About Bulgaria...

     Location
     Bulgaria is located in the southeastern part of Europe and occupies the eastern part of Balkan Peninsula. To the north it borders on Romania, to the west on the Republic of Macedonia and Serbia, to the east on the Black Sea, to the south on Greece and to the southeast on Turkey's European part.

     Area
     111 000 km2

     Population
     7 500 000 (2001 est.)

     Capital
     Sofia (pop. 1 200 000)

     Major Cities
     Plovdiv (pop. 345 000), Varna (315 000), Bourgas (200 000), Rousse (165 000), Stara Zagora (145 000), Pleven (120 000), Blagoevgrad (95 000).

     Relief
     Extremely varied: large plains and lowlands, low and high mountains, plateaus, caves, valleys and lovely gorges. Lowest point: 0 m (Black Sea), highest point: 2925 m (peak Mussala, Rila Mountain - the highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula).

     Climate
     The climate in Northern Bulgaria is moderate continental, while the climate in Southern Bulgaria is intermediate continental tending to Mediterranean. The climate in the regions with an altitude of 1000-1200 m above sea level is mountainous and along the Black Sea coast it is maritime.

     The average annual temperature is 10.5°C, in summer about 25°C and in winter about 0°C. The sea water temperatures in the tourist season (May-October) range around 23-28°C.

     Environmental Protection
     Great attention is paid on environmental protection. There are 49 protected territories, 17 biosphere reserves (the largest number in Europe), 3 national parks, 9 natural parks, 82 reserves, 3,055 protected natural sites, 63 protected plants, 419 protected animals. The air and the waters in Bulgarian mountains are among the less polluted in Europe.

     State government
     Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with democratic government.


     Language
     Bulgarian - the oldest written Slavonic language. English, German, French and Russian are spoken in the country's resorts, hotels and restaurants.

     Alphabet
     Cyrillic. Signs along international motorways, in airports and resorts are also spelled in Roman letters.

     Religion
     86.6% of the population are Eastern Orthodox Christians, 13% are Muslims. There are also small Roman Catholic and Jewish communities. The Bulgarian Church is autonomous and headed by a Patriarch.

     History
     The Bulgarians are an ancient people. The first Bulgarian state on today’s location in Europe was founded in 681. The name of the state has not been changed ever since. Major dates and events in Bulgarian history:
      681: The Bulgarian state was founded by khan Asparuh.
      855: St. St. Cyril and Methodius, patrons of modern Europe, created the Slavonic alphabet
      864 - 866: Bulgaria accepted Christianity.
      1018 - 1185: Bulgaria was part of the Byzantine Empire.
      1185: Restoration of the Bulgarian state.
      1396 - 1878: Bulgaria was part of the Ottoman Empire.
      1878: Restoration of the Bulgarian state.
      1878 - 1944: Bulgaria was a constitutional monarchy.
      1944 - 1989: Bulgaria was a people’s republic ruled by the Bulgarian Communist Party.
      since 1990: Bulgaria has been a parliamentary republic.
     Today, reforms and democratization keep Bulgaria on a path toward eventual integration into NATO and the EU - with which it began accession negotiations in 2000.

     Tourism
     Bulgaria is a proven travel destination - it has a modern tourist infrastructure and marvellous seaside and mountain resorts. Nowadays the tourism in Bulgaria is flourishing due to its beautiful nature, ancient history and the famous Bulgarian hospitality.
     During 2002 Bulgaria had been visited from over 3 million international tourists. And they come back bringing their friends and relatives. The annual tourist arrivals growth rate is 15%.

     Time zone
     GMT+2; CET+1

     Currency
     Bulgarian Lev (BGN) which consists of 100 stotinkas. All payments are effected in the national currency. There are banknotes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 Levs (view the notes and coins - opens in new window), and currency exchange should be made in a bank or at an exchange office.

     Credit cards
     The major international credit cards are accepted at the larger hotels, rent-a-car offices, at some restaurants and trading centers. The stickers on the doors of shops and hotels provide information as to which credit cards are accepted.

     Electricity
     220 V; 50 Hz

     Tips
     At most restaurants and bars there is no service charge, and therefore it is accepted that clients leave a tip of 5 to 10% of the bill’s value. At some places the tip is specified in the menu and it is included in the bill. Clients are free to give a tip if they are pleased with the service.

     Telephones
     +359: International dialing code for Bulgaria
     +359 2: Sofia
     +359 886, 887, 888, 889: MTel GSM operator
     +359 898, 899: GloBul GSM operator

© 2004 - 2007; MMB Tours, P.O. Box 193, Blagoevgrad 2700, Bulgaria
MMB Tours is a part of KISKO Ltd.