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Thursday 13th June
Bulgaria Facts
Bulgaria is in the Balkan Peninsula in South Eastern Europe. Other countries in this area include (some) countries of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Macedonia, as well as Albania and Greece.

Mount Musala (2,925 m) in the Rila Mountains is the highest peak in Bulgaria.

The Iskar is the longest river in Bulgaria. However the Danube which flows along the Bulgarian/Romanian border is the second longest river in Europe.

One of Bulgaria's largest lakes is Smradlivoto in the Rila Mountains.

Raiskoto Praskalo Waterfall, known as the Heaven Spray, is Bulgaria's highest waterfall.

The town of Sapareva Banya has the country's hottest mineral water spring.

There are around four thousand mapped caves in Bulgaria.

Varna, on the Black Sea, was a trading centre in ancient times. A cemetery, discovered in 1972, contained many gold and copper artifacts from around 4600 BC to 4200 BC.

The city of Plovdiv was founded in the fourth century BC by Philip of Macedon. It was called Philippopolis after the Macedonian king.

Bulgaria is named after the Bulgar people who arrived in the country in the late seventh century.

The Thracian Serdi tribe settled in Sofia in the seventh century BC. The name of Bulgaria's capital city, Sofia, comes from the name Serdica.

Spartacus was a Thracian slave who led a major revolt against the Roman Empire.

John of Rila (876-946), who dedicated his life to meditation, is the patron saint of Bulgaria.

The Ottoman Empire ruled Bulgaria from the middle of the fourteenth century for five centuries.

John Atanasoff, whose father came from Bulgaria, and Clifford Berry are famous for creating the first electronic digital computer at Iowa State University, 1937-42.

Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha became King of Bulgaria when he was six years old (1943). The monarchy was abolished soon after the end of the Second World War.

Bulgaria was a member of COMECON, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (1949-91) and the Warsaw Treaty Organization.

The Warsaw Pact (1955-1991) allowed the Red Army to have bases in member states. (Warsaw Treaty Organisation member countries were Albania (until 1968), Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic), East Germany (DDR), Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union).

Simeon Saxe-Coburg was elected Prime Minister of Bulgaria in 2001.

Bulgaria joined the EU on 1 January 2007.

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