59 Fun Facts about Bulgaria (#22 is cool!) (2023)

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Want to get some fun facts about Bulgaria before traveling to the country? I've got you covered! Below, you can find 59 interesting facts about Bulgaria, covering history, culture, food and more.

Fun facts about Bulgaria

59 Fun Facts about Bulgaria (#22 is cool!) (1)

This post is part of a series of fun facts posts I'm doing for every country I have articles about here on the blog. Given their nature, these posts are research-based and even though a lot of time has gone into them, it's still possible a mistake has snuck in. If you see something that looks incorrect, please let me know at wanderer [at] wonderfulwanderings.com and I'll look into it. Thanks!

1. Bulgaria is the homeland of yogurt. Bulgarians call theirs “sour milk” and they think it's what makes them live long lives.

2. Bulgaria is the world's second-biggest exporter of rose oil, an ingredient in most perfumes.

3. As confusing as it may be, Bulgarians shake their head when they mean to say “yes” and nod when they want to say “no”. It takes some time to get used to this Bulgarian head nod!

4. The country's national instrument is gaida, more commonly known as bagpipes.

5. Bulgaria has 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites at the time of writing.

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6. Shopska, also known as Bulgarian salad, won as best dish in Europe in a contest organized by the European Parliament.

7. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has Bulgarian roots. He was named after his Bulgarian grandfather Marko.

8. The legendary Thracian singer, Orpheus, spent his life in ancient Bulgaria. Orpheus is the son of Oeagros, God of the River.

9. Rakia is an alcoholic drink with made from fermented pears, grapes, or apricots. It is Bulgaria's national drink and is usually consumed together with shopska.

10. Here's one of many fun Bulgarian culture facts: every first of March, Bulgarians celebrate a unique holiday known as Baba Marta (Grandmother March). Locals exchange martenitsas or tassels of white and red yarn.

(Video) Top 50 Amazing Facts About Bulgaria

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11. The town of Kazanlak holds a Rose Festival yearly, wherein a girl is elected as “Rose Queen”. Festivities include street processions, folklore concerts, art shows, wine tasting, exhibitions, and more.

12. The two major mountain ranges in Bulgaria are the Balkan Mountains and the Rhodope Mountains.

13. The medieval town of Bansko is a famous spot for skiing.

14. Bulgaria's Rila Monastery houses a wooden cross with 140 microscopic scenes from the Bible. The biggest of the 1,500 figures featured is smaller than a grain of rice. It's just one of many interesting places in Bulgaria.

15. Bulgaria ranks as the third most biodiverse Eastern European country. It has over 3,500 vascular plant species and almost 415 bird species.

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16. In the 1980s, Bulgaria was the second-largest wine producer in the world.

17. The capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, has a motto which goes as “Raste no ne stare”. In English, it means “grows but does not age”.

18. The country's official language is Bulgarian. It is written using the Cyrillic alphabet.

19. Another one of those Bulgarian fun facts is that fire dancing (Nestinarstvo) is one of the oldest Bulgarian customs. Today, it is still performed in several villages in the Strandzha Mountains.

20. Bulgarian primary and secondary education is state-supported. The country has a literacy rate of 98 percent.

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21. Bulgaria has no state religion, but the majority of Bulgarian citizens identify as Eastern Orthodox Christians.

22. The oldest processed gold in the world is found in Varna in Bulgaria. The golden artifacts were believed to be 7,000 years old.

(Video) Do You Know Bulgaria Basic Information | World Countries Information #26 - GK & Quizzes

23. On Jordan's Day in Bulgaria, there's one custom that involves a priest throwing a cross into the river. The man who can retrieve the cross is said to be rewarded with good health and happiness.

24. The unique consistency of Bulgarian yogurt is because of the Lactobacillus Bulgaricus which cannot be found anywhere else.

25. The St. George Rotunda Church is the oldest building in Bulgaria's capital.

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26. Bulgaria has a parliamentary system of government.

27. The Stone Wedding is an awe-inspiring natural rock formation in southern Bulgaria. It has interesting colors of pink, brown, and red. The two largest rocks are the bride and the groom, while the many others are the wedding guests.

28. Bulgaria is the only European country that hasn't changed its name since the year it was established.

29. The Bulgarian folk song “Izlel e Delyu Haydutin” by Valya Balkanska was sent in space on board Voyager I. It is part of the Golden Record, a collection of human artifacts intended as a message for extraterrestrial life.

30. No army in the world has ever captured a Bulgarian flag in battle.

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31. John Vincent Atanasoff, the inventor of the first digital computer, is of Bulgarian descent. He is the son of Bulgarian immigrant Ivan Atanasov.

32. About 15,000 Thracian tombs were discovered in Bulgaria. A tenth of this number is in the Valley of the Thracian Kings.

33. Bulgarian former athlete Stefka Kostadinova holds the world record of 2.09 meters at the 1987 World Championships. No one has matched or beaten her record until today. She's one of the most famous people from Bulgaria.

34. Tribal leader Loboda in HBO's Game of Thrones is played by Bulgarian actor Zahary Bacharov. The role definitely got him a spot on the list of famous Bulgarian people.

35. Peter Petroff, the inventor of the first digital wristwatch, is of Bulgarian descent.

(Video) The 5 most important Bulgarians in History

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36. In 1976, the ancient Bulgarian calendar was hailed by UNESCO as the most accurate of its kind in the world.

37. In 2010, a city councilor in Bulgaria was fired from work because of Farmville. Dimitar Kerin of Plovdiv was dismissed so he can “have more time to tend his virtual farm”.

38. Mount Musala, standing at 2,925 m, is the highest point in Bulgaria.

39. The lowest point in Bulgaria is in the Black Sea.

40. Bulgaria was once regarded as Europe's Silicon Valley. It ranked 8th in terms of a number of Information Technology experts in 2002.

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41. Bulgaria was one of the two countries that protected their Jewish inhabitants from being sent to the Nazi concentration camps.

42. Bulgaria's population is shrinking due to low birth rates and outward migration. It is estimated that the current population will decline by almost one-third by the year 2060.

43. Bulgaria's boundaries are the Black Sea (east) and the Danube (North).

44. Coca-Cola Bulgaria holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest glass bottle mosaic. It was made using 72,933 empty soda bottles that cover a whopping area of 250 square meters.

45. Bulgaria ranks 20th in the worldwide ranking of countries with fastest internet speeds.

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46. Forests in Bulgaria constitute one-third of the country's territory.

47. The current version of the Bulgarian flag (horizontal tricolor of white, red, and green) was adopted in 1991.

(Video) Bulgaria As a Village of 100 People [Bulgaria statistics 2021]

48. Sofia is the only major European city located a mere 15 minutes away from a mountain. The Vitosha Mountain offers a beautiful silhouette that can be viewed anywhere in the city.

49. Dan Kolov is the first World wrestling champion with an astonishing 1,500 wins and only 2 lost matches. He remained a proud Bulgarian until his death. He was even quoted saying, “I feel strong because I am Bulgarian.”

50. The village of Kovachevitsa reflects Bulgarian architectural genius. It has a Revival period charm with cobblestone streets and houses made of wood and stone.

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51. The Kadin Bridge in Nevestino is a 100-meter long stone bridge. It has a secret: an engraved plate on its east railing states that it was constructed in 1470.

52. Bulgarians have what is called as ‘Gypsy summer' or when summer extends to September. It is the warm beginning of autumn.

53. M-Tel IMAX, the largest cinema screen in the Balkans, can be found in Sofia. The IMAX screen is 4.5 thousand times larger than a normal TV screen!

54. One of Bulgaria's wonders are the Belogradchik Rocks. The bizarre rock formations each have a name: The Schoolgirl, The Camel, Adam and Eve, The Madonna, The Mushrooms, The Horseman, The Cuckoo, The Red Wall, The Bear, and so on. Each rock formation has its own story.

55. Name Day is a celebration in Bulgaria by those who have the name of a Saint. The person with the Saint's name invites guests at home or at a restaurant. Name days are widely celebrated by locals, even more than their own birthdays.

56. Bulgarian cuisine is a lot like Greek and Turkish cuisine. Some shared elements are cucumber, tomato, and filo pastries.

57. Bulgaria is still not on the Euro. It has its own currency – the Bulgarian Lev.

58. The longest Bulgarian word is composed of 39 letters. It means “do not perform actions against the constitution”.

59. Kozunak is a traditional braided sweet bread. It is a favorite among Bulgarians, especially during Easter.

And that'ts it! I hope you've enjoyed these Bulgaria fun facts.

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What's interesting about Bulgaria? ›

Bulgaria is one of the oldest European countries established in 681 AD. Since then Bulgaria is the only one that hasn't changed its name. Bulgaria ranks third in Europe for the number of its valuable archaeological monuments after Italy and Greece.

How old is Bulgaria in years? ›

Some historians consider 632 AD as the date of the establishment of the Bulgarian state; others consider 681 AD as a nation-founding date. In the 7th through the 9th centuries AD, Bulgaria conquered new territories westwards in the Balkans and Central Europe.

Why is Bulgaria famous? ›

Bulgaria is famous for being one of the oldest countries in Europe. Its diverse landscape boasts mountains, beaches, mineral springs, and many UNESCO World Heritage sites. Bulgaria is also known for its rose oil, lavender, rakiya, and wine. It introduced the world to yogurt and the Cyrillic alphabet too.

What does Bulgaria call Santa Claus? ›

Bulgaria. The Bulgarian name of Santa Claus is Дядо Коледа (Dyado Koleda, Grandfather Koleda), with Dyado Mraz (Дядо Мраз, "Grandfather Frost") being a similar Russian-imported character lacking the Christian connotations and thus popular during Communist rule.

What is Bulgarian culture like? ›

Bulgarian culture is an unique mix of fairly advanced cultures – mostly of Thracian, Slavic and Bulgar cultures, but there are Byzantine, Turkish, Greek and other influences making numerous masterpieces of the world significance coming from the remote past of antiquity.

Can you drink alcohol in Bulgaria? ›

Alcohol consumption

Bulgaria does not have a minimum age for the consumption of alcohol in private, but you do have to be 18 years old to buy it. Minors will often be allowed to drink in a restaurant or pub if accompanied by an adult. Every family who owns a piece of land is likely to brew their own wine.

How old is the Bulgarian flag? ›

Flag of Bulgaria
UseCivil and state flag, civil ensign
Adopted1879 (first adoption) 27 November 1990 (readoption)
DesignA horizontal tricolour of white, green and red.
3 more rows

When did slavery in Bulgaria end? ›

This continued for five whole centuries, up to 1878, when Bulgaria was liberated as a result of the Russian-Turkish War. These five centuries have remained in the national mentality as “the Turkish slavery”. Formally, there was never slavery on Bulgarian territory.

Is Bulgarian or Russian older? ›

Bulgarian is older than Russian and thus, has kept the Old Slavonic personal pronouns (аз, ти, той, тя, то, ние, вие, те) while Russian uses more modern forms of the personal pronouns (я, ты, он, она, оно, мы, вы, они). Bulgarian is heavily influenced by Turkish, Romanian, and Greek. Russian by German and French.

Does Mark Zuckerberg have Bulgarian roots? ›

The famous Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg has a Bulgarian origin and he is named after his Bulgarian grandfather - Marko. His grandfather has emigrated from Bulgaria in 1940.

What is the old name of Bulgaria? ›

In 632, Khan Kubrat united the three largest Bulgar tribes: the Kutrigur, the Utugur and the Onogonduri, thus forming the country that now historians call Great Bulgaria (also known as Onoguria).

Is Bulgaria the oldest country in the world? ›

Bulgaria is one of Europe's oldest countries, founded in the seventh century. By the early 20th century it emerged from more than five centuries of rule under the Ottoman Empire and declared its independence.

How did Bulgaria get its name? ›

The name Bulgaria is derived from the Bulgars, a tribe of Turkic origin that founded the First Bulgarian Empire.

What do Bulgarians call their dad? ›

Баща (bashtá) – father, usually called “tatko” or “tate”. Майка (máyka) – mother, addressed as “mamo” or “mayko”

What do Bulgarians eat on Christmas? ›

Consequently, Bulgarians usually feast on an array of vegetarian dishes on December 24, including bean soup, "sarmi" (stuffed cabbage leaves), stuffed peppers, various pastries, compote, as well as fruit and nuts, dried plums, and dried apricots.

What do Bulgarians do on Christmas? ›

Bulgarian Christmas Day customs.

Koledari, or Christmas carolers, go from house to house throughout Bulgarian villages on Christmas, starting at midnight on Christmas Eve. These groups of carolers are typically made up of young men dressed in traditional costumes, which vary from region to region.

What do Bulgarians drink? ›

If you have just arrived in Bulgaria and are still curious to taste the vast variety of authentic Bulgarian meals and drinks, undoubtedly the most traditional and emblematic alcoholic beverage to start your night with is the local rakia.

What is a typical Bulgarian breakfast? ›

Banichka and Boza

A traditional Bulgarian Breakfast is “Banitsa s boza”. Banitsa is traditional Bulgarian food prepared by layering a mixture of whisked eggs and pieces of cheese between filo pastry and then baking it in an oven. Boza is a drink with thick consistency and a low alcohol content, it has a sweet flavor.

Do they have McDonald's in Bulgaria? ›

1994 Bulgaria is the 75th country where McDonald's opens a restaurant. The first restaurant in Bulgaria was opened in Plovdiv.

At what age do Bulgarians get married? ›

According to the Bulgarian legislation, the age for marriage is 18 years.

How do Bulgarians greet? ›

The formal way to greet people is Добър ден! Literally, Добър ден means “Good day”; so as a rule we can use Добър ден only during the daytime—from morning until evening. During the evening, we say: Добър вечер! Вечер is Bulgarian for “Evening,” so Добър вечер means “Good evening.” During the morning we say: Добро утро!

What God do Bulgarians believe in? ›

They believed in the pagan god Tangra, which is why their religion was called Tengrism.

Are drugs legal in Bulgaria? ›

The Bulgarian authorities treat all drug-related and sex offences very seriously. Custodial sentences can be expected for any foreigners convicted of such offences.

What age can you smoke in Bulgaria? ›

Smoking age in Bulgaria

You have to be 18 years old to buy or smoke cigarettes in Bulgaria.

Is a US driver's license valid in Bulgaria? ›

A state-issued U.S. driver's license is valid in Bulgaria only when carried and presented in conjunction with an International Driving Permit.

What is Bulgaria's national color? ›

The National Flag of the Republic of Bulgaria is a national symbol, which expresses the independence and sovereignty of the Bulgarian State. The National Flag of the Republic of Bulgaria shall be tricolour: white, green and red stripes, placed horizontally from the top downwards (width-length ratio of 3:5).

Who ruled Bulgaria after ww2? ›

As a consequence of World War II, the Soviet Union invaded Bulgaria and a Communist regime was installed in 1946 with Georgi Dimitrov at the helm. The monarchy was abolished in 1946 and the tsar sent into exile. The People's Republic of Bulgaria was established, lasting until 1990.

What flag looks like a sun? ›

The State Flag of the Republic of Kazakhstan is a rectangular breadth of blue colour with the image of the sun in its center with a soaring steppe eagle underneath. Along the flagstaff there is a vertical band with the national ornamental patterns.

Is Bulgaria older than Greece? ›

Relics of village carbon-dated to around 4,500 BC, making them more than a millenium older than Greek civilisation. A prehistoric town unearthed in eastern Bulgaria is the oldest urban settlement found to date in Europe, a Bulgarian archaeologist says.

How old is Bulgarian language? ›

Modern Bulgarian dates from the 16th century onwards, undergoing general grammar and syntax changes in the 18th and 19th centuries. The present-day written Bulgarian language was standardized on the basis of the 19th-century Bulgarian vernacular.

Are Bulgaria and Turkey friends? ›

Türkiye and Bulgaria are two friendly, neighborly and allied countries. With Bulgaria embracing democracy and free market economy relations have developed, high level visits between the two countries have increased. Türkiye has supported the integration of Bulgaria with Euro-Atlantic structures.

Does Bulgarian have gender? ›

There are three grammatical genders in Bulgarian: masculine, feminine and neuter. The gender of the noun can largely be inferred from its ending: nouns ending in a consonant are generally masculine; those ending in –а/–я are normally feminine; and nouns ending in –е, –о are almost always neuter.

What do Bulgarian speak? ›

BBC - Languages - Languages. 85% of the approximate 8.7m population of Bulgaria speak the official language, Bulgarian. 2.5% speak Macedonian, considered in Bulgaria as a dialect of Bulgarian and not as a separate language.

Who is the most famous Bulgarian? ›

Famous Bulgarians you may have heard of
  • Christo (artist) ...
  • Jules Pascin (artist) ...
  • Silvie Vartan (singer) ...
  • Grigor Dimitrov (tennis) ...
  • Dimitar Berbatov (football) ...
  • Ralitsa Vassileva (news anchor) ...
  • Nina Dobrev (actress) ...
  • ​​​​​​​Maria Bakalova (actress)

Is Bulgarian a rich country? ›

Bulgaria is an industrialised upper-middle-income country according to the World Bank, and is a member of the European Union (EU), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

Is there a Bulgarian billionaire? ›

Vasil Krumov Bozhkov is a Bulgarian politician and a businessman, considered the richest Bulgarian with a fortune estimated at between 1 and 3 billion Bulgarian levs.
Vasil Bozhkov
EducationSofia University
5 more rows

How long were Bulgarians slaves? ›

During the Ottoman occupation, which all Bulgarians, including Boykan, refer to as “the 500 years of slavery” Sofia was of prominence due to its location as the midpoint between Constantinople and Belgrade.

How many Bulgarians live in the world? ›

Българи Bǎlgari
Total population
Bulgaria 6,500,000 (2021)
Germany410,885 (2021)
Ukraine204,574–500,000 (2001)
41 more rows

Did Bulgaria have a royal family? ›

Members of the royal family hold the titles of Prince (Princess) of Bulgaria and Duke (Duchess) in Saxony, with the style of Royal Highness.
Bulgarian royal family.
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha-Koháry (Bulgarian royal line)
Current headSimeon II
Final rulerSimeon II
TitlesPrince (Княз), Tsar (Цар)
Estate(s)Vrana Palace
6 more rows

Why is Bulgaria important to the US? ›

As Bulgaria emerged from communism in the 1990s, the United States moved to encourage development of multi-party democracy and a market economy. Bulgaria is a reliable ally in an area of strategic importance to the United States.

Is Bulgaria a poor or rich country? ›

Bulgaria is an industrialised upper-middle-income country according to the World Bank, and is a member of the European Union (EU), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

What did Bulgaria do in ww2? ›

Bulgaria resisted Axis pressure to join the war against the Soviet Union, which began on 22 June 1941, but did declare war on Britain and the United States on 13 December 1941. The Red Army entered Bulgaria on 8 September 1944; Bulgaria declared war on Germany the next day.

Who did Bulgaria fight in ww1? ›

The Kingdom of Bulgaria participated in World War I on the side of the Central Powers from 14 October 1915, when the country declared war on Serbia, until 30 September 1918, when the Armistice of Salonica came into effect.

Why did Bulgaria fight in ww1? ›

Bulgaria had been secretly wooed by both Germany and the Allies, hoping for an ally in the Balkans. Bulgaria decided in favour of the Germans and declared war on Serbia on the 11th October 1915, hoping to annex the Serbian province of Macedonia.


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