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Bulgaria: The Past and the Present

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Bulgaria, or the Republic of Bulgaria is a country in Southern Europe. It is a small country located in the southeast of the Balkan Peninsula. It is bordered by Romania in the north, Turkey and Greece in the south, and Serbia and Macedonia in the west. This country has a surface area of 110, 994 square kms, or covers about one-fifth of the Balkan Peninsula. This is the sixteenth largest country of Europe. The landscape of Bulgaria is mostly mountainous. Over 30% of the Bulgarian territory is covered by coniferous and deciduous forests. The climate of this nation is mainly continental, with hot dry summers, and cold, snowy winters. Winter in Bulgaria is more severe, than the winter in other European countries located at the same latitudes. This nation is divided into 27 administrative regions. Sofia, its capital is the country's largest city, and has a population of 1, 378, 000.

Bulgaria is an ancient nation, whose emergence dates back to the 7 AD. This country also has remnants of prehistoric cultures from the 3rd and 4th century BC. All the Bulgarian political entities, which have existed in the nation since its emergence, have preserved the traditions of Bulgaria i.e., the ethnicity, language etc. The First Bulgarian Empire, which ruled between 681 and 1018 became a cultural hub for the Slavs. After the decline of the Second Bulgarian Empire, the Bulgarian territories were controlled by the Ottoman Turks. The Ottoman rule stayed for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War that took place in 1877 finally made way for the Third Bulgarian State. This state was granted full sovereignty in 1908.

However, after the Second World War, Bulgaria became a part of the Eastern Bloc, and became a faithful ally to Moscow. This situation remained until political changes in Europe took place in 1989. It was then that Bulgaria transited to parliamentary democracy and free-market capitalism. Today, Bulgaria is a parliamentary democracy. It is a member of the European Union, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United Nations, and the WTO. It is also a founding state of the OCSE and has a high Human Development Index of 0.74. According to the Human Development Index ranking of 2010, Bulgaria ranks 58th, which proves that the nation has come a long way and has handled its turbulence well.

To the south, the chain of Rhodope, a large irregular mass, forms a geographical barrier with Greece. At its western extremity, Mount Pirin rises to 2917 m (peak Vikhren) and the massive peaks of Rila culminate in the peak of Musala (2925 m), the highest peak in the Balkans. The main plains are in the north, along the Danube, which marks the border with Romania (Dobrudja plain) and the center where a series of depressions cross the country from west to east between the Balkan and Rhodope: the Sofia Plain, and the great plain of Thrace. The main rivers are the Danube in Romania and its tributaries, the Iskar (300 km), the Jantra (150 km), the Kamcija (180 km) which flows into the Black Sea and the Struma and Mesta, which flow up in the Aegean Sea. 2700 km separate France from Bulgaria.

Tags: chain of Rhodope, Second Bulgarian Empire, Balkan Peninsula

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