Bulgaria State Overview
The skeleton of Bulgaria consists of large mountain ranges separating vast plains and basins from each other. In a length of 550 km with the center of the country from the border of Serbia parallel to the Black Sea, the Stara Planina or Balkan mountain range stretches, reaching a height of 2376 m (Botev), interrupted only by the canyon of the Iskar River. To the north, it descends into a vast plain along the bordering Danube. It then passes to the south through the lower Stredna Gora mountain range to the fertile Upper Thracian Plain in the Marica river basin. The dry hills of Ludogorie and Dobruja fill the northeast.
The entire southwest is occupied by mountains: the Vitoša massif (2290 m), the crystalline Rila mountain range with the highest peak of the Balkans, Musala (2925 m), the limestone Pirin mountain range (2915 m) and the extensive forested Rhodope Mountains (2191 m), stretching along the border with Greece. Another mountain range (up to 2252 m high) stretches beyond the Struma river valley on the Serbian and Macedonian border. The capital Sofia is located on a plateau connecting the Balkan and Vitosha mountains. In the east, there is a larger plain just around the Burgas Bay of the Black Sea.
According to Paradisdachat, the south and east have a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Dobruja (below 400 mm) and the Thracian Plain have the least amount of precipitation. The north and west of the country is more continental with colder winters. Predominantly deciduous forests cover a third of the territory, in the southeast there are scrub formations of the makchia type. The animals are especially enriched with reptiles (turtles) and insects.
In ancient times, the area was inhabited by the Thracians, and at the beginning of our era, the territory became part of the Roman provinces of Thrace and Moesia. The first Bulgarian empire was established in 681, when previously nomadic Turkic tribes originally from Central Asia merged with the Slavic population that had settled here about a hundred years earlier. In 1018, the Bulgarian state came under the rule of Byzantium. The second empire, which became independent in 1185, survived until 1396, when it was occupied by the Ottoman Turks. For the next 500 years, Bulgaria was under Turkish rule.
The boom of the national liberation movement in the 19th century led to the decline of Turkish power and culminated in the uprising in 1876. The Congress of Berlin, convened in 1878 to settle territorial disputes in the Balkans, granted Bulgaria the status of a self-governing principality. Repeated anti-Turkish uprisings forced the elected Bulgarian prince Ferdinand (1861–1948) of the Saxe-Coburg-Gotha dynasty to declare himself Tsar of independent Bulgaria in 1908. In 1912, Bulgaria joined forces with Serbia, Greece and Montenegro to conquer more territory from the declining Ottoman Empire. In 1913, however, it turned against the Allies and, after a humiliating defeat, surrendered part of its territory to Greece and Serbia. Balkan policy led Bulgaria to ally with Germany in World War I and World War II and cost it further loss of territory. In 1944, Bulgaria was “liberated” by the Red Army, the Communist-controlled Patriotic Front headed by Georgi Dimitrov (1882–1949) was established and two years later the monarchy was abolished and a socialist constitution was proclaimed. In 1949, the Communist Party became a monopoly power in the state.
Like other Eastern European countries, Bulgaria was swept away by the wave of changes that swept through the entire Soviet bloc at the end of the 1980s. Todor Zivkov, who had been Bulgaria’s president for 27 years, was ousted in 1989 after a series of strikes and demonstrations. The Communist Party gave up its leading role, renamed itself the Bulgarian Socialist Party and won the most votes in the first plurality elections in 1990. In the parliamentary elections of the following year, the opposition Union of Democratic Forces narrowly won, and Željo Želev (born 1935) became president. The manner of elections to the National Assembly also changed; half of the 400 seats are elected by the majority system and half by the proportional representation system. These years also saw the decentralization of the economy and the recognition of the rights of the Turkish minority, which, with the return of some emigrants after the exodus of 1989 it reached a 10% share of the Bulgarian population. Gypsies are another significant minority.
The transition to a free market in Bulgaria takes place primarily through the transformation of state-owned enterprises into independent companies with the right to issue shares.
Bulgarian agriculture has experienced a large drop in employment (now about 12-13% of workers), but the value of production is quite significant. Crop production dominates, especially wheat production. Corn, barley, a large amount of vegetables (tomatoes), vines, fruit (peaches, apricots), tobacco and sunflowers are also grown. The production of rose oil is famous. Sheep, pig and cattle breeding is less important. A previously important fishery has declined.
Bulgaria has diverse reserves of non-ferrous metal ores: copper, lead, zinc, manganese, molybdenum and silver ores are mined. Of the fuels, only brown coal is mined in larger quantities. 60% of the electricity is produced by thermal power plants, 37% comes from the older Soviet-type nuclear power plant Kozloduy near the Danube. Industrial production fell sharply. The most important industries were iron metallurgy (Pernik), non-ferrous metallurgy (Kremikovci), production of cement, means of transport (ships, lorries, battery trucks), agricultural machinery and fertilizers. Burgas has an oil refinery. Tobacco production has always been very important. Now, the importance of the food industry and light industry in general is growing again.
The railways are more than half electrified and mainly serve the transport of raw materials and cargo to the ports of Burgas and Varna. Ruse on the Danube is also an important port. Road and river transport suffers from the embargo of Yugoslavia. The formerly significant tourism industry on the Black Sea coast has declined.