- Bulgaria is approximately the same size as Florida in the United States or the Volgograd region in Russia.
- Bulgaria stretches for 520 km. (323 miles) from west to east and 330 km. (205 miles) from north to south.
- in Europe, the country that is a little bigger than Bulgaria by size is Greece, a little smaller - Iceland.
POPULATION AND LANGUAGE:
- The population of Bulgaria is approximately 7 million people. This is slightly larger than the population of the state of Washington and approximately equal to the population of the Moscow Region.
- European country that is a bit bigger than Bulgaria by population is Switzerland, a little smaller - Serbia.
- The official language is respectively Bulgarian. In addition to Bulgaria, it is spoken in some regional communities in Romania, Slovakia and Serbia. The closest to Bulgarian from other languages is Macedonian. Bulgarian is the oldest written Slavic language of the existing.
An interesting fact: Bulgarian is the closest relative of the Old Slavonic language in which the Russian Orthodox Church is serving.
- Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas and Ruse
- The population of Sofia, the capital, is approximately 1 million 250 thousand people, which is comparable to the population of Dallas in the USA or Kazan in Russia.
- The second largest city in Bulgaria - Plovdiv, claims to be the oldest permanently populated city in Europe, it was founded about 6000 BC.
SEVEN INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BULGARIA, YOU PROBABLY NEVER HEARD:
- Bulgaria is the only country in Europe that hasn’t changed its name since it was first established. This happened in 681 AD. As a separate people, the Bulgarians were first mentioned even earlier - in the year 354.
- The oldest golden treasure in the world was found in a necropolis (graveyard) near Varna in 1972. Over 6,000 years old, this is a treasure of three thousand gold objects of the Eneolithic era.
- The Cyrillic alphabet was invented in the 9th century AD by none other than the two most famous Bulgarian who ever lived - monks Cyril and Methodius. Now almost everything here is named after those two saints – schools, libraries, streets. The Cyrillic is the basis of alphabets used in various languages, past and present, in parts of the Balkans and Northern Eurasia, especially those of Slavic origin. Bulgarian language is the oldest written Slavic language and is written in the Cyrillic alphabet. It was because of Bulgaria's accession to the European Union that Cyrillic became the third (after Latin and Greek) official alphabet of the EEC, and the inscription ЕВРО (EURO in Latin) appeared on the banknotes of the union.
- In most western cultures, moving one's head up and down is understood as an expression of agreement, while moving it from side to side conveys disagreement. It’s vice versa in Bulgaria. One of the theories why Bulgarians have turned their genetic gestures upside down is connected with the five centuries of Ottoman rule. When the Ottomans conquered Bulgaria, they wanted the locals to change their religion from Christianity to Islam and if they declined, they were often killed. So, according to the legend, Bulgarians agreed to swap the two signs and when they were asked if they wanted to become Muslim, they nodded while actually meaning ‘no’ in their hearts.
- Bulgaria is producing about 70% of the world’s rose oil. It is used for cosmetic products, soaps, shampoos, etc. The Bulgarian Rose Valley near the city of Kazanlyk is the home of the exquisite Bulgarian rose oil, also known as 'attar of roses' or 'rose otto', and world center for rose otto production.
- Bulgarians claim to have invented yoghurt, and its yoghurt has a unique flavor not found in any other country. When at the beginning of the 20th century the Russian microbiologist Ilya Mechnikov, interested in the secret of the longevity of the Bulgarians, discovered the microorganism responsible for turning milk into yogurt, he gave this bacterium the name Lactobacillus Bulgaricus. Bulgaricus – because at those times, this bacterium can only be found in Bulgaria.
- The national instrument is the bagpipes, called the gaida in Bulgaria. There are only three nations in the world that employ the bagpipes in their traditional music. They are Scotland, Ireland, and Bulgaria.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES IN BULGARIA
Being one of the oldest nations in Europe, Bulgaria has 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Seven of them are under the Cultural Heritage category such as the Ancient City of Nessebar, Boyana Church, Madara Rider, Rila Monastery, Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, and the Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari. The other three remaining sites fall into the Natural Heritage category such as Pirin National Park, Srebarna Nature Reserve and the Ancient and Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians (Bulgaria shares this site with 8 other Nations).