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The Republic of Bulgaria is located in South-Eastern Europe on an area of 110,910 sq. km. Bulgaria occupies a portion of the eastern Balkan peninsula and shares a border with Turkey and Greece to the south, Macedonia and Serbia to the west, Romania to the north, and the Black Sea to the east. The coastline has a length of 354 kilometres. The most notable geographic features include the Danubian Plain, the Balkan Mountains, the Thracian Plain and the Rhodope Mountains.
The capital, Sofia, lies in the western region of the country. Other major cities include Plovdiv and Varna.
The first unified Bulgarian state dates back to 681 CE, which functioned as a cultural hub for Slavs during the Middle Ages. With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for nearly 500 years. In 1946, Bulgaria became a single-party socialist state. In December 1989, Bulgaria transitioned from a communist to a democratic state. Bulgaria entered the EU on 1 January 2007. In contrast to some Euro-zone states, Bulgaria does not have huge international debts. The country still ranks as the poorest member state of the EU, but standards of living have started to rise. Unfortunately Bulgaria has been affected by high profile corruption scandals especially regarding the Interior Ministry, which is severely hindering Bulgaria's progress and development.
Bulgaria is a parliamentary republic with a high degree of political, administrative, and economic centralisation. The strongest sectors of the economy are heavy industry, power engineering, and agriculture. The national currency is the Leva.
Bulgaria has a dynamic climate, at the meeting point of Mediterranean and continental air masses. This results in continental-mild summers and cold, snowy winters.
Bulgaria gave the world the Cyrillic alphabet, the second most-widely used alphabet in the world, which dates from tenth century AD.
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10 most popular study destinations for students in Bulgaria
3. United Kingdom
5. United States