Bulgaria is located in southeastern Europe. It has a coast to the Black Sea at the eastern side (354km coastline), to the north it borders Romania (608km) and to the south Turkey (240km) and Greece (494km). The western border is to former Yugoslavia, today this are Serbia and Montenegro (318km) and the Republic of Macedonia (148km).
Bulgaria has a population of 7.5 Million people, the Capital is Sofia with a population of 1.1 Million people. The main Religion is Bulgarian Orthodox (80%), followed by Muslim (18%). The spoken language is Bulgarian, it is written in the Kyrillic alphabet.
During the Roman Empire the area of Bulgaria was inhabited by the Thrakians. The Bulgars, who gave the country its name, were a Central Asian Turkic tribe. They merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In the 14th century the country overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Bulgaria regained its independence in 1878, the Liberation Day is still a National holiday. In both World Wars Bulgaria fought on the losing side. Between 1946 and 1990 Bulgaria was a People's Republic. Today it is a democracy named Republic of Bulgaria and on its way to a market economy, but it is still very poor and has the problems of high inflation and unemployment. At the moment there are negotiations about becoming a member of the EU.
Bulgaria is very mountaineous. There are only two lowlands to the north and the southeast. The mountain ridges follow the borders, so Bulgaria is surrounded by mountains. Most caves of Bulgaria are located in the limestone areas of the mountains north of Sofia towards the Romanian border. More karst caves can be found in the marble of the Rhodopes along the Greek border. At the moment 4250 caves are known. Most of them are karst caves, but there are also 60 volcanic caves and three sandstone caves. The deepest cave of Bulgaria is Raichova dupka near Cherni Osam, Lovech, with a vertical range of 377m. The longest cave is Douhlata in the Vitosha Mountain which is 17,600m long.
Bulgaria has a wealth of cultural heritage. There are numerous places which are inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The most important museums are located at Sofia.
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