Did you know that Bulgarians were the first to use the Cyrillic alphabet right after its creation in the 9th century? After the European Union’s accession of the country in 2007, Cyrillic became the third official script in Europe.
If you haven’t heard of Bulgaria, or if you have heard of it but don’t know anything about this small, beautiful country in southeastern Europe, here are some interesting facts:
1. Bulgaria is a country with four seasons: cold and sometimes wet winters with snowfall and an average temperature of 0 °C, cool and more often wet springs, warm and rainy summers, early in the season and with hot and dry weather, the rest with average temperatures of 23 °C and warm, sunny and windy autumns.
2. Bulgaria has an abundance of historical and natural attractions, museums, and monasteries spread over a relatively small but easily accessible area. Excellent choice for holiday travel. In summer you can visit the seaside resorts with beautiful sandy beaches, while the picturesque ski resorts are suitable for winter relaxation. The mountains attract lovers of alternative tourism and mountaineers.
3. If you are planning to visit the capital Sofia in winter and are a winter sports enthusiast, make sure to bring your ski gear. Vitosha is the only mountain in Europe that hugs a capital city on its slopes.
4. Bulgaria is the second country in Europe with natural mineral springs and is a paradise for spa tourism. You can pour yourself free mineral water in many places, including in the center of the capital Sofia.
5. Bulgaria produces up to 70 to 85% of the world’s rose oil. Roses grown in Bulgaria’s Rose Valley, near the town of Kazanlak, are the main ingredient in the perfume industry.
6. The most ancient golden treasure was discovered in Bulgaria. Namely, this is the Panagyurishte Treasure, which consists of 9 gold objects – one fig and eight rhytons. Such vessels of precious metal were symbols of social status and used in ritual actions of Thracian priests.
7. The Rafail’s Cross, or Cross of Rafail, is a famous wooden cross kept in the Rila Monastery. It is considered the pinnacle of miniature carving in the monastery, a masterpiece of wood carving in Bulgaria and the world. A monk named Rafail crafted the cross. He used a fine chisel, a needle, and magnifying lenses to recreate 104 religious scenes with 650 miniature figures. Work on this piece of art lasted 12 years and ended in 1802, but the monk lost his sight.
8. Bulgarian yogurt is the most authentic in the world. The bacterium Lactobacillus bulgaricus is found only in Bulgaria.
10. Foreigners visiting Bulgaria are puzzled and confused when they ask a Bulgarian a question. A single nod of the head up and down means a negative answer, while a horizontal head turn means “yes” – a positive signal indicating understanding and agreement. Contrary to the rest of the world. There is no single explanation for this tendency to nod in Bulgaria as it is associated with different historical events.
There are countless more interesting facts and places in Bulgaria. Also, there are many delicious dishes worth trying. Welcome to explore them yourself!