Sofia, Bulgaria, June 9-13, 1997

About Bulgaria

Bulgaria is an European country situated in the centre of the Balkan Peninsula. The area of the country is about 110,000 sq. km. and the population approximately 8 million. The capital is Sofia and Plovdiv is the second biggest Bulgarian city with a remarkable old centre. Although Bulgaria is small, it abounds in remarkable sights: the Balkan mountain range (gave the peninsula its name), the famous Rhodope mountain (the native land of Orpheus), the Valley of Roses (most interesting during the season of picking the roses in the beginning of June). There are many picturesque small towns and monasteries among which most famous is the Rila monastery. Our country borders on the Black Sea in the east. In Bulgaria there are many interesting monuments since the time Bulgaria was populated by the Thracians, was part of the Roman Empire, etc.

About Sofia

Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria (about 1,300,000 inhabitants) is among the most ancient cities in Europe, founded by the Romans two millennia ago under the name of Serdica.

Sofia (42 degrees North) is located in the western part of Bulgaria, in the foot of the Vitosha mountain. Its altitude is approximately 550 metres above sea level; the average altitude of Vitosha, a national park, is 1500 metres with its highest peak, Cherni Vrakh, reaching 2290 metres. The climate in Sofia is moderately continental; the average temperature in June is 19 degrees Centigrade (over a 24- hour period) with average precipitation 86 litres per square metre.

Sofia is the economic, cultural and scientific centre of Bulgaria. The city sights include ruins of the ancient city, the St. Sofia church which gave the city its name (built in the 6th century on top of a 4th century basilica), the frescoes in the Boyana church (10th-13th century), the St. Alexander Nevsky cathedral, the National Museum of History with its rich collection, etc.

Sofia's International Airport is located close to the city (about 10 km from the centre).

About Plovdiv

Plovdiv (about 400 000 inhabitants) is the second largest Bulgarian city, situated on the banks of Maritza river in Thrace lowland, about 150 km south-easterly from the capital Sofia. The hills, around which the city has been originated more than 4000 years ago, are typical for Plovdiv.

Plovdiv is picturesque city, with typical folk-style restorants, a lot of parks and gardens, museums and archeological monuments. Its renaissance part is organized as open-air museum. In its vicinities there are many sites, old monasteries, health resorts, spas and historical settlements. The famous Rose Valley is nearby, too.

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