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Facts & Figures

Area: 110 912 sq km (42 812 sq mi)

Borders: Bulgaria is situated at the heart of the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. It borders Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south and Romania to the north. The Danube River forms most of the border with Romania. To the east, Bulgaria borders the Black Sea (having a coastline of 378 km or 234 miles). The Black Sea links Bulgaria to Ukraine, Russia and Georgia, and by way of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, to the Mediterranean countries.

Population: 7 500 000, of which 84% ethnic Bulgarians, 9% ethnic Turks, 5% ethnic Roma and 2% other (such as Armenians, Vlachs, Jews and Karakachans).

Religion: 83% Eastern Orthodox, 12% Muslim, 0.7% Protestant, 0.5% Catholic, 3.8% other.

Capital city: Sofia, with a population of over 1 300 000.

Major cities: Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Rousse, Stara Zagora, Blagoevgrad, Pleven

Political system: Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic ruled by a democratically elected government. All citizens who have reached the age of 18 have the right to elect and to be elected. State power is divided into legislative, executive and judicial branches. The Prime Minister is head of the executive branch. The National Assembly consists of 240 deputies who are elected

for four-year terms. The President of Bulgaria is elected for a five-year term, with a two-term maximum. The President serves as the head of state and commander in chief of the armed forces.

Language: The official language is Bulgarian and uses only the Cyrillic alphabet. To facilitate tourists, signs in populated areas, resorts, railway stations, airports and along the main motorways are also spelled in Roman letters. English, German, French, Russian and other languages are spoken in the country.

Relief: Bulgaria’s relief is very varied. Vast plains and valleys, steep ravines and gorges, deep glens nestling among hills, lowlands and high mountains alternate on its comparatively small territory. The average altitude is 470 m. The Rila Mountains are the highest mountains in Bulgaria as well as in the whole Balkan Peninsula, with their highest peak, Mt Moussala, rising at 2925 m above sea level.

Bulgaria has a very beautiful coastline. Approximately 34% of its coastline consists of sandy beaches and dunes. There are are 18 lakes and many bays along the coast, the largest of which are the bays of Varna and Burgas.

Climate: Temperate continental with four distinct seasons, moderated in the south by the influence of the Mediterranean. The climate in the regions at an altitude above 2000 m is mountainous. On the Black Sea coast, winters are milder and summers

cooler than in the interior. The average annual temperature is 10.5°C. The average January temperature is around O°C. Average summer temperatures rarely exceed 30°C.

Protected area: Three national parks, 10 nature parks, 55 nature reserves, 35 managed reserves, more than 350 protected areas and 500 natural landmarks. Bulgaria has two natural sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Mt Pirin National Park and Sreburna Nature Reserve.

1 January – New Year’s Day
3 March – The National Day
Orthodox Easter and Easter Monday
1 May – Labour Day
6 May – Day of Valour and of the Bulgarian Army
24 May – Day of Bulgarian Education and Culture and of the Slavonic Script
6 September – Unification Day
(Day of the Union of Eastern Rumelia with the Principality of Bulgarian in 1885)
22 September – Bulgaria Independence Day
24 and 25 December – Christmas