20 Facts you didn't know about Bulgaria
Bulgaria is a small country, one of the smallest in Europe in fact, but it certainly packs a punch. A country with a long and diverse history, this country should truly be on the “must visit” list of any serious traveller.
Offering everything from fantastic food, great weather and incredibly varied landscapes, there is so much more to Bulgaria than what meets the eye.
Here are a few of our favorite facts about Bulgaria:
1. Bulgaria is the home of the Cyrillic alphabet, which is used across Eastern Europe. Two monks, Cyril and Methodius in the 9th century, created it.
2. As well as inventing the alphabet, the country may also be the birthplace of yoghurt. Bulgarians absolutely love the stuff. Made with unique bacteria, there are about 300 varieties and it is used in many traditional dishes.
3. Disconcertingly, Bulgarian’s will shake their head for “yes” and nod for “no”. This really does take some getting used to.
4. Spartacus was born in Bulgaria.
5. Plovdiv city has been inhabited for longer than Athens.
6. Bagpipes are the national musical instrument of Bulgaria. Move over Scotland.
7. Bulgarian rose oil is world famous and a major component in many big name perfumes. Most of the roses are grown in the Kazanlak area and it takes 1,000 roses for 1 gram of oil.
8. Bulgaria is the oldest country in Europe
9. Despite being a small country, Bulgaria has one of the widest ranges of flora and fauna of any European country including some very rare species such as wild cats, golden jackals and wolves.
10. A third of the country is covered in forest.
11. It has three mountain ranges (Rhodope, Rila and Pirin).
12. Bulgaria has the most mineral water springs in mainland Europe and some of the best quality tap water.
13. Rakia is the national drink of Bulgaria. Usually made from grapes or plums, it is a very strong spirit that many villagers brew themselves. In fact, many villages have communal breweries for just such purposes. It’s considered rude to refuse an offer of rakia although be careful; village brewed rakia can be 60% proof!
14. Bulgarians love salads, the most famous being Shopska Salata, and eat it at just about every meal. Usually accompanied by a shot of rakia.
15. Bulgarians wear their wedding ring on their right hand.
16. Michael Palin is persona non-grata in Bulgaria for saying the country is most famous for its gypsies.
17. Only Greece and Italy have more archeological sites than Bulgaria.
17. Bulgaria has gender specific surnames; the suffix –ova is added to a girl’s surname and –ov to a boy’s. And all children are given their father’s name as a middle name.
18. Bulgarian’s have a public holiday dedicated to St. George.
19. Bulgaria is one of the world’s biggest wine makers producing over 200,000 tonnes a year.
20. Bulgaria has the lowest personal and corporate taxes in Europe (flat 10% rate).