushed by an assault of the Rus' in 969. The Byzantines then began campaigns to conquer Bulgaria. In 971 they seized the capital Preslav and captured emperor Boris II. The resistance continued in the western Bulgarian lands for nearly half a century until the state was completely destroyed by the Byzantines led by Basil II in 1018.

Simeon I (893-927), first emperor of Bulgaria, as imagined in 1927 by the artist Dimiter Gyudjenov

Simeon I  (893-927),
first emperor of Bulgaria,
as imagined in 1927
by the artist Dimiter Gyudjenov
 
Република България
Republika Balgariya

Republic of Bulgaria
Flag of Bulgaria
Flag Coat of arms

Motto: Bulgarian: Съединението прави силата
Transliteration: "Saedinenieto pravi silata;
English: "Unity Makes Strength"[1])
 
Anthem: "Мила Родино"
"Mila Rodino"  ("Dear Motherland")
 
Location of Bulgaria
 

  Capital

 Sofia  ,  4241′N 2319′E
  Largest city Sofia
  Official languages Bulgarian
  Government Parliamentary democracy
  Independence From the Ottoman Empire 
      - Founded 681 
      - Christianized 865 
      - Gained autonomy March 3, 1878 
      - Declared October 5, 1908
(September 22 O.S.) 

  Accession to EU

January 1, 2007
Area
      - Total 110,912 km (104th)
42,823 sq mi 
      - Water (%) 0.3%

  Population

      - 2005 estimate 7,726,000 (93rd)
      - 2001 census 7,932,984 [1]
      - Density 70/km (124th)
181/sq mi

  GDP (PPP)

2005 estimate
      - Total $71.235 billion (66th)
      - Per capita $9,600 (66th)

  HDI  (2004)

0.816 (high) (54th)

  Currency    

Lev (BGN)

  Time zone

EET (UTC+2)
      - Summer (DST) EEST (UTC+3)

  Internet TLD

.bg1

  Calling code

+359

  
   1
The .eu domain is also used, as it is shared with other
        European Union member states.


 
     Culture         Main article: Culture of Bulgaria

   
A country often described to lie at the crossroads linking the East and West, Bulgaria was the centre of Slavic Europe during much of the Middle Ages, exerting considerable literary and cultural influence over the Eastern Orthodox Slavic world by means of the Preslav and Ohrid Literary Schools. Bulgaria is also the birthplace of the Cyrillic alphabet, the second most widely used alphabet in the world, which was developed in these two schools in the 10th century. Bulgaria is well-known for its rich folklore, distinctive traditional music, rituals and tales, but the country's contribution to humanity also continued in the 19th and 20th century, when individuals such as John Atanasoff - born in USA with Bulgarian origin, regarded as the father of the digital computer, a number of noted opera singers (Nicolai Ghiaurov, Boris Christoff, Raina Kabaivanska, Ghena Dimitrova) and successful artists (Christo Javacheff, Pascin, Vladimir Dimitrov) popularized the culture of Bulgaria abroad.

A number of ancient civilizations, most notably the Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Slavs and Bulgars, have left their mark on the culture, history and heritage of Bulgaria. The country has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Of these, two are Thracian tombs (one in Sveshtari and one in Kazanlak), three are monuments of medieval Bulgarian culture (the Boyana Church, the Rila Monastery and the Rock-hewn Churches of Ivanovo), while the Pirin National Park and the Srebarna Nature Reserve represent the country's natural beauty, and the ancient city of Nesebar is a unique combination of European cultural interaction, as well as, historically, one of the most important centres of naval trade in the Black Sea. In addition, the Varna Necropolis, a 3200-3000 BC burial site, contains what are believed to be the oldest examples of worked gold in the world.

     Geography       Main article: Geography of Bulgaria


Bulgaria comprises portions of the classical regions of Thrace, Moesia, and Macedonia. The southwest of the country is mountainous with two alpine ranges - Rila and Pirin and further east are the lower but more extensive Rhodope Mountains. Rila mountain includes the highest peak of the Balkan Peninsula, peak Musala at 2,925 meters (9,596 ft); the long range of the Balkan mountains runs west-east through the middle of the country, north of the famous Rose Valley. Hilly country and plains are found in the southeast, along the Black Sea coast in the east, and along Bulgaria's main river, the Danube in the north. Other major rivers include the Struma and the Maritsa river in the south.

The Bulgarian climate is temperate, with cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers, and Mediterranean along the Black Sea coast.

The Balkan peninsula derives its name from the Balkan or Stara Planina mountain range which runs through the centre of Bulgaria into eastern Serbia.

The largest cities in the country are Sofia (1,246,791), Plovdiv (376,918), Varna (345,522), Burgas (259,985), Rousse (177,538), Stara Zagora (163,193), Pleven (121,700), Dobrich (115,861), Sliven (100,300).
Bulgaria has a scientific base on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica.

    See also: 
   List of cities in Bulgaria
    Rivers of Bulgaria

    Reservoirs and dams in Bulgaria

    Map of  Bulgaria on Google Maps  


        Bulgaria and EU (European Union)

  1952-2007: Разширение на ЕС
 

The Trigrad Gorge (Bulgarian: Триградско ждрело ) is a canyon of vertical marble rocks in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria's very southern parts. The gorge encloses the course of the Trigrad River that plunges into the Devil's Throat cave and 530 m further comes out as a large karst spring. It laters flows in to the Byunovska River. The gorge's west wall reaches 300 m in height, while the east one extends up to 300-350 m. In the beginning, the distance between the two walls is about 300 m, but reaches about 100 m in the north. The Trigrad Gorge is located 1.2 km from the village of Trigrad at 1,450 above sea level and has a total length of 7 km, of which the real part is 2-3 km.

See also: 
Rhodope Mountains

The Seven Rila Lakes in Bulgaria
      The Seven Rila Lakes in Bulgaria
 
The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast at Sinemorets
      The Bulgarian Black Sea Coast
       at Sinemorets

 
     Full article you can find here:     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgaria
Bulgaria 2008
Emil Manchev
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