- Sofia; 1,076,000
- 110,994 square kilometers (42,855 square miles)
- Bulgarian Orthodox, Muslim
- Life Expectancy:
- GDP per Capita:
- U.S. $6,500
- Literacy Percent:
Bulgaria Facts Flag
Bulgaria, in southeastern Europe, is dominated by rugged mountains, except for the Danube lowland in the north that it shares with Romania. Rich farmland in the Danube Valley, 130 kilometers (80 miles) of sandy beaches on the Black Sea, and mountainous terrain characterize one of Eastern Europe's least densely populated nations. Most of the population is urban; about 83 percent are Orthodox Christians, and some 12 percent are Muslim—the Rhodope Mountains, along the border with Greece, are home to many Muslims, including an ethnic Turkish minority.
Bulgarians have a tradition of gratitude towards Russians, who in 1878 helped end 500 years of Ottoman Empire rule. After World War II, communists gained control, and agriculture led the economy until the 1950s, when Russians from the Soviet Union helped finance steel mills, chemical plants, and machine shops. In 1989 communist rule ended and democratic change began. Tourists flock to Black Sea resorts and to Rila National Park, Bulgaria's largest. Kazanluk, a town in central Bulgaria and heart of the famous Valley of the Roses, exports rose oil—a precious ingredient in world perfume production. As economic conditions improved, Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.
- Industry: Electricity, gas and water; food, beverages, and tobacco
- Agriculture: Vegetables, fruits, tobacco; livestock
- Exports: Clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment
—Text From National Geographic Atlas of the World, Eighth Edition
Surrounded—and influenced—by four nations, pocket-size Slovenia offers a rich cultural mix.
The race is on to uncover the golden splendors of its Thracian past before sites are looted and developers move in.
For more than a millennium, migrations and wars have dispersed Serbs across former Yugoslavia, the defunct federation once dominated by Serbia.
Travel Photos From Your Shot
See Captivating Photos of Our Days' End—Submitted by Members of the Your Shot Community
Shop National Geographic
Special Ad Section
Watch as Nat Geo photographers reveal what drives them to create iconic images.