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Bulgaria, General Information

General Information

Population:about 8 million the average density of the population is 76, 2 people per a square kilometer. Beside them in the country live about 800 000 Bulgarian Turks, 300 000 Gypsies and small number of Jews, Armenians, Russians and Greeks.

Relief:The relief ofBulgariais extremely varied. Vast plains and valleys, precipitous ravines and gorges, deep glens nestling among hills, lowlands and high mountains alternate together on its comparatively small territory. The average altitude above sea level is 470 m. TheRilaMountainsare the highest inBulgariaas well as in the wholeBalkan PeninsulawithMt.Moussala- 2925 m.

34% of the seaside consists of beaches and dunes. Along the seaside there are 18 lakes and many bays, the largest of which are the bays ofVarnaand Bourgas.

Climate:The climate inNorthern Bulgariais moderate continental, while the climate inSouthern Bulgariais intermediate continental tending toMediterranean. The climate in the regions with an altitude of 1900-2000 m above sea level is mountainous and along theBlack Seacoast 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 10.5C. The average January temperature is around OC. Average summer temperatures rarely exceed 30C.

The capitalis Sofia., the others big city -Varna,Plovdiv, Burgas, Veliko Tarnovo

Religion
The official religion is Eastern Orthodox which is professed by 86, 6%

Language
the official language is Bulgarian and uses only the Cyrillic alphabet. To facilitate tourists, road and direction signs in populated areas, resorts, railway stations, airports and along the main motorways are also spelled in Roman letters. English, German, French, Russian and other languages are spoken in the country.

Tourism
Bulgariaoffers excellent conditions for tourism. TheBlack SeaCoasthas become world known for its wonderful geographical and climatic conditions: a warm sea, with almost imperceptible tides, well-wooded shores and vast beaches covered with fine golden sand. Modern resorts offer excellent conditions for rest and recreations, such as Zlatni Pyassatsi (the Golden Sands), Drouzba, Slunchev Bryag (theSunnyBeach), Rousalka, Albena, Duni, Elenite, St. Constantine and Elena, motels, camping sites and summer camps.

Each of the Bulgarian mountains has a charm of its own - their snow-capped peaks sparkling in the sun, covered with thick pine or deciduous forests interspersed with fragrant alpine meadows. There are numerous cosy chalets and pleasant holiday houses, snuggling in the mountains folds. The mountain and ski resorts of Borovets, Bansko, Pamporovo, Malyovitsa, Velingrad, Yundola and many others are equally attractive in summer and in winter.

Bulgariais also famous through its mineral springs (more than 500) and many of them are used for balnetherapy. Health resorts (Spa) were built in Kyustendil, Vurshets, Sandanski, Pavel Banya, Hisar, Bankya and in many other places ofBulgaria.

There are 2000 explored and unexplored caves inBulgaria. In one of them, theMagouraCave, the unique rock drawings made by people from the pre-historical time can be seen. The Belogradchik rocks, the natural pyramids at Melnik, the Pobiti Kamuni (Stone Forests) nearVarna, the Er Kyupria (Devil s Bridges) in the Rhodopes are some of the most curious sights ofBulgaria.

Passport and visa
EU nationals and some other European citizensdo not need a visa!

Currency and currency exchange
The Bulgarian national monetary unit is the LEV.
1 EURO = approx. 2 LEVA
1 LEV = approx. LM 0.20

Working hours
Banks usually work with clients from9 a.m.to3 p.m., offices from9 a.m.till5 p.m.Most shops are open from10 a.m.to8 p.m.from Monday to Saturday and many are open on Sunday.

Useful phone numbers
Emergency-112; Police 166; Ambulance 150; Road assistance 146;Reliable taxi service

Official holidays
January 1 - New Year; March 3 Liberation Day ; Easter; May 1 - Labour day; May 24 - the Day of Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture and Slav Script; September 22 - Indipendence day; December 25 - Christmas.