About Bulgaria and its capital, Sofia

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Bulgaria is a small, picturesque country located in South-East Europe. In 681 the Bulgarian State was founded with Khan Asparoukh as the leader of a union of the Slavs and the Proto-Bulgarians in their struggle against Byzantium. In 1186 the Second Bulgarian Kingdom was established. The Third Bulgarian State has existed since 1878. Today, Bulgaria’s territory is 111,000 square km, and its population is 7 million.

For more than 13 centuries Bulgarians have been creating unique literature, art and music. Bulgaria has given the world men of great achievements, unparalleled in history. In the 9th century, the brothers Cyril and Methodius, recognised as the patrons of Europe, created the Cyrillic alphabet.

Bulgaria is especially proud of its rich folklore traditions. Folk dances, music, national costumes and traditional rituals have an important place in the life of Bulgarians. Every town and village celebrates Christian holidays and folk festivities in its own special way.

Bulgarian wine tradition dates back to the era of the Thrace and has been honoured since the times of Homer.

Bulgaria’s capital Sofia has a history that goes back thousands of years. Through the centuries, many peoples have inhabited it and added to its rich and diverse history. Numerous Neolithic villages have been discovered in the area, while a chalocolithic settlement has been recently discovered in the very centre of modern Sofia.

The Thracian Serdi tribe settled here in the 7th century BC and gave the first recorded name of Sofia - Serdica. The Byzantines called it Triaditsa and the Slavs - Sredets. The modern city of Sofia was named in the 14th century after the basilica St. Sofia. In Greek, word sofia means wisdom.

Today there are many archaeological sites in Sofia, that display the city’s diverse history – the castle gates and towers of Serdica, public buildings and streets thousands of years old.

Rapidly the city's image changed from an Oriental, to a European. Today’s population of Sofia is 1,250,000.