Association NEST - for economic development of trade, business and industry enterprises
Mission Mission
Program Program
Projects Projects
Service Service
Company's Representation Representation
Offers Fairs/Exhibitions
Investment Investment
Real estate Real estate
Building Building
Joint Venture Joint Venture
Consult Consult
HR_Development HR-Development
Office design Office design
Advertisement Advertisement
Contact Contact


Economic trend
Population: 7.93 million
Area: 110 994 sq. km
Geographic Location
Located in the southeast of the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria borders Romania to the North, the Black Sea to the East, Turkey and Greece to the South and Serbia and Macedonia to the West. The river Danube forms the country’s northern frontier and offers quick access to Central Europe. With an area of 110 910 sq. km (42 823 sq. miles), Bulgaria is the fifteenth largest country in Europe. Situated on the crossroads between Europe and Asia, the country should benefit from increased transport flows as the national infrastructure is developed.
Mountains, Lakes and Rivers, Flora and Fauna
There are eight mountains in Bulgaria, which rise more than 2000 m above sea level. The highest point (Moussala, 2925,40 m) can be found in the Rila mountains. Like the Pirin mountains, this is characterized by sharp rocky peaks. The Rhodope mountains on the other hand are known for their long gradual slopes and, in places, narrow, deep cut valleys and ravines. The largest mountain range in Bulgaria is the Stara Planina or Balkan range. This runs right across Bulgaria from East to West dividing the country into two regions
Bulgaria does not have very large rivers. However it does have a relatively large number of rather unevenly distributed small rivers, which rise in the mountains and generally flow either to the Black or Aegean Seas. In all there are 526 rivers more than 2,3 km long, and the longest, the Iskar, is 368 km. Other big rivers are Maritza, Tundzha and Struma.
There are not many natural lakes in Bulgaria, although there are no fewer than 260 high-mountain alpine glacial lakes. These can mostly be found in the Rila and Pirin mountains at altitudes of 1900 to 2400 meters. The lakes and swamps along the Danube have been drained with the exception of Sreburna lake, which has the status of an UNESCO reserve due to its unique flora and fauna. However numerous dams have been built.
Bulgaria is one of the countries richest in thermal spas in Europe, ranking third after the Czech Republic and Spain in number of mineral springs. These vary in mineral content and temperature and are thus used as remedies for a wide variety of ailments. Of particular balnologycal importance are the thermal spas at Bankya, Velingrad, Kyustendil, Sapareva Banya, Momin Prohod and Hissarya.
Bulgaria’s rich bio variety is home to over 12 350 plant species and over 15 000 animal species, including many rare species. Three national parks and 89 reserves and other protected areas help preserve this variety. Bulgaria has the largest number of biosphere reserves in the world.
A continental climate with hot summers and cold winters made the country a popular beach resort while offering good skiing in the winter. A Mediterranean climate of dry summers and mild winters prevails in the valleys of the Southwestern Rhodopi Mountains. The influence of the Black sea is limited to a narrow strip (200 - 300 km) in Eastern Bulgaria. The higher mountainous regions have relatively low temperatures, heavy rainfall and continuous year-round snow. The average annual temperature of the air in Bulgaria is 10,5° C. (Summer 20° -22° C.) Temperatures tend to vary between the late thirties at the top end of the range to as low as minus 20° C in winter.
The average annual rainfall range is between 450 - 1300 mm, the larger quantity falling over Western Bulgaria and the high mountains. The snow cover lasts 10 days (along the Black sea coast) and more than 200 days in the high mountains. Snow cover stays for long periods, creating favorable conditions for ski-sport activities.
Bulgaria has a developed domestic and international communications network. The country is served by three international airports and two commercial Black Sea ports. Sofia Airport is the largest and handles most international traffic, while Varna and Burgas airports service domestic and international charter flights. The two Black Sea ports need reconstruction. Port facilities are generally adequate for bulk commodities, but luck special handling facilities. Two major East-West highways afford easy access to all regions and form part of a European transport corridor providing the most direct overland routes from Western Europe to Turkey and the Middle East. Bulgaria is signatory to the multilateral agreement for development of a Europe-Caucasus-Asia transport corridor. Rail infrastructure requires substantial investment, particularly in signaling equipment, aerial wires and communications. Bulgaria has over 37 000 km of roads.
Political Situation and Institutions
Bulgaria is a Parliamentary Republic and the Legislature is the basic power within the country. The Constitution provides for a multiparty, parliamentary system and free elections on the basis of universal suffrage. The National Assembly is vested with the legislative power and exercises parliamentary control. Its mandate is for a term of four years.
The President serves as Head of State, and is directly elected once every five years for a maximum of two terms. The President is the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Bulgaria as well. The President appoints the Prime-Minister designate to form a government; schedules the elections for a National Assembly and for the bodies of local self-government and sets the date for national referendums, pursuant to a resolution of the National Assembly; promulgates the adopted laws with a decree countersigned by the Prime Minister or the minister concerned.
The Council of Ministers is the principal body of the Executive Branch. Chaired by the Prime Minister, it heads and implements the domestic and the foreign policy of the state, ensures the public order and the national security, exercises overall guidance over the state administration and the Armed Forces.
The municipality is the basic administrative territorial unit at the level of which self-government is exercised. The Municipal Councils, one of the local bodies of the executive branch, determine the policy of the municipality with regards to its development, the preservation of the environment, the health, social, educational, cultural activity, etc. The chief executive in the municipality is the Mayor. He manages the entire executive activity of the municipality, and is responsible for the public order maintenance, organizes the implementation of the municipality budget. The region is an administrative territorial unit where the state authority is decentralized for the purpose of pursuing an effective regional policy. The government of the region is performed by a regional governor, appointed by the Council of Ministers.
Bulgaria has an independent judiciary and based on Three-Instances-procedure. The Supreme Administrative Court and the Supreme Court of Cassation oversee the application of all laws by lower courts and judges the legality of government actions. A separate Constitutional Court rules on the constitutionality of laws and treaties. Judicial reforms are being implemented to bring Bulgaria’s judiciary to European Union standards. The Supreme Judicial Council was established to organize the activities of the judiciary.
Government efforts have brought political stability to Bulgaria. Grounds are laid for public backing of reform and further integration into European structures. The political process of strengthening democracy and establishing its institutions is largely completed. The essential landmarks of a modern democratic society are in place, as are guarantees of the irreversibility of the process.
Bulgarian institutions interact properly, which eases the process of legislation. National governance, and synergy between the authorities in conducting concerted policy, is secure.
Non-Governmental Organizations
NGOs play an exceptionally important role in Bulgarian public, political and business life. Bulgarian policy towards NGOs is in line with international legal standards. The right to free association is completely guaranteed.
Bulgarians’ economic, social and cultural rights are guaranteed to international criteria. Minorities’ rights are protected. All Bulgarians regardless of ethnicity have the right to stand for local or national elective office and participate in decision making.
Foreign Policy
Bulgarian foreign policy aims at full integration into European structures, Balkan peace and cooperation, and friendship and cooperation with all of Bulgaria’s partners. Bulgarian political dialogue is most intensive with the European Union. As a candidate for EC accession, Bulgaria aligns its foreign policy positions accordingly. Since late 1994 Bulgaria has invariably joined or backed each EC joint declaration, initiative, and resolution before international bodies such as the UNO and OSCE; and each joint position or action, including EC negative measures imposing sanctions against third countries.
An integral part of Bulgaria’s proactive regional policy is her participation in tripartite dialogues between herself and Greece and Romania, and herself and Turkey and Romania.
Bulgaria’s population has declined by 2% since 1994 to 7.93 million. A falling birth rate and net emigration of almost 1/1000 population have contributed to the decline. The country has a relatively homogeneous ethnic structure, with ethnic Bulgarians constituting 86% of the population.
Bulgarian is the official language, using the Cyrillic alphabet. Some ethnic Turks speak Turkish as their mother tongue, but generally have Bulgarian as a second language. Russian, previously a required subject in school, is also widely spoken. English is now the most widely studied second language, followed by German and French.
Some 85% of the population claim affinity to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, while Muslims make up a further 13% of the population. The Communist regime discouraged religion, however religious freedom has now been reestablished and religious holidays are openly celebrated.
The literacy rate in Bulgaria is very high - 99% for men and 97% for women - and the country still boasts a strong education system. Particular strengths include computer programming and electronics.
History and Culture
The territory of Bulgaria has been inhabited since the earliest times of history - the Stone Age and the Copper Age. The thracians were the first to settle in this region. In the second half of the 7th century the proto-Bulgars, a people of Turk origin, settled on the territory of present northeastern Bulgaria. Forming a union with the Slavs they founded the Bulgarian state which in 681 was acknowledged by the Byzantine Empire.
Under the rule of Khan Tervel (700 -718) Bulgaria gained new territories and great political power. Under Khan Kroum (803-814) Bulgaria bordered the Empire of Karl the Great to the west and its troops reached as far east as the fortress walls of Constantinople, the Byzantine capital. In 864, during the rule of king Boris I Mikhail (852 - 889) the Bulgarians adopted Christianity as their official religion. That brought to an end the ethnic differences between proto-Bulgars and Slavs and initiated the formation of an integral Bulgarian nationality.
In late 9th century the two brothers Cyril (Constantin the Philosopher) and Methodius wrote and popularized the Cyrillic (Slavonic) Alphabet. Later the Cyrillic Alphabet was spread from Bulgaria to other Slavonic countries such as Serbia and Russia. The towns of Ohrid and Pliska, and later Veliki Preslav, the new capital, became centers of Bulgarian and Slavonic culture. During the rule of Czar Simeon (893 - 927) Bulgarian culture enjoyed its Golden Age, while the borders of the country reached the Black, Aegean and the Adriatic seas.
In 1018, after a long period of numerous wars, Bulgaria was conquered by Byzantine. An uprising in 1186, lead by the noble brothers Asen and Peter, overthrew the Byzantine rule. The Second Bulgarian kingdom came into being, and Tirnovo became the new capital. Bulgaria regained its former might under the reign of their youngest brother Kaloian (1197 - 1207), while during the reign of Czar Ivan Asen II (1218 - 1241) the Second Bulgarian kingdom reached its apogee: political hegemony was established over south eastern Europe, the territory was expanded to reach the Black, the Aegean and the Adriatic seas, economy and culture developed. After years of cultural standstill Bulgaria reached a new peak that lasted to the end of the Second Bulgarian kingdom (1186 - 1396). Literary and art schools in Tirnovo developed the traditions of Bulgarian culture. In 1235 the head of the Bulgarian church obtained the title Patriarch.
Discordance among part of the nobility brought about the division of the country in two kingdoms - Vidin kingdom and Tirnovo kingdom. The weakened state was thus an easy prey to invaders and in 1396 it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire. For nearly 5 centuries Bulgaria was under Ottoman rule. In 1878 broke the April uprising, which was the first considerable and organized attempt to overthrow Ottoman rule. The uprising was cruelly crushed and drowned in bloodshed, but managed to attract the attention of the big European countries to Bulgarian national issues.
National unification was not achieved after the Russian-Turkish war (1877 -1878). Former Bulgarian territories were split into three - the newly proclaimed Principality of Bulgaria ruled by kniaz Alexander Batenberg; Eastern Rumelia - governed by a Christian governor appointed by the Sultan, and Thrace and Macedonia which remained under Ottoman rule.
In protest to that unjust decision of the Berlin Congress (1878) the Kresna and Razlog uprising broke, which led to the unification of the Principality of Bulgaria and Eastern Rumelia in 1885. The Ilinden and Preobrajenie uprising broke in 1903 and in 1908 Ferdinand Sax Coburg-Gotha, who had been Bulgarian Kniaz since 1887, declared the independence from Turkey and became king of the Bulgarian people. Bulgaria participated in the Balkan war of 1912 fighting together with Serbia and Greece to liberate Thrace and Macedonia. Bulgaria won that war but in the war that followed in 1913 was defeated by Romania and Turkey and its former allies who took away from it territories inhabited by Bulgarians.
In the early forties Bulgaria’s policy was in favour of Germany and its supporters. Later the participation of Bulgarian cavalry platoons at the Eastern front was terminated. Czar Boris III. Supported the public pressure and did not allow the deportation of 50 000 Bulgarian Jews.
On September 5th 1944 the Soviet Army entered Bulgaria and on September 9th the Government of the Fatherland Front, headed by Kimon Georgiev, was established. In 1946 Bulgaria was proclaimed a Republic. The Bulgarian Communist Party came to power. The political parties that did not join the Fatherland Front were banned, enterprises and banks were nationalized, the arable land was forcefully included in cooperative farms.
November 10th, 1989 marks the beginning of democratic changes in Bulgaria. A new Constitution was adopted in 1991, the political parties were restored, property seized in 1947 is being reinstated, privatization and arable land reinstatement have begun.
Following the election victory of the National Movement Simeon II in the summer of 2001, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha became Prime Minister.
Georgi Parvanov has been President of the country since Autumn 2001.

Association NEST®