Bulgaria

Population
Bulgaria's population totals 8,427,000.  The predominant religion in the country is Orthodox Christianity.   

Geography
Bulgaria has an area of 111,000 square kilometres. The country's average elevation is 470 metres above sea level. The Balkan Range divides the country in two. Mountains account for one-third of Bulgaria's territory. UNESCO-protected sites include Mount Pirin, Lake Sreburna near the Danube River, and the Rila Monastery, among many others. Bulgaria is famous for its 1,600 mineral water springs, with water temperature ranging from 37 C to 101 C.    

Climate
In most of the country, the climate is continental-Mediterranean, with four seasons and an average annual air temperature of 10.5 C. Winters are cold, and summers are hot. The country gets between 2,000 and 2,400 hours of sunshine a year.   The average air temperature in the summer (from April until September) is 22 C, and in the winter 0 C. Snow cover lasts four months.     

Government
Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic. The supreme legislative body is Parliament. Executive government institutions include the Council of Ministers and local government bodies.   

Currency
The main currency is the Bulgarian lev (plural: leva), which is pegged to the euro at a rate of 1.95583 leva to 1 euro.   

Main cities
  • Sofia       1,300,000 population
  • Plovdiv       350,000 population
  • Varna         299,000 population
  • Bourgas      230,000 population 
There are airports at Sofia, Varna and Bourgas.  

Economic and political conditions
Since a currency board arrangement was introduced in 1997, Bulgaria has been a politically stable country with a developing economy, offering favourable conditions and guarantees to foreign investment. National legislation is being revised to become compatible with the laws of the European Union member states.   

Bulgaria's foreign investment law is one of the most liberal in the region. It does not restrict the transfer of profit and other income or the repatriation of invested capital.     

Cuisine
Bulgarian food is quite popular around the world. Bulgarian cuisine and Bulgarian drinks seduce even the most demanding gourmets. The nation is known for its yogurt, which has a unique flavour and nutrient composition.   
In Bansko, there are some 250 restaurants.   

Architecture and culture
Bulgaria is full of vestiges from the early stages of European civilization. Thracian, Old Greek and Roman ruins can be found here. There are more than 40,000 cultural monuments on record, dating from various historical periods, 36 cultural preserves, and over 300 museums and galleries. Seven historical monuments are inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List.   

Bulgaria is famous all over the world for its unparalleled folk music and dance tradition.