[Country map of Bulgaria]



Location: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey

Map references: Ethnic Groups in Eastern Europe, Europe

total area: 110,910 sq km
land area: 110,550 sq km
comparative area: slightly larger than Tennessee

Land boundaries: total 1,808 km, Greece 494 km, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 148 km, Romania 608 km, Serbia and Montenegro 318 km (all with Serbia), Turkey 240 km

Coastline: 354 km

Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

International disputes: none

Climate: temperate; cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers

Terrain: mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast

Natural resources: bauxite, copper, lead, zinc, coal, timber, arable land

Land use:
arable land: 34%
permanent crops: 3%
meadows and pastures: 18%
forest and woodland: 35%
other: 10%

Irrigated land: 10 sq km (1989 est.)

current issues: air pollution from industrial emissions; rivers polluted from raw sewage, heavy metals, detergents; deforestation; forest damage from air pollution and resulting acid rain; soil contamination from heavy metals from metallurgical plants and industrial wastes
natural hazards: earthquakes, landslides
international agreements: party to - Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Sulphur 85, Antarctic Treaty, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands; signed, but not ratified - Air Pollution-Sulphur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Law of the Sea

Note: strategic location near Turkish Straits; controls key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia


Population: 8,775,198 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 19% (female 800,413; male 841,697)
15-64 years: 66% (female 2,927,880; male 2,910,133)
65 years and over: 15% (female 735,706; male 559,369) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: -0.25% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 11.75 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 11.31 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -2.91 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 11.4 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 73.68 years
male: 70.43 years
female: 77.1 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.71 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Bulgarian(s)
adjective: Bulgarian

Ethnic divisions: Bulgarian 85.3%, Turk 8.5%, Gypsy 2.6%, Macedonian 2.5%, Armenian 0.3%, Russian 0.2%, other 0.6%

Religions: Bulgarian Orthodox 85%, Muslim 13%, Jewish 0.8%, Roman Catholic 0.5%, Uniate Catholic 0.2%, Protestant, Gregorian-Armenian, and other 0.5%

Languages: Bulgarian; secondary languages closely correspond to ethnic breakdown

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1992)
total population: 98%
male: 99%
female: 97%

Labor force: 4.3 million
by occupation: industry 33%, agriculture 20%, other 47% (1987)


conventional long form: Republic of Bulgaria
conventional short form: Bulgaria

Digraph: BU

Type: emerging democracy

Capital: Sofia

Administrative divisions: 9 provinces (oblasti, singular - oblast); Burgas, Grad Sofiya, Khaskovo, Lovech, Montana, Plovdiv, Ruse, Sofiya, Varna

Independence: 22 September 1908 (from Ottoman Empire)

National holiday: Independence Day 3 March (1878)

Constitution: adopted 12 July 1991

Legal system: based on civil law system, with Soviet law influence; has accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Zhelyu Mitev ZHELEV (since 1 August 1990); Vice President (vacant); election last held January 1992; results - Zhelyu ZHELEV was elected by popular vote
head of government: Chairman of the Council of Ministers (Prime Minister) Zhan VIDENOV (since 25 January 1995); Deputy Prime Ministers Doncho KONAKCHIEV, Kiril TSOCHEV, Rumen GECHEV, Svetoslav SHIVAROV (since 25 January 1995)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; elected by the National Assembly

Legislative branch: unicameral
National Assembly (Narodno Sobranie): last held 18 December 1994 (next to be held NA 1997); results - BSP 43.5%, UDF 24.2%, PU 6.5%, MRF 5.4%, BBB 4.7%; seats - (240 total) BSP 125, UDF 69, PU 18, MRF 15, BBB 13

Judicial branch: Supreme Court, Constitutional Court

Political parties and leaders: Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), Zhan VIDENOV, chairman; Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), Ivan KOSTOV an alliance of pro-Democratic parties; People's Union (PU), Stefan SAVOV; Movement for Rights and Freedoms (mainly ethnic Turkish party) (MRF), Ahmed DOGAN; Bulgarian Business Bloc (BBB), George GANCHEV

Other political or pressure groups: Democratic Alliance for the Republic (DAR); New Union for Democracy (NUD); Ecoglasnost; Podkrepa Labor Confederation; Fatherland Union; Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP); Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (KNSB); Bulgarian Agrarian National Union - United (BZNS); Bulgarian Democratic Center; "Nikola Petkov" Bulgarian Agrarian National Union; Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization - Union of Macedonian Societies (IMRO-UMS); numerous regional, ethnic, and national interest groups with various agendas

Member of: ACCT, BIS, BSEC, CCC, CE, CEI (associate members), EBRD, ECE, FAO, G- 9, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, INMARSAT, INTELSAT (nonsignatory user), INTERPOL, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NACC, NAM (guest), NSG, OSCE, PCA, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WEU (associate partner), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Snezhana Damianova BOTUSHAROVA
chancery: 1621 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 387-7969
FAX: [1] (202) 234-7973

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador William D. MONTGOMERY
embassy: 1 Saborna Street, Sofia
mailing address: Unit 1335, Sofia; APO AE 09213-1335
telephone: [359] (2) 88-48-01 through 05
FAX: [359] (2) 80-19-77

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of white (top), green, and red; the national emblem formerly on the hoist side of the white stripe has been removed - it contained a rampant lion within a wreath of wheat ears below a red five-pointed star and above a ribbon bearing the dates 681 (first Bulgarian state established) and 1944 (liberation from Nazi control)


Overview: The Bulgarian economy continued its painful adjustment in 1994 from the misdirected development undertaken during four decades of Communist rule. Many aspects of a market economy have been put in place and have begun to function, but much of the economy, especially the industrial sector, has yet to re-establish market links lost with the collapse of the other centrally planned Soviet Bloc economies. The prices of many imported industrial inputs, especially energy products, have risen markedly, and falling real wages have not sufficed to restore competitiveness. The government plans more extensive privatization in 1995 to improve the management of enterprises and to encourage foreign investment. Bulgaria resumed payments on its $10 billion in commercial debt in 1993 following the negotiation of a 50% write-off.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $33.7 billion (1994 est.)

National product real growth rate: 0.2% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $3,830 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 122% (1994)

Unemployment rate: 16% (1994)

revenues: $14 billion
expenditures: $17.4 billion, including capital expenditures of $610 million (1993 est.)

Exports: $3.6 billion (f.o.b., 1993)
commodities: machinery and equipment 30.6%; agricultural products 24%; manufactured consumer goods 22.2%; fuels, minerals, raw materials, and metals 10.5%; other 12.7% (1991)
partners: former CEMA countries 57.7% (FSU 48.6%, Poland 2.1%, Czechoslovakia 0.9%); developed countries 26.3% (Germany 4.8%, Greece 2.2%); less developed countries 15.9% (Libya 2.1%, Iran 0.7%) (1991)

Imports: $4.3 billion (c.i.f., 1993)
commodities: fuels, minerals, and raw materials 58.7%; machinery and equipment 15.8%; manufactured consumer goods 4.4%; agricultural products 15.2%; other 5.9%
partners: former CEMA countries 51.0% (FSU 43.2%, Poland 3.7%); developed countries 32.8% (Germany 7.0%, Austria 4.7%); less developed countries 16.2% (Iran 2.8%, Libya 2.5%)

External debt: $12 billion (1994)

Industrial production: growth rate 4% (1994); accounts for about 37% of GDP (1990)

capacity: 11,500,000 kW
production: 35.9 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 3,827 kWh (1993)

Industries: machine building and metal working, food processing, chemicals, textiles, building materials, ferrous and nonferrous metals

Agriculture: climate and soil conditions support livestock raising and the growing of various grain crops, oilseeds, vegetables, fruits, and tobacco; more than one-third of the arable land devoted to grain; world's fourth-largest tobacco exporter; surplus food producer

Illicit drugs: transshipment point for southwest Asian heroin and South American cocaine transiting the Balkan route; limited producer of precursor chemicals

Economic aid:
recipient: $700 million in balance of payments support (1994)

Currency: 1 lev (Lv) = 100 stotinki

Exchange rates: leva (Lv) per US$1 - 67.04 (January 1995), 32.00 (January 1994), 24.56 (January 1993), 17.18 (January 1992), 16.13 (March 1991), 0.7446 (November 1990); note - floating exchange rate since February 1991

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 4,294 km
standard gauge: 4,049 km 1.435-m gauge (2,650 km electrified; 917 double track)
other: 245 km NA-m gauge (1994)

total: 36,932 km
paved: 33,904 km (including 276 km expressways)
unpaved: earth 3,028 km (1992)

Inland waterways: 470 km (1987)

Pipelines: crude oil 193 km; petroleum products 525 km; natural gas 1,400 km (1992)

Ports: Burgas, Lom, Nesebur, Ruse, Varna, Vidin

Merchant marine:
total: 109 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,191,231 GRT/1,762,461 DWT
ships by type: bulk 47, cargo 29, chemical carrier 4, container 2, oil tanker 15, passenger-cargo 2, railcar carrier 2, roll-on/roll-off cargo 6, short-sea passenger 1, refrigerated cargo 1
note: Bulgaria owns 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 12,960 DWT operating under Liberian registry

total: 355
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 17
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
with paved runways under 914 m: 88
with unpaved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 1
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 10
with unpaved runways under 914 m: 226


Telephone system: 2,600,000 telephones; 29 telephones/100 persons (1992); extensive but antiquated transmission system of coaxial cable and microwave radio relay; direct dialing to 36 countries; telephone service is available in most villages; almost two-thirds of the lines are residential; 67% of Sofia households have phones (November 1988)
local: NA
intercity: NA
international: 1 earth station using Intersputnik; INTELSAT link used through a Greek earth station

broadcast stations: AM 20, FM 15, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 29 (Russian repeater in Sofia 1)
televisions: 2.1 million (May 1990)

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air and Air Defense Forces, Border Troops, Internal Troops

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 2,171,414; males fit for military service 1,810,989; males reach military age (19) annually 69,200 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: 13 billion leva, NA% of GDP (1994 est.); note - conversion of defense expenditures into US dollars using the current exchange rate could produce misleading results