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Bulgaria

Bulgaria Guide. Bulgaria Country Profile.

Country Profile: Bulgaria.

Interesting Trivia: The Cyrillic alphabet, which is used in Russia, was actually adopted first by the Bulgarians.

The Republic of Bulgaria is a country in Southeast Europe. Bulgaria borders five other countries: Romania to the north (mostly along the Danube), Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, and Greece and Turkey to the south. The Black Sea defines the extent of the country to the east.

With a territory of 110,994 square kilometers (42,855 sq mi), Bulgaria ranks as the 16th-largest country in Europe. Several mountainous areas define the landscape, most notably the Stara Planina (Balkan) and Rodopi mountain ranges, as well as the Rila range, which includes the highest peak in the Balkan region, Musala. In contrast, the Danubian plain in the north and the Upper Thracian Plain in the south represent Bulgaria’s lowest and most fertile regions. The 378-kilometer (235 mi) Black Sea coastline covers the entire eastern bound of the country. Bulgaria’s capital city and largest settlement is Sofia.

The emergence of a unified Bulgarian ethnicity and state dates back to the 7th century AD. All Bulgarian political entities that subsequently emerged preserved the traditions (in ethnic name, language and alphabet) of the First Bulgarian Empire (681–1018), which at times covered most of the Balkans and eventually became a cultural hub for the Slavs in the Middle Ages. With the decline of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185–1396/1422), Bulgarian territories came under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 led to the establishment of a Third Bulgarian state as a principality in 1878, which gained its full sovereignty in 1908. In 1945, after World War II, it became after a questionable referendum a communist state and was a part of the Eastern Bloc until the political changes in Eastern Europe in 1989/1990, when the Communist Party allowed multi-party elections and Bulgaria undertook a transition to parliamentary democracy and free-market capitalism with mixed results.

Bulgaria functions as a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic. A member of the European Union, NATO, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and a founding state of the OSCE and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization.

:: Background of Bulgaria ::

The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1908. Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People’s Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. The country joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.

:: Geography of Bulgaria ::

Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey

Geographic coordinates: 43 00 N, 25 00 E

Area:
total: 110,879 sq km
land: 108,489 sq km
water: 2,390 sq km

Area – comparative: slightly larger than Tennessee
Land boundaries: 1,808 km
Border countries: Greece 494 km, Macedonia 148 km, Romania 608 km, Serbia 318 km, Turkey 240 km
Coastline: 354 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Climate: temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers
Terrain: mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Musala 2,925 m

Natural resources: bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land

Land use:
arable land: 29.94%
permanent crops: 1.9%
other: 68.16% (2005)
Irrigated land: 5,880 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 19.4 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 6.92 cu km/yr (3%/78%/19%)
per capita: 895 cu m/yr (2003)
Natural hazards: earthquakes; landslides
Environment – current issues: air pollution from industrial emissions; rivers polluted from raw sewage, heavy metals, detergents; deforestation; forest damage from air pollution and resulting acid rain; soil contamination from heavy metals from metallurgical plants and industrial wastes

Environment – international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography – note: strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia

:: People of Bulgaria ::

Population: 7,093,635 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.9% (male 506,403/female 480,935)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 2,367,680/female 2,446,799)
65 years and over: 18.2% (male 522,343/female 769,475) (2011 est.)

Median age:
total: 41.9 years
male: 39.6 years
female: 44 years (2011 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.781% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 9.32 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 14.32 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -2.82 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Urbanization:
urban population: 71% of total population (2010)
rate of urbanization: -0.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 16.68 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 19.93 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 13.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.59 years
male: 69.99 years
female: 77.41 years (2011 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.42 children born/woman (2011 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 3,800 (2009 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: fewer than 200 (2009 est.)

Nationality: noun: Bulgarian(s) adjective: Bulgarian
Ethnic groups: Bulgarian 83.9%, Turk 9.4%, Roma 4.7%, other 2% (including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, Circassian) (2001 census)
Religions: Bulgarian Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, other Christian 1.2%, other 4% (2001 census)

Languages: Bulgarian (official) 84.5%, Turkish 9.6%, Roma 4.1%, other and unspecified 1.8% (2001 census)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.2%
male: 98.7%
female: 97.7% (2001 census)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2008)
Education expenditures: 4.1% of GDP (2007)