Total population
Bulgaria Bulgaria: 5,664,624[1]
Regions with significant populations
Greece Greece 75,915 [2]
Ukraine Ukraine 204,574 [3]
Spain Spain 150,878 [4]
United States United States 95,568 [5]



Predominantly Bulgarian Orthodox Church

Related ethnic groups

South Slavic peoples, especially Macedonians

The Bulgarians (Bulgarian: българи) are a South Slavic ethnic group native to the Balkans region of Europe, specifically to the country of Bulgaria. Like other Slavic groups, the Bulgarians enjoy a unique history. The Bulgarians have also made linguistic contributions to the development of other South and Eastern Slavic languages. The Cyrillic alphabet, in use by Slavic Orthodox cultures, originated in Bulgaria.

Bulgarians is also known for their striking close relationship and resemblances with the Macedonians, sometimes ethnographers see no differences between the two, they also follow a culture that resembles Russian. Out of all South Slavic groups, the Bulgarians show the most Russian-influence as a result of both linguistic shifts and Bulgaria's existance as a fervant puppet state of the Soviet Union during the Cold War.


The terms Bulgaria and Bulgarian are originated from an ancient group known as the Bulgars. The Bulgars were a powerful Turkic Islamic civilization that lived around the banks of the Volga River in Russia. Mongol raids eventually forced the Bulgars to the land in the Balkans now known as Bulgaria.


Odrysian kingdom 460 B.C.-46 A.D.

The Odrysian Kingdom (Ancient Greek: Βασίλειον Ὀδρυσῶν) was a union of Thracian tribes that endured between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC. It consisted mainly of present-day Bulgaria, spreading to parts of Northern Dobruja, parts of Northern Greece and parts of modern-day European Turkey. King Seuthes III later moved the capital to Seuthopolis.[6]

First Bulgarian Empire 681 A.D.-1018 A.D.

The First Bulgarian Empire (Bulgarian: Първo българско царство Parvo Balgarsko Tsarstvo) was a

Simeon sends envoys to the Fatimid Caliph to form an alliance against the Byzantines

medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, which subdued or drove out the Byzantines and made the South Slavic settlers their allies. At the height of its power it spread between Budapest and the Black Sea and from the Dnieper River in modern Ukraine to the Adriatic Sea. As the state solidified its position in the Balkans, it entered on a centuries-long interaction, sometimes friendly and sometimes hostile, with the Byzantine Empire. Bulgaria emerged as Byzantium's chief antagonist in the Balkans, resulting in several wars. The two powers however also enjoyed periods of peace and alliance, most notably during the Second Arab siege of Constantinople, where the Bulgarian army played a crucial role in breaking the siege. Byzantium had a strong cultural influence on Bulgaria, which also led to the eventual adoption of Christianity by Bulgaria in 864. After the disintegration of the Avar Khaganate, the Bulgarians expanded their territory up to the Pannonian Plain (in present-day Hungary). Later the Bulgarians confronted the advance of the Pechenegs and Cumans, and achieved a decisive victory over the Magyars, forcing them to establish themselves permanently in Pannonia.
Bulgaria under Simon

Bulgaria under Simeon I the Great

During the late 9th and early 10th centuries, Tsar Simeon I achieved a string of victories over the Byzantines, and expanded the Bulgarian Empire to its apogee. After the annihilation of the Byzantine army in the battle of Anchialus in 917, the Bulgarians laid siege to Constantinople in 923 and 924. The Byzantines eventually recovered, and in 1014 under Basil II, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Bulgarians at the Battle of Kleidion.[7] By 1018, the last Bulgarian strongholds had surrendered to the Byzantine Empire, and the First Bulgarian Empire had ceased to exist.[8] It was succeeded by the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1185.

After the adoption of Christianity in 864 Bulgaria became the cultural center of Slavic Europe. Its leading cultural position was further consolidated with the invention of the Cyrillic script in its capital Preslav, and literature produced in the Old Bulgarian language soon began spreading North. Old Bulgarian became the lingua franca of Eastern Europe, where it came to be known as Old Church Slavonic.[9][10] In 927 the fully independent Bulgarian Patriarchate was officially recognized.

Between the 7th and 10th centuries, the local population, the Bulgars and the other tribes in the empire, which were outnumbered by the Slavs,[11][12][13] gradually became absorbed by them, adopting a South Slav language.[14] Since the late 10th century, the names Bulgarians and Bulgarian became prevalent and became permanent designations for the local population, both in the literature and in the spoken language. The development of Old Church Slavonic literacy had the effect of preventing the assimilation of the South Slavs into neighboring cultures, while stimulating the formation of a distinct Bulgarian identity.[15]

Second Bulgarian Empire 1185–1396


Tarnovo, capital of Bulgaria from 1185 to 1396.

The Second Bulgarian Empire (Bulgarian: Второ българско царство Vtorо Bălgarskо Tsartsvo), was a medieval Bulgarian state which existed between 1185 and 1396. A successor of the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II.

Up until 1256, the Second Bulgarian Empire was the dominant power in the Balkans.[16] The Byzantines were defeated in several major battles, and in 1205 the newly established Latin Empire was crushed in the battle of Adrianople by Emperor Kaloyan. His nephew, Ivan Asen II (1218–1241), defeated the Despotate of Epiros and made Bulgaria a regional power once again. However, in the late 13th century the Empire declined under the constant invasions of Tatars, Byzantines, Hungarians, Serbs, and internal instability and revolts. After the empire was divided into several independent small states (Kingdom of Tarnovo, Tsardom of Vidin, Despotate of Dobruja) in the late 14th century, they were conquered by the Ottoman Empire.

Despite the strong Byzantine influence, the Bulgarian artists and architects managed to create their own distinct style. Literature and art flourished in the 14th century and a large part of the Bulgarian population was literate.[17]

Ottoman Rule


Christian born Devşirme, would later serve in the elite Jannisary. In this miniature Janissaries march to the tunes played by the Mehter.

The withdrawal of the Mongols from Europe in the early 14th century stabilized the situation in the Balkans and Bulgaria reassumed something like its modern borders. It was however threatened by the rising powers of Hungary to the north and Serbia to the west. In 1330 the Bulgarians under Michael III were heavily defeated by the Kingdom of Serbia at Velbuzhd, and some parts of the Empire came under Serbian sway. Under Ivan IV (Ivan Alexander; 1331–1371) Serbian threat ended, and the Byzantines were defeated at Rusokastro. The territorial expansion included the Rhodope Mountains and several important towns on the Black Sea coast. This was a period known as Second Golden Age because of its thriving cultural life. After Ivan Alexander's death Bulgaria was left divided into rival states; one of the two largest ones was based at Veliko Tarnovo, and the other at Vidin, ruled by Ivan's two sons.

The two brothers and despot Dobrotitsa from the Principality of Carvuna did not make an attempt to unite and they were even engaged in a military conflict for Sofia.

Weakened Bulgaria was thus no match for a new threat from the south, the Ottoman Turks, who crossed into Europe in 1354. In 1362 they captured Philippopolis (Plovdiv), taking Sofia in 1382. The Ottomans then turned their attention to the Serbs, whom they routed at Kosovo Pole in 1389. In 1393 the

Ottoman devshirme in Bulgaria.

Ottomans occupied Tarnovo after a three-month siege. In the next year the Ottomans captured the Carvuna Principality and Nikopol — the last town of the Tarnovo tsardom — fell in 1395. The next year the Tsardom of Vidin was occupied after the Battle of Nicopolis, bringing an end to the Bulgarian kingdoms.

North of the Danube, where a significant number of Bulgarian nobility and common folk remained, the population was under the jurisdiction of various Christian autonomous, predominately Wallachian led principalities, where the Cyrillic alphabet continued to be used [18] and many cities kept their Bulgarian names, like the Wallachian capital of Targovishte. The nobility in the Christian principalities north of the Danube, continued to be known by their Bulgarian titles of Boyars and regularly helped Bulgarian population to continue to migrate north, as part of their military campaigns south of the Danube.[19] Thus, Bulgarian population north of the Danube never came under Ottoman occupation, which greatly helped the National revival south of the Danube in later centuries.

Independance from Ottomans and Russo-Turkish Wars

The Ottomans eventually grew to be a common enemy among Europeans, most notable European Slavs. Russia also used this as an oppurtunity to re-gain territory lost during the Crimea Wars. As a result, Russia supported the growing nationalisms in Bulgaria, Serbia and other Balkans nations. The battle was fought mainly in the Balkans. As a result of Russia's victory, which initially freed former Ottoman territory from its rule, the Bulgarians achieved their freedom against the Ottomans among other Balkans nations.

Principality of Bulgaria 1878-1908

The Principality of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Княжество България Knyazhestvo Balgariya) was a de facto independent vassal of the Ottoman Empire established by the Treaty of Berlin in 1878.

After the Russo-Turkish War ended with a Russian victory, the Treaty of San Stefano was signed by Russia and the Ottoman Empire on 3 March 1878. Under this, a large Bulgarian vassal state was agreed to, which was significantly larger: its lands encompassed nearly all ethnic Bulgarians in the Balkans, and included most of Moesia, Thrace and Macedonia, stretching from the Black Sea to the Aegean. However, the United Kingdom and Austria-Hungary were against the establishment of such a large Russian client state in the Balkans, fearing it would shift the balance of power in the Mediterranean. Due to this, the great powers convened and signed the Treaty of Berlin, superseding the Treaty of San Stefano, which never went into effect. This created a much smaller principality, alongside an autonomous Eastern Rumelia within the Ottoman Empire.

The Principality of Bulgaria, although nominally an Ottoman Vassal, had its own Constitution, flag, anthem, and foreign policy. In 1885, a bloodless revolution resulted in Eastern Rumelia being de facto annexed by Bulgaria, which the Ottoman Empire accepted with the Tophane Agreement. On 5 October 1908, Bulgaria declared its independence as the Kingdom of Bulgaria.

Kingdom of Bulgaria 1908–1946

The Kingdom of Bulgaria, also referred to as the Tsardom of Bulgaria, the Third Bulgarian Tsardom and the Third Bulgarian Empire[20] (Bulgarian: Царство България Tsarstvo Balgariya), was a constitutional monarchy, created on 22 September 1908 (old style), as а result of an elevation of the Bulgarian state to kingdom from principality. This move was taken by Ferdinand who was crowned a Tsar at the declaration of independence, mainly for military plans and for seeking options for unification of all lands in the Balkans populated with ethnic Bulgarian majority, that were seized from Bulgaria and given to the Ottoman Empire with the Treaty of Berlin.

The state was almost constantly at war throughout its existence, lending to its nickname as "the Balkan Prussia". For several years Bulgaria mobilized army of more than 1 million people from its population of about 5 million and in the next decade (1910–20) it engaged in three wars - the First, the Second Balkan War and the First World War. After this the Bulgarian army was disbanded and forbidden to exist by the winning side of the World War and all plans for national unification of the Bulgarian lands failed. After less than two decades Bulgaria was again warring for national unification in the Second World War and was fighting again on the losing side (until it switched to the Allies in 1944), which was a third lost war. In 1946, the monarchy was abolished, its final Tsar was sent into exile and the Kingdom was replaced by a People's Republic.

World War I 1915-1918

During the turn of the 20th century, a series of treaties, pacts and alliances between European nations spured
Bulgarian postcard

A postcard commemorating the entry of Bulgaria into the war.

the deadly conflict known as the First World War. On 1914, on June 28, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated by a Serbian militant by the name of Gavrilo Princip who was the leader of a Serbian militant group known as the Black Hand. These Serbs believed that Sarajevo (the capital of Bosnia and the site of the murder) was rightfully Serbian and Yugoslav territory. The Bulgarians ended up joining the Central Powers and declaring war on Serbia. In return, the Russians declared war on Austria-Hungary for declaring war in Serbia. In 1915, the Bulgarians joined the side of the Central Powers. The Bulgarian army experienced rapid success and penetration into Serbian territory. However, internal conflict and strife within the Bulgarian army caused the degration of it. In 1918, the Bulgarians stopped fighting but in 1919, officially renounced its participation in the war with the signing of the Treaty of Neuilly. Bulgaria ended up returning all territories it had occupied as well as the paying of heavy war reparations.

World War II 1941-1945

Bulgarians and partisans

Meeting of Bulgarian soldiers and partisans from Vardar Macedonia in Prilep, autumn 1944.

As a result of Germany's suffering after World War I, Adolf Hitler rose to power and eventually led Nazi Germany into a conquest of Central Europe, and most of Southern and Eastern Europe. The government of the Kingdom of Bulgaria under Prime Minister Georgi Kyoseivanov declared a position of neutrality upon the outbreak of World War II. After the failure of the Italian invasion of Greece, Nazi Germany demanded that Bulgaria join the Tripartite pact and permit German forces to pass through Bulgaria to attack Greece in order to help Italy. While the Bulgarian government was reluctant to get involved in the war, the threat of a German invasion, as well as the promise of Greek territories, led Bulgaria to sign the Tripartite Pact on 1 March 1941 and join the Axis bloc. With the Soviet Union in a non-aggression pact with Germany, there was little popular opposition to the decision. The Bulgarians however, did not particapate in the invasions of Greece, Yugoslavia or the Soviet Union. There were however, some naval skirmishes between the navies of Bulgaria and the Soviet Union's Black Sea Fleet.
Bulgarian sentry

A Bulgarian sentry at his post, Sofia, 1942

Also, the Bulgarians refused to send Jews to concentration camps or torture them. Furthermore, opposition to German occupation led to the formation of underground communist organizations in Bulgaria. The Bulgarians eventually ended up switching sides on the issue of Macedonia. Garrison detachments, led by Zveno officers, overthrew the government on the eve of 9 September, after taking strategic points in Sofia and arresting government ministers. A new government of the Fatherland Front was appointed on 9 September with Kimon Georgiev as prime minister. War was declared on Germany and its allies at once and the weak divisions sent by the Axis Powers to invade Bulgaria were easily driven back. In Macedonia, the Bulgarian troops, surrounded by German forces, and betrayed by high-ranking military commanders, fought their way back to the old borders of Bulgaria. Unlike the Communist resistance, the right wing followers of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) saw the solution of the Macedonian Question in creating a pro-Bulgarian Independent Macedonian State. At this time the IMRO leader Ivan Mihailov arrived in German reoccupied Skopje, where the Germans hoped that he could form a Macedonian state on the base of former IMRO structures and Ohrana. Seeing that Germany had lost the war and to avoid further bloodshed, after two days he refused and set off.[21] Under the leadership of a new Bulgarian pro-Communist government, three Bulgarian armies (some 455,000 strong in total) entered Yugoslavia in September 1944 and moved from Sofia to Niš and Skopje with the strategic task of blocking the German forces withdrawing from Greece.

Southern and eastern Serbia and Macedonia were liberated within a month and the 130,000-strong Bulgarian First Army continued to Hungary, driving off the Germans and entering Austria in April 1945. Contact was established with the British Eighth Army in the town of Klagenfurt on 8 May 1945, the day the Nazi government in Germany capitulated. Then Gen. Vladimir Stoychev signed a demarkation agreement with British V Corps commander Charles Keightley.

Cold War

During the Cold War, rather than joining Yugoslavia, Bulgaria became a puppet state of the Soviet Union. These collections of Soviet puppet states were known as the "Eastern Bloc". However, out of all the communist states in Europe, Bulgaria was known to import western products and was the most open to the Western World.

People's Republic of Bulgaria

The People's Republic of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Народна република България Narodna republika Balgariya)
Soviet-Bulgarian friendship

"The friendship between the Soviet and the Bulgarian people — indestructible for eternity", a 1969 Soviet stamp commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Socialist Revolution in Bulgaria

was the official name of the Bulgarian socialist republic that existed from 1946 to 1990, when the Bulgarian Communist Party (BCP) was ruling together with its allegedly 'independent' coalition partner National Agrarian Party. Bulgaria was viewed in the West as a satellite state of the Soviet Union, part of Comecon and an Eastern Bloc country, and a Soviet ally during the Cold War, a member of the Warsaw Pact.

Although the Kingdom of Bulgaria changed its alliance and declared war on Nazi Germany on September 7, 1944 on September 9 a coup d'état, backed by Soviet troops, installed a new government led by the Fatherland Front (FF), which was dominated by the Bulgarian Communist Party which paved the way for its formation. The communist resistance and communizing of Bulgaria came under Georgi Mikhaylov, better known by his name in Russian sources as "Georgi Dimitrov" who wanted to expant Leninism and eliminate capitalism in Bulgaria. Josip Broz Tito, the leader of SFR Yugoslavia (a communist nation, although free of Soviet rule) wanted to merge with Bulgaria into creating a "Land of South Slavs" (the name where Yugoslavia is derived from), since Bulgarians are southern Slavs. However, Bulgaria ended up joining the Soviets.

Sofia HQ

The headquarters of the Bulgarian Communist party in 1984.

Bulgaria's most crucial era as a communist state was under the leadership of Todor Zhivkov who became the head of the Bulgarian state in 1954. Under Zhivkov, relations with Greece and Yugoslavia were renewed. Zhivkov also strengthened ties between Bulgaria and the Soviet Union, and became an active supporter and loyalist to the Soviet Union. In 1971, he appointed a new Constitution. It is also during this era in which Zhivkov allowed western products into Bulgaria, making it a popular tourist destination for people from the Eastern Bloc.

In 1989, democratic reforms were initiated after some few years period of unspoken liberalization and after in the autumn of 1989 the long ruling Todor Zhivkov was removed from power in a BCP congress. In 1990 BCP changed its name to Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and adopted a centre-left political ideology due to Georgi Parvanov, then political historian at the BCP Institute, in place of Marxism-Leninism. Following first free elections since 1931 were held (won by the BSP), the country's name was changed to Republic of Bulgaria.


In the 1990s, communism was collapsing everywhere in Eastern Europe, in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. In 1989, the Bulgarian Communist Party gave up political power and Todor Zhivkov resigned. Zbelyu Zhelev (Bulgarian: Желю Желев) became Bulgaria's first non-communist president. In 1991, a new constitution was adopted however economic conditions in Bulgaria continied to degrade and conditions worsened than that of the days of communism. In 1997 however, a reform package allowed a little recovery but in 2001 is when Bulgaria's economy began to surge. Bulgaria's current government is a NATO and western-friendly state.


The Bulgarian language is part of the Slavic family, the southern Slavic family. It is Bulgaria's official language, and contains a total of 6.8 million speakers. It is one of the oldest Slavic languages.

The Bulgarian language is a descendant of Old Church Slavonic, and is one of the first Slavic languages written. It contains striking resemblance to the Macedonian language, an identical Southern Slavic language. Many Russian loanwords were added as a result of the growing Bulgarian nationalism against the Ottoman Turks.

Bulgarian is written using the Cyrillic alphabet, which was introduced by Christian Saints Cyril and Methodius.


Most Bulgarians are at least nominally members of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church founded in 870 AD
NEvsky Cathedral

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Sofia

(autocephalous since 927 AD). The Bulgarian Orthodox Church is the independent national church of Bulgaria like the other national branches of the Orthodox communion and is considered an inseparable[citation needed] element of Bulgarian national consciousness. The church was abolished once, during the period of Ottoman rule (1396—1878), in 1873 it was revived as Bulgarian Exarchate and soon after raised again to Bulgarian Patriarchate. In 2001, the Orthodox Church at least nominally had a total of 6,552,000 members in Bulgaria (82.6% of the population), 6,300,000 of which were Bulgarians, and between one and two million members in the diaspora. The Orthodox Bulgarian minorities in the Republic of Macedonia, Serbia, Greece, Albania, Ukraine and Moldova nowadays hold allegiance to the respective national Orthodox churches.

There are also Bulgarians who follow the Roman Catholic Church and Islam.



Tarator is a cold soup made of yogurt and cucumber (dill, garlic, walnuts and sunflower oil are sometimes added) and is popular in Bulgaria.

Bulgarian cuisine (Bulgarian: българска кухня balgarska kuhnya) is a representative of the cuisine of Southeastern Europe. Essentially South Slavic[citation needed], it shares characteristics with other Balkans cuisines. Owing to the relatively warm climate and diverse geography affording excellent growth conditions for a variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits, Bulgarian cuisine is diverse.

Famous for its rich salads required at every meal, Bulgarian cuisine is also noted for the diversity and quality of dairy products and the variety of Bulgarian wines and local alcoholic drinks such as rakia, mastika and menta. Bulgarian cuisine features also a variety of hot and cold soups, an example of a cold soup being tarator. There are many different Bulgarian pastries as well such as banitsa.

Most Bulgarian dishes are oven baked, steamed, or in the form of stew. Deep-frying is not very typical, but

Bulgarian Kebab with Rice.

grilling - especially different kinds of meats - is very common. Pork meat is the most common meat in the Bulgarian cuisine. Oriental dishes do exist in Bulgarian cuisine with most common being moussaka, gyuvetch, and baklava. A very popular ingredient in the Bulgarian white brine cheese called "sirene" (сирене). It is the main ingredient in many salads, as well as in a variety of pastries. Fish and chicken are widely eaten and while beef is less common as most cattle are bred for milk production rather than meat, veal is a natural byproduct of this process and it is found in many popular recipes. Bulgaria is a net exporter of lamb and its own consumption of the meat is prevalent during its production time in spring.[22]

Kozunak as prepared in Bulgaria for orthodox Easter

Traditionally Bulgarians have consumed a notable quantity of yogurt per head and is noted historically for the production of high quality yogurt, including using a unique variety of micro-organism called Lactobacillus bulgaricus in the manufacturing process.[23] Bulgaria has been part of a region that has cultivated and consumed yogurt from as far back as 3000 BC.[24]

Certain entrees, salads, soups and dishes go well with alcoholic beverages and the alcohol of choice for some is Bulgarian wine.

Holiday meals

There are several holidays that are characterized by specific meals. On Christmas Eve, it is a tradition to have vegetarian stuffed peppers and vegetarian stuffed vine leaves. On New Year's Eve, there are dishes made with cabbage. On Nikulden (Nicholay's Day; December 6), people usually cook fish, while on Gergyovden (George’s Day; May 6), it is a tradition to eat roast lamb.

Notable Bulgarians or People of Bulgarian Origin


Emperor of the Bulgarians at the beginning of the 8th century. In 705 Emperor Justinian II named him Caesar, the first foreigner to receive this title. He was probably a Christian like his grandfather Khan Kubrat. After the Bulgarian army crushed the Arabs during the Siege of Constantinople (718) Tervel was called by contemporaries the Saviour of Europe.

Clement of Ohrid
Климент Охридски

A medieval Bulgarian saint, scholar, writer and enlightener of the Slavs. He was the most prominent disciple of Saints Cyril and Methodius and is often associated with the creation of the Glagolitic and Cyrillic scripts, especially their popularisation among Christianised Slavs. He was the founder of the Ohrid Literary School and is regarded as a patron of education and language by some Slavic nations. He is regarded to be the first bishop of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, one of the seven Apostles of the Bulgarian Empire (Bulgaria), the patron saint of the Republic of Macedonia, the city of Ohrid and the Macedonian Orthodox Church.

Boris I
Борис I
Boris I

The Knyaz (Prince) of the First Bulgarian Empire in 852–889. At the time of his baptism in 864, Boris was named Michael after his godfather, Emperor Michael III. Despite a number of military setbacks, his reign was marked with significant events that shaped Bulgarian and Slavic history. With the Christianization of Bulgaria the traditional state religion Tengriism was abolished. A skillful diplomat, Boris I successfully exploited the conflict between the Patriarchate of Constantinople and the Papacy to secure an autocephalous Bulgarian Church, thus dealing with the nobility's concerns about Byzantine interference in Bulgaria's internal affairs.

Simeon I
Симеон I

Ruler of Bulgaria from 893 to 927, during the First Bulgarian Empire. Simeon's successful campaigns against the Byzantines, Magyars and Serbs led Bulgaria to its greatest territorial expansion ever, making it the most powerful state in contemporary Eastern Europe. His reign was also a period of unmatched cultural prosperity and enlightenment later deemed the Golden Age of Bulgarian culture.

John of Rila
Йоан Рилски
John of Rila

The first Bulgarian hermit. He was revered as a saint while he was still alive. The legend surrounding him tells of wild animals that freely came up to him and birds that landed in his hands. His followers founded many churches in his honor, including the famous Rila Monastery. One of these churches, "St Ivan Rilski" was only discovered in 2008 in the town of Veliko Tarnovo. Today, he is honored as the patron saint of the Bulgarian people and as one of the most important saints in the Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

Ivan Asen II
Иван Асен II
220px-G danchov ivan asen

Emperor (Tsar) of Bulgaria from 1218 to 1241, during the Second Bulgarian Empire. His work included the restoration of the autocephalous Bulgarian patriarchate in 1235 (after a long hiatus since 1018), the minting of the first Bulgarian non-imitation coinage in both gold and copper, the suppression of the centrifugal forces that had plagued his predecessor's reign, and the expansion of Bulgaria's frontiers in all directions.

Ivan Alexander
Иван Александър
Ivan Alexander

Emperor (Tsar) of Bulgaria from 1331 to 1371, during the Second Bulgarian Empire. The date of his birth is unknown. He died on 17 February 1371. The long reign of Ivan Alexander is considered a transitional period in Bulgarian medieval history. Ivan Alexander began his rule by dealing with internal problems and external threats from Bulgaria's neighbours, the Byzantine Empire and Serbia, as well as leading his empire into a period of economic recovery and cultural and religious renaissance.

Evtimiy of Tarnovo
Евтимий Търновски

Patriarch of Bulgaria between 1375 and 1393. Regarded as one of the most important figures of medieval Bulgaria, Evtimiy was the last head of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church in the Second Bulgarian Empire. Arguably the best esteemed of all Bulgarian patriarchs, Evtimiy was a supporter of hesychasm and an authoritative figure in the Eastern Orthodox world of the time.

Vasil Levski
Васил Левски

A Bulgarian revolutionary and a national hero of Bulgaria. Dubbed the Apostle of Freedom, Levski ideologised and strategised a revolutionary movement to liberate Bulgaria from Ottoman rule. Founding the Internal Revolutionary Organisation, Levski sought to foment a nationwide uprising through a network of secret regional committees.

Stefan Stambolov
Стефан Стамболов

A Bulgarian politician, who served as Prime Minister and regent. He is considered one of the most important and popular "Founders of Modern Bulgaria", and is sometimes referred to as "the Bulgarian Bismarck".

Ivan Vazov
Иван Вазов
Ivan Vazov

A Bulgarian poet, novelist and playwright, often referred to as "the Patriarch of Bulgarian literature". He was born in Sopot, a town in the Rose Valley of Bulgaria (then part of the Ottoman Empire).

Vladimir Dimitrov
Владимир Димитров
Vladimir Dmitrov

A Bulgarian painter, draughtsman and teacher. He is considered one of the most talented 20th century Bulgarian painters and probably the most remarkable stylist in Bulgarian painting in the post-Russo-Turkish War era. His portraits and compositions have expressive and vivid color, idealistic quality of the image, profound symbolic strength and originality. The main topic which he explores is the relation between Man and Nature.

Peyo Yavarov
Пейо Яворов
Peyo Yavarov

A Bulgarian Symbolist poet. He was considered to be one of the finest poetic talents in the fin de siècle Kingdom of Bulgaria. Yavorov was a prominent member of the "Misal" ("Мисъл") literary and cultural group. His life and work are closely connected with the liberation movement Internal Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization in Macedonia. He was also a supporter of the Armenian Independence Movement, and wrote a number of poems about Armenians.

Georgi Dimitrov
Гео̀рги Димитро̀в
Georgi Dimitrov

A Bulgarian Communist politician. He was the first Communist leader of Bulgaria, from 1946 to 1949. Dimitrov led the Third Comintern (Communist International) under Stalin from 1934 to 1943. He was a theorist of capitalism who expanded Lenin's ideas by arguing that fascism was the dictatorship of the most reactionary elements of financial capitalism.

Todor Zhivkov
То̀дор Жѝвков

The communist head of state of the People's Republic of Bulgaria (PRB) from March 4, 1954 until November 10, 1989. He became First Secretary of the Bulgarian Communist Party in 1954 and remained on this position for 35 years, until 1989, thus becoming the longest-serving leader of any Eastern Bloc nation, and one of the longest ruling non-royal leaders in history. His rule marked a period of unprecedented political and economic stability for Bulgaria, marked both by complete submission of Bulgaria to Soviet rule and a desire for expanding ties with the West.

Lyudmila Zhivkova
Людмила Живкова

The daughter of Todor Zhivkov, who reached the rank of senior Bulgarian Communist Party functionary and Politburo member. Her life remains uniquely controversial and colorful in the history of Communist Bulgaria and that of the Soviet Bloc.

Pancho Vladigerov
Панчо Владигеров

A Bulgarian composer, pedagogue, and pianist. Arguably the most influential Bulgarian composer of all time. He was one of the first to successfully combine idioms of Bulgarian folk music and the classical music. Part of the second generation of Bulgarian composers, he was among the founding members of the Bulgarian Contemporary Music Society (1933), which later became the Union of Bulgarian Composers.

Ivan Stranski
Иван Странски

A Bulgarian physical chemist. The founder of the Bulgarian school of physical chemistry, Stranski is considered the father of crystal growth research. Stranski headed the departments of physical chemistry at Sofia University and the Technical University of Berlin, of which he was also rector. The Stranski-Krastanov growth and the Kossel-Stranski model have been named after Ivan Stranski. He is also of German descent through his mother.

Assen Yordanoff
Асен Йорданов
Assen-Jordanoff 2

A Bulgarian American inventor, engineer, and aviator. Jordanoff is considered to be the founder of aeronautical engineering in Bulgaria, as well as a contributor to the development of aviation in America. He occupied a distinct place among pilots of his time, the golden age of airmanship; in America, Jordanoff gained almost legendary status for his many roles as test pilot, airmail and air taxis pilot, stunt pilot, and flying instructor.

Yordan Radichkov
Йордан Радичков

A Bulgarian writer and playwright. Literary critics Adelina Angusheva and Galin Tihanov called him "arguably the most significant voice of Bulgarian literature in the last third of the 20th century". Some literary critics have referred to him as the Bulgarian Kafka or Gogol. Radichkov is widely known for his numerous short stories, novels and plays. He is also known for the screenplays of the Bulgarian film classics Torrid Noon (1966) directed by Zako Heskiya, The Tied Up Balloon (1967) and The Last Summer (1974).

Valya Balkanska
Валя Балканска

A Bulgarian folk music singer from the Rhodope Mountains known locally for her wide repertoire of Balkan folksong, but in the West mainly for singing the song "Izlel e Delyu Haydutin", part of the Voyager Golden Record selection of music included in the two Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977.

Katya Paskaleva
Катя Паскалева

A Bulgarian film and stage actress, born in 1945, deceased in 2002. She is best known for her performance as Maria in the Bulgarian film classic The Goat Horn (1972), for which she gained a broad critical acclaim. Paskaleva is also known for her roles in the films The End of the Song (1971), Villa Zone (1975), Matriarchy (1977), Elegy (1982), Eve on the Third Floor (1987) as well as her numerous notable appearances on the stages of the Sofia Municipal Theatre and the Satirical Theatre „Aleko Konstantinov“.

Georgi Ivanov
Георги Иванов

A retired Bulgarian military officer and the first Bulgarian cosmonaut. He was a member of the National Assembly of Bulgaria in 1990. Along with Soviet cosmonaut Nikolai Rukavishnikov, was launched into space as part of the Soyuz 33 mission from Baikonur Cosmodrome on April 10, 1979, at 17:34 (GMT). The scientific program for the flight was prepared entirely by Bulgarian scientists, along with some of the equipment. He later awarded Hero of the Soviet Union.

Irina Bokova
Ирина Бокова
Irina Bokova

A Bulgarian politician and incumbent Director-General of UNESCO. She was member of the Bulgarian Parliament from the Bulgarian Socialist Party for two terms, minister and deputy minister of foreign affairs in the socialist cabinet of Prime Minister Zhan Videnov, and was Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to France and to Monaco.

Stefka Kostadinova
Стефка Костадинова
Bulgarian athelete

Bulgarian retired athlete and the current women's world record holder in the high jump. She is the current president of the Bulgarian Olympic Committee. Shea was voted Sportsperson of the Year in Bulgaria four times (1985, 1987, 1995 and 1996).

Hristo Stoichkov
Христо Стоичков
Hristo Stoichkov

A retired Bulgarian footballer who is currently a football pundit on Spanish language television channel UniMas. He is regarded as one of the best footballers of his generation and the greatest Bulgarian footballer of all time. His awards include the European Golden Boot, the Ballon d'Or, the World Cup Golden Boot and the World Cup Bronze Ball. In 1992 and 1994 he was runner-up in the FIFA World Player of the Year award, and in 2004 he was named in the FIFA 100 list of the "125 Greatest Living Footballers".

Veselin Topalov
Веселин Топалов

A Bulgarian chess grandmaster. Topalov became the FIDE World Chess Champion by winning the FIDE World Chess Championship 2005. He lost his title in the World Chess Championship 2006 match against Vladimir Kramnik. He won the 2005 Chess Oscar.

Nina Dobrev
Біна Добрев
Nina Dobrev

A Bulgarian Canadian actress and model. She played the role of Mia Jones, the single teenage mother, on Degrassi: The Next Generation, from the show's sixth to ninth season (2006–2009). She stars as Elena Gilbert, Katherine Pierce and Amara on The CW's television drama The Vampire Diaries.

Grigor Dimitrov
Григор Димитров
Grigor Dimitrov

Bulgarian professional tennis player. His career high (and current) singles ATP ranking is No. 16, which he achieved in March 2014 after winning his second career title and his first ATP 500 level title at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco and his highest ranking in doubles is No. 66 in the world. Dimitrov is the most successful Bulgarian male tennis player, both in terms of ranking reached — first and only player to rank in the top 20 — and prize money won.

Angela Nikodinov
Ангела икодинов

An American figure skater and coach. She is the 2000 Four Continents champion. Along with her coaching duties, she occasionally skates in shows and was a guest skater on the Stars on Ice tour. The pairs team of Bianca Butler / Joseph Jacobsen and Tenile Victorsen are among her and Dinev's former students that have qualified for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at the senior level. She was born to Bulgarian migrants in the United States, and speaks fluent Bulgarian.


Real name is Miroslav Barnyashev, a Bulgarian professional wrestler and former powerlifter and rower. He is currently working for the United States-based professional wrestling promotion WWE, where is the current United States Champion and is the first Bulgarian to wrestle for the company. 

See Also


  1. "Bulgarian 2011 census" (in Bulgarian). p. 25. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  2. "Hellenic Statistical Authority - 2011 Census" (in English).[dead link]
  3. "Ukrainian 2001 census". Retrieved 2008-04-28.
  4. "National Institute of Statistics of Spain – 2011 Census" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2011-02-08
  5. US Census Factfinder 2013
  6. Peregrine, Peter Neal; Ember, Melvin, eds. (October 1, 2001). Encyclopedia of Prehistory. 4 : Europe. New York: Springer. p. 88. ISBN 0-306-46258-3. OCLC 60343445. "(Danov 1969; Hoddinott 1981; Mihailov 1986; Archi- bald 1998). The Odrysian capital, Seuthopolis, situated on the upper Tundja and named, in overtly"
  7. Angold 1997
  8. Norwich 1998
  9. Schenker, Alexander (1995). The Dawn of Slavic. Yale University Press. pp. 185–186, 189–190.
  10. Benjamin W. Fortson. Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, p. 374
  11. An historical geography of Europe, 450 B.C.-A.D. 1330, Norman John, CUP Archive, 1977, ISBN 0-521-29126-7, p. 179. Google Books. 28 January 1977. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  12. The early medieval Balkans: a critical survey from the sixth to the late twelfth century, John Van Antwerp Fine, University of Michigan Press, 1991, ISBN 0-472-08149-7 p. 68. Google Books. 15 May 1991. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  13. "Formation of the Bulgarian Nation, Academician Dimitŭr Simeonov Angelov, Summary, Sofia-Press, 1978". Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  14. L. Ivanov. Essential History of Bulgaria in Seven Pages. Sofia, 2007.
  15. Who are the Macedonians? Hugh Poulton, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2000, ISBN 1-85065-534-0, pp. 19-20.
  16. Bulgaria history
  17. Нетинфо - Учени: Подписът не е на Боянския майстор
  18. "Omniglot, Romanian language".
  19. "Vlad the Impaler – Explore".
  20. 6FP NoE 4M in Bulgaria - Sofia Info
  21. Hitler's new disorder: the Second World War in Yugoslavia, Stevan K. Pavlowitch, Columbia University Press, 2008, ISBN 0-231-70050-4, pp. 238-240.
  22. (April 2006). "Bulgaria Poultry and Products Meat Market Update." Accessed July 2011.