Bulgaria – an ancient crossroads of conquerors occupied and sometimes subjugated by its powerful neighbors, with mountains as rugged as the people who inhabit the land.

Little has changed since the time Bulgaria created its first empire. Much of the country’s culture has been preserved; but for so many years, it had been kept largely hidden from public view.

Bulgaria’s inclusion in the European Union in 2007 opened its doors to a larger audience. With hordes of curious tourists coming into the country, Bulgaria’s transformation from being an obscure nation to being a top tourist destination had just begun.

Its picturesque landscapes, beautiful churches, and golden beaches are aching to be seen. There is beauty everywhere – in the hiking trails across the countryside and in the swathes of forest encroaching in places where settlements once thrived.

It doesn’t take a second look to understand that there’s much more to see in this land than brochures can capture in pictures and words.

The Bulgarians speak a language similar to the Serbians and Russians. However, a progressive education system encourages students to study a language apart from their own. English is widely spoken in the cities.

The majority of Bulgarians practice Eastern Orthodox Christianity. This branch of Christianity dates back to the time of the Byzantines. There is also a small minority of Jews and Muslims in the country. Harmony exists among the religious communities.

Traveling around Bulgaria can be a very pleasant experience. Roads are paved and well maintained. Trains and planes arrive on time (except during bad weather), and most people are friendly and helpful to outsiders.

If you are planning to bring an electronic gadget, electricity in Bulgaria runs on 230 volts. Plug types used in the country are C and F.