Things to Know

  Introduction to Bulgaria

Bulgaria is a small agricultural and tourist nation located where the European and Asian continents are joined. Its location has brought strong cultural and political influences from both east and west. For thousands of years, traders (the world's first "tourists") have enriched Plovdiv because in this city cross the routes between Europe and Asia, north and south, and the Adriatic Sea and the Black Sea, east and west


The Cyrillic Alphabet & Bulgarian Language

In 855, the brothers Cyril and Methodius of Thessaloniki (the largest city in Byzantium) retired to a monastery, dedicating themselves to evangelising the Slavs. By 862, they had created an alphabet of Slavonic script and translated the fundamental liturgical books into Slavonic languages. Canonical recognition of the Slavonic alphabet came in 879 when the Slavonic books were sanctified by Pope Johann VIII.


Currency Information

Bulgaria is still a largely cash economy. Visitors should exchange cash at banks or Change Bureaus. Some Change Bureaus charge commissions on both cash and travellers' check transactions that are not clearly posted. People on the street who offer high rates of exchange are confidence tricksters intent on swindling the unwary traveller. Old, dirty or very worn denomination bank notes are often not accepted at banks or Change Bureaus.


Travel Tips

The following travel tips have been gathered from many sources: always apply common sense when travelling, whether at home or abroad. Visitors from all Schengen-Treaty European countries travel to Bulgaria without a visa. A Bulgarian visa (entry or transit) may be obtained at any Bulgarian Embassy or Consular Office in the countries needing such a visa. Citizens of the United States and Canada, the European Union, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Israel, travelling on regular passports, are not required visas for stay in Bulgaria not exceeding 30 days.


Bulgarian Food & Cuisine

If there were 10 million tour and travel pages on the Internet, 15 million times you would read "The most delicious food you have ever tasted." We won't tell you this because you expect it and the food is only but one thing which will impress you about this land. However, Bulgaria is a country of traditions and there are three very special food item varieties which are unique to Bulgaria and have been a part of it back through the earliest of Thracian times.


Beauty in the past of Bulgaria

Beauty is part of the Bulgarian heart and soul, and the Bulgarian people have a tradition of working to create beauty. Architecture, house interior, tools, dances, and crafts - all of these harmoniously combine colours and sounds, warmth and comfort. Every culture that has inhabited Bulgarian lands has left its cultural heritage to the subsequent generations. Bulgaria's stunning variety of folklore and lifestyles is a blending of Thracian, Slav, and Proto-Bulgarian traditions. Customs, rites, national costumes, and songs are specific to each region, but are united by the 13-century history and have helped the preservation of the Bulgarian national spirit throughout the centuries.

Elements of some pagan ritual are still to be found in national customs (kukeri, fire-dancing). Other pagan holidays were transformed into Christian ones so that both a pagan and Christian element have persisted through the centuries. A lot of the calendar holidays are of pagan origin. Bulgarian custom of making martenitzi out of white and red threads for good health is truly unique. Bulgarians have borrowed cultural elements from the numerous Balkan invaders and conquerors. Thus they have enriched their traditions in costume, lifestyle and rites - even during the long dark years of Ottoman rule.


Bulgarian Music

It is no wonder that Bulgaria is again attracting world attention as "A musical miracle". It was here in this ancient Thracian land that Orpheus, the great hero of Greek Mythology was born, the son of the Muse Calliope and King Oeagrus (according to other sources, Apollo is also referred to as Orpheus’ father).