Hotel Reservations
Congress Tourism
Tailor-made Trips
Special Interest Tours
General Information
Contact Us
Kubera 21

General Information
[Geography] [History] [Practical Information]


Long a crossroads of civilizations (archaeological finds date back to 4600 B.C.), Bulgaria was recognized as an independent state in AD 681 - one of the few independent states in Europe in that time. The first Bulgarian ruler was Khan Asparuh. The new state was an ethnic mixture of native Thracian tribes, Slavonic tribes who occupied the area in the 5th century and proto-Bulgarians. Each ethnic group contributed to form the Bulgarian nation in a different way. The Thracians - many of them assimilated during the Helenic invasions - left many toponyms, pagan rituals and popular believes. One of the most valuable archeological sights and gold treasures in Europe belong to their culture. The Slavs came from the present territories of Polland and formed the Southern Slavonic branch. They were the most numerous group and featured the physical appearance and the language of the Bulgarians. The proto-Bulgarians, coming from the Caspian Sea area, imposed their political and military system of government and of course, the name of the new country.

During the 9th century Bulgaria became one of the most powerful states in Europe, the biggest rival of the Byzantine Empire. In order to consolidate the state and avoid internal ethnical and religious conflicts, the Bulgarian prince Boris I converted people to Christianity in 864-866. After that a new Slavonic alphabet, created by the brothers Cyril and Methodius in 855, was adopted as official. The early 10th century, characterized by political, economical, territorial and cultural flowering, is known as the First Golden Age. More than 150 years Bulgaria suffered the Byzantine domination.

The Second Bulgarian Kingdom was established in 1185 and quickly gained its former splendor. The capital was moved from Pliska to Veliko Tirnovo. In 1204 Tzar Kaloyan defeated the army of the Fourth Crusaders. The Second Golden Bulgarian Age was under the reign of Tzar Ivan Assen II when Bulgaria expanded its territories to three seas - the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea and the Adriatic Sea.

Although Bulgaria resisted for long, it was conquered by the Turks in 1396 and the development of the state was stopped for almost five centuries. The Russian-Turkish Wars and the national liberation movements resulted in the independence of Bulgaria in 1878. The new state became a monarchy boasting with one of the most democratic constitutions of that time.

In the early 20th century, in an effort to gain back Macedonian and other territories, Bulgaria was engaged in two Balkan wars and become allied with Germany during World War I. It suffered a national catastrophe as a result. The interwar period was dominated by economic and political instability. In World War II, Bulgaria officially allied again with Germany but protected its Jewish population of some 50,000 from the Holocaust. When Tzar Boris III died in 1943, political uncertainty raised again. Bulgaria tried to avoid open conflict with the Soviet Union during the war, but the U.S.S.R. invaded in 1944 and placed the Fatherland Front in control of government.

The Communist Party exiled young Prince Simeon II, and rigged elections to consolidate power. In 1946, after a referendum, the monarchy was abolished and Bulgaria was declared a people's republic. In an election the next year, the Fatherland Front won 70% of the vote and Communist Party leader Georgi Dimitrov became Prime Minister. In 1947, the Allied military left Bulgaria, and the government declared the country a communist state. The Communist Party ruled for 42 years. All democratic opposition was crushed, agriculture and industry were nationalized, and Bulgaria became the closest of the Soviet Union's allies. Unlike other countries of the Warsaw Pact, however, Bulgaria did not have Soviet troops stationed on its territory.

Bulgaria has been a parliamentary democracy since 1990, like most East European countries which broke with the totalitarian regime. The country is still in process of political, economic and social changes.

[Geography] [History] [Bulgaria Travel Information]

[Home] [Hotel Reservations] [Congress Tourism] [Tailor-made Trips] [Special Interest Tours]
[Holidays] [General Information] [Contact Us]

Email to us