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Welcome to Bulgaria!
Geographical situation
Local time
Climate
Taxi
Hotels, Hotels in Sofia
Restaurants
Car hire
National currency
Statistics
Culture
History
Alphabet
Cuisine
Web Links

  • Geographical situation: Bulgaria is situated in South-Eastern Europe, on the Balkan peninsula. It is bounded by Romania, UR Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey. The Black Sea washes its eastern border.
  • Local time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from the end of March to the end of September)
  • Climate: Mild continental (2,000 to 2,400 hours of sunlight per year). Four seasons. Dry and hot summer. Average temperature (April - September): + 23 C Cold winter with snowfalls, average temperature: 0 C. The average yearly temperature is 10.5 C.
  • Taxi: Travel with the Sofia Airport taxi cabs is recommended. Arrangements can be made in the arrivals hall and in the VIP hall. Private taxi cabs operate at higher fares. The fare (especially on long-distance drivers) can be negotiated. Foreign currency is acepted at the rate of exchange for the day, or at some other negotiated rate.
  • Hotels: One to five - star hotels. Reservation in advance is recommended. Major credid cards are accepted.
  • Restaurants: Wide variety of cuisines is offered. Along with traditional Bulgarian dishes, many restaurants in and outside the capital offer Italian, French, Greek, Chinese, German, Arab, Hungarian, Latin American, Indian and Russian food.
  • Car hire: Big international rent-a-car companies hold offices in the arrivals hall at Sofia Airoport, in downtown Sofia, in the country and in the holiday resorts.
  • National currency: Bulgarian lev (pl. leva). Coins with smaller denomination are called "stotinki" (100 stotinki = 1 lev).
    There are banknotes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 leva. and coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 stotinki.
  • Banks and currency exchange: Many local banks and currency exchange offices function in the capital and in the country. Big international banks also have offices here. Working hours of the banks: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday to Friday. Currency exchange offices are open to 6 p.m., some working 24 hours a day. Currency exchange at the airport on arrival or departure, and in the big hotels, is also possible.
    ! Do not exchange money in the streets or outside banks and currency exchange offices despite the advantageous rate offered. The danger of deception is considerable.
  • Public transport: Bus N 84 connects Sofia Airport with downtown Sofia. Public transport in the capital consists of buses, trams and trolleybuses. Tickets can be bought from drivers or in advance from Public transport kiosks at most bus-stops. Longer-term tickets for 1, 5, 10 days or 1, 3 months are recommended when more travel is expected.
  • Railway transport: Fast and express trains link the capital with big towns in the country. Sleeping cars are recommended for night travel to more remote destinations like Varna, Burgas, Rousse, Dobritch. Tickets for all destinations and for sleeping cars can be bought in advance at the Transport Centre in the National Palace of Culture. Travel with first class and reserved seats is preferable. Tickets can be bought from ticket-collectors in trains, but at a higher price.

    ! Do not leave your luggage unattended. Telephone number for information at Sofia Central Station - 3-11-11.

  • Telecommunications: International dialing code for Bulgaria - 359, for Sofia - 359 2. Direct telephone communication from Bulgaria to countries in Europe, Asia and Africa is possible from Betcom or Bulgarian Telecommunication Company phone booths, with phonecards. Phone calls, telegram and telefax services in the country and abroad are offered by the Sofia Central Post Office and by Post Office in the capital and the country.
  • Major phone numbers:
    • 0123 - operator for international calls (if no direct phone call is possible)
    • 120 - wake up call
    • 121 - operator for long-distance calls within the country
    • 140 - sending of telegrams
    • 144 - telephone information service for office phone numbers
    • 145 - telephone information service for home numbers
    • 146 - Emergency Road Service
    • 150 - Emergency Medical Aid
    • 166 - Police/Road patrols
    • 175 - weather forecast
    • 180 - exact time ("speaking" clock)
  • Electricity supply: 220 V, 50 Hz
  • Roads: Driving is on the right side
  • Shopping: Vitosha boulevard is Sofia's major shopping area. Variety of shops also along Graf Ignatiev and Rakovsky streets. The Central Department Store is the biggest in the capital; it is situated in the central part of the city. Shops' working hours: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., Monday to Friday; on Saturday to 1 p. m. Some supermarkets are open 24 hours a day. Fresh food products, fruit and vegetables can also be bought from market places open every day in the capital and the country.
  • Statistics:

    Total Population:
    7,973,673 (data from a representative study of the National Institute of Statistics as of March 1, 2001)

    Largest city populations:
    Sofia 1,096,389
    Plovdiv 340,638
    Varna 314,539
    Bourgas 193,316
    Rousse 162,128
    Stara Zagora 143,989

    Location of population as average across age groups (2001)
    Urban: 69%
    Rural: 31%

    Net population growth: minus 5.1% (2001)
    Birth Rate: 8.07 births/1,000 population
    Death Rate: 13.8 deaths/1,000 population
    Migration Rate: 4.8 migrants/1,000 population
    Infant mortality rate: 15.13 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

    Total fertility rate: 1.13 children born/woman (2000 est.)

    Age breakdown: (2001 est.)
    0-10 years: 8.8%
    10-19 years: 13%
    20-29 years: 14.4%
    40-49 years: 14.1%
    50-59 years: 13.9%
    60 years and over: 25.5%

    Sex breakdown: (2001 est.)
    Male: 48.8%
    Female: 51.2%

    Life expectancy at birth: (2000 est.)
    Total population: 70.91 years
    male: 67.45 years
    female: 74.56 years

    Ethnic groupings (2001 est.)
    Bulgarian 83.6%
    Turkish 9.5%
    Roma 4.6%
    Other 1.5%

    Religious groupings
    Orthodox Christian 83.8%
    Muslim 12.1%
    Also Roman Catholic, Jewish, Gregorian-Armenian, Protestant, Lutheran, other Catholic

    Official language: Bulgarian
    Also spoken: Turkish, Romani, Armenian, Hebrew, etc. - roughly corresponds to ethnic breakdowns

    Literacy: (percentage of age 15 and over that can read and write - 1999)
    total population: 98%
    male: 99%
    female: 98%

    Public holidays:
    January 1: New Year
    March 3: National Day
    April or May (variable): Orthodox Easter Monday
    May 1: Labour Day
    May 6: Bulgarian Army Day
    May 24: Day of Bulgarian Literature & Cyrillic Writing (for Saints Cyril and Methodius)
    September 6: Day of Unification of Bulgaria and Eastern Roumelia
    September 22: Independence Day (from Ottoman Turkish Empire)
    November 1: Day of Leaders of the Bulgarian National Revival
    December 24-26: Christmas










  • Andrey Savov

    Vartan M.D.