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The Republic of Bulgaria is a country in southeast Europe bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south and the Black Sea to the east. Throughout its history Bulgaria has been ruled by the Greeks, Celts, Romans and Huns, but the emergence of a unified Bulgarian state dates back to the establishment of the first Bulgarian Empire in 681 AD.

In more recent times, Bulgaria has been influenced by the Soviet rule of neighbouring countries and a communist ideology – that was until 1989 when then-leader Todor Zhivkov resigned and the country started its transition to a parliamentary democracy. In 2007 the country became the 26th member of the European Union alongside Romania and is also a part of NATO and the United Nations.

Its main centres for tourism are cities such as Sofia and Plovdiv, as well as its ski centre in Borovets and the coastal resort of Sunny Beach.

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Did you know?

  • In Bulgaria, a shake of the head means yes, and nodding means no.
  • The Cyrillic alphabet, which is still used by Russia, former Soviet nations and throughout the Balkans was invented by two monks, Cyril and Methodius, during the First Bulgarian Empire in the 10th century.
  • Bulgaria is the only country in Europe that hasn’t changed its name since it was first established – which happened in 681 AD.
  • Bulgaria produces as much as 85% of the world’s rose oil – a key component in most perfumes.
  • Bulgaria sided with the Nazis during the Second World War, yet its population of over 40,000 Jewish people were spared the horrors of the Holocaust as the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, politicians and citizens took a stand against any proposed deportation.