If you’re planning on traveling to Bulgaria, it’s important to learn a little bit about the country. Here are some fun and interesting facts on Bulgaria that will give you a better understanding of the culture and the people.
Bulgaria is a beautiful country with many things to offer its visitors. There are stunning mountains, lovely beaches, and plenty of history in this small Balkan nation!
Where Is Bulgaria?
The Republic of Bulgaria is located in the Southeast part of Europe. It is part of the Balkan Peninsula. Surrounding Bulgaria is Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Romania to the north, Turkey and Greece to the south, as well as the Black Sea on its eastern border.
The capital of Bulgaria is Sofia, which is home to about one-fifth of the population. The second-largest city is Plovdiv, which is located in central Bulgaria and has a population of about 350,000 people.
Other major cities include Varna on the Black Sea coast, Burgas on the Bulgarian. These are also cities you will want to consider on your itinerary.
Fun Facts on Bulgaria
Sofia Was Originally Called Serdika
The capital of Bulgaria has a very interesting history that dates back to 7000 BC when it was first settled by Thracian tribes.
Sofia was originally called Serdika but later became known as Ulpia Serdica. It was renamed Sofia in the 14th century after St. Sophia Cathedral.
The Oldest Building in Sofia Is A Church
The oldest building in Bulgaria is the St. George Rotunda, which was built over 2000 years ago during Roman times and dates back to the middle of the third century. This church is located in Sofia and has been a landmark for centuries, survived earthquakes and wars!
Bulgaria Has Never Been Colonized
One of the more intriguing facts about Bulgaria is that despite being located in the heart of Europe, it has never been colonized. This is likely due to its location and the fact that it’s surrounded by mountains.
Bulgaria Is The Birthplace Of Cyrillic Script
The Bulgarian alphabet, known as Cyrillic, was created by two monks from Thessalon in the ninth century. This is one of the lesser-known facts of Bulgaria.
It’s now used by many Slavic languages. In 2012, the Cyrillic alphabet celebrated its 1150th anniversary.
Cultural Facts About Bulgaria
The Most Popular Sport In Bulgaria Is Soccer
Soccer is a very popular sport in Bulgaria and has been since the early 1900s. The Bulgarian National Team has qualified for five World Cups (1962, 1966, 1986, 1994, and 1998) and has won several medals at international competitions.
Bulgaria also has a rich history of Olympic athletes, with over 50 Olympic gold medals awarded and more than 200 medals won.
Bulgarians Are Relatively Short In Europe
While Europeans are generally some of the tallest people in the world, the Bulgarian population is on the shorter end within the European continent. The average male height is 178 cm and female height is 164 cm. That said, these numbers are higher than the world average height for both genders.
Baba Marta Is An interesting Holiday
In March, Bulgarians celebrate Baba Marta (Grandma March). This holiday is celebrated by giving each other martenitsas, which are small red and white woven tassels. The tradition is to wear a martenitsa until you see a stork or swallow, which are considered signs of spring. If you receive a martenitsa on your wrist, it is meant to bring good health and luck for the year ahead.
The National Dance Of Bulgaria Is The Horo
The horo is a traditional Bulgarian folk dance that is performed by couples. It is a lively and energetic dance that has many variations. The most common version is the horo with two circles of dancers, one inside and one outside.
The Bulgarian Flag Was Designed By A Poet
In 1878, Bulgaria became an independent state and needed a flag to represent it. The design was created by poet Petko Slaveykov, who also wrote the Bulgarian national anthem.
The Bulgarian flag has three colors: white for peace and love, green for freedom and hope, and red for bravery and strength.
Bulgaria Is Home To One Of Europe’s Oldest Gold Treasures
The Panagyurishte Treasure is a collection of nine golden vessels that were found in the town of Panagyurishte, Bulgaria. It is believed to have been made around 470-463 BC during the reign of King Perdiccas II.
Useful Facts About Bulgaria For Travelers
Bulgaria Has Over 250 Mineral Springs
There are more than 250 natural mineral water springs throughout Bulgaria that have been used for centuries as a cure-all remedy. Today, many of these springs are bottled and sold under various brands.
Bulgaria Has More Than 350 Monasteries
There are over 350 monasteries in Bulgaria, some of which date back to the ninth century. These Orthodox Christian churches are often located in remote areas and surrounded by beautiful nature.
The Rila Monastery Is The Largest In Bulgaria
The Rila Monastery is located in the Rila Mountains, about 120 km south of Sofia. It is the largest and most famous monastery in Bulgaria, with a history that dates back to the tenth century.
This is one of the most relevant facts about Bulgaria for travelers because you will likely visit it. The monastery is known for its beautiful architecture and stunningly intricate frescoes. It is one of the famous landmarks in Bulgaria.
The Rose Valley Is A Popular Tourist Destination
The Rose Valley is located in the Rhodope Mountains, about 200 km southeast of Sofia. It is famous for its rose oil production, which has been a tradition in the region since ancient times.
The Bulgarian National Revival Was A Period Of Literary And Cultural Revival
The Bulgarian National Revival is one of the most significant periods of Bulgarian history. It began in the early nineteenth century and lasted until the late nineteenth century. During this time, there was a great resurgence of interest in Bulgarian culture, literature, and arts.
Bulgaria Joined NATO In 2004
Bulgaria became a member of NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) on March 29th, 2004. The alliance is a group of 29 countries that have pledged to defend each other in the event of an attack.
The Bulgarian Parliament Is The Oldest In Europe
The first Bulgarian parliament was convened on May 11th, 1879, making it the oldest parliamentary institution in Europe. Bulgaria has had a unicameral parliament (a parliament with one chamber) since 1997.
Sozopol Is The Oldest Town In Bulgaria
Sozopol is a coastal town located on the Black Sea about 30 km south of Burgas. It is believed to be one of the earliest settlements in Bulgaria and was first mentioned by Herodotus in 480 BC.
The Town Of Melnik Is Considered To Be The Smallest In Bulgaria
Melnik is a small town located in southwestern Bulgaria, about 160 km from Sofia. It is believed to be the smallest town in Bulgaria, with a population of only about 300 people.
The Bulgarian Currency Is The Lev
One of the more important facts on Bulgaria for travelers to know is the currency. Euros are not widely accepted and you have to use the local currency. Bulgaria has been using the lev as its official currency since 1881. The lev is divided into 100 stotinki, and there are currently about 200 million leva in circulation.
Food Facts Of Bulgaria
Food is always a big part of travel. Therefore, it is also essential to know some yummy facts on Bulgaria for foodie travelers.
Bulgarians Are Known For Their Hearty Cuisine
Bulgarian food is often described as rustic, simple, and healthy. The most popular dishes include tarator (a cold cucumber soup), shopska salad (a salad made of tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions), banitsa (a cheese pastry), and kebapcheta (minced meat skewers).
The National Dish Of Bulgaria Is Banitsa
Banitsa is a traditional Bulgarian pastry that is made with cheese, eggs, and filo dough. It is usually served as breakfast food or appetizer and can be found at most restaurants throughout the country.
Bulgarian Cheese Is World-renowned
Bulgarian cheese is known for its unique flavor and creamy texture. It has been awarded many international prizes, including the World Cheese Awards and the biennial Golden Cheese Award.
The Yogurt In Bulgaria Is Among The World’s Best
Bulgarians are famous for their yogurt, which is some of the best in the world. I did not know this until a friend mentioned that I should not forget to try it.
One of the most interesting facts about Bulgaria is that they often refer to yogurt as “white gold” since it’s an important part of their diet. The country is home to several popular brands of yogurt, such as Biofresh, Danone, and Muller. It is simple enough to find them in supermarkets.
The National Drink Of Bulgaria Is Rakia
Rakia is a fruit brandy that consists of grapes, plums, apricots, pears, cherries, and apples. It is a very strong liquor that has an alcohol content of about 40% ABV (80 proof).
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Interesting Facts About Bulgarians
Many Notable People Have Come From Bulgaria
Some of the most famous people who were born in Bulgaria include: Ivan Vazov (a renowned poet), Tzvetan Todorov (a world-renowned philosopher), and Milko Skofic (a world champion ski jumper).
Bulgarians Like To Drink
One of the fun facts about Bulgarians that you’ll quickly learn is their love for drinks! Alcohol consumption is very high in Bulgaria and it’s not uncommon for people to start drinking early in the day.
Bulgarians Are Humorous And Funny
Bulgarians are famous for their wit and sharp sense of humor. They often use sarcasm and irony in their conversations, but they mean no harm.
Bulgarians Are Hospitable And Generous
One of the most heartwarming facts about Bulgarians is that they are very hospitable people. Bulgarians enjoy hosting guests in their homes, and will often go out of their way to make you feel welcome and comfortable. They also love giving gifts to friends, family members, and colleagues on special occasions.
Bulgarians Love To Dance
Dancing is a big part of Bulgarian culture. Bulgarians love to dance at weddings, parties, and other social gatherings. There are many popular traditional dances in Bulgaria, such as the horo and kopanitsa.
Bulgarians Have Many Superstitious Beliefs
There are many superstitions and traditions that Bulgarians believe in. These come from the old times and some of them can be pretty amusing.
Some examples include not giving knives as gifts because they will sever your relationship with the person receiving it; not whistling indoors because you will whittle away all your money, and not stepping on cracks in the pavement because you’ll break your mother’s back.
The Bulgarian Language Is One Of The Oldest In Europe
There are many theories about where the Bulgarian language came from. Some believe it has influence from Thracian or Dacian languages; others think it evolved from Proto-Slavic. Whatever the case, Bulgarian is one of the oldest languages still in use today in Europe!
Bulgaria Has Many Famous Inventions To Its Name
Some of Bulgaria’s most notable inventions include a solar clock (1966), the world’s first printed book in Cyrillic script (1483), and the oldest gold treasure in Europe (470-463 BC).
Discover More Fun Facts About Bulgaria
These are some interesting facts about Bulgaria for travelers to know before visiting.
Bulgaria is known for its ancient ruins, delicious Balkans cuisine, and immersive culture. There are plenty to uncover in this often underrated country. It is a relatively affordable destination that can certainly stand out with the impressive nature and historical offerings.
Be sure to spend some time in this Balkan country, and you are sure to uncover even more cultural and fascinating Bulgaria facts through your adventures.