15 interesting facts about Sofia and Bulgaria that you have never heard of

15 interesting facts about Sofia and Bulgaria that you have never heard of

Bulgaria, Sofia, Vidin, Plovdiv, Veliko Turnovo
If you are one of those who haven't had a chance to explore Bulgaria, this list of facts about this beautiful country may spark your interest in learning more about it.

Bulgaria is a country of mountains, tourist routes, winter ski resorts and seaside resorts on the Black Sea.

Bulgaria is a wonderful country with a rich historical and cultural heritage, which in recent years has become a very attractive destination for travelers. The country has a long summer season with beautiful seaside resorts where holidaymakers can enjoy fine golden sand and crystal blue sea water, as well as vibrant winter resorts with plenty of ski slopes and fantastic snow cover. Other tourist destinations that attract the attention of travelers include the old capital Veliko Tarnovo with Tsarevets Castle, the old capital Vidin near the Danube River, the artistic city of Plovdiv and, of course, the cultural, financial and educational center of the country - the city of Sofia.

Bulgaria also has picturesque villages, delicious food and very hospitable people. Below are some surprising facts about this affordable travel destination: some are funny, some are interesting, and some are truly surprising. Enjoy it all and pack your bags!

1. Bulgaria is the oldest country in Europe, founded in 681 AD

It is also the only European country that did not change its name after its founding. Once the home of the Thracian tribe, Bulgaria is the birthplace of Spartacus - the strong, invincible hero, as well as the home of the talented and mystical Orpheus. Today, almost a third of the country is covered with forests. Bulgaria also has more than four thousand caves and grottoes. It may surprise you, but in 1976 UNESCO named the ancient Bulgarian calendar the most accurate in the world.

2. Bulgarians are very proud of the fact that the Bulgarian army never lost a flag in battle and... it was very active on the battlefield.

The country has participated in many wars in Europe since the 19th century. Later, the Bulgarian Air Force also invented and began using aerial bombs during the First Balkan War. This happened in 1912. Bulgaria later managed to protect its Jewish citizens (more than 40,000 people) during the madness of World War II. The first woman in the world to take part in military combat was also a Bulgarian, Air Force pilot Raina Kasabova.

3. The oldest gold treasure in the world was found in Bulgaria

The treasure was found in a burial site west of the city of Varna, near the Black Sea coast. The excavations revealed more than 3,000 gold artifacts over 6,000 years old, and the necropolis dates back to approximately 4560-4450 BC. BC. Many other gold treasures have been found in Bulgaria, and many of them are on display to the public and for tours around the world.

4. Bulgaria is the country where the Cyrillic alphabet originates, and Bulgarians read and write with these letters

The Cyrillic alphabet was created in the 9th century at the Preslav Literary School by Christian missionaries Cyril and Methodius (later declared saints), who wanted to improve the literacy of Slavic pagans during the First Bulgarian Kingdom. Two Brothers Day is celebrated on May 24, the Day of Bulgarian Literature and Culture. Another interesting fact worth mentioning is that Bulgaria is the first country to join the European Union using the Cyrillic alphabet. Thanks to this, the Cyrillic alphabet became the third official alphabet of the European Union.

5. The oldest Slavic Orthodox Church is the Bulgarian Orthodox Church

The most important religious site in the country is the Rila Monastery, where the Rila Cross is exhibited - a wooden cross with 140 microscopic scenes from the Bible and more than 1,500 figurines (no larger than a grain of rice).

6. Bulgaria is the only country in the world, besides Scotland and Ireland, that uses bagpipes

The musical instrument, known in Bulgarian as a gaida, is usually made of goatskin or sheepskin connected to a three-section pipe, a blowpipe and a shorter pipe.

7. Bulgarian roses are a symbol of the country, as well as a major export

Rose petals are not only beautiful, but also provide about 85% of the world's rose oil. Rose oil, produced in the Kazanlak region, known as the Valley of Roses, is very important as it is an important ingredient in perfume production and industry. Rose picking occurs in May and June, and the work is hard.

8. Bulgarian yogurt is known as the best in the world due to its fantastic taste.

It is caused by the bacteria Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, found only in the Bulgarian air. These bacteria give yogurt its unique texture and taste. Sheep yogurt is especially healthy; it is thick and goes well with jam and honey.

9. National dish – Shopska salad

Made from diced cucumbers, tomatoes, raw or roasted peppers and topped with Bulgarian pickled cheese. The salad dressing is made from sunflower oil and red wine vinegar. The salad goes well with the national alcoholic drink rakia, made from various fruits.

10. Excellent climate for making wine

Despite its small size, Bulgaria has an excellent climate and is one of the largest wine producers in the world. Every year the country produces about 200,000 tons of wine of amazing quality.

11. Bulgarians nod their heads differently than the rest of the world.

This often leads to funny situations and is the topic of many conversations between Bulgarians and foreigners visiting the country. Locals nod their heads up and down to say “no” and shake their heads horizontally to say “yes”. This tradition of nodding dates back to the times when the country was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Thus, when in doubt, travelers are better off asking to avoid confusion.

12. Bulgarians love to celebrate Martenitsa

Baba Marta is celebrated on March 1 - a pagan holiday welcoming the coming spring. On this day, Bulgarians give each other martenitsa - bracelets made of white and red yarn, which should be worn until you see a stork or a flowering tree.

13. The Bulgarian national football team took fourth place at the 1994 World Cup in the USA

The country's most famous football player is Hristo Stoichkov, who also became the top scorer of the 1994 World Cup.

Other sports celebrities include high jumper Stefka Kostadinova with her sensational jump of 2.09 meters, sumo wrestler Kaloyan Makhlyanov, tennis player Tsvetana Pironkova and chess grandmaster Veselin Topalov.

14. The first electronic digital computer was invented by John Vincent Atanasov, a Bulgarian-born physicist and inventor

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg is also of Bulgarian descent and is believed to have been named after his Bulgarian grandfather Marko, who emigrated to the United States in 1940. The Bulgarians also invented the car airbag and digital watches.

15. Bulgarians are also talented actors

In the fifth season of the popular HBO television series “Game of Thrones” you can see the Bulgarian actor Zakhary Bacharov in the role of the leader of the Loboda tribe. Hollywood actor Tom Hanks speaks Bulgarian in a film about a man trapped at an airport. His wife is also of Bulgarian descent.

No wonder Bulgaria is home to the world's largest IMAX 3D cinema, right?

Well, now you have enough reasons to visit Bulgaria, so plan your vacation and visit the country to relax on its sandy beaches or ski on its slopes.

Source: visitmybulgaria

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