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About Bulgaria - Genearal information

Welcome to Bulgaria - a wonderful country with unique natural, historic and cultural sights! Thanks to its geographic location, varied scenery and marvellous climate, the possibilities for all-round tourism and recreation here are inexhaustible!
The Republic of Bulgaria is situated in the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe and covers a territory of 111,000 sq. km. To the east it borders on the Black Sea, to the south on Turkey and Greece, to the west on the Republic of Macedonia and Yugoslavia, and in the north the River Danube forms the border with Romania. Sofia is the capital city.
Population: over 8,000,000.

Language: The official languid is Bulgarian and uses only the Cyrillic alphabet. To facilitate tourists, road and direction signs in populated areas, resorts, railway station, airports and along the main highways are also spelled in Roman letters. English, German, French, Russian and other languages are spoken in the country.
Religion: Eastern Orthodox.
Time Zone
GMT+2 hrs; CET+1 hr. Daylight savings is observed with clocks advanced one hour in the spring, back one hour in the fall

220 volt; 50 hertz (Western-style appliances need adapters for the country's twin-prong plugs, as well as voltage converters)

Cuisine: Bulgarian cuisine is an exotic combination of oriental, Mediterranean and European cuisine.

About Bulgaria - Geography and climate
Geography: Bulgaria is a country with a varied scenery. High mountains - Rila, Pirin, the Balkan Range and the Rhodopes, vast and fertile valleys are located on its territory.
Climate: Marked by four distinct seasons, Bulgaria enjoys a generally favorable climate that is one of the country's best features. Although located at the same latitude as southern New England, Bulgaria's climate is noticeably more temperate. Summers are typically hot and dry, but rarely oppressive, with moderate relative humidity. Winters are cold but not bitterly so. In the south and Black Sea coastal regions, Mediterranean influences temper the harsher continental climate of the interior. The country's half-dozen mountain groups also play a significant part in determining regional variances.

Beach Climate Parameters

Average Value

May June July August September

Daily temperature C°

22 26 29 29 24

Night temperature, C°

12 16 17 15 13

Sea water temperature, C°

15 19 21 23 20

Sunny hours per day

8 10 10 11 8

Rainy days per month

7 8 6 3 4

Mountain Climate Parameters

verage Value

December January February March

Daily temperature C°

-2.1 -4.6 -3.2 0.8

Average snow coverage(cm)

30 - 60 100 - 140 60 30

Snowy days per month

5 7 5 3

About Bulgaria - History
History: Bulgaria's name is derived from a Turkic people, the Bulgars, who originated in the steppe north of the Caspian Sea. In the latter part of the seventh century, one branch of the Bulgars moved up the Volga River, establishing the Kingdom of the Volga Bulgars; the other branch moved westward along the Black Sea settling near the mouth of the Danube. Although the name Bulgaria is not of Slavic origin, the Slavic people, who had entered the Balkan Peninsula earlier, absorbed the invading Turkic people and were, in large measure, the precursors of the present-day Bulgarians. Bulgarian kingdoms continued to exist in the Balkan Peninsula during the Middle Ages, following which the Ottoman Turks ruled Bulgaria for 500 years, until 1878. In that year, a Bulgarian principality was established between the Danube River and the Balkan Mountains when Russia and Romania assisted the Bulgarians in defeating the Ottomans. In 1885, the union of the Principality of Bulgaria with Eastern Rumelia south of the Balkan Mountains created an autonomous Bulgarian state with roughly the same borders as those of present-day Bulgaria.
A fully independent Bulgarian kingdom, proclaimed September 22, 1908, participated in an anti-Ottoman coalition that defeated the Ottoman Empire in the First Balkan War (1912). The coalition soon dissolved over territorial disputes, however, and Bulgaria was isolated and defeated quickly in the Second Balkan War (1913) by Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, and Turkey. It later allied itself with Germany in World Wars I and II and suffered defeats twice more. Bulgaria's involvement in these wars was partly due to its ambitions for an outlet to the Aegean Sea and its desire to annex Macedonian and Thracian territory held by Greece, Yugoslavia, and Turkey.
Although Bulgaria declared war on the United States and the United Kingdom during World War II, it did not declare war on the Soviet Union. In August 1944, Bulgarian emissaries opened talks in Cairo with Allied representatives, seeking to take Bulgaria out of the war. On September 5, 1944, while these talks were still under way, the Soviet Union declared war on Bulgaria.
Communist rule in Bulgaria began September 9, 1944, when a communist-dominated coalition, called the Fatherland Front, seized power from the coalition government formed to arrange an armistice with the Allies. At the same time, Soviet forces were marching into the country without resistance. Communist power, consolidated in the next 3 years, led to the adoption on December 4, 1947, of the so-called Dimitrov Constitution, modeled after that of the U.S.S.R.
Yugoslavia's expulsion from the Cominform (a Soviet-led international socialist organization) in June 1948 and the subsequent Moscow-dictated persecution of "national communists" throughout Eastern Europe also led to arrests and trials in Bulgaria. In 1949, Traicho Kostov, a Bulgarian communist leader, was executed on charges of conspiring with the Yugoslavs. He had remained in Bulgaria during the war and was second in rank only to Georgi Dimitrov, who had spent the war years in Moscow. Vulko Chervenkov, Dimitrov's brother-in-law, who also had spent the war years in Moscow, emerged as the "Stalin of Bulgaria" after Dimitrov's death in 1949. In 1954, following Stalin's death and separation in the U.S.S.R. of the positions of party leader and head of government, Chervenkov yielded the position of party chief to Todor Zhivkov. In the next 7 years, Zhivkov superseded his one-time mentor, blaming him for the "Stalinist excesses" and "violations of socialist legality" which had characterized the 1948-53 period. Chervenkov was ousted finally from his last leadership position in November 1961, and shortly thereafter Zhivkov took on the additional post of premier, thus recombining the positions of party leader and head of government.
In 1971, he gave up the premiership and took on the newly created and more prestigious position of Chairman of the State Council (chief of state). He held this position and that of Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) Secretary General until November 1989. Petur Mladenov, who led the Politburo in its effort to oust Zhivkov, now also holds both these positions, despite his declarations favoring separation of party and State powers. Mladenov is leading the BCP in its efforts to maintain a credible claim to political leadership in the country, despite a high level of opposition to the Communist Party which is now appearing. Elections, promised for May 1990, will indicate how successful Mladenov has been in that effort.
About Bulgaria - Visas
Bulgaria has liberalized its visa policy as a gesture of reciprocity and to conform to international standards. A valid passport is all that is required for visitors from the EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) member states for stays up to 30 days. In addition, the citizens of Cuba, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, the Republic of Korea, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia and Montenegro and Tunisia may enter the country without a visa for a period of 30 days with a normal valid passport.
While a visa is no longer required of visitors from the US, a $20 border tax is levied. Residents of most other countries still need an entry visa; others, including Israel, Japan, Cyprus, Hong Kong, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, don’t need a visa if they present a voucher for pre-paid tourist services.......
The status of the carte statistique, or border control card, is in flux. In the past, when the monolithic Balkantourist controlled tourist accommodations, the card had to be filled in and stamped each night by a hotel, or by the police if staying with a private party (not required of first-time visitors). A hefty fee was levied upon departure if the card was suspect or lost.
Nowadays, the carte statistique is no longer legally required (except for residents of CIS and Bosnia-Herzegovina not traveling in a tour group). Strangely for the rest of us, however, the border control card has a way of showing up tucked into our passports. Some border crossings still issue them, but the most modern type of border crossing, the airport, basically ignores them.
In our experience, if issued a carte statistique, its best to just keep it with your passport but don’t worry about having it filled out, stamped, or anything. If at the next border crossing, you get questioned about it, just look or sound dumb (like a foreigner). Like much of the country’s Byzantine bureaucracy, it seems to be whimsical. If issued one, keep it with your passport but don’t worry about it. But you won’t get to keep it as a souvenir of the “old times” in Bulgaria, because the next border bureaucrat will whisk it away to from whence it came.
About Bulgaria - Insurance
The country’s health system, once a source of national pride, has fallen on hard times. In the past, foreigners would be treated at hospitals or polyclinics free-of-charge. The financial crisis and the cutback in state supports means that uninsured foreigners (there is reciprocity with the EU national health insurance) are charged according to a complex scale which lists every conceivable ailment and treatment. Many physicians and dentists now have their own private practices while also continuing to work for the state. While the physical appearance of the country’s public health facilities may look off-putting, the level of professional services is high.
For over the counter drugs, try one of the more well-stocked of the ubiquitous Bulgarian pharmacies, or apteca. Be prepared to point at or pantomime what you want, if you don’t speak Bulgarian. In addition to drugs, most pharmacies sell cosmetics, toiletries, diet products, baby diapers and feminine protection.
For a more serious malady, go to one of the clinics or policlinics in most towns. In Sofia, a good all-around clinic to try is Vel Vil. Their location is on 21 Kniaz Boris I Str., near The National Palace of Culture (NDK), tel. (+359 2) 521 841.
For emergency medical treatment, of course, find the nearest hospital. Sofia’s emergency hospital is called Pirogov – presumably where the ambulance will take you if you call 140. If you have the option, a taxi would probably be the more dependable means of being transported quickly.
Supposedly there are English speaking-doctors at the National Institute of Military Medicine (“Military Hospital”), located on St George Sofiski Street.




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