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.