If there is a word that best describes the Bulgarians, it is “proud.” Founded in 681CE, the country takes pride in being the oldest European nation-state never to have changed its name. It is also proud to have given the world the Cyrillic alphabet, the first electronic wristwatch, the electronic digital computer, and some of the twentieth century’s greatest opera singers. Most of all, Bulgarians are proud of their long history and the natural beauty of their land—“Bulgaria” and “paradise” are often used in the same sentence.
Situated on the Balkan Peninsula, Bulgaria was at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and a melting pot of ancient cultures. Today, four pan-European transportation corridors connect Western Europe to Eastern and Southeast Europe and Asia across its territory. Invasions and waves of migration, starting from neolithic and classical times, have contributed to its unique cultural mosaic.
Today, Bulgaria’s seaside and winter resorts attract many visitors, while its rapidly developing economy draws investors from around the world. This book is for vacationers and businesspeople alike. It will familiarize you with this small but beautiful land and its complex people. It describes the formative influences on Bulgarian society and the way people interact with foreigners and each other. It offers important insights and practical advice that will smooth your path and deepen your experience in this intriguing country.
No matter what the occasion, you should always bring a gift. When Bulgarians go to a party, they bring a bottle of wine or any drink they know will appeal to the host’s taste. Chocolate or flowers are also well received. Flowers however, should always be an odd number—even numbers are brought to funerals only!