BULGARIA AT GLANCE
Territory: 110,993,6 sq.km.
Official language: Bulgarian
Political system: Parliamentary Republic
National currency: Lev
Measures and scales: the metric system
Time zone: GMT +2
A picturesque small country called Bulgaria has existed for more than 13 centuries in Europe, linking East and West. Bulgaria remembers ancient civilizations and great people that wrote its turbulent history.
Situated in southeastern Europe, Bulgaria occupies the northeastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. To the North, via the Danube River, it borders on Romania, to the West - on Serbia and Montenegro and on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. To the South its neighbours are Greece and Turkey. To the East Bulgaria touches the Black Sea, which links it also to Russia, Ukraine, and Georgia. The Black Sea borderline is 378 km (240 miles) long. The country's total territory is 111 000 sq. km (43 000 sq. miles).
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 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. Today, reforms and democratization keep Bulgaria on a path toward eventual integration into the EU. The country joined NATO in 2004.
The average January temperature in Sofia ranges between -4° and 2°. The July temperature ranges between 16° and 27° C. Along the Black Sea, the average January temperature ranges between -1° and 6° C and the July temperature ranges between 19° and 30° C. The soft transitional Mediterranean climate and the fertile soils are very suitable for growing the century-famed Bulgarian attar-yielding rose - a valuable raw material for perfumery, medical products, food and wine, and tobacco industries.
The predominant climate in Bulgaria is moderate and transitional continental. (2,000 to 2,400 hours of sunlight per year). Four seasons. Dry and hot summer. Average temperature (April - September): + 23 °C. Cold winter with snowfalls, average temperature: 0 °C. The average yearly temperature is 10.5 °C. A Mediterranean climate, with dry summers and mild, humid winters, prevails in the valley of the southwestern Rhodope Mountains. The northern limits of the climatic zone is the Balkan Range.