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Flag of Bulgaria

Border countries: Greece, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey

Capital City: Sofia

Internet Links

Official Sites of the Republic of Bulgaria
Republic of Bulgaria

President of Bulgaria

Embassy of Bulgaria

National Statistical Institute

National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (NIMH)

Map of Bulgaria



Background:  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.  Bulgaria
regained its independence in 1878, but having fought on the losing side
in both World Wars, it 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.  Today, reforms and democratization keep Bulgaria on a path
toward eventual integration into NATO and the EU - with which it began
accession negotiations in 2000.

Geography Bulgaria

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

Geographic coordinates:  43 00 N, 25 00 E

Map references:  Europe

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

Area - comparative:  slightly larger than Tennessee

Land boundaries:  total: 1,808 km border countries: Greece 494 km, The
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 148 km, Romania 608 km, Yugoslavia
318 km, Turkey 240 km

Coastline:  354 km

Maritime claims:   200 NM territorial sea: Climate:  temperate; cold,
damp winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain:  mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast

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

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

Land use:  arable land: 39% permanent crops: 2% other: 59% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  8,000 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:  earthquakes, landslides

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

Environment - international agreements:  party to: Air Pollution, Air
Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants,
Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds,
Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources,
Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification,
Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law
of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution,
Wetlands signed, but not ratified: Geography - note:  strategic location
near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle
East and Asia

People Bulgaria

Population:  7,621,337 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 14.6% (male 572,961; female 543,004) 15-64
years: 68.5% (male 2,569,199; female 2,648,461) 65 years and over: 16.9%
(male 540,109; female 747,603) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  -1.11% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  8.05 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  14.42 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -4.74 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.06
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.72 male(s)/female total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  14.18 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   75.22 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  1.13 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.01% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  346 (2000)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  less than 100 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: Bulgarian(s) adjective: Bulgarian

Ethnic groups:  Bulgarian 83.6%, Turk 9.5%, Roma 4.6%, other 2.3%
(including Macedonian, Armenian, Tatar, Circassian) (1998)

Religions:  Bulgarian Orthodox 83.8%, Muslim 12.1%, Roman Catholic 1.7%,
Jewish 0.8%, Protestant, Gregorian-Armenian, and other 1.6% (1998)

Languages:  Bulgarian, secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 98% male: 99% female: 98% (1999)

Government Bulgaria

Country name:   Republic of Bulgaria conventional short form: Government
type:  parliamentary democracy

Capital:  Sofia

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

Independence:  3 March 1878 (from Ottoman Empire)

National holiday:  Liberation Day, 3 March (1878)

Constitution:  adopted 12 July 1991

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

Suffrage:  18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Georgi PARVANOV (since 22
January 2002); Vice President Angel MARIN (since 22 January 2002) head of
government: Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) Simeon
SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA (since 24 July 2001); Deputy Prime Ministers Nikolay
VASILEV (since 24 July 2001), Kostadin PASKALEV (since 24 July 2001),
and Lidiya SHULEVA (since 24 July 2001) cabinet: Council of Ministers
elected by the National Assembly elections: president and vice president
elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election
last held 11 November and 18 November 2001 (next to be held NA 2006);
chairman of the Council of Ministers (prime minister) nominated by
the president; deputy prime ministers nominated by the prime minister
election results:  54.13%, Petar STOYANOV 45.87%

Legislative branch:  unicameral National Assembly or Narodno Sobranie
(240 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 17 June 2001 (next to be held NA June 2005)
election results: percent of vote by party - NMS2 42.74%, UHdDF 18.18%,
CFB 17.15%, MRF 7.45%; seats by party - NMS2 120, UHdDF 51, CFB 48,
MRF 21; note - seating as of February 2002 - NMS2 115, UHdDF 51, CFB 48,
MRF 21, independents 5

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)

Political parties and leaders:  Bulgarian Radical Union [Evgeniy
BAKURDZHIEV]; Bulgarian Socialist Party or BSP [Sergei STANISHEV];
Coalition for Bulgaria or CFB (bloc led by BSP, includes Ecoglasnost
Political Club and Bulgarian Agrarian National Union) [leader NA];
Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization or VMRO [Krasimir
KARAKACHNOV]; Movement for Rights and Freedoms or MRF [Ahmed DOGAN];
National Movement for Simeon II or NMS2 [Simeon SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA]; New
Civic Party for Bulgaria [Bogomil BONEV]; People's Union or PU (includes
Bulgarian Agrarian National Union and Democratic Party) [Anastasiya
MOZER]; St. George's Day [Lyuben DILOV, Jr.]; Union of Democratic Forces
or UHdDF [Ekaterina MIKHAYLOVA]; Union of Free Democrats or UFD [Stefan
SOFIYANSKI]; United Democratic Forces (consisting of UHdDF and People's
Union) [Ekaterina MIKHAYLOVA]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  agrarian movement; Bulgarian
Democratic Center; Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria
or CITUB; Democratic Alliance for the Republic or DAR; New Union for
Democracy or NUD; Podkrepa Labor Confederation; numerous regional,
ethnic, and national interest groups with various agendas

International organization participation:  ACCT, Australia Group, BIS,
BSEC, CCC, CE, CEI, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, G- 9,
IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), NSG, OAS (observer),
OPCW, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO,
UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNMOP, UPU, WCL, WEU (associate partner),

Diplomatic representation in the US:   Ambassador-designate Elena
POPTODOROVA consulate(s):  1621 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Richard M. MILES embassy: 1 Suborna Street, Sofia mailing address:
American Embassy Sofia, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-5740
telephone: [359] (2) 937-5100 FAX: [359] (2) 981-89-77

Flag description:  three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green,
and red; the national emblem formerly on the hoist side of the white
stripe has been removed - it contained a rampant lion within a wreath
of wheat ears below a red five-pointed star and above a ribbon bearing
the dates 681 (first Bulgarian state established) and 1944 (liberation
from Nazi control)

Economy Bulgaria

Economy - overview:  Bulgaria, a former communist country striving to
enter the European Union, has experienced macroeconomic stability and
positive growth rates since a major economic downturn in 1996 led to the
fall of the then socialist government. The current government, elected in
2001, has pledged to maintain the fundamental economic policy objectives
of its predecessor, i.e., retaining the Currency Board, practicing sound
financial policies, accelerating privatization, and pursuing structural
reforms. A $300 million stand-by agreement negotiated with the IMF at
the end of 2001 will help the government maintain economic stability as
it seeks to overcome high rates of poverty and unemployment.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $48 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  4% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $6,200 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 14.5% industry: 27.8% services:
57.7% (2000)

Population below poverty line:  35% (2000 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 4.5%
highest 10%: 22.8% (1997)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  34.1 (1997)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  7.5% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  3.83 million (2000 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 26%, industry 31%, services 43%
(1998 est.)

Unemployment rate:  17.5% (2001 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $5.57 billion expenditures: $5.68 billion, including
capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate:  2% (2001 est.)

Electricity - production:  38.84 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 47.9% hydro: 7.54%
other: 0.1% (2000) nuclear: 44.46%

Electricity - consumption:  34.42 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  3.2 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  1.5 billion kWh (2000)

Agriculture - products:  vegetables, fruits, tobacco, livestock, wine,
wheat, barley, sunflowers, sugar beets

Exports:  $4.6 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

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

Exports - partners:  Italy 14%, Turkey 10%, Germany 9%, Greece 8%,
Yugoslavia 8% (2000)

Imports:  $6.2 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

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

Imports - partners:  Russia 24%, Germany 14%, Italy 8%, Greece 5%,
France 5% (2000)

Debt - external:  $10.2 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $1 billion (1999 est.)

Currency:  lev (BGL)

Currency code:  BGL

Exchange rates:  leva per US dollar - 2.2147 (January 2002), 2.1847
(2001), 2.1233 (2000), 1.8364 (1999), 1,760.36 (1998), 1,681.88 (1997)
note: on 5 July 1999, the lev was redenominated; the post-5 July 1999
lev is equal to 1,000 of the pre-5 July 1999 lev

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Bulgaria

Telephones - main lines in use:  3,186,731 (2001)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  1.054 million (2001)

Telephone system:  general assessment: extensive but antiquated domestic:
more than two-thirds of the lines are residential; telephone service is
available in most villages; 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: direct dialing
to 58 countries; satellite earth stations - 1 Intersputnik (Atlantic
Ocean region); 2 Intelsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions)

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

Radios:  4.51 million (1997)

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

Televisions:  3.31 million (1997)

Internet country code:  .bg

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  200 (2001)

Internet users:  585,000 (2001)

Transportation Bulgaria

Railways:  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 (2002)

Highways:  total: 37,288 km paved: 33,786 km (including 324 km of
expressways) unpaved: 3,502 km (2001)

Waterways:  470 km (1987)

Pipelines:  petroleum products 525 km; natural gas 1,500 km (1999)

Ports and harbors:  Burgas, Lom, Nesebur, Ruse, Varna, Vidin

Merchant marine:  total: 77 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 881,758
GRT/1,312,833 DWT ships by type: bulk 43, cargo 15, chemical tanker 4,
container 2, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 4, railcar carrier
2, refrigerated cargo 1, roll on/roll off 3, short-sea passenger 1,
specialized tanker 1 (2002 est.)

Airports:  215 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 129 over 3,047 m: 1 2,438 to
3,047 m: 19 914 to 1,523 m: 1 under 914 m: 93 (2001) 1,524 to 2,437 m: 15

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 86 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 914 to
1,523 m: 10 under 914 m: 74 (2001)

Heliports:  1 (2001)

Military Bulgaria

Military branches:  Army, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces (subordinate
to Ministry of Defense), Internal Forces (subordinate to Ministry of
Interior), Civil Defense Forces (subordinate to the president)

Military manpower - military age:  19 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 1,873,052 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 1,566,816
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 56,104
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $356 million (FY02)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  2.7% (FY02)

Transnational Issues Bulgaria

Disputes - international:  because of a shift in the Danube course since
the last correction of the boundary in 1920, a joint Bulgarian-Romanian
team will recommend sovereignty changes to several islands and redefine
the boundary

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

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002

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