Bulgaria Geography, Population and Economy

Bulgaria is a state of the ‘ Europe, Southeast Asia, occupying the NE part of the Balkan Peninsula, between Romania (N), Serbia and Macedonia (O), Greece and Turkey (S) and Black Sea (E).


The central element in the physical geography of Bulgaria is the Balkan chain (Stara Planina “Old Mountain”), a folded system of the Primary, subsequently ‘rejuvenated’ during the Alpine-Himalayan orogeny, which divides the territory into two hydrographic halves (basin Danubian, to the North, and ‘Mediterranean’, to the S), geomorphological, climatic and phytogeographic, although it does not exceed 2400 m. The northern slope slopes down towards the Danube lowland (river that marks the border with Romania for about 450 km). AS of the Balkans, the territory is divided into river valleys and basins of tectonic origin, starting from the one that hosts the capital Sofia, a hinge between the Balkans and the southern reliefs of the Rila (the highest elevation of the country, with the 2925 m of Mount Musala), of Pirin and Rodope. Among the sinkholes following fractures, it is worth mentioning the so-called valley of roses, between the Balkans and the Antibalcani (Sredna Gora «Central Mountain»), well protected, and therefore characterized by a very mild climate. The tributaries of the Danube descend ‘like a comb’, with a prevalent SN trend; in the southern section some rivers flow in valleys oriented in the EO direction (such as the most conspicuous, the Mariza, in the longitudinal furrow between the Balkans and Rodope), others, such as the Struma, descend towards the S; singular is the case of the Iskar, the largest Bulgarian tributary of the Danube which, although it originates from the Rila, manages to open its way into the Balkan chain and flows into the northern plain.

From the climatic point of view, there is a temperate continental region, on the Danube side, and a transitional region, to the South of the Balkans, with a warm temperate climate almost of a subtropical type. On the other hand, maritime influences are weak everywhere. Average annual temperatures are fairly uniform across the country (11-12 ° C), but with annual excursions of 22-24 ° C in the northern plain, and of 18-20 ° C in the southern valleys and on the Pontic coast. In the Danube region, which is open to cold winds from the N, the absolute minimums drop even below −20 ° C. The Bulgaria receives 500-600 mm of rainfall per year on most of the territory, with peaks of over 1000 only in a few areas at the top. Frequent snowfalls. Hardwood forests are currently very small; climbing in altitude, conifers take over, which over 1800 m give way to alpine vegetation. The north-eastern regions mark the transition to the Pontic steppes, while in the southern ones there is the Mediterranean scrub. Even the spontaneous fauna has been considerably reduced by human intervention: the wolf, the fox, the jackal, the badger, the marten and the wild boar; endangered the bear, the lynx and the beaver.


According to 800zipcodes, in the Balkan ethnic framework, Bulgaria presents a relative homogeneity: about 84% of the population is made up of Bulgarians (including Macedonians, which Bulgarians do not consider distinct), while the Turkish minority of Islamic faith is close to one million people (but it is reduced by intense emigration). The Bulgarian population had greatly increased between 1880 and 1950, from just over 2 to over 7.5 million residents. The birth rate then fell to the point of determining, together with the strong emigration abroad, a consistent and constant decline in the population (–1.2% in the period 1999-2004). The highest densities are found on the lower slopes of the Balkan chain, ancient areas of refuge, and in the most favored areas from a morphological point of view (Danube plain) and climatic (Mariza valley), as well as in the Sofia basin. The urbanization process is less intense and more recent than elsewhere (but now involves 70% of the population) and there are still few centers with truly urban characteristics, located along the main rivers (Plovdiv), at the foot of the Balkans and on the coasts of the Black Sea (Varna, Burgas).

The great majority of the population is of the Orthodox Christian religion.

Economic conditions

Until the middle of the 20th century,essentially agricultural country and one of the poorest in the Balkan area itself, Bulgaria has experienced a revolution in economic structures with collectivization (elimination of large estates, creation of collective properties, socialist economic planning, strengthening of the industrial apparatus). Already in the first half of the 1970s, the growth of industry had allowed appreciable progress in the level of incomes and social investments (housing, education, health, etc.), while the aim was to lighten public employment and encourage more profitable activities, such as tourism, able to bring in foreign currency. After an initial period of very serious crisis following the fall of the USSR and the new liberalization of the economy, in the 1990s, significant foreign investments and the support of the international community (IMF, WB, EU) led to a continuous increase in production and an improvement in socio-economic conditions, so much so that Bulgaria became part of the Union (2007) European; however, it remains among the least wealthy countries on the continent, with a significant unemployment rate (over 10% in 2005).

Bulgaria is still to a good extent rural, with a large percentage of assets (just under a third of the total). Over 42% of the land area is cultivated, 17% is occupied by meadows and pastures, 33% by woods. Cereals are widespread in the Danube basin (wheat, corn, barley) and in that of Mariza (rice); industrial plants (tobacco, sunflower) in the southern Thracian and Macedonian regions. Textile crops (cotton, linen and hemp) are developing and those of essence roses and strawberries are characteristic. Extensive vineyards and orchards. In the northern lands, cattle and pigs are raised, in the southern ones sheep. The breeding of poultry, which feeds the export of eggs, and beekeeping are also very popular. Among the resources of the subsoil, modest reserves of oil and natural gas; coal, lignite, iron, lead, zinc, molybdenum, copper. The industry has developed mainly in the metallurgical and mechanical (Sofia, Varna, Plovdiv basin), chemical (Dimitrovgrad) and petrochemical (Burgas), textile (Gabrovo, Sofia, Ruse) and recently electronic (Sofia). Also noteworthy are the food, rubber and tobacco industries (Sofia, Plovdiv, Dimitrovgrad). Significant successes have been achieved in the energy sector: the production of electricity has quadrupled since the early 1960s, reaching 42 billion kWh in 2004, despite the closure of an important thermonuclear plant. The export trade, already aimed exclusively at Eastern European countries, has opened towards the West and for more than half of the value concerns countries of the European Union (Germany, Italy and Greece).

The Bulgarian railway network extends for approximately 4250 km (2004); the fundamental direction is that of Belgrade- Constantinople. The road system is also satisfactory, with over 100,000 km of main roads. Intensive inland navigation along the Danube (ports of Vidin, Lom and Ruse); on the Black Sea there are the ports of Varna and Burgas. These two localities and others on the coast attract a considerable number of tourists, both national and foreign.

Bulgaria Geography, Population and Economy