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BulgariaThe origins of the name Bulgaria are unknown. The name likely comes from the historic Bulgar people, who were primarily ethnic Turks, and with whom many modern day Bulgarians have some ethnic relations to varying degrees. This word has questionable roots, but some of the more popular theories are that a Bulgar was a person of mixed race among historic Turks, it refers to a person who works with hides or leather, or that the name comes from the word bulga, which was an animal found in Central Asia.

България

Introduction:

The Bulgarians are often overlooked and forgotten in Europe, but most visitors to this out of the way country will never forget their experience. Bulgaria is home to a unique landscape, which led to the growth of the Bulgarian culture and way of life. While many outside introductions have arrived to change this life, Bulgaria has often defined themselves in contrast to neighbors and hence have magnified their culture and lifestyle.

The Bulgarian people are an odd mix of ethnicities, but over time these people intermarried and formed a new ethnicity and culture, which is closely related to the Southern Slavs. This Slavic influence formed many aspects of the culture today, beginning with the language, which is a Slavic language. Later, when Christianity was introduced to the people, it was quickly adopted as it was in many parts of the Balkan Peninsula, giving the Bulgarians further similarities to their neighbors.

The flag of Bulgaria is based off the Slavic flag, which is still used by Russia today. The Bulgarian flag replaced the color blue with green, which symbolizes freedom.

Name: Republic of Bulgaria
Independence: March 3, 1878
Capital: Sofia
Currency: Lev
Population: 6,981,642 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Bulgarian
Language: Bulgarian
Religion: Bulgarian Orthodox

Despite the similarities, the Bulgarians also have a variety of differences, which arose with the help of the mountainous landscape. The mountains have isolated many small groups of people, while also dividing the people between the west-east running mountains. This has led to distinct Bulgarian foods, clothing, and customs, but also has created numerous sub-cultures in Bulgaria itself. This division also allowed the Bulgarians to grow independently from other ethnic Slavs in the region.

Despite differences, political, social, and economic changes in Bulgaria have been similar to those of neighboring countries as well as the Soviet Union. Being a communist country for much of the 1900s, Bulgaria urbanized, industrialized, and forged strong bonds with other Eastern European countries. This changed the culture and lifestyle to a great degree, but today Bulgaria is again trying to find its own way, shifting from its former allies to the west as the country joined the European Union in 2007.

Today the Bulgarians continue to maintain their historic culture and lifestyle to a great degree, but changes are constantly underway, from technological advancements changing the economy to finding their path forward in Western Europe. Yet, life in Bulgaria remains tied to the mountains, their religion, and their communities.

Learn More About Bulgaria:

The Land:
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The Past:
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The Food:
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The Culture:
Way of Life EthnicityLanguage ReligionDress BehaviorIdentity

Map of Bulgaria:

Map of Bulgaria

Information for Bulgaria was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks