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Fun facts about Bulgaria

A holiday to Bulgaria is a fun getaway, whether you're opting for the parties and sun of Sunny Beach or the cultural treasures of Nessebar. Bulgaria actually has several claims to fame, plus a long and often surprising history. Have a look at some of our Bulgarian fun facts to brush up on your trivia before your trip.

Wining and dining

Bulgaria has a superb wine-making legacy and is regarded as one of the first in the world to make wine, with some experts suggesting they began production as early as 7000 BCE. Bulgarian wines remain popular today with over 200,000 tonnes leaving the country annually.

Bulgaria is also thought to be the birthplace of yoghurt. You'll find it in all manner of dishes, both sweet and savoury, and Bulgarians will proudly tell you how the unique bacterial components of their yoghurts make them the best in the world. While their claims may be a matter of personal taste, you'll definitely want to taste test it for yourself.

Ancient history

Bulgaria's history stretches back to the Thracian era. The Thracians, a loose collective of tribes with a common cultural identity, never fully united into a nation like those in Rome and Ancient Greece, but scholars say if they had, the power of their civilisation would have changed the course of ancient history.

Of course, Bulgaria's contributions to history are still impressive. It's said the Cyrillic alphabet – the primary alphabet of Russia and 50 other nations worldwide – was invented here. The country is also home to the oldest golden treasures in the world, which were discovered in the Necropolis of Varna. With 15,000 Thracian tombs in the country, many of which are still unexplored, Bulgaria ranks highly along with Italy and Greece for the number of ancient sites in one nation.

Bulgarian people

Data from Mensa, the organisation that tracks IQ development worldwide, frequently lists the IQs of Bulgaria's people among the highest in the world. So it'll come as no surprise to find a lot of the things we use day-to-day, the Bulgarians had a hand in establishing – including the digital wristwatch and computer.

Although it was England's Charles Babbage in the 19th century who created the first mechanical computer, the first digital computer was actually Bulgarian. John Vincent Atanasoff is credited with the landmark invention in the 1940s, which coincidentally happens to be the decade that Marko Zuckerberg – the Bulgarian grandfather of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg – left Bulgaria to seek his fortune in America.

More broadly speaking, interacting with Bulgarian locals can be difficult for one interesting reason – they nod to express the negative and shake their heads to express the affirmative, the opposite of what you're likely used to. Of course, if you recently visited Sri Lanka you might already be familiar with this more unusual way of saying yes.

Natural knowledge

Although the country has a cosmopolitan flair in its towns and cities, the natural world is highly respected and taken care of here. If you're not convinced by the countless photographs of Bulgaria's beauty you can find online, let some numbers do the talking.

To start, one third of Bulgaria's entire surface area is covered in forests and woodlands. As if that isn't impressive enough, there are 40 mountains recognised in the country, as well as over 600 mineral water springs, making Bulgaria the country with the most mineral springs in Europe.

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