| About Bulgaria|
Bulgaria is a wonderful nook in the southeastern part of Europe. It abounds in wide plains and valleys, high rocky mountains, round hills and plateaus, meandering rivers, playful waterfalls, crystal-clear lakes, deep gorges and ravines, canyons, tempting lagoons, supernatural caves and warm mineral springs. Bulgaria has a wide variety of land and water formations.
The country is located in the eastern part of the Balkan Peninsula. It occupies an area of 110 993 m 2. The whole length of its border lines is 2 245 km of which 1 181 km are land borders and 1 064 are water borders (686 km river borders and 378 sea borders) To the north Bulgaria borders with Romania as 470 km of the border line is a river border following the current of the Danube River and 136 km are land borders. To the east Bulgaria has a 378 km coastline along the Black Sea. The southern neighbours of Bulgaria are Turkey and Greece. The Turkish border consists of 133 km land border lines and 126 river ones. The Greek border has 429 km land border lines and 64 km river ones. To the west the country borders with Macedonia and Serbia. The Macedonian border is land only and is 156 km long, while the Serbian border is 350 km long of which 324 km are land borders and 26 km river ones.
In topographic respect the country is divided into four zones from north to south: The first zone is the Mizia Hilly Plateau - from the plain type (known as the Danube Plain). The second zone is the Balkan Range (The Stara Planina Mountains). The third zone is a region of mountains and valleys and the fourth zone - the Rila-Rhodopean Massif. The fifth morphological unit is the beach line of 90-180 km along the Black Sea called the Western Sector of the Black Sea or Romelian.
The nature of this small-scale country consists of various mountains, rivers, lakes, natural landmarks and phenomena.
Bulgaria has three national parks, 55 reserves, 35 tended reserves, 10 natural parks, 17 biosphere reserves and around 900 natural landmarks and protected sites.
The border of the Mediterranean and Middle European flora and fauna crosses Bulgaria. Bulgaria abounds in 12 000 plant species, which makes it one of the riches countries in this respect. The country is also well-known for the 250 endemites and relic species as well as with the huge variety of medicinal herbs.
The birds' migratory routes Via Pontica and Via Aristotle cross the territory of our country. One can find 7 % of the European bird species in Bulgaria.
The Srebarna Lake is in the UNESCO Natural Heritage List, while the Shabla and Durankulak Lakes are protected sites of international significance.
A huge part of the territory of Bulgaria is covered by mountains - the Stara Planina Mountains (The Balkan Range), Pirin, Rila, The Rhodope, Vitosha and Strandzha Mountains. They differ from one another: Rila has distinctive Alpine peaks, Pirin is famous for its marble peaks, the Rhodope - for its oval ridges and impressive gorges, Strandzha is well-known for its rich vegetation, resembling a jungle during the summer. All mountains offer wonderful conditions for eco tourism- offering well-preserved nature with rich flora and fauna, natural phenomena and cultural-historic sites. The highest peak on the Balkan Peninsula is on the territory of Bulgaria - Mount Moussala in Rila Mountains.
The Pirin National Park is included in the UNESCO Natural Heritage List with its forests of white and black fir and the huge number of endemites.
Bulgaria is also rich in mineral springs. Most of them are known since ancient times. Time has not obliterated the traces of ancient spa settlements from Thracian and Roman times around the mineral springs such as the settlements of Serdika, Augusta and Pautalia. All over the territory of Bulgaria there are 500 natural springs, some of which have healing waters commensurate with the world famous spa resorts. The most famous Bulgarian spa resorts are Devin, Velingrad, Bankya, Hissar and Sandanski.
Bulgaria has a 378 km coastal line. It is rich in firths, lagoons and vast beaches with fine golden sand.
The favourable climate and the rich natural diversity of sea, mountains, rivers, lakes and natural plains has established conditions for the development of civilizations thousands of years before the new millennium. The most ancient inhabitants of the Eastern Balkans are the Thracians. These multitudinous people give the following gods to the world history: Dionysius, Hefest, Arthemida, Kibela, Ares and others. Orpheus and Spartacus are also Thracians. Many Thracians take part in the Trojan War and are described with admiration by Homer in his epic "The Iliad".
In IV c. B.C. part of the territory of the present day Bulgaria is conquered by the Helenian-Macedonians lead by Philip II and his son Alexander the Macedonian. Thracian troops, lead by Alexander the Great reach the lands of Egypt, Persia and India.
In I c. B.C. the Thracian lands are conquered by the Roman Empire and become its provinces. The Thracian fortresses become part of the Roman defense system and the towns - part of the administrative system of the Empire. The major highways of Bulgaria follow in fact the traces of the ancient Roman roads. The Romans build many new towns. Some of the Thracians adopt the Latin language and the culture of the Empire.
Since IV c. B.C. the Balkan Peninsula is under the reign of Byzantium. During the great movement of people dozens of tribes pass through the territory of Bulgaria and leave their traces. Some of them travel west and take part in the formation of the modern European nations (The Goths). However, from all these pilgrims the greatest is the influence of the Slavs. At the beginning of VII c. they have colonized almost the whole Balkan Peninsula, reaching even Peloponnesus. In the last quarter of the century the pre-Bulgarians invade the region. The Bulgarian State is established in 681 with the union of pre-Bulgarians, Slavs and Thracians, led by khan Asparuh. There is historic evidence proving that the pre-Bulgarians are not a primitive nomadic tribe but people of Turkic origin with long-established state traditions and culture.
In 681 Bulgaria signs its first Peace Pact with Byzantium. During the Middle Ages on the map of Europe have existed only three states - Western Roman Empire, Bulgaria and Eastern Roman Empire. During the reigns of tsar Simeon the Great (893-927), tsar Kaloyan (1197-1207) and tsar Ivan II- Assen (1218-1241) Bulgaria is among the greatest forces on the Old Continent.
In 1396 Bulgaria becomes part of the Ottoman Empire like most of the countries on the Balkan Peninsula. The Middle Age Bulgarian state perishes thus saving the Middle and Western Europe. In 1978 Bulgaria is liberated with the help of Russia but many of its lands are given to its neighbours.
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