Location: Bulgaria is situated in Southeastern Europe and occupies the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. Area: 111.000 sq km. 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.
Relief: Extremely varied: large plains and lowlands, low and high mountains, valleys and lovely gorges. The most famous mountains in Bulgaria are Rila, Pirin, the Rodophean Mountains and Stara Planina Mountain Range. Bulgarian relief is also famous with the Rose Valley, where the best red roses grow and where the "Queen of the Roses" Fest takes place.
Climate: Temperate continental with clearly marked four seasons. A Mediterranean influence is felt in the country's southern regions. The average annual temperature is 10.5°C. The average January temperature is around O°C. Average summer temperatures rarely exceed 30°C.
Language: Bulgarian. English, German, French and Russian is 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 Orthodox Christians, 13% are Muslims. The Bulgarian Church is autonomous and headed by a Patriarch.
State government: Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with democratic government.
Official holidays: January 1 - New Year March 3 - Bulgaria's Liberation from Ottoman rule - the National Day Easter - one week after the Catholic Easter May 1 - Labour Day May 6 - Bulgarian Army Day May 24 - Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture and the Slav Script September 6 - Bulgaria's Unification September 22 - Independance Day December 25-26 - Christmas.
Capital: Sofia (pop. 1,141,000)
Large Cities: Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas, Veliko Turnovo, Stara Zagora, Rousse, Pleven, Dobrich, Shoumen UNESCO World Heritage Sites: - Madara Rider - early medieval large rock relief - Kazanlak Thracian tomb - Sveshtari Thracian tomb - Boyana Church, Sofia - Rila Monastery - Ivanovo Rock Monastery - Pirin National Park - Srebarna Nature Reserve - the ancient city of Nessebar