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  Introduction Back To Top

The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1908. Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. The country joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 6.92 cu km/yr (3%/78%/19%)
per capita: 895 cu m/yr (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
19.4 cu km (2005)

Land boundaries:
total: 1,808 km
border countries: Greece 494 km, Macedonia 148 km, Romania 608 km, Serbia 318 km, Turkey 240 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
43 00 N, 25 00 E

Natural resources:
bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Black Sea 0 m
highest point: Musala 2,925 m

mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast

Geography - note:
strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia

total: 110,910 sq km
land: 110,550 sq km
water: 360 sq km

Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey

354 km

Area - comparative:
slightly larger than Tennessee

Irrigated land:
5,880 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
air pollution from industrial emissions; rivers polluted from raw sewage, heavy metals, detergents; deforestation; forest damage from air pollution and resulting acid rain; soil contamination from heavy metals from metallurgical plants and industrial wastes

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

Natural hazards:
earthquakes, landslides

Land use:
arable land: 29.94%
permanent crops: 1.9%
other: 68.16% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.4 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
less than 0.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
346 (2001 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.83 years
male: 69.22 years
female: 76.66 years (2008 est.)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.2%
male: 98.7%
female: 97.7% (2001 census)

Net migration rate:
-3.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Bulgarian 83.9%, Turk 9.4%, Roma 4.7%, other 2% (including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, Circassian) (2001 census)

Median age:
total: 41.1 years
male: 38.9 years
female: 43.4 years (2008 est.)

7,262,675 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
4.5% of GDP (2005)

Population growth rate:
-0.813% (2008 est.)

Bulgarian 84.5%, Turkish 9.6%, Roma 4.1%, other and unspecified 1.8% (2001 census)

Death rate:
14.3 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 18.51 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 22 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 14.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
100 (2001 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 13 years
female: 14 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 13.8% (male 514,238/female 489,608)
15-64 years: 68.6% (male 2,449,812/female 2,532,845)
65 years and over: 17.6% (male 520,962/female 755,210) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
9.58 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Bulgarian Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, other Christian 1.2%, other 4% (2001 census)

noun: Bulgarian(s)
adjective: Bulgarian

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Nancy McELDOWNEY
embassy: 16 Kozyak Street, Sofia 1407
mailing address: American Embassy Sofia, US Department of State, 5740 Sofia Place, Washington, DC 20521-5740
telephone: [359] (2) 937-5100
FAX: [359] (2) 937-5320

National holiday:
Liberation Day, 3 March (1878)

18 years of age; universal

Government type:
parliamentary democracy

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria or CITUB; Podkrepa Labor Confederation
other: numerous regional, ethnic, and national interest groups with various agendas

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Latechezar PETKOV
chancery: 1621 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-0174
FAX: [1] (202) 234-7973
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York

International organization participation:

Legislative branch:
unicameral National Assembly or Narodno Sobranie (240 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 25 June 2005 (next to be held in June 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - CfB 31.1%, NDSV 19.9%, MRF 12.7%, ATAKA 8.2%, UDF 7.7%, DSB 6.5%, BPU 5.2%, other 8.7%; seats by party - CfB 83, NDSV 53, MRF 33, UDF 20, ATAKA 17, DSB 17, BPU 13, independents 4; note - seats by party as of January 2008 - CfB 82, NDSV 36, MRF 34, Bulgarian New Democracy 16, DSB 16, UDF 16, BPU 13, ATAKA 11, independents 16

Legal system:
civil and criminal law based on Roman law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Flag description:
three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green, and red
note: the national emblem, formerly on the hoist side of the white stripe, has been removed

3 March 1878 (as an autonomous principality within the Ottoman Empire); 22 September 1908 (complete independence from the Ottoman Empire)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Bulgaria
conventional short form: Bulgaria
local long form: Republika Balgariya
local short form: Balgariya

Political parties and leaders:
ATAKA (Attack Coalition) (coalition of parties headed by the Attack National Union); Attack National Union [Volen SIDEROV]; Bulgarian Agrarian National Union-People's Union or BANU [Anastasia MOZER]; Bulgarian New Democracy [Borislav RALCHEV]; Bulgarian People's Union or BPU (coalition of UFD, IMRO, and BANU); Bulgarian Socialist Party or BSP [Sergei STANISHEV]; Citizens for the European Development of Bulgaria or GERB [Tsvetan TSVETANOV]; Coalition for Bulgaria or CfB (coalition of parties dominated by BSP) [Sergei STANISHEV]; Democrats for a Strong Bulgaria or DSB [Ivan KOSTOV]; Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization or IMRO [Krasimir KARAKACHANOV]; Liberal Initiative for Democratic European Development or LIDER [Khristo KOVACHKI]; Movement for Rights and Freedoms or MRF [Ahmed DOGAN]; National Movement for Stability and Progress or NDSV [Simeon SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA] (formerly National Movement Simeon II or NMS2); New Time [Emil KOSHLUKOV]; Union of Democratic Forces or UDF [Petar STOYANOV]; Union of Free Democrats or UFD [Stefan SOFIYANSKI]; United Democratic Forces or UtDF (a coalition of center-right parties dominated by UDF)

name: Sofia
geographic coordinates: 42 41 N, 23 19 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

adopted 12 July 1991

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Georgi PARVANOV (since 22 January 2002); Vice President Angel MARIN (since 22 January 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Sergei STANISHEV (since 16 August 2005); Deputy Prime Ministers Ivaylo KALFIN, Daniel VULCHEV, and Emel ETEM (since 16 August 2005) and Meglena PLUGCHIEVA (since 25 April 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the prime minister and elected by the National Assembly
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 22 and 29 October 2006 (next to be held in 2011); chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) nominated by the president and elected by the National Assembly; deputy prime ministers nominated by the prime minister and elected by the National Assembly
election results: Georgi PARVANOV reelected president; percent of vote - Georgi PARVANOV 77.3%, Volen SIDEROV 22.7%; Sergei STANISHEV elected prime minister, result of legislative vote - 168 to 67

Administrative divisions:
28 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast); Blagoevgrad, Burgas, Dobrich, Gabrovo, Khaskovo, Kurdzhali, Kyustendil, Lovech, Montana, Pazardzhik, Pernik, Pleven, Plovdiv, Razgrad, Ruse, Shumen, Silistra, Sliven, Smolyan, Sofiya, Sofiya-Grad, Stara Zagora, Turgovishte, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Vidin, Vratsa, Yambol

Judicial branch:
Supreme Administrative Court; Supreme Court of Cassation; Constitutional Court (12 justices appointed or elected for nine-year terms); Supreme Judicial Council (consists of the chairmen of the two Supreme Courts, the Chief Prosecutor, and 22 other members; responsible for appointing the justices, prosecutors, and investigating magistrates in the justice system; members of the Supreme Judicial Council elected for five-year terms, 11 elected by the National Assembly and 11 by bodies of the judiciary)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Turkey 11.5%, Germany 10.3%, Italy 10.2%, Greece 9.1%, Belgium 6.2%, Romania 4.9% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
30.5 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
4.58% (31 December 2007)

Electricity - imports:
3.054 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$12.54 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$43.96 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
6.3% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
50,530 bbl/day (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$13,200 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
31.4% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$25.18 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$95.88 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$51.93 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
31.6 (2005)

Exchange rates:
leva (BGN) per US dollar - 1.3171 (2008 est.), 1.4366 (2007), 1.5576 (2006), 1.5741 (2005), 1.5751 (2004)

GDP - real growth rate:
6% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$15.58 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
2.56 million (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
Russia 12.3%, Germany 12.3%, Italy 8.7%, Ukraine 7.2%, Turkey 6.9%, Greece 6.2%, Romania 4.5%, Austria 4.3% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
12.5% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6.9%
industry: 32%
services: 61.1% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
158,400 bbl/day (2005 est.)

$23.8 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
5.6 billion cu m (2006 est.)

Currency (code):
lev (BGN)

Economy - overview:
Bulgaria, a former Communist country that entered the EU on 1 January 2007, has experienced strong growth since a major economic downturn in 1996. Successive governments have demonstrated commitment to economic reforms and responsible fiscal planning, but have failed so far to rein in rising inflation and large current account deficits. Bulgaria has averaged more than 6% growth since 2004, attracting significant amounts of foreign direct investment, but corruption in the public administration, a weak judiciary, and the presence of organized crime remain significant challenges.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment; metals and ores; chemicals and plastics; fuels, minerals, and raw materials

electricity, gas, water; food, beverages, tobacco; machinery and equipment, base metals, chemical products, coke, refined petroleum, nuclear fuel

Electricity - exports:
7.534 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
14.1% (2003 est.)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
10% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$17.03 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
43.15 billion kWh (2006 est.)

$37.36 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
15 million bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 8.5%
industry: 33.6%
services: 57.9% (2nd qtr. 2006 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
5.663 billion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$21.23 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
109,600 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$1.309 billion (2008 est.)

Public debt:
13.7% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$41.91 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$21.79 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 25.4% (2005)

Exports - commodities:
clothing, footwear, iron and steel, machinery and equipment, fuels

Economic aid - recipient:
$742 million (2005-06 est.)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 47.8%
hydro: 8.1%
nuclear: 44.1%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
5.179 billion cu m (2005)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $22.54 billion
expenditures: $20.52 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
3,661 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
1.899 million (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
2.3 million (2007)

3.31 million (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 31, FM 63, shortwave 2 (2001)

4.51 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
9.897 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
39 (plus 1,242 repeaters) (2001)

Telephone system:
general assessment: an extensive but antiquated telecommunications network inherited from the Soviet era; quality has improved; the Bulgaria Telecommunications Company's fixed-line monopoly terminated in 2005 when alternative fixed-line operators were given access to its network; a drop in fixed-line connections in recent years has been more than offset by a sharp increase in mobile-cellular telephone use fostered by multiple service providers; the number of cellular telephone subscriptions now exceeds the population
domestic: a fairly modern digital cable trunk line now connects switching centers in most of the regions; the others are connected by digital microwave radio relay
international: country code - 359; submarine cable provides connectivity to Ukraine and Russia; a combination submarine cable and land fiber-optic system provides connectivity to Italy, Albania, and Macedonia; satellite earth stations - 3 (1 Intersputnik in the Atlantic Ocean region, 2 Intelsat in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions) (2007)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
200 (2001)

Internet hosts:
513,470 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

470 km (2008)

gas 2,500 km; oil 339 km; refined products 156 km (2007)

total: 4,294 km
standard gauge: 4,049 km 1.435-m gauge (2,710 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 245 km 0.760-m gauge (2006)

Ports and terminals:
Burgas, Varna

4 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 74
by type: bulk carrier 37, cargo 14, chemical tanker 5, container 6, liquefied gas 2, passenger/cargo 2, petroleum tanker 3, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 65 (Germany 63, Ireland 1, Russia 1)
registered in other countries: 31 (Comoros 2, Malta 5, Panama 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 15, Slovakia 6) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 131
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 18
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 95 (2007)

total: 40,231 km
paved: 39,587 km (includes 331 km of expressways)
unpaved: 644 km (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 83
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 9
under 914 m: 72 (2007)

214 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
18-27 years of age for voluntary military service; as of May 2006, 67% of the Bulgarian Army comprised of professional soldiers; conscription ended as of 1 January 2008; Air and Air Defense Forces and Naval Forces became fully professional at the end of 2006 (2008)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,701,979
females age 16-49: 1,691,092 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 1,364,029
females age 16-49: 1,401,348 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Bulgarian Armed Forces: Ground Forces, Naval Forces, Bulgarian Air Forces (Bulgarski Voennovazdyshni Sily, BVVS) (2009)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 39,477
female: 37,339 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
2.6% of GDP (2005 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:

Illicit drugs:
major European transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin and, to a lesser degree, South American cocaine for the European market; limited producer of precursor chemicals; some money laundering of drug-related proceeds through financial institutions

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