Bulgaria, an independent country, is situated in south-eastern Europe and is surrounded by 5 countries: Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. Bulgaria is Europe's 14th-largest country.
In 1946 it became a single-party socialist state as part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. In December 1989 the ruling Communist Party allowed multi-party elections, which subsequently led to Bulgaria's transition into a democracy and a market-based economy.
Area: 110,994 km (42,855 sq. mi.)
Terrain: Fertile low-lying plains predominate in central Bulgaria, highlands in Vidzeme and Latgale to the east, and hilly moraine in the western Kurzeme region. Forests cover one-third of the country, with over 3,000 small lakes and numerous bogs. The longest mountain is the Stara Planina which divides the country to northern and southern parts. Also called “Balkan”, it gives the name of the whole peninsula.
The climate is temperate and wet, with four seasons of almost equal length. January temperatures average -5°C (23°F); with July temperatures averaging 17°C (63°F). Bulgarian climate is mild continental. To the South it is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea, its North-West is close to the Central Europe climate and the North-East bears a resemblance to the Russian steppes
Religion practiced in Bulgaria is predominately Eastern Orthodox, with some Roman Catholic. . The language spoken is Bulgarian. Turkish and Romani is also spoken in some areas. Many Bulgarians know some Russian, English or Italian. In the larger metropolitan areas, most know some English. The literacy rate is 98%.
Natural resources include bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, and arable land.
Bulgarian soils are fertile and due to them and to the rest of the geographical and climatic conditions, Bulgarian land has been famous since classic times for agriculture. Bulgaria is one of the centers in which European agriculture was established. Agriculture products are primarily vegetables, fruits, tobacco, wine, wheat, barley, sunflowers, sugar beets; livestock. In the 1980’s, Bulgaria was a primary hub for roses, used in making perfumes.
Industries include electricity, gas, water; food, beverages, tobacco; machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel
Bulgaria's population of 8 million people is predominantly urbanized and mainly concentrated in the administrative centers of its 28 provinces. Most commercial and cultural activities are centered on the capital and largest city, Sofia. The strongest sectors of the economy are heavy industry, power engineering, and agriculture, all of which rely on local natural resources.