Bulgaria was once part of the Ottoman Empire. During World War I, Bulgaria joined the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary) against its former ally Russia. After WWI ended in 1919, Bulgaria became independent but it did not become strong enough to stand up to communist Yugoslavia which had been formed after WWI. In 1948, communism collapsed and Yugoslavia broke away from the Soviet Union in 1991. Bulgaria’s economy began to grow again and it is now one of the most developed countries in Europe. It is also known for being a major exporter of wine, olive oil, cheese and other agricultural products.
Bulgarians are famous for their love of food and sports. They have won many medals at Olympic Games such as the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow where they finished fourth behind the United States, Great Britain and Sweden. Bulgarians also competed in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Their team finished sixth out of 16 teams.
Bulgaria is a country with a rich history and culture. Its capital city Sofia is located on the Black Sea coast and is surrounded by mountains and hills. The country’s name comes from the ancient Greek word “bula” meaning mountain or hill. The highest peak in Bulgaria is Rila at 2925 meters. The mountain range is located in the south of the country and borders on Greece to its south.
Other famous mountains and hills in Bulgaria are Pirin and Vihren which are part of the Rila Mountains.
The earliest known inhabitants of Bulgaria were Thracians sometime before 5000 B.C. The first written evidence of them can be found on a stone relief dating from 4th century B.C. which was found in the valley of the river Morava in present-day Serbia.
The relief depicts a horseman and an inscription in the ancient language of the Thracians.
Bulgarians share a common ancestry with other ethnic groups who inhabited present-day Bulgaria such as the Thracians and the Slavs. During pre-Christian times, most people were polytheistic (believing in many gods). However, some of the older Thracians in certain parts of the country were beginning to convert to Christianity.
Bulgaria as a country did not yet exist but it was part of the Roman and Byzantine Empires. It was during this time that Christianity began to spread throughout the region. Missionaries from the Eastern Roman Empire (the area that is now modern-day Greece and Turkey) spread the religion of Christianity among the Slavs who lived north of present-day Bulgaria.
During the 6th and 7th centuries the first written evidence of the name “Bulgaria” appears in Persian and Arabic sources. It is believed that the Slavs in this region became known as the “Bulgars” after the Persian word “bolgard” meaning strong, powerful or brave. “Bolgard” is also the Persian name for the city of Velbazhd which was the former name of the city of Plovdiv.
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