National Coat of Arms
Area: 110 993.6 km2 (104-th in the world)
Population: 2001 census: 7.97 million; 2008 estimate: 7.61 million (99-th in the world); Density: 68.9/km2 (124-th in the world)
Capital: Sofia (also largest city)
Official language: Bulgarian
Currency: Lev (BGN); Exchange rate: 1 BGN = 0.51129 EUR (BGN is pegged to the Euro)
Tel. code: +359 (2 for Sofia)
Time: GMT + 2
Weather now: http://weather.bg
Click the picture to see some of the most famous Bulgarian sights:
Bulgaria, a state in Southeastern Europe, borders on five other countries: Romania to the north (mostly along the River 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.
A country often described as lying at the crossroads linking the East and West, Bulgaria functioned as the hub 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 also gave the world the Cyrillic alphabet, the second most-widely used alphabet in the world, which originated in these two schools in the 10th century AD.
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:
One of the best internationally-known artists, Valya Balkanska, sang the song Izlel e Delyu Haydutin, part of the Voyager Golden Record selection of music included in the two Voyager spacecraft, which were launched in 1977.
In the northern-hemisphere winter, Samokov, Borovets, Bansko and Pamporovo become well-attended ski-resorts. And in the summer - resorts at the Black Sea such as Sozopol, Nessebar, Golden Sands, Sunny Beach, Sveti Vlas, Albena, Saint Constantine and Helena. The spa resorts Bankya, Hisarya, Sandanski, Velingrad, Varshets and many others attract visitors throughout the year.
Bulgaria is becoming an attractive tourist destination because of the quality of the resorts and prices below those found in Western Europe. It now attracts close to 7 million visitors yearly. Tourism makes a major contribution towards the country's annual economic growth of 6% to 6.5%. The World Bank classifies it as an "upper-middle-income economy".
Bulgaria became a member of the European Union in 2007.