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A History of Bulgaria

We all love Bulgaria for its warmth, superb beaches and lively atmosphere. But if you dig a little deeper, you can also uncover a history full of twists and turns, with echoes of the past that are still felt today. Like Turkey, Bulgaria's location makes it a meeting point between Europe and Asia, which gives the country plenty of individuality.


Bulgaria in antiquity

Around the same time that Ancient Greece was defining its culture, the Thracian civilisation was calling Bulgaria and its surrounding nations home.

The Thracian people were a collection of tribes such as the Serdi and the Odrysai who introduced farming and building to the natural landscape. The Thracian tribes never unified into a fully established nation, but if they had, their combined population would've been so high that they would have been feared by other ancient civilisations.

Although battles with the Greeks were fought over the years for control of the region, eventually the two civilisations were trading and co-operating. However, by 100 CE the Romans had laid claim to the entire Balkan peninsula, with what would eventually become a Byzantine seat of power. When the Roman Empire fell, the Byzantine Empire remained a powerful player until the turn of the first millennium.

Bulgaria in the Middle Ages

In the century following 900 CE, Bulgaria's reach was vast, and its people were ruled by leaders with ambition and the power to carry out their desires. This time of expansion is regarded as a golden age in the country's history, although it wouldn't last. The Ottoman Empire became the new rulers of Bulgaria at the turn of 1400, adding its flavour to the cultural mix that the country remains blessed by today.

The Ottoman Turks controlled Bulgaria for 500 years until the late 1800s when war with Russia fractured the seemingly invincible empire. In the aftermath, Bulgaria arose as a nation in its own right in 1878, although the country would not fully unite until 1908.

Modern Bulgaria

The early 20th century was a difficult time for Bulgaria and its people. The Balkan Wars damaged the country's morale, while World War I created huge debts that the government found immensely difficult to settle. These factors likely influenced Bulgaria to declare an official stance of neutrality when World War II erupted in Europe.

Unfortunately, political pressure forced Bulgaria to reluctantly join the side of the Axis during World War II. The country was so against the idea that it tried on several occasions to lobby for peace independently of its allied countries. By 1945, as peace returned, Bulgaria became a communist state, causing deep unrest that led to the return of democracy in the 1990s.

Since then, Bulgaria has been characterised by its determination to improve, and the Bulgarian people have the pride and ambition to make that happen. As its popularity as a holiday destination grows, it's easy to see how Bulgaria has overcome adversity and forged success. Its diverse historic journey only adds to its rich culture, allowing you to immerse yourself in stories of bygone ages when you visit Bulgaria for your holiday.

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