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Bulgaria Country Guide

Explore Bulgaria in Europe

Bulgaria with the capital city Sofia is located in Europe (Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea). It covers some 110,911 square kilometres (slightly larger than Tennessee) with 7,262,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Bulgaria

The topography includes mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast. The average density of population is approximately 65 per km². The notable climate conditions in Bulgaria can be described as temperate with cold, damp winters, hot, dry summers. Possible natural disasters include earthquakes or landslides.

To reach someone in Bulgaria dial +359 prior to a number. There are 2,164,000 installed telephones. And there are 10,617,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900, 1800 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".bg". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 230V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Bulgaria

Three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green, and red; the pan-Slavic white-blue-red colors were modified by substituting a green band (representing freedom) for the blue
note: the national emblem, formerly on the hoist side of the white stripe, has been removed.

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 from the Ottoman Empire 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. The country joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Europe
Neighbours: Macedonia, Greece, Romania, Turkey, Serbia
Capital: Sofia
Size 110,910 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 42,823 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than Tennessee
Population 7,262,000
Currency Name: Lev, Currency Code: BGN
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .bg
Telephone Country Prefix +359
Mobile Phone Connections 10,617,000
Landline Phone Connections 2,164,000

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 110,879 (sq km) 105

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 6,981,642 101
Population growth rate -0.81 (%) 229
Birth rate 9.07 (births/1,000 population) 206
Death rate 14.31 (deaths/1,000 population) 8
Net migration rate -2.86 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 172
Maternal mortality rate 11.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 152
Infant mortality rate 15.60 (deaths/1,000 live births) 105
Life expectancy at birth 74.08 (years) 114
Total fertility rate 1.43 (children born/woman) 199
Health expenditures 6.90 (% of GDP) 84
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.10 (%) 118
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 3,800 122
HIV/AIDS - deaths 200 103
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 23.70 (%) 72
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 1.60 (%) 125
Education expenditures 4.60 (% of GDP) 92
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 26.6 (%) 34


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 105,500,000,000 72
GDP - real growth rate 0.80 (%) 165
GDP - per capita (PPP) 14,500 93
Labor force 2,451,000 113
Unemployment rate 9.90 (%) 108
Distribution of family income - Gini index 45 39
Investment (gross fixed) 20.40 (% of GDP) 91
Taxes and other revenues 33.7 (% of GDP) 72
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -1.40 (% of GDP) 70
Public debt 17.90 (% of GDP) 134
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 2.40 (%) 52
Central bank discount rate 0.22 (%) 142
Commercial bank prime lending rate 10.63 (%) 81
Stock of narrow money 13,910,000,000 70
Stock of broad money 37,680,000,000 73
Stock of domestic credit 37,110,000,000 68
Market value of publicly traded shares 7,276,000,000 76
Industrial production growth rate 5.90 (%) 52
Current account balance 542,800,000 44
Exports 27,670,000,000 68
Imports 30,320,000,000 65
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 17,930,000,000 60
Debt - external 50,540,000,000 61
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home 52,290,000,000 54
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad 1,893,000,000 71


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 41,900,000,000 (kWh) 56
Electricity - consumption 28,100,000,000 (kWh) 65
Electricity - exports 12,000,000,000 (kWh) 16
Electricity - imports 1,166,000,000 (kWh) 60
Electricity - installed generating capacity 12000000 (kW) 51
Electricity - from fossil fuels 46.4 (% of total installed capacity) 163
Electricity - from nuclear fuels 20.3 (% of total installed capacity) 11
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 22.2 (% of total installed capacity) 85
Electricity - from other renewable sources 1.9 (% of total installed capacity) 59
Crude oil - production 1,000 (bbl/day) 96
Crude oil - imports 123,400 (bbl/day) 45
Crude oil - proved reserves 15000000 (bbl) 87
Refined petroleum products - production 120,000 (bbl/day) 69
Refined petroleum products - consumption 112,700 (bbl/day) 74
Refined petroleum products - exports 78,180 (bbl/day) 47
Refined petroleum products - imports 29,940 (bbl/day) 88
Natural gas - production 68,000 (cu m) 94
Natural gas - consumption 2,170,000,000 (cu m) 78
Natural gas - imports 2,480,000,000 (cu m) 47
Natural gas - proved reserves 5,663,000,000 (cu m) 88
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 42,170,000 (Mt) 66


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 2,356,000 54
Telephones - mobile cellular 10,475,000 73
Internet hosts 976,277 47
Internet users 3,395,000 63


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 202 28
Railways 4,152 (km) 40
Roadways 19,512 (km) 109
Waterways 470 (km) 84
Merchant marine 22 93


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 2.60 (% of GDP) 49

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
Ancient City of Nessebar
Situated on a rocky peninsula on the Black Sea, the more than 3,000-year-old site of Nessebar was originally a Thracian settlement (Menebria). At the beginning of the 6th century BC, the city became a Greek colony. The city’s remains, which date mo ...
Boyana Church
Located on the outskirts of Sofia, Boyana Church consists of three buildings. The eastern church was built in the 10th century, then enlarged at the beginning of the 13th century by Sebastocrator Kaloyan, who ordered a second two storey building to b ...
Madara Rider
The Madara Rider, representing the figure of a knight triumphing over a lion, is carved into a 100-m-high cliff near the village of Madara in north-east Bulgaria. Madara was the principal sacred place of the First Bulgarian Empire before Bulgaria’s ...
Pirin National Park
Spread over an area of over 27,000 ha, at an altitude between 1008 and 2914 m in the Pirin Mountains, southwest Bulgaria, the site comprises diverse limestone mountain landscapes with glacial lakes, waterfalls, caves and predominantly coniferous fore ...
Rila Monastery
Rila Monastery was founded in the 10th century by St John of Rila, a hermit canonized by the Orthodox Church. His ascetic dwelling and tomb became a holy site and were transformed into a monastic complex which played an important role in the spiritua ...
Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo
In the valley of the Roussenski Lom River, in north east Bulgaria, a complex of rock-hewn churches, chapels, monasteries and cells developed in the vicinity of the village of Ivanovo. This is where the first hermits had dug out their cells and church ...
Srebarna Nature Reserve
The Srebarna Nature Reserve is a freshwater lake adjacent to the Danube and extending over 600 ha. It is the breeding ground of almost 100 species of birds, many of which are rare or endangered. Some 80 other bird species migrate and seek refuge ther ...
Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak
Discovered in 1944, this tomb dates from the Hellenistic period, around the end of the 4th century BC. It is located near Seutopolis, the capital city of the Thracian king Seutes III, and is part of a large Thracian necropolis. The tholos has a narro ...
Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari
Discovered in 1982 near the village of Sveshtari, this 3rd-century BC Thracian tomb reflects the fundamental structural principles of Thracian cult buildings. The tomb has a unique architectural decor, with polychrome half-human, half-plant caryatids ...