Official language: Bulgarian
Total Area: 110,994 km2
Per Capita Net Income: $17,869
Visa (from Turkey): Bulgaria demands visa from Turkish citizens.
Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europe’s 16th-largest country.
The population of Bulgaria is 7,364,570 people according to the 2011 national census. The majority of the population, or 72.5 per cent, reside in urban areas; approximately one-sixth of the total population is concentrated in Sofia. Bulgarians are the main ethnic group and comprise 84.8 per cent of the population. Turkish and Roma minorities comprise 8.8 and 4.9 per cent, respectively; some 40 smaller minorities comprise 0.7 per cent, and 0.8 per cent do not self-identify with an ethnic group.
The Constitution of Bulgaria defines it as a secular state with guaranteed religious freedom, but designates Orthodoxy as a “traditional” religion. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church gained autocephalous status in 927 AD, and currently has 12 dioceses and over 2,000 priests. More than three-quarters of Bulgarians subscribe to Eastern Orthodoxy. Sunni Muslims are the second-largest community and constitute 10 per cent of the religious makeup, although a majority of them do not pray and find the use of Islamic veils in schools unacceptable.
Bulgaria occupies a portion of the eastern Balkan peninsula, bordering five countries; Greece and Turkey to the south, Macedonia and Serbia to the west, and Romania to the north. The land borders have a total length of 1,808 kilometres, and the coastline has a length of 354 kilometres.
The most notable topographical features are the Danubian Plain, the Balkan Mountains, the Thracian Plain, and the Rhodope Mountains. The southern edge of the Danubian Plain slopes upward into the foothills of the Balkans, while the Danube defines the border with Romania. The Thracian Plain is roughly triangular, beginning southeast of Sofia and broadening as it reaches the Black Sea coast.
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