Driving Directions Bulgaria

BULGARIA is a southeast European republic located on the east of the Balkan Peninsula with a coast on the Black Sea to the east. It is bounded to the north by Romania, to the west by Serbia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the south by Greece and Turkey.

Hills or mountains cover about half of Bulgaria’s land area. The center of Bulgaria is crossed from west to east by the Balkan Mountains. In the south, the Rhodopi Mountains straddle the border with Greece and, in the western central region of the country, the Rila mountain chain contains the country’s highest peak, Musala (2,925 meters or 9,597 feet).

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The main river in Bulgaria is the Danube (Dunav) which flows along the Bulgaria/Romania border and about a third of the country covered with forests which provide commercially valuable timber. The south of the country has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild winters. Further north, the temperatures become more extreme, and rainfall is higher in summer. Bulgaria was almost entirely an agricultural country until the end of the 1940s. However, during the 1950s, the collectivization of farms and the use of more machinery, fertilizers, and irrigation led to great increases in output.

Farming remains highly important and is responsible for about 16 percent of the country’s national wealth. Wheat, barley, rice, maize, cotton, grapes (for wine), tobacco, sugar beet, vegetables, and fruits are among the crops grown, and cattle, sheep, pigs, and poultry reared. Increased mechanization led to more of the workforce is available to work in mines and industry with the result that manufacturing and industrial processes are now the largest contributors to the Bulgarian economy. Chemicals, petrochemicals, textiles, leather goods, footwear and clothing, glass, cement, machine building (especially forklift trucks and bulk carriers), tobacco processing and glass-making are among the industrial activities. Coal mining and production of iron ore and other minerals are also important.

Fishing, forestry and tourism are other significant contributors to the economy. However, the country suffered very high rates of inflation and unemployment in the early 1990s after the break­up of the former Soviet Union, with whom Bulgaria had very close trade links, and industrial pollution affects its rivers, soils and the Black Sea coastline, an area that is extremely important for tourism with over 10,000,000 people visiting the Black Sea resorts annually.

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