|Republic of Bulgaria|
Motto : Съединението прави силата (Saedinenieto prawi silata)
( " In unity is strength ")
|Form of government||Parliamentary Republic|
|Government system||Parliamentary democracy|
|Head of state||
|Head of government||
|population||6,951,482 (December 2019)|
|Population density||64 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||−0.6% (2017) per year|
gross domestic product
|Human Development Index||0.813 ( 51st ) (2017)|
|independence||March 3, 1878 (declaration)
September 22, 1908 (recognized by the Ottoman Empire )
|National anthem||Mila rodino (Bulgarian Мила родино, "love home")|
|National holiday||3 March|
UTC + 2 EET
UTC + 3 EESZ (March to October)
|ISO 3166||BG , BGR, 100|
The Republic of Bulgaria is located in the east of the Balkan Peninsula . Bulgaria borders Romania in the north, Serbia and North Macedonia in the west, Greece and Turkey in the south . In the east, the Black Sea forms the natural border. The capital and seat of government of the Republic of Bulgaria is Sofia . Other important economic, administrative and cultural centers are the cities of Plovdiv , Varna , Burgas , Rousse and Stara Sagora .
Two thirds of the territory of Bulgaria consists of the lowlands formed by the Danube and Mariza rivers with their numerous tributaries. It is marked by two large mountain ranges: the Balkan Mountains (Bulgarian Стара Планина Stara planina , German , “Old Mountains” ) and the Rhodope Mountains . The highest peaks of the Balkan Mountains are Mount Botew ( ) and Tschumerna ( ). The north of the Balkan Mountains located Donau low level is limited by the Danube, which is the border with Romania here. In it lie the cities of Pleven , Razgrad , Russe and Shumen as well as Varna on the Black Sea. The Upper Thracian Plain , also called the Mariza Plain, extends south of the Balkan Mountains . The cities of Plovdiv and Stara Sagora as well as Burgas on the Black Sea are located in this central Bulgarian basin . This plain is bounded in the west and in the south by the Rhodope Mountains and the mountains Sakar and Strandscha in the south. The highest point in the Rhodope Mountains is the Great Perelik mountain ( ). In the south-west of the country, there are two other high mountains, the Rila and Pirin Mountains, with peaks between 2000 and 3000 meters, with Mount Musala ( ) being the highest on the entire Balkan Peninsula.
Bulgaria has three national ( Rila , Central Balkan and Pirin ), eleven nature parks and 55 nature reserves. The country has shares in the European Green Belt and is located in the Blue Heart of Europe .
Climate table Bulgaria
Source: Climate Bulgaria
North : The north of Bulgaria has a continental climate with hot and dry summers and cold, snowy winters.
Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains) : Snowy winters on the north side, seldom snowfalls on the south side at the same time of year. The so-called alpine climate prevails particularly in the west as well as in the Rila and Pirin Mountains .
Central Bulgaria and southwest : South of the Balkan Mountains lies the Upper Thracian Plain , into which the continental climate cannot penetrate. South of the mountains, maritime influences ensure a moderate winter, a rainy spring and a warm summer. At the border with Greece and Turkey - under the influence of the Aegean Sea - the Mediterranean character of the climate intensifies .
Bulgarian Rhodopes : The three mountains Rila, Pirin and Rhodopes occupy the western half of southern Bulgaria. In contrast to the significantly higher sister mountains, the Rhodope Mountains only have a mountainous climate in the west, while the transition to the coastal climate is already evident in the east.
Black Sea : The climate on the coast shows a Mediterranean profile, but the wind mostly blows from the Black Sea over the land from the east. As a result, the summers are less warm than in the subtropics and the very rainy winters are milder. From May to September the temperature usually rises above 20 ° C every day. In the coldest month, January, it rarely falls below freezing point.
Bulgaria had around 7.1 million inhabitants in 2017; the population density was 64 inhabitants / km². Most of the population lives in the cities south of the Balkan Mountains . The population development has declined in recent years, in 2001 it was −1.14 percent, at the end of 2008 it was −0.43 percent and in early 2011 it was −0.7 percent. The life expectancy is, according to the World Health Organization for men at 71 and women at 78 years. Life expectancy decreased from the 1970s to around 2000 and then began to rise again.
According to an estimate from 2017, 7,050,034 people lived in Bulgaria. Many Bulgarians left the country after 1990 and after joining the EU and settled in various Western European countries, especially in Spain , Italy and Germany . During this period only the two provinces of Sofia City (+ 120,749 people) and Varna (+ 13,061 people) and only the four cities of Sofia , Varna , Burgas and Veliko Tarnowo recorded an increase in population. In four provinces (Sofia City, Burgas, Varna and Plovdiv ) the population is over 400,000. 39.2 percent of the population live in nine municipalities, each with a population of more than 100,000. In 60 municipalities the population is less than 6000. According to the census, the population of Bulgaria lives in 255 cities and 5047 villages. 5,339,001 people, or 72.5 percent of the population, live in cities and 2,025,569, or 28.9 percent, live in rural areas. 33.6 percent of the population live in the seven largest cities. Bulgaria is losing population every year due to emigration, a low birth rate and a relatively low life expectancy. The population could drop to 5.4 million by 2050.
15.3 percent of the population are under 15 years old. The fertility rate is around 1.3 children per woman. The population is youngest in the provinces of Burgas (14.6 percent) and Sliven (17.2 percent); oldest in the provinces of Vidin (26.5 percent of the population), Montana and Gabrovo (both 24 percent), Lovech (23.3 percent).
According to the 2011 census , 84.8 percent of the population are Bulgarians ; 8.8 percent are Turks (see: Balkan Turks ), 4.9 percent Roma . The proportion of Roma is likely to be higher than the official figure; it is estimated by the Council of Europe at around 800,000, or almost 12%. In addition, live Russians (9978), Armenians (6552), Vlachs (3684, in the north of Romania , in the south Vlachs ) and the Muslim, Bulgarian-speaking Pomaks in Bulgaria. Around a quarter to a third of today's Bulgarian population are descendants of Bulgarian refugees from Macedonia (→ Macedonian Bulgarians ) and Thrace (→ Thracian Bulgarians ). In 2017, 2.2% of the population were migrants. The most common countries of origin were Russia, Greece and Turkey.
Despite this distance, these groups actively participate in the country's social and political life. For example, the Movement for Civil Rights and Freedoms (DPS) , which is predominantly supported by citizens of Turkish origin and Muslims, was represented in two coalition governments between 2001 and 2009. According to the 2001 census, the Turkish minority is particularly numerous in the districts of Kardzhali , Razgrad , Targovishte , Silistra and Shumen . The Pomaks are mainly found in the Smolyan district .
In 2009, citizens of predominantly Pomakian origin founded the Progress and Prosperity party because they were dissatisfied with the policies of the DPS. However, the Bulgarian Constitution of 1991 (Article 11, Paragraph 4) prohibits the establishment of parties on an ethnic, racial or religious basis.
The Roma are among the population groups most affected by marginalization in Bulgaria . Their social situation is characterized by poverty, a mostly low level of education and employment as well as social stigmatization. This living situation has intensified as a result of the transformation process of the 1990s and particularly affects Roma women, who suffer from a lack of social prospects as well as from patriarchal family structures.
Bulgaria, like Israel and some other Eastern European and Asian states, is described as an ethnic democracy in which “the dominance of an ethnic group is institutionalized”.
According to Article 3 of the 1991 Constitution, the official language is Bulgarian . According to Art. 36, learning and using the Bulgarian language is the right and duty of Bulgarian citizens. Bulgarian nationals whose mother tongue is another language also have the right to learn and use their language. The law can stipulate in which cases only the official language may be used. The minority languages are Turkish , Romani and Armenian . The Turkish language spoken in Bulgaria is a dialect that differs greatly from standard Turkish in Turkey and is particularly influenced by Bulgarian in the lexical area.
The Cyrillic script is officially used in Bulgaria .
Article 13 of the Bulgarian Constitution of 1991 guarantees freedom of religion , but emphasizes Orthodox Christianity as “the traditional religion of Bulgaria”. The autocephaly of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was recognized by the Patriarchate of Constantinople as early as 927 . The constitution also prescribes the separation of state and religion and obliges the state to religious neutrality and parity.
21.8 percent of those questioned in the 2011 census did not answer the question about religious denomination, with the younger generation predominating. 77.9 percent of the people who gave an answer to this question describe themselves as Christians (4,374,135 people). Most of them belong to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church (76 percent), the Roman Catholic Church in Bulgaria (0.8 percent) and the Evangelical Church (1.1 percent). Another 577,139 people (10 percent) describe themselves as Muslims . In the 2001 census, however, 83.9 percent of the population defined themselves as Christians and 12.2 percent as Muslims. There is also a rapidly dwindling Jewish minority (653 members in 2001, 2580 in 1992 compared to almost 50,000 in 1947). These are mainly Sephardic Jews. Best known in the German-speaking world is the writer and Nobel Prize winner for literature, Elias Canetti .
Religiousness and trust in the Church are, however, much lower in Bulgaria than for example in neighboring Romania , which is also associated with the internal fragmentation of the Bulgarian Church. Only 52 percent of Bulgarians describe themselves as religious and only 22 percent go to church at least once a month.
Cities and Urbanization
Among the major cities, the Bulgarian metropolis Sofia and the seat of government of several municipalities and a district (Oblast) Plovdiv play a central role as administrative centers . There are also Varna and Burgas , which function as administrative centers on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Media and service companies as well as the state's cultural institutions are therefore also concentrated here. Due to their comparatively more highly developed infrastructure, they are also of the highest regional importance for traffic and trade and show the most dynamic economic development.
According to the 2011 census, Bulgaria has seven cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants: Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Russe, Stara Sagora and Pleven. The smallest town is Melnik with 208 inhabitants and the largest village is Losen with 6276 inhabitants.
The oldest finds in present-day Bulgaria are from the Neolithic . The best known are the Karanovo cultures , but above all the Varna culture , whose gold treasure is one of the oldest in the world. The Indo-European Thracians ruled in the Bronze Age . The largest Thracian tribe, the Odrysen , could be found around 450 BC. BC to found their own empire, which stretched to the Danube and the Strymon . Today large finds, for example in the Valley of the Thracian Kings, are regularly reported by archaeologists that refer to this historical period. In 2000 the Thracian sanctuary of Perperikon was excavated in the Eastern Rhodopes and in 2003 the rock sanctuary of Beglik Tasch . The oracle of Perperikon was next to the oracle of Delphi one of the most important places of worship in the ancient world.
During the time of the Greek colonization , several city-states, so-called poleis , emerged on the Black Sea coast . Some of them, such as Apollonia or Mesambria , became trading powers and were initially able to hold their own against the Romans.
After the Roman conquest in 29 BC. The Romanization of the inhabitants began. Thrace and the coastal city-states became part of the Roman Empire . The large-scale buildings of Karasura , Trimontium , Nicopolis ad Istrum , Ulpia Augusta Trajana , Marcianopolis , Ratiaria or Augusta are known from Roman times . In the 4th century the Wulfilabibel was created in Nicopolis ad Istrum , the only source of the Gothic language and thus the oldest surviving written Germanic language .
The beginnings of the Bulgarian statehood are seen in 632, when the Greater Bulgarian Empire was founded. Since the 6th century invaded Slavs - in the year 678, after the United Bulgarian Empire had disintegrated - the Bulgarians under Asparuch on the Balkan Peninsula one. Together with the remaining Thracian and Roman population, they founded the First Bulgarian Empire (679 to 1018; recognized by Byzantium in 681), which at times comprised almost the entire Balkan peninsula. The first capital became Pliska . Bulgaria thus became the third recognized state in Europe and one of the few to which the Eastern Roman Empire had to pay tribute. The Bulgarian people emerged from the amalgamation of the immigrants with the local population .
Boris I converted to Byzantine Christianity in 864. His son Simeon I (893-927), the most important ruler of Bulgaria, defeated the Serbs , Hungarians and Byzantines, established the Bulgarian patriarchate and promoted the old Bulgarian literature . During his reign the Cyrillic script was also created at the imperial court . Simeon I was the first ruler to bear the title of Tsar , he called himself " Tsar of the Bulgarians and Rhomeans " (= Eastern Romans or Byzantines). During the Komitopul dynasty, Ohrid became the Bulgarian capital; however, the empire gradually came under the rule of Byzantium from 972 to 1018 .
Since the reign of Boris I of Bulgaria in the 10th century, the country was by Konstantin Opel from Christianized , which is why the majority of Bulgarians still the Orthodox faith belongs. Christianization led to the first cultural heyday in the Tsarist Empire. Schools arose in Preslaw , Pliska and Ohrid , from which the old Bulgarian language and culture spread to the other Slavic peoples. Although the Bulgarian culture was strongly influenced by the Byzantine culture, one speaks of the " First South Slavic Influence " and the Old Church Slavonic language. For a long time Bulgaria was a powerful empire that could compete militarily with the Byzantine Empire. During the time of Tsar Petar I , the Christian religious community of the Bogomils emerged , which with its literature is one of the pioneers against the dogmatics of the church and influenced the Cathar movement in Western Europe.
The brothers Johann and Theodor Peter from the House of Assen established the Second Bulgarian Empire in the 12th century with Tarnowo ( Tarnowgrad ) in the Balkan Mountains as the new capital. The empire, which existed between 1186 and 1393, achieved its greatest expansion under the tsar Ivan Assen II . The capital Tarnowo became the new cultural, spiritual and political center of Southeast Europe . Tarnowo was referred to by contemporaries as "the new Jerusalem , Rome and Constantinople at the same time". The Second South Slavic influence is referred to as a result of the advance of the Ottomans in the Balkans, many Slavic, vornehmend Bulgarian scholars the Tarnów (such as the later school Metropolitan Cyprian ) since the end of the 14th century in the now strengthened Muscovy found refuge.
Ottoman rule, independence
Between 1393 and 1396 all of Bulgaria came under Ottoman rule, which lasted almost 500 years. In 1444 the attempt to liberate Bulgaria by a Polish - Hungarian army under Władysław III failed . , King of Poland and Hungary, at the Battle of Varna . Parts of the Bulgarian population converted to Islam in the centuries that followed. Around 1800 the intellectual and national resistance arose with the demand for independence. An era of Bulgarian national revival came about in Bulgaria . Similar to Western Europe, it drew on ancient and earlier Bulgarian and Byzantine traditions, but fought against the Hellenization of society.
The bloody suppression of the April uprising by the Turks in 1876 and the indignation generated in Europe led to the Russo-Turkish War of 1877/1878. This was conducted with extraordinary severity and massive losses on both sides. After crossing the Danube and the Balkan Mountains in the middle of winter, the Russian troops gained the upper hand and advanced until shortly before Constantinople . With the Peace of San Stefano , the foundations for the modern Bulgarian state were laid.
Principality and Tsarism
After the Berlin Treaty , which was a power compromise between the great powers, two Bulgarian states were founded. North of the Balkan Mountains and south of the Danube, the principality of Bulgaria , which was tributary to the Ottoman Empire, was founded, which also included the region around the new capital Sofia. South of the Balkan Mountains, the nominally Ottoman province of Eastern Rumelia was founded with Plovdiv as the seat of government , which had its own constitution and was ruled by a Christian-Bulgarian governor appointed by the Ottoman sultan, but approved by the great powers. Macedonia , which was part of the Bulgarian state in the Treaty of San Stefano, remained entirely under Ottoman sovereignty.
On April 16, 1879, the first democratic constitution was passed in Veliko Tarnovo. Prince Alexander I (1879–1886) tried to push through internal reforms, united the two Bulgarian states and defeated Serbia , but was overthrown by a coup initiated by Russia . In 1887 Ferdinand von Coburg-Gotha became Prince, who in 1908 declared the complete separation from the Ottoman Empire and assumed the title of Tsar , with the result that the principality became Tsarist Bulgaria . The successes of the Bulgarian troops in the First Balkan War , with the conquest of Adrianople , were not repeated in the Second Balkan War. While the Bulgarian armed forces were tied to the Greek and Serbian fronts, the Romanians advanced as far as Sofia. The Turks recaptured Adrianople.
In the First and Second World War, Bulgaria fought on the side of the middle - or Axis powers . The royal family and the population successfully opposed the deportation of those Jews who lived within the 1941 borders. In the occupied territories, however, 11,343 Jews were extradited to the Germans (see also Holocaust ).
Socialist Era - People's Republic of Bulgaria
On September 8 and 9, 1944, Bulgaria was occupied by the Red Army , although the country had not participated in the invasion of the Soviet Union and was not officially at war with the Soviet Union . After the end of World War II, Bulgaria came under Soviet influence and became a member of the Warsaw Pact . While resentment about socialist rule arose again and again in other countries, there was very little organized and individual resistance to the leadership of the Bulgarian Communist Party (BKP) in Bulgaria . The rise of the BKP resulted from the invasion of the Soviet Union in September 1944. Under Soviet control, the former political elite was "tried" between December 1944 and February 1945, so that a total of more than 2,700 people were sentenced to death and an indefinite number in Camp was plugged or relocated, or simply disappeared. On February 1, 1945, the execution of the death sentences began. During this time, the number of members of the BKP grew to over 250,000.
Central goals during this time were the development of a communist society "which would be characterized by classlessness, justice, equality, humanity in social relationships, striving for higher things, prosperity and modernity". This was a great challenge, as Bulgarian society was mainly composed of smallholder structures and was not very industrial.
The women's suffrage was in the People's Republic of Bulgaria Act. A law had already been passed on January 18, 1937 that gave women the right to vote at the local level. But women and men were not treated equally: women were allowed to vote if they were legally married and mothers, and while voting was compulsory for men, voting for women was voluntary. In 1937 married, widowed and divorced women were given the right to vote for members of the National Assembly. This meant that women's suffrage was dependent on the status of women over men. The women could exercise this right to vote the following year. Unrestricted active and passive women's suffrage was introduced on October 16, 1944. Universal suffrage for men had already been introduced in 1879.
After the Red Army invaded Bulgaria in September 1944, Kimon Georgiev was one of the leaders of the coup on the Patriotic Front that led to the overthrow of the interim government of Konstantin Vladov Muraviev on September 9, 1944. As his successor, Kimon Georgiev became Prime Minister for the second time, after a short term from 1934 to 1935, on September 9, 1944 and signed the armistice agreement in Moscow. Wassil Kolarow was appointed provisional president of the newly founded People's Republic of Bulgaria on September 15, 1944, although he only held this office for a short time until November 23, 1944, when Georgi Dimitrov was appointed as the new elected head of state. Vasil Kolarow was head of state of Bulgaria a second time, namely after Dimitrov died on July 2, 1949. However, Kolarov was also marked by a serious illness, so that he could no longer exercise his offices and his future successor took his place. He died in Sofia on January 23, 1950.
After 22 years in exile, Georgi Dimitrov returned to Bulgaria in November 1945 and became the new Prime Minister on November 23, 1946, after a referendum on September 8 sealed the abolition of the monarchy. Under his government the power of the Communist Party was consolidated. a. Execute the opposition politician Nikola Petkow on charges of high treason and signed the new constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, which was closely based on that of the USSR and had specified the planned economy as the economic direction in paragraph 12 .
From 1947 Dimitrov became closer to the Yugoslav head of state Josip Broz Tito and signed a friendship treaty between the two countries. The aim was a federation between the two countries, to which Dimitrov also publicly invited Romania in 1948. These plans were not discussed with Moscow and therefore met with sharp criticism from Stalin, who summoned Tito and Dimitrov to Moscow on February 10, 1948. Georgi Dimitrov died on July 2, 1949 in the Barwicha sanatorium (Барвиха) near Moscow. His body was embalmed and buried in a specially built mausoleum in Sofia.
Walko Chervenkov took over the business of government in 1949 as Kolarov's deputy. After he was elected chairman of the Council of Ministers on February 3, 1950, he was also officially the head of state of Bulgaria. Walko Chervenkov was a big supporter of Stalin and adopted his style of government, which brought him sharp criticism after his death on March 5, 1953, so that he was replaced as General Secretary of the Communist Party by Todor Zhivkov . On April 17, 1956, he was also forced to resign as Prime Minister and to hand this office over to his deputy, Anton Jugow .
After Chervenkov's forced resignation, Jugov, as the new President of the Council of Ministers, to which he was appointed on April 17, 1956, pushed the de-Stalinization of Bulgaria. He received great support in this from his future successor, Todor Zhivkov. At the eighth party congress in November 1962 he was accused of behavior that was harmful to the party in connection with Chervenkov, so that on November 27 he was removed from all party and government offices. At the last party congress of the KPB in 1990, Yugov was rehabilitated. Today it is believed that Yugov lost his offices because of his criticism of Zhivkov's economic policy.
Probably the most formative politician in Bulgaria's socialist phase was Todor Zhivkov , who took over the office of Prime Minister on November 20, 1962 after the eighth party congress. Until then he was the chairman of the Central Committee (ZK) of the CP and thus already the most powerful man in the state. As early as the seventh party congress of the BKP in June 1958, Zhivkov called for "increased efforts to create the new man and to adapt the way of life to a society that has already been transformed in a socialist sense". The party's task was thus to develop methods of how citizens could be shaped outside of work according to the socialist model. Zhivkov also pointed to the need for a "socialist cultural revolution".
Twice (1963 and 1973) during Zhivkov's reign the dissolution of the People's Republic of Bulgaria as a sovereign state and its incorporation as the 16th SSR into the Soviet Union were discussed in vain in secret meetings of the Central Committee .
The political upheaval
While resentment about socialist rule arose again and again in other countries, there was very little organized and individual resistance to the leadership of the Communist Party in Bulgaria until the early 1980s. In the final years of the communist regime, the Muslim population in particular suffered. The regime managed to displace up to 370,000 people in the direction of Turkey.
Due to increased pressure within the party (which was not the result of bourgeois counter-movements, for example in the GDR), Todor Schiwkow resigned on November 10, 1989, one day after the Berlin Wall fell. There had been some conflicts within the party beforehand because the reform course that had already been initiated in 1988 was not pushed ahead quickly enough.
The goal of the party elite was “to continue to secure power in the hands of a 'reformed' BKP and, if necessary, to introduce a modification of the system, but not a general system change. Zhivkov's old companions were hastily dismissed from the party leadership and his thirty-year term in office was subjected to harsh criticism ”. One of the first measures was to appoint Petar Mladenov as the new chairman of the State Council on November 17, 1989 , and a month later, on December 18, to expel Todor Zhivkov from the party. The BKP was also renamed the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).
On November 18, 1989, the first demonstrations took place in Sofia and other major cities in the country after it became known that the BKP was not pursuing fundamental changes in the political system. These demonstrations were organized by informal organizations such as the Podkrepa trade union , the Independent Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the ecological movement Ekoglasnost . At the. On December 7th several organizations united and founded the democratic opposition movement Union of Democratic Forces SDS (bul. Съюз на демократичните сили, СДС), which from then on led the demonstrations.
After the turn
The end of the communist era began in 1990 with free elections. In the following years political and economic reforms were promoted. The largest democratic opposition movement was the Union of Democratic Forces SDS, founded in 1990 , which brought about the peaceful overthrow of communist Bulgaria. Until 1997, however, the former communists ruled through coalitions for several legislative periods. The EU integration was much of a conservative to 2001 led SDS-government under Ivan Kostov accelerated. It cooperated extensively with international institutions, lowered inflation, stabilized the economic situation and set the course for joining NATO (2004, together with six other Central European countries) and joining the EU on January 1, 2007. President at that time was the Democrat Petar Stoyanov .
The parliamentary elections on June 17, 2001 surprisingly won 42.7 percent of the vote by the recently founded National Movement Simeon II, NDSW around the former Bulgarian Tsar Simeon II of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha , who after 55 years left the Spanish Exile had returned. Because of the strongly emphasized republican principle in the constitution, he Slavicized his name to Simeon Sakskoburggotski and dropped monarchical additions to his name after the electoral authorities had expressed the legal opinion that he was not eligible as a former king. The promise to bring about a significant improvement in living standards within 800 days played a major role in the success. To this end, he proposed an increase in wages and tax cuts.
In essence, however, the incumbent government retained the conservative course of its predecessor, in particular the policy of EU integration. In 2003/04 Bulgaria served as a member of the UN Security Council and demonstratively joined the US-led anti-Iraq group, along with Chile and Spain, which supported a violent change of government in Iraq . The tendency towards US-friendly foreign policy of Bulgaria and the dissent with the reserved German-French side led, among other things, to the fact that at the instigation of Foreign Minister Solomon Pasi the German anti-ABC units were immediately replaced by Bulgarian and Polish troops. Similar to the USA, Bulgaria also supplied Iraq extensively with conventional weapons before the Second Gulf War . Bulgaria and six other countries joined NATO on March 29, 2004 .
After Simeon's reforms, there was a sustained upswing in the economy, from which, however, domestic and foreign investors and the urban upper classes were more likely to benefit than average citizens. In many rural areas there was high unemployment (national average around 12% for the first quarter of 2012) and corruption . Traditional agriculture generated 13% of the gross domestic product (GDP) with 26% of the workforce . On January 1, 2007, Bulgaria and Romania were admitted to the European Union . Bulgaria is not yet part of the Schengen area . An entry date in 2011 could not be realized due to unfulfilled criteria (anti-corruption etc.). In view of the refugee crisis in Europe since 2015 , membership (as of the end of 2018) seems unlikely.
The three-party coalition (BSP, NDSW, DPS), led by the socialists under Sergei Stanishev from 2005 to 2009 , became a failure of EU policy and corruption, an inadequate fight against the Mafia and the lack of a government after the stop of EU financial aid Accused of adequate youth policy. At the beginning of 2009, only 15% of Bulgarians trusted her, 76% expressed mistrust.
The ruling parties lost the 2009 European elections and the 2009 parliamentary elections ; the former co-governing NDSW was no longer represented in parliament after the election. Both elections were won by the GERB party of the former mayor of Sofia, Boyko Borisov . The Borisov government was a minority government of the GERB party, which was initially supported by conservative forces of the Blue Coalition . Initially, the parties 'Order, Security and Justice' and the nationalist Ataka also supported the government, but withdrew that support in 2010.
In the presidential elections in October 2011, the ruling party candidate, Rossen Plevneliev, won the runoff election on October 30, 2011 against former Foreign Minister Ivajlo Kalfin with 52.6 percent of the vote. Plevneliev took office on January 22, 2012, replacing Georgi Parvanov .
The party system, which was anchored for the first time after the Tarnowo Constitution in 1878, accumulated two socio-political lines of conflict that are still present in the Bulgarian political system today: on the one hand, the conflict between right and left, or conservative and liberal parties, and on the other between pro-Russian and pro-western MPs. A third conflict changed from city to country, after the Balkan Wars of 1912/13 and the First World War , to a conflict of capital versus labor, which also persists to this day. There was no conflict between the church and the state in Bulgaria, although the Bulgarian Orthodox Church took a strong position in the founding of today's Bulgaria and probably had a high degree of legitimacy.
In the 2016 Democracy Index, Bulgaria ranks 47th out of 167 countries, making the country a “flawed” (or “incomplete”) democracy.
houses of Parliament
The most recent parliamentary elections for the 44th National Assembly took place on March 26, 2017. The turnout was 54.07%, an increase of 5.39% compared to the previous election in 2014. Five parties or party coalitions overcame the threshold of 4%: GERB , BSP , the United Patriots Coalition , DPS and Volja, which was represented in parliament for the first time . Since the 2009 elections, the GERB has been the country's strongest party with around 1.1 million votes each. After the GNP suffered considerable losses in the 2014 elections, it moved back into parliament in 2017 at around the same strength as it was before.
|Party / coalition||be right||Percentages||MPs|
|GERB||1 147 283||33.54||95|
|United patriots||318 513||9.31||27|
In the meantime, one member of the BSP and one member of the DPS have left their parliamentary groups and are assuming their mandates as non-attached.
Rumen Radew has been President of Bulgaria since January 22, 2017 . He ran as an independent candidate for the Bulgarian Socialist Party for the 2016 presidential election and won the runoff election against Zezka Zacheva with 59.37% of the vote.
Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since January 1, 2007 and a member of NATO since 2004 . Bulgaria is also a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Cooperation Council for Southeastern Europe (SEECP) and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).
In Libya in 2007 five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death on charges of deliberately infecting 426 Libyan children with AIDS . Although international experts viewed the hygienic conditions in the hospital as the most likely cause of HIV infection and dated the infection to a time before the accused's arrival, the verdict was upheld across several instances. Critics believe that the Libyan nurses were used as political hostages for negotiations with the EU . After tough negotiations and international pressure, v. a. the EU and the USA, the six detainees were extradited to Bulgaria on July 24, 2007 to serve their life sentences, where they were pardoned by President Parvanov immediately after landing. In return, the EU and other states paid over 120 million euros in compensation and aid.
In December 2010, an investigation revealed that almost half of the Bulgarian ambassadors and consuls after the fall of the Wall were members of the notorious Communist State Security (DS). At that time 13 Bulgarian ambassadors were active in EU countries such as Germany, Great Britain and Spain. The then Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanow, also a former employee of the DS , refused the demands of the Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov and Foreign Minister Mladenov to recall them. The appointment of Bulgarian ambassadors falls under the sole competence of the respective president and 97 of the 127 ambassadors he appointed were employees of the State Security.
Bulgaria has been a NATO member since 2004 . The army was or is involved in international missions in Cambodia, Angola, Tajikistan, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eritrea, Afghanistan and also in Iraq.
In Bulgaria there are the following dishes:
- the Constitutional Court ( Конституционен съд )
- the Supreme Court of Cassation ( Върховен касационен съд )
- 5 courts of appeal ( Апелативен съд ) and one court of appeal for organized crime ( Апелативен специализиран наказателен съд )
- 28 district courts ( Окръжен съд ) and one criminal court for organized crime ( Специализиран наказателен съд )
- 113 district courts ( Районен съд )
- 28 district courts ( Окръжен съд ) and one criminal court for organized crime ( Специализиран наказателен съд )
- a military appeal court ( Военно-апелативен съд )
- 3 military courts ( Военен съд )
- 5 courts of appeal ( Апелативен съд ) and one court of appeal for organized crime ( Апелативен специализиран наказателен съд )
- the Supreme Administrative Court ( Върховен административен съд )
- 28 administrative courts ( Административен съд ).
In the 2017 Press Freedom Ranking, published by Reporters Without Borders , Bulgaria was ranked 109th out of 180 countries. According to the NGO report, the press freedom situation in the country is "difficult" and the worst in the European Union. The independence of the press is mainly undermined by close links between media, politics and influential business people.
Bulgaria has one national radio and television broadcaster ( BNR and BNT ) and a large number of private broadcasters. The most important of these are: bTV , Nova televizija , SKAT and TV Evropa . The private “ Darik Radio ” dominates among the radio stations . Work is underway to adapt and apply the EU rules on the transition to digital television and radio.
The press landscape is diverse. The largest daily newspapers in the country, Trud and 24 Časa belonged to the WAZ group until the end of 2010 ; the new owner is BG Printinvest. There are also other foreign investors in this area. Other important daily newspapers are Dnevnik , “Monitor”, Standart , “Sega” and “Duma”. Influential weekly newspapers and magazines are Capital , Tema and Politika.
The market-leading New Bulgarian Media Group (NBMG) controls four national newspapers, a magazine, a television channel and a news agency (as of 2014). The group belongs to Deljan Peewski , the former head of the Bulgarian secret service (as of 2017).
In 2016, 58.5 percent of the population had internet access.
According to Article 2 of the Bulgarian Constitution of 1991, Bulgaria is a " unitary state with local self-government ", in which no autonomous areas are permitted. Article 135 of the Constitution, in turn, lays down the structure of the state in municipalities and areas. The basic administrative-territorial unit is the municipality (Община / Obschtina ), in which the organs of local self-government represent the municipal interests and shape them politically. Citizens can participate directly in the administration of the municipality through a referendum or a general assembly of residents. The elections for the organs of local self-government (municipal councils, Общински съвет / obschtinski sawet ) take place every four years, with the mayor (кмет / kmet ) being directly elected as the executive organ of the municipality. The community has the right to own property and an independent household; in addition, she is entitled to financial support from the state.
In contrast to the municipalities, the second territorial unit, the area or the district (област / oblast ), is not administratively represented by elected bodies. Rather, the oblast is an administrative-territorial unit controlled by a district administrator appointed by the Council of Ministers (областен управител / oblasten uprawitel ) in the interests of the central government. According to Art. 143 of the Constitution, the administrator should ensure the implementation of state policy and is responsible for protecting national interests, legality and public order.
Bulgaria is among the countries known to be an agricultural country in the CMEA have occurred ( "CEMA") and its industrialization that owe substantially. This meant the increase in the energy and raw material-intensive heavy industry, some of which (pharmaceuticals, mechanical engineering, electronics) operated quite successfully in the former markets. The computer brands Prawez , Izot, IMKO and ES EVM produced up to 40% of all desktop computers exchanged in the Comecon.
After the disappearance of the Soviet Union market , with which most of the ties existed, the economy fell into a serious crisis from which it has only recovered since 2004. The once well-developed computer hardware industry disappeared completely. Between 1989 and 1995 real incomes and living standards fell. The social system, in particular the system of health and pension insurance, largely collapsed.
The socialist government under Schan Widenow did not remedy this situation, but served the interests of the former nomenklatura . In the spring of 1996 there was a severe economic crisis due to the high national debt . Banks collapsed practically overnight; the state got into financial difficulties with its foreign lenders. In the hope of support from the World Bank and IMF , the socialist government adopted a structural program. 134 ailing state-owned companies were to be closed, and attempts were made to attract investors - especially foreign ones - through tax breaks. But privatization went too slowly for the IMF and as a condition for further loans it demanded the introduction of a currency council and the pegging of the Bulgarian lev to the D-Mark at a ratio of 1: 1. Since the introduction of the euro, the Bulgarian lev has been linked to it at a ratio of 1: 1.95583.
Several international companies now have locations in Bulgaria. One of Hewlett-Packard's global service centers, which is responsible for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is located in Sofia. The Chinese automobile manufacturer Great Wall opened a plant near Lovetsch in February 2012 . The British investment fund Quorus Ventures is building a plant for electric cars in Stara Sagora. In addition, Bulgaria is an important location for the production of automotive parts. In addition to major Belgian, Turkish and Japanese companies, there are also many German suppliers on site.
While METRO has been present in retail for years, other German retail chains such as Penny, LIDL, Kaufland and DM have been added in recent years.
Bulgaria's economy is mainly concentrated in the south of the country. The most developed regions are Sofia, Burgas, Stara Zagora and, in northeastern Bulgaria, Varna. The region of north-west Bulgaria is the least economically developed region in Bulgaria (as of 2008). Bulgaria itself has the lowest GDP per inhabitant and one of the highest poverty rates of 21.8% within the European Union (as of 2009).
The share of the private sector in GDP was 72.7% in 2004.
The creation of the Currency Council in 1997, the consolidation of public finances (2004 budget surplus: 262 million leva), including the reduction of external debt (public debt in December 2004 still 40.9% of GDP, in December 2005 32.4% and in 2016 27.3 %), far-reaching structural reforms and the privatization of almost all state-owned companies in close cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank contributed to macroeconomic stability. The gross domestic product grew steadily from 1998 to 2008, on average by 5%. According to estimates by the IMF, the value of the Bulgarian gross domestic product in 2016 was 52.4 billion US dollars, which corresponds to a per capita share of 7369 US dollars. If purchasing power parity is taken into account , the value of the Bulgarian gross domestic product is more than twice as high: Accordingly, it corresponds to a GDP of 144.6 billion US dollars, which corresponds to 20,227 dollars per capita.
However, after moderate inflation rates between 2001 and 2005 (2005: 6.5%), statisticians had to observe a general price increase of around 13% in 2007. The relatively high GDP growth rates (2001 4.1%, 2002 4.9%, 2003 4.5%, 2004 5.7%, 2005 5.8%, 1st half of 2006 6.1%, 2007 6.2 %) were thus dampened somewhat by inflation. Unemployment has been reduced since its peak of 18.13% in 2000 and was around 8.3% at the end of 2010 and around 12% in the first quarter of 2012. This development was favored by high pre-accession aid from the European Union. In 2004, a total of around € 400 million was available in the PHARE, ISPA and SAPARD programs. The unemployment rate fell to 4.8% by June 2018, which is below the EU average. In 2017, youth unemployment was 14.4%. In 2016, 6.8% of the total workforce worked in agriculture, 26.6% in industry and 66.6% in the service sector. The total number of employees is estimated at 3.6 million for 2017; 46.4% of them are women. The wages are the lowest in the EU.
In comparison with the GDP of the EU, expressed in purchasing power standards, Bulgaria achieved an index of 47 (EU-28: 100) in 2014 (for comparison: Germany: 126). Since the government used a large part of the surpluses generated in the financial years 2004 and 2005 for compensatory measures in order to absorb the social consequences of the adjustment of the prices for electricity, water and district heating necessary to cover costs and at the same time additionally and disproportionately increased the transfer income, the real income is also the particularly disadvantaged (unemployed, disabled and pensioners) rose again for the first time in a long time. Nevertheless, more than a million people remain largely decoupled from Bulgaria's economic upturn.
In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Bulgaria ranks 49th out of 137 countries (2017-2018). In 2017, Bulgaria ranked 47th out of 180 countries in the Economic Freedom Index .
The most important branches of industry are: chemical industry, food and food processing, tobacco industry, metal industry, mechanical engineering, textile industry, glass and porcelain industry, coal mining, steel production, energy industry, tourism.
Development of the key figures
All GDP values are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).
(purchasing power parity)
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
(as a percentage of GDP)
import and export
The main export and import goods of Bulgaria are:
Export: chemical products, electricity, consumer goods, machines and equipment, food and luxury goods, raw metal and steel products, textile products.
Import: chemical products, consumer goods, machinery and equipment, mineral products and fuels (especially crude oil and gas from Russia), raw materials.
Bulgaria's energy dependency is slightly lower than the EU average. In 2008, the country obtained 52.3% of its energy from abroad. The country was thus below the European average of 54.8%.
Due to its strategic location and local needs, Bulgaria has launched numerous strategy projects in recent years that are important for national, regional and European security of supply. The projects include the Nabucco and South Stream natural gas pipelines , the country's second nuclear power plant ( Belene ) and the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline . The Nabucco project is of primary importance for Bulgaria and the European Union, as it would solve all diversification problems in one fell swoop, both in terms of sources and in terms of delivery routes. This new route would secure gas from the Caspian and Middle East.
The South Stream pipeline would be a new route for Russian gas. It would run under the Black Sea and split in Bulgaria. Since the last gas crises , connections with neighboring countries have also been expanded. They are intended to connect the natural gas systems of the Southeast European countries to form a gas network and to be used as an alternative supply route in the future.
Oil and natural gas
The only companies producing natural gas in Bulgaria are “Melrose Ressourcen Sarl” and “Exploration and Extraction of Oil and Gas AG”, whose production in 2007 amounted to around 9% of natural gas consumption. A natural gas field was discovered off the coast by the Austrian OMV group and test wells have been carried out in the Varna area since 2012 . Most of the rest of the natural gas requirement is imported from Russia via the Druzhba route . To reduce dependence on Russian natural gas, the EU is promoting the construction of so-called interconnectors with neighboring countries. In this context, the pipeline to the Greek Alexandroupolis was completed in 2016. Connections with Serbia and Romania are also under construction.
The only natural gas network operator is the joint stock company Bulgargaz Holding EAD, which is 100% state-owned. The holding company also includes the gas supplier Bulgargaz EAD and the combined supplier Bulgartransgaz EAD, which are responsible for supplying the country with natural gas as well as for transport and storage. In the gas industry, there are a large number of private companies at the distribution level, including Overgaz AG as the largest gas supplier.
The only company producing crude oil in Bulgaria is the “Exploration and Extraction of Oil and Natural Gas AG”, but the amounts produced are minimal. This means that the country is almost entirely dependent on imports. The Bulgarian oil and petroleum products market is fully liberalized. Bulgaria is home to the largest refinery in Southeast Europe, Lukoil Neftochim Burgas AD, which dominates the market for fuels, diesel, kerosene and petrochemicals. A large part of the production is exported. The company has a stable market position in Southeast Europe. At the end of January 2012, LUKOIL Neftochim Burgas announced that it would make investments of 1.5 billion US dollars by 2015 , thereby creating 3,000 new jobs. New plants for hydrocracking and catalytic reforming are to be built or the existing ones replaced. The new facilities should also reduce air pollution.
In addition, Lukoil and Petrol Holding , OMV , Shell are the market leaders in fuel trading. However, local providers such as Eco-Petroleum and Prista Oil can also hold their own in this area . A trend towards biofuels can also be observed in Bulgaria.
See also: List of power plants in Bulgaria
In the Kozloduy nuclear power plant six pressurized water reactors of Russian design, a total built with a total capacity of 3,760 MW. In order to meet the requirements for EU accession, the first four power plant blocks were shut down before the intended operating period had expired. The capacity of the two reactors 5 and 6 currently in operation is 2000 MW. The construction of a second nuclear power plant in Belene is currently being discussed.
The state thermal power station Mariza Istok-2 (1450 MW installed capacity) uses domestic hard coal to generate electricity. The thermal power plant Bobow Dol (630 MW), the thermal power plant Varna EAD (1260 MW), the thermal power plant Maritza Istok-3 (840 MW), the future replacement power on the site of the thermal power plant Maritza Istok-1 (670 MW), the thermal power plant Maritza 3 (120 MW) and the Russe thermal power station (110 MW) are majority or wholly privately owned. There are also numerous smaller hydropower plants that are privately operated. Electricity is generated from wind and solar energy by power plants that are exclusively privately - mostly foreign - owned. In 2013 wind turbines with a capacity of 677 MW were installed. Wind farms are mainly located in the east of the country.
Germany is Bulgaria's most important trading partner. Over 5000 German companies are active in trade with Bulgaria, 1200 of them are represented locally. The total trade volume in 2007 reached approx. 35 billion euros, the trade volume with Germany approx. 3.7 billion euros (10.5%). German exports to Bulgaria amounted to € 2.3 billion, imports from Bulgaria to € 1.4 billion. More than half came from the federal states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. The German-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DBIHK) has existed in Sofia since March 2004 and already has over 350 members.
Foreign direct investment peaked in 2007 at € 5.7 billion and in 2008 at € 5.4 billion. With investments of € 605 million (11.2%) in 2008, Germany ranked third among foreign investors behind Austria and the Netherlands.
The high investment needs of the Bulgarian economy, which, together with low wages and well-trained staff, offers many opportunities for long-term oriented investors, especially in wage-intensive manufacturing areas (mechanical engineering, food processing, car parts manufacturing, textile production, software development, etc.), is still increasing despite this development persist for some time. There are good prospects for investments. a. also continue in the tourism sector . More than 580,000 Germans visited Bulgaria in 2008. The area of individual tourism, in particular eco, hiking and swimming tourism, but also the winter sports area, appears to be expandable.
The investment climate for foreigners is essentially good, despite considerable deficits in the judiciary. In 2005 Bulgaria's investment rate reached 22 percent of GDP (2004 21%). At the end of 2007 the tax conditions were improved by the introduction of a ten percent flat tax.
Bulgaria is one of the main producing countries for oriental tobacco . Bulgaria was once the world's largest exporter of tobacco. Since 2010, however, the EU has stopped promoting tobacco cultivation as this would contradict the health directive. The incomes of tobacco farmers, typically family businesses, suffer as a result. The tobacco city is a district of Plovdiv, the historic houses of the rich tobacco traders are listed as an ensemble. March 2016 one of these listed houses was demolished. The cigarette manufacturer Bulgartabak, formerly a state-owned company, was privatized in 2011. There is a significant black market for cigarettes in the country.
After 1950 industrialization and the intensification of agriculture were carried out within the framework of the planned economy, often at the expense of the environment. The promotion of heavy industry, the energy sector and mining in particular, as well as the use of obsolete technologies, in some cases caused considerable air, soil and water pollution.
With the closure of many industrial production sites after reunification, the environmental impact has steadily decreased. Although Bulgaria has made significant progress in the environmental field since the mid-1990s, the World Bank estimates that the implementation of the EU environmental acquis by 2020 will require investments of around € 9 billion. Accordingly, investments of around 11% of GDP would have to be made annually. Environmental protection was institutionalized for the first time with the establishment of the Ministry of the Environment in 1990 and enshrined as a national goal in the Bulgarian constitution of 1991 (Art. 15). In the Environmental Protection Act of September 2002, the Bulgarian government laid down the principle of sustainability for the first time.
Corruption is a serious problem in Bulgaria. The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has repeatedly criticized corruption and misappropriation of EU funds in Bulgaria. In November 2008, the European Union cut Bulgaria in grants of 220 million euros due to a lack of progress in the fight against corruption. As early as July 2008, EUR 825 million in aid was temporarily frozen.
On the global Corruption Perceptions Index 2011 from Transparency International , Bulgaria achieved 83rd place out of 182, the worst result within the European Union, down 13 places compared to the previous year. In 2009 Bulgaria was 71st out of 180 countries.
After the Corruption Perception Index ( Corruption Perceptions Index ) of Transparency International was Bulgaria in 2016 by 176 countries, together with Tunisia , Kuwait and Turkey at the 75th place, with 41 of a maximum of 100 points.
Tourism has been an important source of foreign currency for the country since the 1970s. With over 8.2 million tourists, Bulgaria was the 41st most visited country in the world in 2016. Tourism revenue was $ 3.6 billion that same year. There are a total of 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Bulgaria .
The state budget included expenditures in 2016 the equivalent of 17.89 billion US dollars , which were income equivalent to 18.44 billion US dollar against. This results in a budget surplus of 1.3% of GDP . The national debt in 2016 was $ 9.6 billion, or 27.3% of GDP. Bulgaria was one of the lowest indebted countries in the European Union.
In 2006, the share of government expenditure (as a percentage of GDP) was as follows:
The two largest trade union confederations
- Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (KNSB / CITUB) and
The number of members in the individual trade unions belonging to the KNSB is given as 200,000 members, for PODKREPA with 150,500 (as of November 2017).
Bulgaria is an important transit country between Central Europe and the Middle East . The pan-European transport corridors IV (Dresden – Budapest – Craiova – Sofia – Thessaloniki), VII (Danube), VIII (Durrës-Tirana – Skopje – Sofia – Burgas) and IX (Helsinki – Moscow – Bucharest – Dimitrovgrad – Alexandropolis) run through Bulgaria. The Sofia-Burgas axis is also part of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN) of the European Union.
The country has a relatively well-developed transportation network: Rail network ( Bulgarian State Railway ), roads (but so far only a few motorways), four international airports ( Sofia Airport , Varna Airport , Burgas Airport and Plovdiv Airport ), two deep-sea ports ( port of Burgas , port Varna ) and several smaller seaports ( Sozopol , Balchik ) and inland ports (on the Danube). Inland travel on the Mariza River played an important role until the late Middle Ages . Shipping traffic on the Danube plays only a minor role for Bulgaria. In the ports of Ruse , Vidin , Lom and Silistra there is limited cargo handling; Cruise ships dock in Russe .
The entire asphalt road network covered around 19,512 km in 2011.
Most of the traffic in Bulgaria takes place on the road. Several bus companies operate buses between the major cities. There are regional connections to the smaller cities from the respective provincial capital. In summer there are also direct connections from Sofia and other major cities to most of the tourist destinations on the Black Sea coast. The bus connections to the major cities and capitals of the neighboring countries are a cheaper alternative and are well developed. Bulgaria has a total of three border crossings with Turkey, four with Greece (another under construction), with North Macedonia three (another three in planning), with Serbia five (another three in planning) and with Romania twelve (another under construction, see Danube bridge 2 ).
The Bulgarian motorway network is still being expanded. With the closing of the last gaps in the Trakia motorway (A 1) , there has been a direct motorway connection between the capital Sofia and the Black Sea since mid-2013. In contrast to the neighboring countries, in Bulgaria, for geographic reasons, priority is given to east-west rather than north-south.
All major cities in Bulgaria are served by the Bulgarian State Railways . The main lines will be expanded, but train connections to smaller towns will be canceled. On the Sofia – Burgas route (approx. 400 km), a train ride takes around six and a half hours, while a bus journey takes just five hours. For this reason, the Bulgarian train is rather avoided, but on some routes it is cheaper than a bus trip.
High-speed traffic does not exist in Bulgaria, as in neighboring countries. A high-speed line between Sofia and Istanbul via Plovdiv is to be built as part of the IV Pan-European Corridor and, in a second step, will be continued from Sofia via Wraza to Danube Bridge 2 on the Romanian border near Vidin . The project should be financially up to half of the EU. A realistic time at which it can go into operation is not known.
The Bulgarian rail network is connected to that of neighboring countries. North Macedonia is an exception. A rail connection to the border has existed on the Bulgarian side since the 1930s. A continuation of this route to Skopje in North Macedonia and the expansion of the existing routes in Bulgaria to quickly connect the two capitals has not yet been carried out for political reasons, but has been planned since August 16, 2017.
During the Second World War, the German Wehrmacht supported the construction of a direct rail link between the port cities of Burgas and Varna, but at that time it could only be completed from Burgas to Pomorie . Currently (March 2018) there are two direct connections per day with regional trains between the two cities, but express trains are a little faster, despite one change in Karnobat. A train ride on the 120 km long route takes about four to five hours.
The most famous narrow-gauge railway in Bulgaria, the Rhodope Railway , runs from Septemwri to Dobrinishte . Your route runs along the Rhodope, Rila and Pirin mountains and crosses Avramowo , the highest railway station on the Balkan Peninsula (1267 m).
Art and architecture
Middle Ages and Renaissance
The most important monument from the earliest Bulgarian times is the life-size rock relief of the rider of Madara (8th century) registered in the UNESCO World Heritage List . The first capital, Pliska , was still surrounded by strong fortifications based on the Roman-Byzantine model, but it also had palaces, churches, baths and other public buildings, some of which were built in Central Asia and the Middle East. However, this was not enough for the Bulgarian tsar's claim to power and Tsar Simeon I , known as the Great, relocated the capital to Preslav, which was also heavily fortified in 863 . Among its churches and monasteries, the round (also golden) church with multicolored decorations and glazed clay plates ( Preslav pottery ) should be mentioned, which is characteristic of the Bulgarian art of this period. With the Christianization of the Bulgarian Empire, sacred buildings were also rebuilt in other cities (such as the Sophienkirche (Ohrid) in Ohrid (today North Macedonia ) as an atypical pillar basilica, or the Stephanoskirche in Nessebar ) or rebuilt ( Old Metropolitan Church in Nessebar or Sophienkirche in Sofia ). In contrast to Byzantine church architecture, there was a tendency towards very decorative masonry (blind arch niches, mosaic decorations, painted ceramics, fresco paintings) as early as the middle of the 10th century.
With the Byzantine rule (1018–1185 / 86) the influences of Byzantium in Bulgarian art also increased. With the restoration of the Bulgarian Empire in 1185, the art of the First Bulgarian Empire was continued. In Tarnowo , the new capital, a smaller, mostly single-nave type of church was built, taken over from Byzantium, whose vaults and floors lead to the dome (examples of cross- domed churches are the Nikolauskirche in Melnik , the Pantocrator Church and Johannes-Aleiturgetos-Kirche in Nessebar as well as the 40- Martyrs Church in Tarnowo). In contrast to Byzantine art, however, they remained decisive in the decorative tendencies in sacred architecture (colorful exposed masonry decorated with glazed ceramics, blind niches and arcades). The outer walls are structured by blind arches and by rhythmic alternation of red and white stones or ceramics.
Painting achieved greater independence in the frescoes by Bojana (1259). The painting in the church of Bojana , executed in pure fresco technique ( fresco buono ), is one of the best preserved from this period in Southeast Europe and has Renaissance-like features. The frescoes in the cave church of Ivanovo (shortly after 1232, donated by Ivan Assen II. ) Prepared the ground for the artistic renaissance among paleologists at the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th century. The frescoes John Church of LUX (1300) are connected vorikonoklastischen interspersed elements. Since that time, the 13th and 14th centuries, Bulgaria has also been known for its icon painting . The representatives of the painting school of Tarnowo exceeded the traditional rules of traditional icon painting and thus created the most important independent school of Eastern church art . Of the surviving illuminated manuscripts, the richly illustrated Tetra Gospels of Tsar Alexander and the Manasses Chronicle of Tsar Ivan Alexander are the best known (the first is now in the British Museum in London, the second in the Vatican Library ).
After the Ottoman conquest, Bulgarian Christian art was practiced almost exclusively in the remote monasteries. However, Bulgarian artists were involved in the busy Ottoman construction activity of public buildings and structures in the period after the conquest. From the 15th to the 18th century the art originating from the monastic republic of Athos was decisive. With the Bulgarian rebirth at the end of the Ottoman occupation, new art schools sprang up all over the Bulgarian lands (more than 40 are known), all of which belonged to the so-called rebirth style . During this period wood carving developed as a specific Bulgarian art. The best-known art schools were the School of Art chiprovtsi , art school of Debar and the art school of Samokov . For the last many painters including the now in the list of emerged who carried out the painting of many monasteries and churches, World Heritage of UNESCO taken Rila monastery .
Jules Pascin , who was born in Widin in 1885 , was important for modern times . His real name was Julius Pinkas. Since he spent a long time in France , where he also died in 1930, he is referred to as a Bulgarian-French painter and graphic artist.
The most famous Bulgarian artist is probably Christo Jawaschew, who became known by his first name and together with his wife Jeanne-Claude. It covered the Reichstag building in Berlin and the Pont Neuf in Paris .
During the period of socialism, monumental buildings were erected in honor of the state philosophy or its representatives in many Bulgarian cities. A group of young artists protested against the monumental sculptures and illegally rededicated these sculptures under the name Destructive Creation . This project is part of a documentary that the director Susanna Schürmann published on Arte in 2019 under the title Das Rote Erbe - Künstler und die Sozialist Past . In addition to the artist group, the film accompanies the photographer Nikola Mihov, who has been photographing these sculptures for many years, and reports on the Goatmilk Festival by the Bulgarian cultural manager and journalist Diana Ivanova .
Bulgaria has a great tradition of choral singing . The state choir became very successful thanks to its own style, and countless Bulgarian women's choirs such as Angelite are now internationally known. The Bulgarian national instrument is, besides the three-part length flute Kaval , the bagpipe Gaida . In most parts of the country, the high-pitched Thracian Gaida ( Djura Gaida ) is played, mainly for dancing, while in the Rhodopian mountains the low-pitched Kaba Gaida is used to accompany mostly sad ballads. The smaller, one-piece shepherds flutes Swirka and Duduk are rarer . The Zurna double reed instrument is traditionally played by Roma and the Turkish minority. The most famous string instrument is the bowed short-necked lute Gadulka . Furthermore, the long-necked lute tambura , the string instrument gusle and the drums Tapan ( Tupan, related to the Turkish Davul ) and Tarambuka ( Darbuka ) are used in traditional Bulgarian folk music .
Well-known Bulgarian singers include Ari Leschnikow , who was a tenor with the Comedian Harmonists from 1928 until its dissolution in the 1930s , and the opera singer Boris Christow , who was considered one of the world's best bassists . Born in Bulgaria, Vesselina Kassarowa is one of the most sought-after mezzo-sopranos in the world today . With Anna-Maria Ravnopolska-Dean one of the best known is harpists the presence of Bulgaria. But the Bulgarian folk songs also became world famous thanks to the singers of Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares and Valja Balkanska . The popular French chanson and pop singer Sylvie Vartan was born in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian folk music has a great variety of rhythms. Odd measures, such as 5/8, 7/8, and 9/8, make this music difficult to play. Many modern musicians in a wide variety of genres use elements of Bulgarian or Southeast European folk music.
The beginnings of Bulgarian literature were in the 8th and 9th centuries. Century. Initially it was Chronicles, construction and grave inscriptions Bulgarian rulers and nobles in Greek , but rarely in the language of Urbulgaren . The Old Bulgarian literature was in the resulting after Christianization in the 10th century in Bulgaria Cyrillic font written.
In Pliska , the residence of Prince Boris I , in Ohrid to the west, and in Veliki Preslaw , where Simeon I had moved the Bulgarian capital, some of the students of the Slav apostles Cyril and Method were active, including Kliment von Ohrid , Konstantin von Preslav , Ioan Exarch and Chernorizec Hrabar . The last wrote that too in Serbia and Russia known treatise in defense of Slavic Writing "O Pismenach" (in German over the letters ). The reigns of Boris I and Simeon I are considered the "golden age" of Bulgarian literature.
The central Bulgarian literature was again in central Bulgarian ( Church Slavonic written). During this time apocrypha , descriptions of life and chronicles were translated from Greek into Central Bulgarian. Bulgarian literature experienced a second heyday during the 13th and 14th centuries with a monastery founded near Tarnowo in 1350 as its center. This school included the monk Kiprian , Grigorij Camblak and Konstantin Kostenezki , who after the conquest of Bulgaria brought the formal principles of Bulgarian literature to the areas of today's states of Russia , Romania and Serbia .
Some of the most important authors during the period of Ottoman rule were Wladislaw Gramatik , Païssi von Hilandar , Sophronius von Wraza , the Miladinowi brothers whose works were mainly characterized by the search for Bulgarian identity. In the 18th century, two genres emerged, histography and autobiography . In the course of the Bulgarian rebirth , Bulgarian literature reached another high point. The patriotic poems of the revolutionaries such as Christo Botew , Lyuben Karawelow and the works of Jordan Jowkow and the patriarch of Bulgarian literature Ivan Wasow had a decisive influence on the time of the struggle for a free Bulgaria and the time after. The memoir literature, in turn, flourished in the works of Sachari Stojanow and Simeon Radew .
Through symbolist poets such as Nikolai Liliew , Dimtscho Debeljanow , Pejo Jaworow , Christo Jassenow , Teodor Trajanow or Nikolai Rainow , Bulgarian poetry found its way into the modern world literature of the turn of the century. This was reinforced above all by the commitment of the expressionist and translator Geo Milew , who, however, was murdered in 1925 by forces close to the government. After authors like Atanas Daltschew , Fani Popowa-Mutafowa , Elin Pelin or Nikola Wapzarow , today's Bulgarian literature is shaped by authors like Nedjalko Jordanow , Jordan Raditsckow , Nikolai Haitow or Georgi Markow .
Folklore and customs
Folklore and customs play a special role in the cultural history of Bulgaria, which not only contributed to the preservation of national identity during the Ottoman-Turkish rule, but also to the further development of art and literature. The folk songs (hero, Hajduken, festival, ritual, love and epic songs) are closely related to the way of life and the struggles against the Ottomans, because of the variety of texts and rhythms (odd bars such as 5/8, 5/16, 7/16 etc.) and the original melody ( Doric , Phrygian key, mensuric metrics etc.) are also popular today.
In Bulgaria a distinction is made between group and solo dances ( choro or ratscheniza ), which are mainly characterized by complicated dance steps. The dances are usually accompanied by the shepherd's flute Kaval , the bagpipe Gajda , the cylinder drum Tapan and the string instruments Gadulka and Gusla .
A popular custom is giving away Martenizas ( Мартеница ), small red and white fabric pendants and bracelets, the beginning of spring on March 1. The Martenizas are supposed to bring good luck and health until you see the first stork. Then one should tie the Martenitsa to a branch (preferably the cornel cherry) and make a wish. Further, in southeastern Bulgaria, in the region beach saddle , the firewalking investigated. The rural tradition includes two rain rites in the drought periods in late spring and summer: German is a phallic doll that is ritually buried and wept by women in northern Bulgaria. In eastern Bulgaria, paparuda (rain girls) go from house to house singing rainbows.
The Kukeri carnival games, which represent a kind of folk theater, are represented in all regions . They occur in the week before the start of Orthodox Lent in Eastern Bulgaria and between Christmas and Epiphany in the rest of Bulgaria. Similar to Germany during the Carnival season , or during the Rauhnächte , street dances and various customs are held, which are symbolic for the expulsion or evocation of spirits , winter expulsion, for fertility, health, good seeds and harvests and more.
The arts and crafts were also highly developed in the Middle Ages and can be found today mainly in the imaginative national costumes (colorful fabrics with embroidery, heavy metal jewelry, various headgear).
The interest in folklore and customs already existed during the national revival. During the time of communist rule, the preservation of tradition was promoted through the organization of several folklore festivals, folkloric orchestras, dance ensembles, a college in Kotel and other initiatives, but elements of folk culture (customs, rituals, manners) got into the overall picture socialist society from an ideological point of view did not fit into oblivion (including attending the liturgy on church holidays, such as Easter or Christmas). However, since democratization, the old traditions have been revived.
In Bulgaria, contrary to the usual Europe-wide convention, nodding the head is a negation and shaking the head is an affirmation . According to legend, this goes back to the interrogation of a freedom fighter who was asked with the tip of his sword under his chin whether he wanted to stay alive.
A typical Bulgarian meal starts with a Schopska salad (шопска салата) or Thrakijska salad (тракийска салата) with a rakija and, in summer, with the cold soup Tarator (таратор). The main course is the kebaptscheta (кебапчета) or a typical festive lamb roast , the cheverme (чеверме), kawarma (каварма) and other grilled dishes. Finally, you take the baniza (баница). In the Bulgarian cuisine also the savory are Tschubriza (чубрица) and strong flavored, mainly consisting of paprika and tomato puree Ljuteniza (лютеница) and the specific types of sausages loukanka (луканка) and Sucuk (суджук) very popular.
|January 1 ( Gregorian )||Bulgarian Нова година||New Year|
|February 1st||Bulgarian Ден за почит към жертвите на комунистическия режим||Remembrance day for the victims of the communist regime||On February 1, 1945, large sections of the country's political, military and intellectual elite were sentenced to death by communist people's courts.|
|3 March||Bulgarian Ден на Освобождението на България от османско иго||National holiday, introduced in 1880. Day of the liberation of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire||1878, Peace of San Stefano|
|1st of May||Bulgarian Ден на труда||International Labor Day|
|May 6th||Bulgarian Гергьовден, Ден на храбростта и Българската армия||St. George's Day , Day of Valor and the Bulgarian Army|
|May 24th||Bulgarian Ден на българската просвета и култура и на славянската писменост||Day of the Bulgarian Enlightenment and Culture and Slavic Literature (the holiday is closely related to the creation of the Cyrillic alphabet )||school free|
|September 6th||Bulgarian Ден на Съединението на България||Day of Unification of Bulgaria||1885 with Eastern Rumelia|
|September 22||Bulgarian Ден на Независимостта на България||Bulgarian Independence Day||1908|
|November 1st||Bulgarian Ден на народните будители - неприсъствен за всички учебни заведения||National Awakening Day||school free|
|December 24th (Gregorian)||Bulgarian Бъдни вечер||Christmas eve|
|25./26. December (Gregorian)||Bulgarian Коледа, Рождество Христово||Christmas , Nativity|
On January 19, 2011, the Bulgarian government decided to introduce February 1 as a day of remembrance for the victims of communism .
On June 2nd, the life and work of the freedom fighter Christo Botew will be honored throughout Bulgaria by switching on the air sirens at noon at 12:00 p.m. and a minute of silence . Another day of remembrance is February 18, the anniversary of the death of the revolutionary and ideologist Wassil Levski . Commemoration ceremonies with flower-laying ceremonies and devotional services will take place across the country on February 19.
Science / inventions
The most famous scientist of Bulgarian origin is probably the US-born John Vincent Atanasoff . He is the inventor of the electronic digital calculator and taught mathematical physics . Another famous American-Austrian-Bulgarian scientist is Carl Djerassi , who is also known as the father of the birth control pill .
Homosexual acts were legalized in Bulgaria in 1962. By the Employment Equality Directive EU lesbians and gays are against discrimination protected in the labor market, same-sex partnerships are not recognized but government.
Before the fall of the Wall, sport was state policy and many Bulgarian athletes attracted worldwide attention. The greatest successes were achieved in individual sports. After the fall of communism and the loss of state support, only athletes who were extremely talented and mostly came from families of athletes could prove themselves. A well-known example are the Maleeva sisters in tennis, who were all in the top 10 and whose last member, Magdalena Maleeva , resigned in 2005. Bulgaria has a long tradition of chess , weight training (wrestling, weightlifting, boxing), volleyball , in athletics and in the rhythmic gymnastics . The wrestler Nikola Stanchev was the first Bulgarian Olympic champion .
Bulgaria has a long tradition of playing chess. Since the introduction of the grandmaster title in 1970 by the world chess federation FIDE, Bulgaria has produced 39 grandmasters (as of September 2012). These include the former world chess champion Wesselin Topalow and the former world chess champion Antoaneta Stefanowa , as well as well-known chess players such as Iwan Tscheparinow , Julian Radulski , Iwan Radulow , Lyuben Spassow and Kiril Georgiev .
After soccer, volleyball is the second ball sport that is not only popular in Bulgaria, but in which the country is also internationally successful. The men's team last reached third place at the World Cup in 2007 and is currently (August 2016) 16th in the volleyball world rankings . The women reached the peak of their sporting success with the European title in 1981 . The most famous Bulgarian volleyball players include Plamen Konstantinow , Daniel Peew , Nikolaj Scheljaskow , Lyubomir Ganew , Martin Stoew , Vladimir Nikolow and Matej Kasijski as well as Zwetana Boschurina and Jordanka Bonschewa for women .
In 2012 Bulgaria finished fourth among men at the Olympic Games in London .
The Bulgarian national football team has qualified for European and World Cups several times. The current national coach is the former Bundesliga professional Krassimir Balakow . The greatest success of Bulgarian football was the 4th place for the national team at the 1994 World Cup in the USA. Among the footballers of the "golden generation", besides Balakow, the bearer of the Ballon d'Or , Christo Stoitschkow, should be mentioned.
The most successful Bulgarian club is CSKA Sofia , which twice made it to the semi-finals of the European Cup . Other important football clubs are Levski Sofia , Slavia Sofia , Lokomotive Sofia and Litex Lovetsch . Current champion ( 11/12 ) is Ludogorez Razgrad .
Other well-known Bulgarian football players are: Emil Kostadinow , Lyuboslaw Penew , Trifon Ivanov , Jordan Letschkow , Georgi Asparuchow , Dimitar Berbatow , Martin Petrow , Stilian Petrow , Valeri Boschinow .
Bulgaria also has a long tradition of weightlifting . The most famous weightlifters are Iwan Abadschiew , Norair Nurikjan , Milena Trendafilowa or Iwan Iwanow . There are even some well-known Turkish weightlifters, such as Naim Süleymanoğlu or Halil Mutlu , who were able to develop as members of the Turkish minority during the system at that time and who are highly regarded in both countries.
The cities of Shumen and Targovishte are the Bulgarian speedway strongholds and several qualifying races for world championships have been held on these tracks since the 1970s. The Bulgarian Motorsport Association is trying to modernize the stadium in Targovishte so that a Speedway World Championship Grand Prix of Bulgaria can be held there.
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