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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,... See More



 Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey

Geographic Coordinates:

 43 00 N, 25 00 E


 Total: 110,879 sq km
Land: 108,489 sq km
Water: 2,390 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly larger than Tennessee

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 1,808 km
Border countries: Greece 494 km, Macedonia 148 km, Romania 608 km, Serbia 318 km, Turkey 240 km


 354 km (Rank: 128)

Maritime Claims:

 Territorial sea: 12 nm
Contiguous zone: 24 nm
Exclusive economic zone: 200 nm


 Temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers


 Mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
Highest point: Musala 2,925 m

Natural Resources:

 Bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land

Land Use:

 Arable land: 29.94%
Permanent crops: 1.9%
Other: 68.16% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 1,020 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 19.4 cu km (2005)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 6.92 cu km/yr (3%/78%/19%)
Per capita: 895 cu m/yr (2003)

Natural Hazards:

 Earthquakes; landslides

Environment - Current Issues:

 Air pollution from industrial emissions; rivers polluted from raw sewage, heavy metals, detergents; deforestation; forest damage from air pollution and resulting acid rain; soil contamination from heavy metals from metallurgical plants and industrial wastes

Environment - International Agreements:

 Party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands

Signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - Note:

 Strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia

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 Noun: Bulgarian(s)
Adjective: Bulgarian

Ethnic Groups:

 Bulgarian 83.9%, Turk 9.4%, Roma 4.7%, other 2% (including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, Circassian) (2001 census)


 Bulgarian (official) 84.5%, Turkish 9.6%, Roma 4.1%, other and unspecified 1.8% (2001 census)


 Bulgarian Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, other Christian 1.2%, other 4% (2001 census)


 7,093,635 (July 2011 est.)

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 13.9% (male 506,403/female 480,935)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 2,367,680/female 2,446,799)
65 years and over: 18.2% (male 522,343/female 769,475) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 41.9 years
Male: 39.6 years
Female: 44 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 -0.781% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 9.32 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 14.32 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 -2.82 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 71% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: -0.3% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 SOFIA (capital) 1.192 million (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 At birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
Under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.68 male(s)/female
Total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 13 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 16.68 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 19.93 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 13.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 73.59 years
Male: 69.99 years
Female: 77.41 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 1.42 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 7.4% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 3.635 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital Bed Density:

 6.49 beds/1,000 population (2008)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 100% of population
Total: 100% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 100% of population
Rural: 100% of population
Total: 100% of population (2008)

HIV/AIDS - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 0.1% (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - People Living With HIV/AIDS:

 3,800 (2009 est.)

HIV/AIDS - Deaths:

 Fewer than 200 (2009 est.)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 1.6% (2004)

Obesity - Adult Prevalence Rate:

 12.4% (2001)

Education Expenditures:

 4.1% of GDP (2007)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 98.2%
Male: 98.7%
Female: 97.7% (2001 census)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 14 years
Male: 13 years
Female: 14 years (2008)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 16.1%
Male: 17.8%
Female: 13.7% (2009)

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Country Name:

 Conventional long form: Republic of Bulgaria
Conventional short form: Bulgaria
Local long form: Republika Balgariya
Local short form: Balgariya

Government Type:

 Parliamentary democracy


 Name: Sofia
Geographic coordinates: 42 41 N, 23 19 E
Time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative Divisions:

 28 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast); Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Khaskovo, Kurdzhali, Kyustendil, Lovech, Montana, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Ruse, Shumen, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofiya (Sofia), Sofiya-Grad (Sofia City), Stara Zagora, Turgovishte, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Vidin, Vratsa, Yambol


 3 March 1878 (as an autonomous principality within the Ottoman Empire); 22 September 1908 (complete independence from the Ottoman Empire)

National Holiday:

 Liberation Day, 3 March (1878)


 Adopted 12 July 1991

Legal System:

 Civil law

International Law Organization Participation:

 Accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President Georgi PARVANOV (since 22 January 2002); Vice President Angel MARIN (since 22 January 2002)

Head of government: Prime Minister Boyko BORISSOV (since 27 July 2009); Deputy Prime Ministers Simeon DJANKOV and Tsvetan TSVETANOV (since 27 July 2009)

Cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and elected by the National Assembly

Elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 23 and 30 October 2011 (next to be held in 2016); chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) elected by the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers nominated by the prime minister and elected by the National Assembly

Election results: Rosen PLEVNELIEV elected president in a runoff election; percent of vote - Rosen PLEVNELIEV 52.6%, Ivailo KALFIN 47.4%; Boyko BORISSOV elected prime minister; result of legislative vote - 162 to 77 with 1 abstention; note - Rosen PLEVNELIEV is scheduled to take office on 22 January 2012

Legislative Branch:

 Unicameral National Assembly or Narodno Sabranie (240 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)

Elections: last held on 5 July 2009 (next to be held in mid-2013)

Election results: percent of vote by party - GERB 39.7%, BSP 17.7%, MRF 14.4%, ATAKA 9.4%, Blue Coalition 6.8%, RZS 4.1%, other 7.9%; seats by party - GERB 117, BSP 40, MRF 37, ATAKA 21, Blue Coalition 15, RZS 8, independents 2

Judicial Branch:

 Independent judiciary comprised of judges, prosecutors and investigating magistrates who are appointed, promoted, demoted, and dismissed by a 25-member Supreme Judicial Council (consists of the chairmen of the two Supreme Courts, the Chief Prosecutor, and 22 members, half of whom are elected by the National Assembly and the other half by the bodies of the judiciary for a 5-year term in office); three levels of case review; 182 courts of which two Supreme Courts act as the last instance on civil and criminal cases (the Supreme Court of Cassation) and appeals of government decisions (the Supreme Administrative Court)

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Agrarian National Union or ANU [Stefan LICHEV]; National Union Attack (Ataka) [Volen SIDEROV]; Blue Coalition [Ivan KOSTOV and Martin DIMITROV] (a coalition of center-right parties dominated by UDF and DSB); Bulgarian New Democracy [Borislav RALCHEV]; Bulgarian Socialist Party or BSP [Sergei STANISHEV]; Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria or GERB [Boyko BORISSOV]; Coalition for Bulgaria or CfB [Sergei STANISHEV] (coalition of parties dominated by BSP); Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria or DSB [Ivan KOSTOV]; Gergyovden [Petar STOYANOVICH]; Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization or IMRO [Krasimir KARAKACHANOV]; Liberal Initiative for Democratic European Development or LIDER [Khristo KOVACHKI]; Movement for Rights and Freedoms or MRF [Ahmed DOGAN]; National Movement for Stability and Progress or NDSV [Hristina HRISTOVA] (formerly National Movement Simeon II or NMS2); New Time [Emil KOSHLUKOV]; Order, Law, Justice or RZS [Yane YANEV]; Union of Democratic Forces or UDF [Martin DIMITROV]; Union of Free Democrats or UFD [Stefan SOFIYANSKI]; United Agrarians [Anastasia MOZER]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria or CITUB; Podkrepa Labor Confederation
Other: numerous regional, ethnic, and national interest groups with various agendas

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Elena POPTODOROVA
Chancery: 1621 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: [1] (202) 387-0174
FAX: [1] (202) 234-7973
Consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador James B. WARLICK, Jr
Embassy: 16 Kozyak Street, Sofia 1407
Mailing address: American Embassy Sofia, US Department of State, 5740 Sofia Place, Washington, DC 20521-5740
Telephone: [359] (2) 937-5100
FAX: [359] (2) 937-5320

Flag Description:

 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

National Symbols:


National Anthem:

 Name: "Mila Rodino" (Dear Homeland)
Lyrics/music: Tsvetan Tsvetkov RADOSLAVOV

Note: adopted 1964; the anthem was composed in 1885 by a student en route to fight in the Serbo-Bulgarian War

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Economy - Overview:

 Bulgaria, a former Communist country that entered the EU on 1 January 2007, averaged more than 6% annual growth from 2004 to 2008, driven by significant amounts of foreign direct investment and consumption. Successive governments have demonstrated a commitment to economic reforms and responsible fiscal planning, but the global downturn sharply reduced domestic demand, exports, capital inflows, and industrial production. GDP contracted by approximately 5% in 2009, and stagnated in 2010, despite a significant recovery in exports. The economy is expected to grow modestly in 2011, however. Corruption in the public administration, a weak judiciary, and the presence of organized crime remain significant challenges.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $96.78 billion (2010 est.)
$96.63 billion (2009 est.)
$102.2 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $47.7 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 0.2% (2010 est.)
-5.5% (2009 est.)
6.2% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $13,500 (2010 est.)
$13,400 (2009 est.)
$14,100 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 5.3%
Industry: 30.1%
Services: 64.6% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 2.499 million (2010 est.)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 7.1%
Industry: 35.2%
Services: 57.7% (2009)

Unemployment Rate:

 9.5% (2010 est.)
7.6% (2009 est.)

Population Below Poverty Line:

 21.8% (2008)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 2%
Highest 10%: 35.2% (2007)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 45.3 (2007)
26 (2001)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 23.5% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $16.16 billion
Expenditures: $18.07 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 33.9% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -4% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 16.2% of GDP (2010 est.)
14.6% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 2.4% (2010 est.)
2.8% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:

 20% (31 December 2010 est.)
0.55% (31 December 2009 est.)

Note: Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) has had no independent monetary policy since the introduction of the Currency Board regime in 1997; this is BNB's base interest rate

Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 11.144% (31 December 2010 est.)
11.335% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $12.63 billion (31 December 2009)
$13.84 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $20.61 billion (31 December 2009)
$19.67 billion (31 December 2008)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $12.48 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$13.29 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $35.37 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$35.07 billion (31 December 2009)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $33.48 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$34.88 billion (31 December 2009)

Market Value of Publicly Traded Shares:

 $7.276 billion (31 December 2010)
$7.103 billion (31 December 2009)
$8.858 billion (31 December 2008)

Agriculture - Products:

 Vegetables, fruits, tobacco, wine, wheat, barley, sunflowers, sugar beets; livestock


 Electricity, gas, water; food, beverages, tobacco; machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 2.1% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 4.309 billion kWh (2009)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 47.8%
Hydro: 8.1%
Nuclear: 44.1%
Other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 28.3 billion kWh (2009)

Electricity - Exports:

 7.735 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 5.073 billion kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 2,925 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 91,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 75,840 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 201,400 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 15 million bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 54 million cu m (2010)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 2.62 billion cu m (2010)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2010)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 2.48 billion cu m (2010)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 5.663 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$578.9 million (2010 est.)
-$4.267 billion (2009 est.)


 $20.64 billion (2010 est.)
$16.41 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, fuels

Exports - Partners:

 Germany 10.9%, Italy 9.9%, Romania 9.5%, Greece 8.1%, Turkey 7.9%, France 4.1% (2010)


 $23.86 billion (2010 est.)
$22.2 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; fuels, minerals, and raw materials

Imports - Partners:

 Russia 16.3%, Germany 11.8%, Italy 7.5%, Romania 7.1%, Greece 6%, Turkey 5.2%, Ukraine 4.2% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $17.23 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$18.53 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $53.48 billion (30 June 2011 est.)
$38.17 billion (31 December 2010 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - Abroad:

 $957.7 million (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.194 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Direct Foreign Investment - At Home:

 $51.45 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$49.28 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Bulgarian Lev to Any Currency

Leva (BGN) per US dollar -
1.5138 (2010)
1.404 (2009)
1.3171 (2008)
1.4366 (2007)
1.5576 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 2.2 million (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 10.585 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: inherited an extensive but antiquated telecommunications network from the Soviet era; quality has improved with a modern digital trunk line now connecting switching centers in most of the regions; remaining areas are connected by digital microwave radio relay

Domestic: the Bulgaria Telecommunications Company's fixed-line monopoly terminated in 2005 in an effort to upgrade fixed-line services; mobile-cellular teledensity, fostered by multiple service providers, has reached 150 telephones per 100 persons

International: country code - 359; submarine cable provides connectivity to Ukraine and Russia; a combination submarine cable and land fiber-optic system provides connectivity to Italy, Albania, and Macedonia; satellite earth stations - 3 (1 Intersputnik in the Atlantic Ocean region, 2 Intelsat in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions) (2009)

Broadcast Media:

 4 national terrestrial television stations with 1 state-owned and 3 privately-owned; a vast array of TV stations are available from cable and satellite TV providers; state-owned national radio broadcasts over 3 networks; large number of private radio stations broadcasting, especially in urban areas (2010)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 31, FM 63, shortwave 2 (2001)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 39 (plus 1,242 repeaters) (2001)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 785,546 (2010)

Internet Users:

 3.395 million (2009)

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 210 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 130
Over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 17
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
Under 914 m: 96 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 80
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 6
Under 914 m: 73 (2010)


 3 (2010)


 Gas 2,844 km; oil 346 km; refined products 156 km (2010)


 Total: 4,151 km
Standard gauge: 4,071 km 1.435-m gauge (2,831 km electrified)
Narrow gauge: 80 km 0.760-m gauge (2009)


 Total: 40,231 km
Paved: 39,587 km (includes 418 km of expressways)
Unpaved: 644 km (2008)


 470 km (2009)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 37
By type: bulk carrier 16, cargo 10, chemical tanker 1, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1
Foreign-owned: 27 (Germany 25, Russia 2)
Registered in other countries: 31 (Comoros 8, Malta 7, Panama 6, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 10) (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Burgas, Varna

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Military Branches:

 Bulgarian Armed Forces: Ground Forces, Naval Forces, Bulgarian Air Forces (Bulgarski Voennovazdyshni Sily, BVVS) (2011)

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18-27 years of age for voluntary military service; conscription ended in January 2008; service obligation 6-9 months (2010)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 1,637,470
Females age 16-49: 1,621,352 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 1,320,955
Females age 16-49: 1,337,616 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 33,444
Female: 32,075 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 2.6% of GDP (2005 est.)

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Illicit Drugs:

 Major European transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and, to a lesser degree, South American cocaine for the European market; limited producer of precursor chemicals; vulnerable to money laundering because of corruption, organized crime; some money laundering of drug-related proceeds through financial institutions (2008)

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Last Updated: December 2011

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