9 Fun Facts About Bulgaria You Should Know Now!
Here are some fun facts about Bulgaria guaranteed to get it on your bucket list!
- It is the homeland of the ancient Thracians who gave us Orpheus and Spartacus.
Bulgaria’s history stretches back thousands of years. The first known inhabitants of these lands were the ancient Thracians who gave the world Orpheus and Spartacus. The Thracians believed in the afterlife and left behind vaulted tombs hidden in mounds, one of which, near Kazanlak, is decorated with beautiful frescoes and is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Bulgaria is dotted with ancient Roman sites.
The ancient Romans’ heritage can still be found all across the country, from the Roman baths in Varna on the Black Sea coast, to the ruins of the large Roman city still still being uncovered under the capital Sofia, and most of all – in the Roman amphitheater in Plovdiv which was built in the 2nd century and is still used today for outdoor plays and concerts.
- It is a major European wine producer.
Wine-making has a long history in Bulgaria, dating back to the times of the Thracians who drank it from elaborately carved gold vessels as part of their religious rituals. Nowadays, both international and uniquely Bulgarian grape varieties are grown and used to produce award-winning wines – whites like Misket, Ottonel and Dimiat along with Chardonnay, Riesling, and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as reds like Gamza, Mavrud, and Pamid, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah.
- There is some great cheese to go with the wine too…
Where there is wine, there has got to be cheese too, right? Correct! If you want great cheese, head to Bulgaria. There are many varieties to choose from, with some of the best being of the omnipresent ‘white’ cheese made usually from cow, goat, or sheep milk and similar to the Greek feta. This is also one of the main ingredients of the traditional Shopska salad which also includes fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and peppers.
- A third of the country is covered by mountains.
Bulgaria is a fairly mountainous country. It has two lower ranges – the Balkan (which gave the entire peninsula its name) and the Rhodope mountains, and the higher Rila and Pirin mountains. The mountains offer endless opportunities for outdoors adventures like hiking, mountain biking, river rafting, and skiing. The Rila has the highest peak on the Balkans – Musala (9,596 ft.), the gorgeous seven Rila Lakes, and the UNESCO-listed Rila Monastery.
- Natural yogurt plays key role in Bulgarian cuisine.
Bulgarian yogurt is considered to be one of the best in the world, thanks to the unique Lactobacillus bulgaricus bacteria used for its production which can only be found in its natural form in Bulgaria. As you can imagine, yogurt is a key ingredient in many traditional Bulgarian dishes.
- Bulgaria grows a lot of roses and is a major rose-oil exporter.
Here is another fun fact about Bulgaria. The roses grown in the ‘Rose Valley’ in the south of the country are used to produce most of the world’s rose oil – a precious component of many high-end perfumes. An annual Rose Festival is held in this region, usually in early June, when (if you do not mind getting early) you can take part in the rose picking and also visit some local rose oil distilleries. A small vial of rose oil or rose water makes for a popular souvenir.
- Cyrillic is the official writing in Bulgaria.
The Cyrillic alphabet, which is today used by over 250 million people in Russia and Eastern Europe, was invented by two monks during the First Bulgarian Empire in the 10th century. The two brothers – Cyril and Methodius, are venerated as saints and celebrated each year in Bulgaria with a public holiday on 24 May.
- This is where you can see the oldest gold jewelry in the world.
The oldest golden treasure in the world, dating from 4,600 – 4,200 BCE, was discovered in an ancient necropolis near Varna on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. The 6,000-year-old treasure is now kept in the city’s Archaeological museum.
I bet you did not know some of these fun facts about this Eastern European country! Who is ready to go to Bulgaria now?