Facts about Bulgaria
LAND AND RESOURCES
Bulgaria is divided into four major geographic regions (five Wine regions. Please choose regions from Home site). The most northerly is the plateau of the Danube, which rises from the shore of the Danube River to the foothills of the east. Its climate is continental, with hot summers and cold winters. The Balkan Mountains (or "Old Mountains" to the Bulgarians) are the second region. They are highest in the western part of the country and gradually diminish as they extend across the country to the Black Sea. These mountains serve to block the cold winds blowing from the plains of Russia, and the region to the south, the valley drained by the Maritsa River, enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with mild, rainy winters and warm, dry summers. Finally, south of the Maritsa River valley are the Rhodope Mountains, highest in the Balkan Peninsula, which forms the border between Bulgaria and Greece.
The Danube Plateau and the Maritsa valley are important agricultural regions. The former produces wheat, corn, sugar, beets, and sunflowers. The Maritsa valley grows tobacco and contains the famous Valley of Roses, devoted to the production of attar of roses, a vital ingredient in the making of perfume.
The most important natural resources that Bulgaria possesses are the fertility of its land, which is the basis of the country's agricultural economy, and the beauty of its landscape, which has allowed an important tourist industry to develop, particularly along the Black Sea coast and in the mountains.
With the fall of the Communist dictatorship in 1989, the country began moving toward a system based on free markets. Small, independent enterprises became legal right away, and similar measures were proposed for the larger industries.
About half of Bulgaria's land area is suitable for agriculture. The country's chief crops are wheat, corn, other grains, sugar beets, sunflower seeds, roses, fruits and vegetables, and tobacco. Bulgarian fruits and vegetables are exported to many countries in Europe, and much of what is called "Turkish" tobacco actually comes from southern Bulgaria. Bulgarian wines have become popular in many countries in the world.
Republic of Bulgaria
Area: 110,912 sq km (42,823 sq m i). Areaócomparative
Capital and largest city: Sofia (1991 est. pop., 1,141,142).
Elevations: Highest--Musala, 2,925 m (9,596 ft); lowest--sea level.
Population: 8,194,772 (July 1999 est.)
Density: 80 persons per sq km (207 per sq mi).
Distribution (1990 est.): 67.6% urban, 32.4% rural.
Population growth rate: -0.52% (1999 est.)
Official language: Bulgarian.
Major religions: Eastern Orthodoxy, Islam.
EDUCATION AND HEALTH
Literacy (1992): 98% of adult population.
Universities (1991): 3.
Hospital beds (1989): 87,217. Physicians (1989): 28,218.
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.27 years
Male: 68.72 years; Female: 76.03 years (1999 est.)
Infant mortality 12.37 deaths/1,000 live births (1999 est.)
Overview: In April 1997, the current ruling Union of Democratic Forces (UDF) government won pre-term parliamentary elections and introduced an IMF currency board system which succeeded in stabilizing the economy. The triple digit inflation of 1996 and 1997 has given way to an official consumer price increase of 1% in 1998. Following declines in GDP in both 1996 and 1997, the economy grew an officially estimated 4% in 1998. In September 1998, the IMF approved a three-year Extended Fund Facility, which provides credits worth approximately $864 million, designed to support Bulgaria's reform efforts.
GDPócomposition by sector:
Services: 45% (1997 est.)
GDPóreal growth rate: 4% (1998 est.)
Currency: 1 lev = 100 stotinki.
Note: the official rate is pegged to the euro as of 1 January 1999
Type: Republic. (Constitution)
National leaders (2000):
Peter Stoyanov -- President (since 22 January 1997)
Ivan Kostov -- Prime Minister (since 19 May 1997)
Legislature: National Assembly
Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (oblasti, singularóoblast); Burgas, Grad Sofia, Haskovo, Lovech, Montana, Plovdiv, Ruse, Sofia, Varna.
Railroads (1999): 4,300 km (2,672 mi) total.
Roads (1999): 36,922 km(22,942 mi) total.
Major ports: 3.
Major airfields: 1.