Bulgaria: Country and Foreign Investment
History, Population, Language and Culture
The Bulgar peoples were originally a Turkish tribe who settled beside the Slavic tribes in the area that is now the Balkans in the 7th century. Due to its location in the Balkans and proximity to the Ottoman Empire, the Bulgars were vulnerable to invasion and succumbed to an Ottoman invasion in the 14th century. However, Bulgaria gained its independence in 1908 but then sided against the West in both world wars. After World War II, Bulgaria became part of the Soviet bloc. As with the rest of the communist countries in Eastern Europe, Bulgaria asserted its own democracy in 1990 when the Soviet bloc collapsed.
Bulgaria has an estimated population of 7.03m. The capital, Sofia, is one of the oldest cities in Europe and with a population of 1.4m is the country’s largest city. Other important cities are Plovdiv (population 380,000), Varna (population 355,000) and Burgas (population 218,000).
The principal language is Bulgarian (spoken by 84% of the population). Nearly 10% of the population speak Turkish. This corresponds with the population’s ethnic split, and there is also a Romany community. The majority of people follow the Bulgarian Orthodox religion, with 12% following the Muslim faith.