Bulgaria general info

General information | Geographical location | Climate | Population | Language | Government | Economy


Bulgaria coat


Territory: 110,987 sq. km. (44,365 sq. mi.)
Population: 8.1 million
Language: Bulgarian
Capital: Sofia (pop. 1,114,759)
Other cities
Plovdiv (377,637)
Varna (297,090)
Bourgas (188,367)
Ruse (185,425)

Geographical location

Bulgaria is situated in south-eastern Europe, in the north-eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula between 41°14' and 44°14' northern latitude and 22°21' and 28°36' eastern longitude. Bulgaria has a territory of 110 911 square kilometres which is 22% of the Balkan Peninsula. Its length is 520 km and its width is 330 km. The overall length of its borders is 2245 km. Bulgaria borders to the north on Rumania (the frontier line runs along the Danube river and continues on land to the north-east), to the south - on Greece and Turkey, to the west - on Serbia and Macedonia (former Yugoslavia) and to the east - on the Black Sea.

Map Bulgaria in Europe


The climate in Northern Bulgaria is moderate continental, while the climate in Southern Bulgaria is intermediate continental tending to Mediterranean. The climate in the regions with an altitude of 1900-2000 m above sea level is mountainous and along the Black Sea coast it is maritime. The climate of the seaside regions is milder in the winter and cooler in the summer than the climate of the interior of the country. The average annual temperature is 10,5°C, in winter about 0°C. The lowest temperature - 38,3°C - was measured in 1947.

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.

Weather forecast in the Bulgarian beach resorts - Weather on the Black sea coast

Detailed weather information. Yearly average temperature. Current weather conditions. Information is updated every hour.

In the capital, Sofia, daytime high temperatures average 82°F/28°C in July-August; 37°F/3°C in January, and reflect the ameliorating effects of nearby Mt. Vitosha. The wettest months are April-May and November in the interior; June, October and December along the coast. In mid-summer, the coast enjoys prodigious sunshine with daytime high air temperatures averaging 83°F/28°C and water temps ranging around 73-77°F/23-25°C.

Average Beach Climate Parameters

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The population of Bulgaria numbers 8 384 871. The average density of the population is 76,2 people per a square kilometre which is higher than the European norm (66 people per a square kilometre). The number of the town population (68,3%) prevails over the number of the rural population. The birth rate is comparatively low - 10,7%o and the death rate is comparatively high - 12,2%o, which defines the negative population growth of the latest years (-1,5%). The number of the active population has decreased (21,3%) while the number of the non-active population has increased (22,7%). The main part of the population are Bulgarians numbering 7 200 000. Beside them in the country live 800 000 Bulgarian Turks, 300 000 Gypsies and small number of Jews, Armenians, Russians and Greeks. The official religion is Eastern Orthodox which is professed by 86,6% of the population. 13,1% of the population profess Islam and 0,3 profess other kinds of religion.

Age structure:
0-14 years: 16% (male 696,131; female 662,335)
15-64 years: 68% (male 2,756,695; female 2,812,192)
65 years and over: 16% (male 564,698; female 748,375)
(July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate:
-0.6% (1998 est.)

Birth rate:
8.08 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate:
13.24 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate:
-0.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female

(1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
12.78 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 71.96 years
male: 68.39 years
female: 75.74 years

(1998 est.)

Total fertility rate:
1.14 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Bulgarian(s)
adjective: Bulgarian

Ethnic groups:
Bulgarian 85.3%, Turk 8.5%, Gypsy 2.6%, Macedonian 2.5%, Armenian 0.3%, Russian 0.2%, other 0.6%

Bulgarian Orthodox 85%, Muslim 13%, Jewish 0.8%, Roman Catholic 0.5%, Uniate Catholic 0.2%, Protestant, Gregorian-Armenian, and other 0.5%

Bulgarian, secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic breakdown

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 99%
female: 97%

(1992 est.)

Partly due to its mountainous terrain, Bulgaria's population density is one of the lowest in Eastern Europe, about 81 persons per square kilometer (207/sq. mi.). About two-thirds of the people live in urban areas, compared to one-third in 1956. Sofia, the capital, is the largest city

. Other major cities are Plovdiv-site of a major annual international trade fair, the Black Sea cities of Varna and Burgas, and Ruse on the Danube River. The principal religious organization is the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, to which most Bulgarians belong. Other religions include Islam, Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Judaism. Before 1989, religious activity was discouraged by the Bulgarian Communist Party, but its new leadership has pledged to support the rights of all citizens to worship freely.

Bulgarian is the primary language spoken in the country, although some secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic divisions. The most important of these is Turkish, which is widely spoken by the Turkish minority. From 1984-89, the government, in effect, banned the use of the Turkish language in public. The new leadership has repudiated that policy. Russian, which shares the Cyrillic alphabet and many words with Bulgarian, is widely understood.

Education is free and compulsory to age 15. Scientific, technical, and vocational training is stressed.


The official language 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.


Government type: emerging democracy
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Bulgaria
conventional short form: Bulgaria
Data code: BU
Government type: republic
Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (oblasti, singular—oblast); Burgas, Grad Sofia, Khaskovo, Lovech, Montana, Plovdiv, Ruse, Sofia, Varna
Independence: 22 September 1908 (from Ottoman Empire)
National holiday: Independence Day, 3 March (1878)
Constitution: adopted 12 July 1991
Legal system: civil law and criminal law based on Roman law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal


One of the poorest countries of central Europe, Bulgaria has slowly been moving from its old command economy towards a market-oriented economy. The economy faced a major crisis in 1996, marked by a banking system in turmoil, a depreciating currency, and contracting production and foreign trade.

Foreign exchange reserves dwindled to $518 million, while dramatically hiked interest rates added to the domestic debt burden and stifled growth. GDP fell by 11% in 1996, after experiencing 2.0% growth in 1995. Privatization of state-owned industries stagnated, although the first auction of a mass privatization program was undertaken in late 1996. Lagging progress on structural reforms led to postponement of IMF disbursements under a $580 million standby loan agreed to in July 1996.

In November 1996, the IMF proposed a currency board as Bulgaria's best chance to restore confidence in the lev, eliminate unnecessary spending, and avoid hyperinflation. The board was set up on 1 July 1997. Its establishment was followed by a reduction in inflation and interest rates and by a rise in foreign investment. Simultaneously the government pledged to sell off some of the most attractive state assets.

GDP in 1997 dropped 7.4%, but is expected to rebound to an estimated 2% in 1998. Other government objectives include: the completion of land reform, the privatization and strengthening of the banking system, and the modernization of the legal environment of business.