Republika Bulgaria (Republic of Bulgaria)
Reference work entry


  • Capital: Sofia

  • Population estimate, 2015: 7.15 m.

  • GNI per capita, 2014: (PPP$) 15,596

  • HDI/world rank, 2014: 0.782/59

  • Internet domain extension: .bg

Civil Aviation

There is an international airport at Sofia (Vrazhdebna), which handled 3,467,455 passengers (3,266,427 on international flights) and 16,246 tonnes of freight in 2012. The bankrupt former state-owned Balkan Bulgarian Airlines was replaced by Bulgaria Air (initially named Balkan Air Tour) in 2002 as the new national flag carrier.


The southern parts have a Mediterranean climate, with winters mild and moist and summers hot and dry, but further north the conditions become more Continental, with a larger range of temperature and greater amounts of rainfall in summer and early autumn. Sofia, Jan. 28 °F (−2.2 °C), July 69 °F (20.6 °C). Annual rainfall 25.4″ (635 mm).

Constitution and Government

A new constitution was adopted at Tarnovo on 12 July 1991. The President is directly elected for not more than two 5-year terms. Candidates for the presidency must be at least 40 years old and have lived for the last 5 years in Bulgaria. American-style primary elections were introduced in 1996; voting is open to all the electorate. The 240-member National Assembly is directly elected by proportional representation. The President nominates a candidate from the largest parliamentary party as Prime Minister.


The unit of currency is the lev (BGN) of 100 stotinki. In May 1996 the lev was devalued by 68%. A new lev was introduced on 5 July 1999, at 1 new lev = 1,000 old leva.


Since 1 Jan. 2008 Bulgaria has had an all-volunteer professional army. Following restructuring the total strength of the armed forces has been reduced from more than 68,000 in 2002 to less than 32,000 in 2011. Defence expenditure in 2013 totalled US$751 m. (US$108 per capita), representing 1.4% of GDP.


Transport, communications, trade and restaurants contributed 21.8% to GDP in 2011; followed by mining, public utilities and manufacturing, 21.2%; finance and real estate, 15.0%; public administration and defence, 10.8%; and services, 6.8%.


A total of 2,949,600 persons were in employment in 2011, with the leading areas of activity as follows: manufacturing, 601,600; wholesale and retail trade, and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, 538,400; construction, 225,300; public administration and defence, and compulsory social security, 225,300; agriculture, forestry and fishing, 200,500. The unemployment rate was 12.3% in June 2012, up from 11.3% in 2011 as a whole and 5.6% in 2008. The monthly minimum wage was raised from 270 leva to 290 leva in May 2012.


In 2012 there were 57 daily newspapers with a combined daily circulation of 639,000. The two biggest circulation paid-for dailies are Telegraph (which was only launched in 2005) and Trud, the only title from the socialist era that survived after 1989. A total of 8,263 book titles were published in 2012, including 2,171 fiction titles for adults.


In 2011 there were 3,947 km of 1,435 mm gauge railway (2,862 km electrified) and 125 km of 760 mm gauge. Passenger-km travelled in 2011 came to 2.07 bn. and freight tonne-km to 3.17 bn.


‘The traditional church of the Bulgarian people’ (as it is officially described) is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church. It was disestablished under the 1947 constitution. In 1953 the Bulgarian Patriarchate was revived. The Patriarch is Neofit (enthroned Feb. 2013). The seat of the Patriarch is at Sofia. The Bulgarian Orthodox Church has 15 dioceses, of which 13 are in Bulgaria and two abroad-one covering the United States, Canada and Australia, and the other Central and Western Europe. According to the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life the Orthodox population numbered an estimated 6.22 m. in 2010. There were also 1.02 m. indigenous Muslims (Pomaks) in 2010 and 310,000 people who were religiously unaffiliated.


In 2005 Bulgaria had 40,231 km of roads, including 331 km of motorways and 2,961 km of main roads. In 2007 there were 1,971,500 passenger cars (257 per 1,000 inhabitants), 262,900 lorries and vans, 26,300 buses and coaches, and 78,900 motorcycles and mopeds. In 2005 public transport totalled 13.7 bn. passenger-km. In 2007, 9,827 persons were injured in road accidents and 1,006 were killed.


In Jan. 2009 there were 86 ships of 300 GT or over registered, totalling 890,000 GT. Bourgas is a fishing and oil-port.

Social Statistics

2008: live births, 77,712; deaths, 110,523; marriages, 27,722; divorces, 14,104. Rates per 1,000 population, 2008: birth, 10.2; death, 14.5; marriage, 3.6; divorce, 1.9; infant mortality, 11 per 1,000 live births (2010). There were 37,272 reported abortions in 2006. In 2005 the most popular age range for marrying was 25–29 for males and 20–24 for females. Expectation of life in 2007 was 69.6 years among males and 76.7 years among females. The annual population growth rate for the period 2010–15 was −0.6%, giving Bulgaria one of the fastest declining populations of any country. Fertility rate, 2008, 1.4 children per woman.


The Bulgarian Telecommunications Company was privatized in Jan. 2004. In 2011 there were 2,310,800 landline telephone subscriptions (equivalent to 310.3 per 1,000 inhabitants) and 10,475,100 mobile phone subscriptions (or 1,406.8 per 1,000 inhabitants). In 2011, 51.0% of the population were internet users. In March 2012 there were 2.4 m. Facebook users.

Territory and Population

The area of Bulgaria is 111,002 km2 (42,858 sq. miles). It is bounded in the north by Romania, east by the Black Sea, south by Turkey and Greece, and west by Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia. The country is divided into 28 districts. The capital, Sofia, has district status. The population of Bulgaria at the census of 2011 was 7,364,570 (females, 3,777,999); population density 66.3 per km2. Population of principal towns (2011 census): Sofia, 1,202,761; Plovdiv, 338,153; Varna, 334,870; Bourgas, 200,271; Rousse, 149,642; Stara Zagora, 138,272; Pleven, 106,954; Sliven, 91,620; Dobrich, 91,030. Bulgarian is the official language.


There were 6,541,000 non-resident tourists in 2012 (5,151,000 in 2007). Earnings from tourism were US$4,202 m. in 2012.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

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