Bulgaria

Bulgarian flagBulgaria is situated in south-eastern Europe. It occupies the central part of Balkan peninsula on both sides of the Balkan Range (the Balkans), from which the peninsula has taken its name. The grater part of the northern border with Romaniapasses along the Danube, and the eastern border is the Black Sea. The land borders with Serbia and Macedonia to the west, with Turkey to the south-east,and with Greece to the south.

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Bulgaria is a beautiful mountainous country, with tourism opportunities being one of its biggest assets. The modern ski resorts as Bansko, Borovets, Pamporovo and Vitosha attract attention of lots of foreign tourists.

Bulgaria possesses beautiful landscapes and beaches, and is becoming a real resort paradise. The Black Sea Coast on its East border is famous for its fine sanded beaches, and perfect temperatures of water and air. There are plenty of sea resorts (Albena, Golden Sands, Sunny Beach, Elenite, etc.) and sea towns and villages (Varna, Bourgas,Balchik,Nessebur, Sozopol, etc.) that give opportunity for great sea holidays.

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Further, Bulgaria has around 600 natural mineral springs, with water temperatures ranging from 20 to 60 degrees Celsius, whose baths and health spas are famous tourist attractions. The most known spa resorts are Hissarya, Velingrad, Devin, Varshets, Pavel Banya and more.

Currency

The lev is the currency of Bulgaria. It is divided in 100 stotinki (стотинки, singular:stotinka, стотинка).

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 1 euro ≈ 1. 9558 BGN

Cuisine

Bulgarian cuisineBecause of Bulgaria’s geographical position and history, Bulgarian cooking combines elements of Slavic, Greek and Turkish cuisines. A typical breakfast is small and may consist of a pastry and coffee. Lunch, eaten with the family, is the main meal of the day. It may include kebapcheta(grilled minced beef, pork or veal rolled into sausages), kavarma (individual casseroles of pork, veal, onions and mushrooms), or sarmi (vine or cabbage leaves stuffed with rice or meat). These dishes are accompanied by kartofi (potatoes),vegetables and bread. Tarator is a cold soup made of yoghurt and cucumber (dill, garlic, walnuts and sunflower oil are sometimes added) and is popular in Bulgaria. Mekitsa (Bulgarian: мекица, also transliterated as mekica or mekitza; plural mekitsi, mekici, mekitzi) is a traditional Bulgarian dish made of kneaded dough made with yoghurt that is deep fried. They are made with flour, eggs, yoghurt, a leavening agent, water, salt, and oil, and are traditionally served with jam or white cheese (sirene). At breakfast, they are eaten with sugar or honey, and can also be eaten with yoghurt. They are similar to Hungarian lángos. Shkembe chorba is a tripe soup in the Turkish and Bulgaria cuisines. Coupled with beer, Shkembe chorba is believed to be the best known hangover remedy. Other favourites include gyuvech, a rich stew of peppers, eggplant, beans and meat, baked and served in an earthenware pot, and imam bayaldi, eggplant stuffed with vegetables, meat and herbs. Imam bayaldi is originally a Turkish dish whose name translates as “the priest burst. ” Banitsa is a traditional Bulgarian food prepared by layering a mixture of whisked eggs and pieces of sirene between filo pastry and then baking it in an oven. Shopska salad is also a traditional Bulgarian cold salad popular throughout the Balkans and Central Europe. It is made from tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, raw or roasted peppers (preferably roasted), sirene (white brine cheese), and parsley.

Bulgarian food

Fish is popular along the Black Sea coast. Fish may be grilled, fried or prepared in a soup or stew. Tsatsa, a small white fish, is deep-fried in a batter and served with fried potatoes. Skumriya na keremidi is mackerel baked in an earthenware container with a rich tomato sauce.
Bulgarians enjoy Turkish and Middle Eastern desserts such as baklava (flaky pastry stuffed with pistachio nuts coated in a sweet syrup) and kadayif(shredded wheat stuffed with nuts in syrup). Bulgarians also enjoy a great variety of torta (cakes) filled with maslena (buttercream), frukti (fruit), orshokoladova (chocolate) as well as sladoled (ice cream).
Bulgarians drink their coffee very strong. Herbal teas are also popular. Bulgarians enjoy local wines such as Melnik, a red wine from the southwestern region. Bulgarians spirits include slivova rakiya, which is made from plums, pliska, a type of cognac, and vodka. Bulgarians also make beer: two of the most popular brands are Zagorka and Astika.

Want to live 100 years? Eat Bulgarian yoghurt

Bulgarian YoghurtLactobacillus bulgaricus sounds like a nasty infectious disease it’s an unique collection of over 700 strains of bulgaricus, which allows it to produce various yoghurt starter cultures and achieve different flavours and density. The Balkan country proudly claims to have invented yoghurt and given the world the secret to a long life.Numerous scientific studies in Europe, Japan and the United States proved the bacteria in yoghurt help maintain good health by protecting the human body from toxins, infections, allergies and some types of cancer. Legend says that the Mongol warlord Genghis Khan used yoghurt to feed his army because of its healthy properties. It’s a good source of vitamin B, calcium and protein, yoghurt’s virtue as a health food has defied time.
Over the past 30 years Bulgarian companies have sold yoghurt know-how to more than 20 countries, including Japan, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, the Philippines and Austria.

Cultural differences

two-businessmen-shaking-hands-photo-A     Shaking hands it is the most common way to say hello. A funny detail about Bulgarians is that we       nod to say no and shake to say yes.

Martenitzi   On March 1st Bulgarians celebrate Baba Marta Day (Grandma March Day). Martenitzi are red and white yarn decorations worn by Bulgarians until they see the first sign of spring, such as a stork or blossoms on a tree; after seeing a sign of spring martenitzi are tied to a tree.