Bulgaria – General information

Republic of Bulgaria is a South-eastern country, located in the Southeast of the Balkan Peninsula with a wide outlet to the west coast of the Black Sea, and is also an important crossroads point of routes between Europe and Asia, being close up to the straits of Bosphorus and the Dardanelles, and the Aegean (Mediterranean) Sea. The Bulgarian territory’s outermost points lie respectively: to the north – flanking the outfall of the Timok river, to the south reachingMt Veykata in the Rhodopes, MtKitka, district of Kyustendil – westwards and Cape Shabla to the east.

To the north Bulgaria borders Rumania with a 609 km long frontier (470 km of which immediately follow the southern bank of the Danube River and 139 km across the Plain of Dobrudzha, the Black Sea coast outlines its eastern frontier (378 km long), the southern frontier (259 km) is shared with Turkey and 493 km with Greece, and in the west both with The Republic of Macedonia (165 km) and Serbia (341 km). Bulgaria’s all frontiers length totals up to 2,245 km with 110,994 square km overland territory in-between.

Natural environment and resources

Though Bulgaria’s territory is small in size it boasts a wide variety in features of relief. Key geographic names of Bulgaria’s territory include the Danubian Plain (an undulating geologically-layered plain of Moesia), the Stara Planina mountain range (popularly known as the Balkan), the transitional mountainnlowland zone, and the Macedon-Rhodope Mountains massif. The average altitude over the sea level is 470 m. The lowlands of Bulgaria (0 to 200 m above the sea, with the Plain of Upper Thracia the largest of them) take up 31.5 percent of the country’s territory, the plains and rolling landscape (200-600 m altitude, predominantly the Danubian Plain) – 41.0%, low altitude mountains’ (600-1,000 m) share reaches 15.2% of the country’s territory, medium altitude mountains (1,000-1,600 m) cover 9.8%, while the highest of them (over 1,600 m) total up to 2.5% of the land. Highest mountains in Bulgaria are the Rila (the highest peak there is Mt Musala, 2,925 m), the Pirin Mountains (Mt Vihren, 2,914 m), the Stara Planina (Mt Botev, 2,376 m), the Vitosha (Mt Chemi Vrukh, 2,290 m), the Osogovska Planina (Mt Ruen, 2,251 m), the Rhodopes (Mt Golyam Perelik, 2,191 m), Belasitsa (Mt Radomir, 2,029 m) and others.

High mountain areas (altitudes above 2,200 m above sea level) often provide views of glacial shapes of local relief. Vastest kettle-shape areas are these of Sofia, Sliven, Kazanlak, Karlovo etc. and highest by altitude above sea among them are these of Samokov, Razlog etc.

Ores and minerals

Ores and minerals in Bulgaria basically include: black coal in Sredna Stara Planina (Middle Balkan), brown coal in the kettle-area of Pernik, Bobovdol, Brezhani, lignite – in the coal basins of Maritsa-Iztok and MaritsaaZapad, Sofia and others, earth-oil deposits are minor, and natural gas is extracted from boreholes at Varna. Also minor are Bulgaria’s ferrous ore deposits. More significant in size is the manganese ore bed in the area of Balchik. Bulgaria is fairly endowed in copper and lead-zinc ores – in the areas of Chiprovtsi, Vratsa, Etropole, Pirdop, Panagyurishte, in the middRhodopes, the district of Burgas, Maiko Tamovo and others. Of greatest economic importance are the non-metalliferous mineral deposits in the areas of Provadiya (rock salt), Vidin (gypsum), Razgrad and Shoumen (kaolin and quartz sand), Berkovitsa, the Pirin mountains and the Rhodopes (marble), fluorite, feldspar, mica, barite, perlite and the like.


Bulgaria is subjected to the permanent influence of atmospheric circulations of the Atlantic, Arctic-continental, moderate continental and tropical air currents. Local relief also adds strong impact on the climate in Bulgaria. Average annual temperatures for the flat country vary between lOoC and nearly 14°C, while for the uplands most frequent occurrence are temperatures of minus 3°C. Average temperature fluctuations in January hit values between minus 2°C for the areas situated beside the Danube and around 2°C for the kettle-plain of Sand an ski-Petrich and the south of the Black Sea coast. Average July temperatures vary between 22°C and 25°C, as appropriate. Average annual precipitations reach nearly 700 mm, but for the uplands and high mountains they reach volumes of 1,000 m and go well beyond. Insufficient rainfalls occur in late summer. Snow cover in mountain will sustain for 3-4 months, in plains meltdown occurs within 1-2 months after winter snowfall, while in the region of Sandanski-Petrich and the south of the Black Sea coast snow is not to be seen for more then 10 to 20 days. Summer precipitations prevail in the north of the country, while snow dominates the best part of the south.


Fifty seven percent of the rivers and their tributaries in the country drain away into the Black Sea basin, and a total 43% of the fresh water pours into the basin of the Aegean Sea. Longest rivers are the Iskar – 368 km, the Tundzha €350 km, the Maritsa – 322 km (on Bulgarian territory), Struma – 290 km (within Bulgarian borders), the Yantra – 286 km, the Kamchia – 245 km. Largest in Bulgaria (after the names of the settlements) are the lakes of Bourgas, Varna, Atanassovo, Pomorie, Beloslav and others. On the list of largest dams are: the Iskar dam, Studen Kladenets, Zhrebchevo, Batak, Dospat, Stamboliyski, Kardzhali etc. Some 10% of the land abounds in karst waters (major karst water springs are Glava Panega and Devnya). Around 30% of the water, coming from natural precipitation, drains away and is brought immediately into real time use. Bulgaria has some 340 lakes of glacial origin on its territory typically found in the Rila and Pirin mountains. Mineral water wealth of the country is one of pride. Country’s water body, however, is insufficient, as a whole. Roughly, 45% of the water goes for irrigation purposes, around 40% is used by the industry, and the rest of the water-body remains for household needs. High percent of pollution is typical for the rivers in Bulgaria.

Forests cover some 30 percent of the territory in the country. About 15% of the woodland serves industrial purposes.

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