Gifted with a very rich history and amazing cultural diversity, Bulgaria is practically a time machine. This Balkan land contains many well-preserved historical and cultural sites that contain artifacts and evidence of even prehistoric times. The prehistoric sites are some of the oldest in all of Europe. From archaeological museums to ancient tombs to temples and monasteries to ruins, Bulgaria can really give you a look into the long history of the country. Coupled with the rich natural resources, like the beaches and mountains, and its high quality wine, it is a great place to experience Europe and the history of the Balkan Peninsula.
Important and Interesting Facts about Bulgaria
- Bulgaria comes third in the list of countries with most valuable archaeological sites discovered on their territories, preceded only by Greece and Italy.
- One Bulgarian claim to fame is a mini Eiffel Tower in Golden Sands Resort.
- A must see when travelling to the country is The Rila Cross, which is one of the many unique things in Bulgaria. It’s a wooden cross with 140 microscopic scenes from the Bible featuring more than 1,500 figures; the largest of them is no bigger than a grain of rice.
- AUBG is a private American-style liberal arts university located in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. The University has assumed a unique and critical educational role in the dynamic region of Southeastern Europe through its emphasis on preparing students for leadership, community involvement, careers, and advanced study. The liberal arts education encourages students to develop critical thinking and creative problem solving.
- The charming, historic town nestled at the foot of Pirin Mountain is a year-round destination that offers a slice of village life plus good skiing, hiking and restaurant experience. Bansko has been a hot spot recently, raising its popularity gradually throughout the years. Each year, the world’s best skiers officially opened the ski season in Bansko. So far, prominent guests to the grand celebrations have been Alberto Tomba, Lasse Kjusse, Mark Girardelli, etc.
- Vitosha, one of the symbols of Sofia, is believed to be the first Bulgarian mountain tourist destination. August 27, 1895 is the date which laid the beginning of the mountaineering in the country. 300 men and women have climbed the peak “Cherni Vruh”, something unheard of before. It is now popular in Bulgaria that on August 27, thousands of tourists climb the peak to honor this tradition. Cherni Vruh is the highest Vitosha peak, 2290 m.
- Bulgaria has the oldest Orthodox Slavic church in the world.
- Nearly one third of Bulgaria is covered in forests and this shouldn’t be too surprising given the fact that there are over 40 mountains on its territory. Needless to say, they are all great for skiing and mountaineering.
- The first wrestler in the world with 1500 wins and only 2 losses is the Bulgarian Dan Kolov.
- Varna is located next to the Black Sea coast and is known. Varna is also the location of the best archaeological museums in Bulgaria as well as many churches and museums of national navies. In addition, there is also the center of the country’s largest Roman baths with an art gallery and a marine park known as the dolphinarium. One of the best beaches here are the Sveti Konstantin.
Cool, Funny, and Fun Facts about Bulgaria
- When Bulgarians nod their heads up and down, they mean NO. When they move their heads from side to side, they mean YES.
- The famous Bulgarian rose oil is used for making some of the world’s most popular and expensive perfumes. One gram rose oil is produced out of 1000 rose blooms.
- Bulgarian yogurt is the best in the world, no doubt about it. This is thanks to the unique Lactobacillus bulgaricus bacteria used for its production that can only be found on the territory of the country.
- Bulgaria is the country with the highest number of natural mineral springs in Continental Europe – over 600.
- The famous Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has a Bulgarian origin and he is named after his Bulgarian grandfather – Marko. His grandfather has emigrated from Bulgaria in 1940.
- The first digital wristwatch was invented by a Bulgarian. His name is Peter Petroff.
- Assen Jordanoff, a renowned aircraft engineer and one of the inventors of the airbag, was also of Bulgarian Descent.
- The Bulgarian folksong “Izel ye Delyo Haydutin (Delyo the Outlaw Has to go Outside)” is one of the songs recorded and sent into space for the Voyager space program, which aimed to make contact with extraterrestrial intelligence.
- It has the world’s largest IMAX 3D
- Georgi Ivanov (born July 2, 1940) was the first Bulgarian cosmonaut, and later a member of the Bulgarian National Assembly. Born in Lovech, Kakalov attended university in Sofia, earning a Ph.D. in engineering. After completing his doctorate, he joined the Bulgarian Air Force, and rose to the rank of Major General. As soon as he entered the Intercosmos programme, he had his name changed to Ivanov after discovering that “Kakalov” was an obscenity in the Russian language.
- Hristo Stoichkov is the most successful Bulgarian soccer player of all time. He debuted in professional football with CSKA Sofia and was later spotted by European giant FC Barcelona. Stoitchkov earned global acclaim after winning the Spanish Primera Division four consecutive times and taking his club to Champions League glory in 1992. At World Cup 1994, Hristo Stoichkov was awarded the Golden boot as the top goal scorer of the tournament as he miraculously led his country to the semi-finals.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Bulgaria
- Bulgaria is the oldest country in Europe that hasn’t changed its name since it was first established. This happened in 681 AD.
- Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, was founded 7000 years ago. This makes it the second oldest city in Europe.
- The gold treasure discovered in the Varna Necropolis is the oldest one in the world. It dates back to 5000 BC.
- There is solid historical evidence that wine has been produced on the territory of what is now modern-day Bulgaria ever since the Stone Age. Today the country has earned the reputation of a world-class wine producer.
- The first computer in the world was created by a Bulgarian. In the period 1937-1942, John Vincent Atanasoff, a scientist of Bulgarian descent, together with Clifford Berry, an American inventor working for the University of Iowa, designed and developed the first electronic digital computing device.
- Every year on March 1 Bulgarians exchange martenitsas. Essentially, these are small pieces of adornment made of red and white that symbolizes good health and happiness.
- National instrument is the bagpipes – called the
- For more than 700 years, Bulgaria was nearly twice its current size.
- “Name Days” are celebrated in addition to birthdays in Bulgaria. As a matter of fact, most Bulgarians value their ‘Name Day’ more than their birthday. A Name Day or “Saints Day” is celebrated by people named after a particular Saint (e.g. everyone named Peter celebrates Saint Peter’s day). We could accurately say that “the Name Day is the feast day of the saint after whom one is named.”
- Nazdrave – making a toast when drinking liquor is de rigeur. When toasting, raise your glass and lightly clink it with all the others present, while looking the people with you in the eye (to not look them in the eye is rude) and saying, (naz drave) (good health to you).