Facts about Bulgaria and its people
Bulgaria - an ancient land of extraordinary beauty, that never fails to fascinate the newcomer and keeps in store endless wonders of surprise and incessant discovery. Few are the places in the world where within several hundred miles the visitor will come across unbelievable wide beaches of fine sands, southern sun, lazy sea and magnificent snow capped mountains reaching an elevation of almost 10 000 ft. and all that amidst valleys of real lush green and colourful flowers. The flowers indeed! Bulgaria's logo - the orange rose and roses of all hues in general are an easy way of identifying the whole country since there is the Rose Valley and some other locations where roses are grown for the purpose of extracting the rose oil. Taking a drive across these places late in May or early in June when the air is really thick of the sweet rose smell will leave an unforgettable memory with the traveller.
The ancient inhabitants firmly believed that their land was especially blessed by their numerous pagan gods. Actually, the country was chosen as living place by pre-historic humans as early as 6 000 - 7 000 years B.C. Later came the Thracian people with their mysterious civilization existing across the border and parallel to the civilization of ancient Greece. The Thracian people are first mentioned around the tenth century B.C. and regularly after that until the Roman conquest of the peninsula in the first century A.D. In the period of unrest, crisis and final split of the Roman Empire, the land of Bulgaria was flooded by numerous slavic tribes, but it was not until the proto-Bulgarians arrived on horseback, that the Bulgarian state was founded. The year was 681 A.D. Merging together the three ethnic groups : Thracian people, Slavs and proto-Bulgarians laid the foundations of modern Bulgarian nation. Since the Slavs were the largest group, modern Bulgarian language is actually Slavic, although there are many words from proto-Bulgarian, amongst them - the very name of the land and its people. It is a memorable fact that the name of Bulgaria has never even slightly changed during the last 1 300 years or so.
History of the land is mostly a record of constant and fierce wars and fights with the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine Empire), for Bulgaria was far too close to its capital - Constantinople and a power Byzantine emperors despite their will had to consider. There were also numerous wars with invading tribes in the North. Despite the existing rivalry Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire showed political wisdom enough and joined forces in order to defeat and prevent Arab penetration of Europe in the middle of the eighth century A.D. It is also a history of political and state buildup including adoption of written laws as early as the beginning of the ninth century A.D., architectural buildup, early adoption of Christianity in 855 A.D. and unique Slavic alphabet in 865 A.D., designed by two scholar monks - St. Cyril and St. Methodius, celebrated today as The Enlighteners of Bulgarian people, translation of the Holy Scripts in Medieval Bulgarian, which was a revolutionary act since the dogma at that time allowed only three languages for official use - Latin, Ancient Greek and Hebrew. Finally, it is a record of the first Bulgarian university founded in the thirteenth century A.D. in Veliko Tarnovo - the medieval capital of Bulgaria and the unusual realistic icons and portraits in Boyana church, painted by unknown master in the twelfth century suggesting a Bulgarian Renaissance some one hundred years before the process started in Italy.
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