With so much history and culture, a trip to Bulgaria is a must! Whether it’s a temple run you’re after, or a trip to the mountains, or to the beach, Bulgaria is the perfect place to experience all of this. Keep on reading to learn 25 facts about Bulgaria.
Fact 1: Bulgaria is a country in Southeast Europe.
- It’s bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east.
Fact 2: With a territory of 110, 994 km², Bulgaria is Europe’s 16th largest country.
- It’s major cities include Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas.
Fact 3: The Neolithic Karanovo culture, which dates back to 6,500 BC, is one of Bulgaria’s earliest societies.
- In the 6th to 3rd century BC, the region was a battleground for Thracians, Persians, Celts and ancient Macedonians.
Fact 4: Most of Bulgaria’s residents live in Sofia and in the capital cities of the 27 provinces.
- The population has been declining since the late 1980s.
Fact 5: Widespread corruption is a major socio-economic issue in Bulgaria.
- In fact, it was ranked as the most corrupt country in the European Union in 2018.
Fact 6: Bulgaria loves its yoghurt!
- The mildly sour-tasting yoghurt, ‘kiselo mlyako’ is undoubtedly the best and the healthiest of all dairy products. The western world calls it Bulgarian yoghurt but in its homeland, Bulgaria, it’s called sour milk.
Fact 7: Bulgarians have a confusing way of saying “yes” and “no”.
- They shake their heads to say “yes” and nod when they want to say “no”.
Fact 8: Bulgaria is the only country in Europe that has kept its original name since it was first established in 681 AD.
- The Bulgars founded the First Bulgarian Empire in AD 681, which dominated most of the Balkans and significantly influenced Slavic cultures by developing the Cyrillic script.
Fact 9: The oldest gold treasure on the planet was unearthed in Bulgaria.
- 3000 gold artefacts dating back more than 6000 years ago were found in 294 graves in the country.
Fact 10: The Bulgarian folk song “Izlel e Delyu Haydutin” by the Bulgarian folk music singer Valya Balkanska, was sent into deep space, it travelled on the US Space Probe Voyager I.
- It was sent up there with other ‘great’ human artefacts for aliens to find, if they are up there.
Fact 11: An individual of Bulgarian descent invented the very first electronic digital computer.
- John Vincent Atanasoff was a physicist and inventor who’s considered to be the father of the computer.
Fact 12: Bulgaria’s land area is as big as Ohio and half the size of Uganda.
- It’s a bit smaller than Greece.
Fact 13: Rila Mountain is Bulgaria’s highest mountain which stands at 2,925 meters above sea level.
- It’s peak, the “Musala” is even higher than Mount Olympus by 7 meters.
Fact 14: The country’s mountain range stretches across the whole width of Bulgaria.
- Stara Planina stretches from Serbia, divides Bulgaria into Northern and Southern, and reaches the Black Sea at Cape Emine.
Fact 15: Bulgaria comes in as a close second to Iceland when it comes to natural mineral springs.
- The International Hotel & Restaurant Association even recognized Velingrad, one of Bulgaria’s many towns, as the SPA Capital of the Balkan.
Fact 16: Bulgaria’s Rose Valley supplies about half the world’s rose oil.
- The valley is nestled between the mountains Stara Planina and Sredna Gora. The rose oil is extracted from a species called Rosa Damascena or Damask Rose.
Fact 17: Apart from its picturesque landscapes, Bulgaria is also home to a few of the world’s rarest animals and plant species’ that have long vanished from other parts of Europe.
- Among these endangered animals are the Bulgarian emerald, the Angel shark, and the Apollo butterfly.
Fact 18: The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is the oldest Slavic Orthodox Church in the country.
- It has between 1.5 and 2.0 million members across a number of European countries, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
Fact 19: The Bulgarian Army has never lost a flag in battle.
- It’s great because they’ve been participating in battles for years, so this is some feat.
Fact 20: In World War II, Bulgaria chose to save its Jewish citizens instead of sending them to concentration camps.
- They were not the only country to do this, individuals in Poland, Greece and France also helped the Jewish community.
Fact 21: Bulgaria is home to several UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- These include, the Thracian Tomb of Kazanlak, the Thracian Tomb of Sveshtari, the Ancient City of Nessebar, the Madara Rider, the Rock-Hewn Churches of Ivanovo, the Boyana Church, and the Rila Monastery.
Fact 22: During the Balkan war, the Bulgarian Air Force developed the first air-dropped bomb in Military History.
- The bomb was first put to use on October 16th, 1912, by Lieut. Radul Milkov and Lieut. Prodan Tarakchiev.
Fact 23: A Bulgarian woman, Stefka Kostadinova, holds the record for the highest recorded high Jump in the women’s category.
- 28 years later, no other woman has managed to beat Kostadinova’s record.
Fact 24: The Thracian hero named Spartacus was born in the Bulgarian lands.
- Spartacus was a military leader that the Romans captured and enslaved. After escaping, he started a war against the Roman Republic together with the other escaped slaves.
Fact 25: While the rest of the world celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14, Bulgarians celebrate Trifon Zarezan, a celebration dedicated to wine.
- The ritual often includes a Christian priest who blesses the vineyards, as Saint Trifon is considered a guardian of the vineyards and of wine-makers. A great feast is held at the end of the ritual.