Official Name: Republic of Bulgaria
Capital City: Sofia
Official Currency: Lev
Religions: Bulgarian Orthodox, Muslim, other
The largest part of the population is urban. 85% of Bulgarians are Christian Orthodox, whereas 13% of the population profess Islam. The Bulgarian ethnic group represents 85.8% of the population. Other major ethnic groups are the Turks (9.7%) and Roma (3.4%).
Land Area: 110,550 sq km
Borders: To the north with Romania and the Danube river, to the east is the Black Sea, to the south are Turkey and Greece, and to the west - the FYR of Macedonia and Yugoslavia.
The Bulgarian landscape is highly diverse. The vast lowlands of the Danube plains dominate the North and in the south there are highlands and elevated plains. Along the Black Sea coast there are 130 km of excellent vast beaches. The Balkan Mountains cut across the central part of the country, while the
Rhodope Mountains run through southwestern Bulgaria, along its borders with
Macedonia and Greece. The highest point in the country is Musala Mt., at 2,925 m.
North of the Balkan Mountains the fertile lowlands of the Danubian Plain
slope gradually down to the Danube River. The eastern lowlands, drained by
a series of small rivers, slope to the Black Sea.
Major rivers include the Danube River, as it forms the northern border with Romania, and the Iskur and Maritsa.
Land Divisions: 28 provinces, including: Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Khaskovo, Kurdzhali, Kyustendil, Lovech, Montana, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Ruse, Shumen, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofiya, Sofiya-Grad, Stara Zagora, Turgovishte, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Vidin, Vratsa and Yambol
Climat: Bulgaria has a moderate continental climate with average annual temperatures of 10.5°. There is a marked Mediterranean influence in the climate in the southern parts of the country.
Bulgaria -- History --
The first known population across the Bulgarian lands are the Thracians.
Since the end of V and the beginning of VI century, from North and North-east Slavonic tribes Anti and Slaveni start to encroach upon today’s Bulgarian lands, then – lands under Byzantine authority. In 680, proto-Bulgarians and seven Slavonic tribes, which inhabit Northern Bulgaria, set up state, which is acknowledged by Byzantium in 681. First Bulgarian State exists since 681 to 1018, when it falls under Byzantine authority. It reaches its biggest territorial expansion with tzar Simeon (893-927).
Second Bulgarian state arise in 1286, after successful rebellion of the brothers Peter and Asen and exists since 1286 to 1396, when it falls under the authority of the Ottomans. The biggest territorial expansion it reaches with tzar Ivan Asen II (1218-1241).
Third Bulgarian state arises in 1878, after the Russian-Ottoman war of liberation. The biggest territorial expansion it reaches during the periods 1913-1919 and 1941-1945.
The Third Bulgarian state’s history can be separated of several parts – monarchic period (1878-1944), socialist republican period (1944-1990 ă.) and democratic republican period (1991 ă. – till now). In 2004, Bulgaria becomes a full member of NATO. The country is going to join the European Union in 2007.
Bulgaria -- Economy --
The third Bulgarian state during its monarchic period is one of the most undeveloped agrarian countries in Europe.
In 1939, 65% of national income is created in agriculture. The industry is not well developped. The crafts are better covered. Food industry creates 51% of total industrial production (1939). Heavy industry is very poorly developed. A permanent unemployment exists, and the export consists mainly of processed and non-processed agricultural products.
The socialist republican period is characterized by nationalization in industry, consolidation and co-operation in agriculture and state monopoly on export and wholesale trade. A planned management is introduced.
The ratio agriculture/industry in GDP changes in favore of industry: from 62:38 in 1956 to 81:19 in 1971. In 1971, 77% of GDP is created in state owned companies, 17% - in cooperations, and 6% - in private sector.
The transition to democracy is a transition to market economy, a period of privatization, a time for fragmentation of the land.
The living standard falls, GNP and GDP too. This is a time of crash in industry and loss of huge markets for Bulgarian goods.
After the crisis, the economy gradually revives.
The country achievs macroeconomic stability.
The real growth raises from
2.4% in 1999 to 5.8% in 2000.
Bulgaria -- Culture --
The country is famous for its Tracian Gold Treasure. It also boasts some cultural monuments featuring on the UNESCO list, among which the Rila Monastery, the Boyana Church, the Madara Horseman. Bulgaria is world famous for its folk music. A Bulgarian folk song was recorded on the Gold Record that was sent in outer space.
Bulgaria -- Political system, law and government --
Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic. The Constitution is the supreme law of the country. The latest Constitution of theRepublic of Bulgaria was adopted in July of 1991 and features all basic principles of modern constitutionalism. It provides for a multi-party parliamentary system and free elections on the basis of universal suffrage. The three branches of power in Bulgaria are the legislative, the executive and the judicial. The 240-seat National Assembly, or Parliament, is invested with the legislative power. The Members of Parliament are directly elected to a 4-year term on the basis of proportional representation. Parties and electoral coalitions need 4% of the popular vote to qualify. The President serves as Head of State, and is directly elected once every 5 years for a maximum of two terms. The Vice President is elected on the same ballot as the President. The President is also the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria and appoints and dismisses the senior command. He appoints the Prime-Minister designate to form a government, schedules the elections and sets the date for national referendums, and countersigns, together with the Prime Minister or the respective sector minister, decrees for the promulgation of the adopted laws. The Council of Ministers (the Government) chaired by the Prime Minister is the principal body of the Executive Branch. The Prime-Minister-designate is nominated by the largest parliamentary group and is given a mandate by the President to form a cabinet. The National Assembly elects the proposed Council of Ministers. The activity of the Council of Ministers is under the direct control of the National Assembly. The judiciary is an independent branch of power and is based on a three-instance procedure.