Exploring the Land of Roses
Bulgaria is a land full of tourist attractions and interesting history. Also known as the land of roses, Bulgaria can offer to its visitors plenty of diverse activities and sights. It is situated in the southeastern Europe and the old Bulgaria possessed immense beauty in landscapes, historical spots, and cultural influences. The towering mountains and crystal clear water of Bulgarian rivers are scenes to behold and they are hosts to plenty of wonderful activities. The pristine Bulgarian environment and the well-known Black Sea Coast are gifted with serenity and abundance.
Bulgaria's boundaries regularly changes during the earlier times but by 1944, the definitions of its boundaries were set. In 1991, Bulgaria's border reached to 2,264 kilometers. Rivers and the Black Sea accounted a good percentage while the rest is occupied with rugged terrains. Its western and northern perimeters are shared with neighboring countries Romania and Yugoslavia.
In 635 AD, the first known Bulgarian state was founded. The location of modern Bulgaria was first established in 681 AD. The early settles were Slavs and Bulgars. In 864, Orthodox Christianity was practiced. Tsar Simeon I, who ruled in 893 to 927 AD, was the leader of the first Bulgarian Kingdom. This period in Bulgarian history was considered as the Golden Age. Literature and arts already thrived and many believe that the Cyrillic alphabet was developed by two Bulgarian saints in the 10th century.
Bulgaria was plagued with social and political strife in the early 20th century. It was involved in the two Balkan wars and became an ally with the Central Powers then turned to the Axis Powers over the course of the two wars. Although they were known to be a Nazi ally, Bulgaria maintained a neutral status with Russia during the war and didn't participate in wars abroad under the Nazi command. As the end of World War II approached, 30,000 Bulgarian soldiers were killed when it declared war against Germany.
In 1943, Bulgaria's throne was occupied by six-year old King Simeon II. Communism became the system of government of Bulgaria during the Soviet invasion and the fall of Axis Powers. Simeon was forced into exile in Madrid, Spain. All throughout the Cold War, Bulgaria was under Soviet control. Todor Zhivkov ruled the country during this period and for 27 years, democratic opposition was shunned. Much of the country's economic and religious activities were under the control of the state.
Democratic change started taking shape in 1989, with Zhivkov no longer in power. But the communist party which was renamed to Bulgarian Socialist Party won the election in June 1990. The democratic parliamentary elections that was held the following year was won by the Union of Democratic Forces. As Bulgaria started to shed its communism past, it battled a bout of social and economic unrest. It went through a severe economic and financial crisis in the late 90s. Aided by the international communities, Bulgarian Prime Minister Ivan Kostov implemented reforms that led to the stabilization of its economy.
Main Tourist Attractions
Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria is a contrast between beauty and ugliness. A large part of the city still bears the marks of its communist past. It is littered with dull grey apartments and commercial buildings. One of the places to see in Sofia is the National History Museum. It has got a huge collection of Bulgarian treasures from the ancient times up to the present. The city has been rebuilt after it has experienced much damage during the war and beautiful cafes, churches, and yellow-brick pavements now surround the city.
The city of Plovdiv also offers interesting Bulgarian scenery. It is an old city and remnants of its past can still be seen opposite its present location. Museums and the Roman Stadium are some of the tourist spots of this historical city. Veliko Tarnovo, the former capital of Bulgaria, is also a historical site and it is filled with beautiful houses over the cliffs. Since it is a university town, younger visitors will be able to find plenty of activities befitting their age. The town of Nesebar nestles old churches, which makes it ideal for sight-seeing. The mood of this town is calm and quiet and it is a respite from the busy city of Sofia.
Uniqueness of the Country
Bulgaria's culture is diverse and some of the country's traditions date back to the ancient times. The Bulgarian grounds are blessed with excellent art and literature. Music is also a big part in the life of Bulgarian people. St. Trifon Day is celebrated every 14th of February and it is one of the biggest Bulgarian holidays. It celebrates the bountiful harvest of the past year. Villagers bring out bottles of wine and enrich the grape vines with it.
Bulgarian cuisine is dominated with fresh salad, Bulgarian yoghurt, fried meat dishes, and vegetable side dishes. Bulgarian yoghurt is known for its wonderful flavor and medicinal benefits. Many believed that this is the reason why some Bulgarian citizens have managed to live for as long as 100 years old. Sports in Bulgaria are popular among citizens and tourists. Football has managed to earn many devoted fans in Bulgaria. In 1994, they won the trophy for the World Football Championship. Suffice to say, many Bulgarian athletes from different fields have made a mark in world sports.