About Bulgaria

Melnik is situated in Southwestern Bulgaria, 105 km from Bansko. With a population of 300 people it is the smallest city in the country

Some of the earliest people in the region were the Thracians, who united under King Teres around 500 B.C. They eventually fell to Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire. Spartacus, who led the slaves in the Third Servile War against the Roman Empire, was a Thracian.

Bulgaria is one of the oldest countries in Europe, with a single state forming for the first time around A.D. 681. The First Bulgarian Empire lasted for over 300 years, from 681 to 1018, and controlled most of the Balkan region. This was followed by the Second Bulgarian Empire, from 1185 to 1396, which collapsed and left Bulgaria under Ottoman rule for nearly 500 years.

The modern country of Bulgaria formed in 1878 after the Russo-Turkish War. This rich history has left Bulgaria behind only Greece and Italy in the number of archeological treasures to be found. One of the most famous ever found was graves that were over 6,000 years old that contained the oldest gold treasure in the world.

Interesting Facts

• The oldest Orthodox Slavic church in the world is also in Bulgaria.

• Soccer is the national sport.

• One of the most famous inventions by a Bulgarian is the digital watch. Peter Petroff is the Bulgarian-American inventor of the digital watch and was an important member of the NASA space program. He was a prolific inventor, and Petroff Point in Antarctica was named after him.

• One of the strangest facts about Bulgaria is that it is one of the few countries in the world to use the bagpipes. The other countries are Scotland, Ireland and Pakistan.

• The currency used in Bulgaria is the Lev (BGL) and recently added was the Euro (EUR) after EU integration.

• 84.5% of people speak Bulgarian, 9.6% speak Turkish, 4.1% speak Roma (mainly gypsies), other and unspecified 1.8%

• Bulgarian religions: Orthodox 82.6%, Muslim 12.2%, other Christian 1.2%, other 4%.

• Average male life expectancy is 68.41.

• Average female life expectancy is 75.87.

• Most common natural resources : bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land.