Bulgaria Geography and Population

Bulgaria – geography

Bulgaria is traditionally an agricultural country, but after World War II has undergone rapid industrialization in close cooperation with the Soviet Union. At the same time, agriculture was converted to collective and state operation. Since the political changes in Eastern Europe around 1990, society is undergoing privatization and reorientation.


In Bulgaria there are two major minorities, Turks and Roma, who make up respectively. 9.4 and 3.7 percent of the population (2005). The rights of minority groups are determined by law, but contradictions between peoples and different social groups exist. About 450,000 ethnic Bulgarians live outside the country’s borders; most in Greece and Macedonia, but also in Moldova and Ukraine. Nearly 2/3 of the population lives in cities, and there has been a decline in the traditionally high population growth associated with rapid urbanization. The population is very unevenly distributed. The mountainous areas are sparsely populated (less than 20 residents per km2), while in the plains with intensive agriculture live more than 200 residents per km2.

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Under the Eastern European division of labor within COMECON, heavy industry in particular was developed, and significant production of pig iron, steel and rolled iron continues. In mechanical engineering and metal processing, however, production fell to approximately one-fifth in the years 1990-1995. The traditional markets have largely fallen away and the orientation towards new markets is difficult.

Agriculture. One fifth of GDP comes from agriculture. Livestock production (cattle, pigs and sheep) and plant breeding each account for half of the total agricultural production. Of greatest importance is the grain breeding, which is mainly widespread on the flat northeastern parts of the Danube Plain. Essential crops are wheat, rye, barley and corn. The general economic crisis of the 1990’s also hit agriculture hard. The main region for vegetables is the Thracian Lowlands, especially around the cities of Plovdiv and Pazardzhik.

Tourism. Bulgaria’s climate and landscape are conducive to the development of tourism. A larger part of the Black Sea coast consists of a fine bathing beach between rocky sections. Here are also cliffs and sand tongs with dunes or forest. On wooded barrier islands that separate the sea from lagoons, or on coastal terraces, numerous seaside resorts lie side by side with fishing villages. The privatization of the tourism industry is taking place considerably faster than that of industry and agriculture. The Bulgarian part of the Black Sea coastis well on its way to regaining its position as the “Riviera of Eastern Europe”. Bulgaria is one of the countries in Europe with the most mineral resources, a total of over 600. Hunting tourism is traditionally well developed, as a large part of the country’s hunting reserves before 1989 were mainly used by members of the government and government guests from the other Eastern European countries.


Road and rail networks are relatively well developed, but the Balkan Mountains are a natural barrier between northern and southern Bulgaria. A significant part of the travel and freight traffic passes through the country’s longest tunnel at the Vitinja Pass. approximately 80 percent of the roads are paved. The largest Bulgarian Black Sea port, Varna, has a cargo ship connection to the Ukrainian port of Odessa. All towns and villages have electricity, but the telephone network is outdated and unreliable. The Bulgarian energy supply is based on coal (especially lignite) and nuclear power. Bulgaria has one nuclear power plant located at Kozloduj on the Danube.

Natural conditions

Large parts of Bulgaria are highlands with alternating plains and mountains within a very short distance. The rivers are relatively small and only the Danube can be navigated. The Danube plain in the north consists of old sea deposits covered with fertile lice from the ice age. Rivers from the mountains have created deep gorges in the gently undulating plains. The Balkan Mountains divide the country in the middle and are on the north side covered with coniferous forest; on the southern slopes there is grass and deciduous forest. Immediately south of this are the low mountains, Sredna Gora. They are separated from the Balkan Mountains by a burial mound, the “Valley of the Roses”, which specializes in the production of essential oils, primarily rose oil (approximately 1000 kg annually), but also mint, lavender and anise. The southwestern part consists of mountains, Rodopi-Rila-Pirin. The highest point in the Balkans,Musala (2925 m), is among the more than 130 peaks over 2000 m. A plateau around Sofia merges in the east into the very wide plain around the river Maritsa, and this so-called Thracian Lowland separates the mountain area in the southwest from the Balkan Mountains. The plain, which is intensively cultivated, is a former sea bay, which is filled with fertile river and sea deposits.

The country has a moderate mainland climate, which due to its proximity to both the Black Sea and the Mediterranean is similar to that of the Mediterranean countries. The average monthly temperature in the capital Sofia is -2 °C in January and 21 °C in July. The annual rainfall is 621 mm. While the northern European and alpine ice caps during the ice age eradicated many plant species, something similar did not happen in Bulgaria; therefore, mountain forests in particular have a very high species richness compared to northern europe. Deciduous forest covers three quarters of the total forest area. The country’s 89 reserves and 11 national parks together make up 2 percent of the country (1992).

Bulgaria – language

The official language is Bulgarian, a Slavic language spoken in two main dialects, Eastern and Western Bulgarian. The border follows a north-south line between Rodopi and the Rila-Pirin Mountains. The national norm established in the latter half of the 1800’s has its base in Eastern Bulgarian. Sofia is located in the western Bulgarian dialect area. Minority languages ​​are Turkish, which is spoken by approximately 10% of the population, as well as Romani (Gypsy language), Macedonian, Armenian, Greek and Judesmo (Balkan Jew-Spanish). For culture and traditions of Bulgaria, please check aparentingblog.

Bulgaria – economy

In early 1991, a market economy reform program was launched, which, among other things, contained a rapid liberalization of prices and trade as well as limited currency convertibility, lev. The following year, the legal basis for a privatization of the economy was adopted, but bureaucratic and political problems have meant that the process has been slower than in several of the other former Eastern Bloc countries. The financial sector has also undergone reforms, but the banking sector has proved fragile during the transition period. because the banks’ equity is generally small in relation to the volume of lending. The introduction of the market economy has created serious problems. In 1991-93, industrial production fell by more than 50%; the result was unemployment of around 16% in 1994. Inflation rose sharply, which eroded competitiveness and led to a severe decline in the value of life in early 1994.

Bulgaria experienced major balance of payments problems in the late 1980’s and had to suspend interest payments on the sharply rising external debt in both 1990 and 1993, despite support from the International Monetary Fund., IMF, of which the country became a member in the autumn of 1990. The international sanctions against Serbia in connection with the civil war in the former Yugoslavia meant the loss of large foreign exchange earnings and exacerbated the country’s debt problems. An economic collapse with hyperinflation in 1996 led to widespread social unrest, but the reform process continued after 1997 with the tying of the currency (to the DM and later the euro) and privatizations. After the turn of the century, economic growth has been high, due to foreign investment and expansion of tourism. Unemployment has fallen to approximately 10% (2005), but the country has a severe trade deficit.

In the years of planned economy, the vast majority of foreign trade took place with other COMECON countries, in particular the Soviet Union, but after the system change, most of Bulgaria’s foreign trade took place with Germany, Greece and Turkey. The political reorientation is seen in Bulgaria’s membership of the organization Black Sea Economic Cooperation Zone, which was founded in 1992 on Turkish initiative and counts Russia, Ukraine, Greece and Romania. Bulgaria has long sought EU membership; in 1992, it achieved associated membership in line with other Central and Eastern European countries, and full membership took place per. 1.1.2007. The EU has so far seen widespread corruption as the biggest remaining obstacle to full membership.

In 2005, Denmark’s exports to Bulgaria were DKK 590 million. DKK, especially pharmaceuticals and machinery, and imports were 215 mill. DKK, especially textiles.