About the county
Officially known as the Republic of Bulgaria or Bulgarian Republic, Bulgaria is a beautiful mountainous country lying in Balkan Peninsula in Southern Europe bordering the Black Sea to the east, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, Romania to the north, Greece and Turkey to the south. Bulgaria also borders Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, and Georgia along the sea. The largest and the capital city is Sofia. The country may be very small in area but it is rich in ancient culture, picturesque locales, down to earth and friendly people who provide the warmth and hospitality of old days. Bulgaria is known as “Land of Roses” due to the largest production of roses here. Although Bulgaria is known mostly for its sea resorts much of the actual country can be explored in great mountain regions, with many ski resorts a perfect destination for skiers. With unique customs, spectacular crafts, colorful festivals, folklore and so on Bulgaria has it all to take the imagination of visitors by surprise and excitement.
Population & Languages
The population of Bulgaria is roughly 7.4 million and the official language being spoken is Bulgarian. Turkish and Roma are also spoken by considerable percentage of the population.
The voltage is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The types of plugs used are Round pin attachment plug and "Schuko" plug and receptacle with side grounding contacts.
It lies in Balkan Peninsula in Southern Europe bordering the Black Sea to the east, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, Romania to the north, Greece and Turkey to the south. Bulgaria also borders Turkey, Romania, Ukraine, Russia, and Georgia along the sea. Bulgaria is strategically located near Turkish Straits making it the control point of key land routes connecting Europe to Middle East and Asia.
The climate of Bulgaria can be termed as temperate with hot and dry summers and cold and damp winters. Summer temperatures average around 75ฐF (24ฐC) and winter temperatures average about 32ฐF (0ฐC). The ideal time to visit Bulgaria is summer.
Like any other country Bulgaria has its own customs too and normal courtesies should be followed. Handshaking is customary. Dress should be conservative but can be casual. Souvenirs from home country are appreciated if invited to home. Here is Bulgaria, a nod of the head means ‘no’ and a shake of the head means ‘yes’. Tipping up to 10 to 12 percent is customary for all services including restaurants, bars, clubs, taxis etc.
* St. Sofia Church
* St. George Rotunda
* Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
* National Ethnographic Museum
* Village of Momchilovtsi
* Pirin National Park
* Rila Monastery
By Air – The national airline of Bulgaria is Bulgaria Air. Other international airlines operating from Bulgaria include Bulgaria include Aeroflot, Air France, Alitalia, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, El Al Israel Airlines, KLM, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, MALEV Hungarian Airlines, Olympic Airlines and Swiss Air. Sofia International Airport EAD (SOF) is the biggest airport which is like six miles east of Sofia. Other international airport is Varna International Airport (VAR) located in the western outskirts of the city about five miles from Varna.
Sea - The important international ports are Bourgas and Varna along the Black Sea.
River – Ferries can cross into Romania from Vidin to Calafat.
By Rail – Sofia is connected to Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, Thessaloniki, Paris, Vienna, Munich and Berlin through frequent services of trains.
The food is great - fresh, simple and strong ...
Bulgarian cuisine is one of the tastiest in Europe. Food is still cooked with fresh, naturally grown ingredients. It combines the wonderfully rich Ottoman influence with a peasant cooking style that uses flavour-packed vegetables and herbs. Yum! Start with a salad of fresh tomatoes and home-made sheep cheese. Follow up with a slow-baked stew in a clay pot and you are in heaven. There are plenty of non-meat dishes too.
Bulgaria excels in sirene (a white salty cheese) and yoghurt. The yoghurt is so good and so distinctive that it is exported world wide simply as Bulgarian Yoghurt. Sirene is an ingredient for two immiscible specialties. Try them. Number one is Shopska salad, made with chopped tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and onion. Number two is banitsa, a savoury flaky pastry that every Bulgarian grabs with a coffee at street stands.
Meat lovers? The main dishes are chicken, pork and lamb-based - typically hearty, simple and tasty. Grilled meats are popular and include kyufteta (spicy meat balls), and kebapcheta (elongated meat balls). Chushki byurek- peppers stuffed with cheese and herbs and fried in breadcrumbs - are a great entree or a meal in a moment.
Festivals & Religion
Bulgaria preserved its Orthodox Christianity through five centuries of Muslim domination and fifty years of Communist atheism. Nowadays Bulgarians celebrate both Christian celebrations and traditional festivals, many of which have their roots in pagan beliefs. In some regions the predominant religion is Islam and in others the two religions coexist peacefully side-by-side.
The Orthodox churches, with their dark, incense-filled interiors, spectacular icons and heavy wood-and-gold icons engender a sense of mystery and awe. Easter is the largest church celebration in Bulgaria, when a sea of people with swaying candles gather around the churches at midnight to hear mass.
The traditional holidays, rooted deep in folklore, are more prevalent in rural Bulgaria than in the cities and tend to relate to the harvest and health. At the start of Lent, the Koukeri, men disguised in animal skins and furs, wearing grotesque painted masks, do the rounds of the villages banging loud bells to ward off evil spirits and ensure a good crop; whilst in the south east of Bulgaria Nestinari still dance on burning embers to mark the beginning of summer on the feast of Saints Constantine and Elena. Even sophisticated city folk will get up at a wedding to join in the Horo - a dance in a circle to folk music.
Festival of roses - in Kazanlak: 30 May-1 June
The Bulgarian rose production is popularised every year during the Festival of Roses. This festival originates from the celebrations held at the beginning of the rose-harvesting period. Old rose growers used to organize pageantries in which manufacturers paraded, dressed up in rose flowers.
Duty Free Items
1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
2. 1 liter of spirits and 2 liter of wine; 50g of perfume and 100g of eau de toilette
3. Gifts and personal use items.
Un-canned goods, meat or dairy products, Narcotics, pornography, firearms, ammunition, weapons, eggs, plants, endangered species, fireworks and alcoholic beverages that contain more than sixty per cent alcohol.