The Republic of Bulgaria is situated in the Southeastern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Its capital is the city of Sofia. Despite the its relatively small territory (110 912 km2), the country’s relief is varied. There are vast lowlands, hilly areas, and high mountains. Along the Black Sea shore, there are wide beaches and beautiful cliff coasts.
Bulgaria’s climate is Moist Continental with four clearly manifested seasons; the far south areas are influenced by the Mediterranean climate. The mountains higher than 1000 m are of highlands climate with relatively low temperatures, abundant rainfalls and continuous snow-retention. The average annual temperature is 10.5°Ñ. Rainfalls are most abundant in May and June. The snow cover ranges from 10 days (along the Black Sea coastline) to over then 200 days (at the highest mountains) p.a.
Ores and Minerals
There are various mineral resources found and extracted in Bulgaria such as coal, petroleum and natural gas, ores and nonmetallic minerals and mineral water. The important ores are copper, lead and zinc, iron, manganese ones. The main energy fuel for Bulgaria is lignite and brown coal. Nonmetallic minerals are represented by the high-quality clays, kaolin, plaster, pearl-stones, feldspar, rock salt, rock building materials.
Rivers spring mostly from the high mountains and flow to the Black Sea (through Danube) and the Aegean Sea. The only navigable river is Danube which flows along the northern border of Bulgaria, and the three longest rivers on the territory of Bulgaria are:
- Iskar – 368.0 km
- Tundja – 349.5 km
- Maritza – 321.6 km
The largest natural lakes in Bulgaria are the those along the Black Sea coast (Alepou, Arkutino, Pomoriisko, Beloslavsko, Bourgasko, Varnensko, Shablensko). There are more than 250 glacier lakes in the Mountains of Rila and Pirin. There are a number of dam-lakes being part of water supply networks and systems. The underground waters are quite important for the water balance of the country. There are plenty of mineral waters in Bulgaria from both natural springs and drilling sources.
The total number of plants in Bulgaria is about 12 400. The differentiation of vertical vegetation zones is typical for the plants. At the lower forest zone (elevation 0 to 1000 m) the most common are beech forests. At the middle forest zone (elevation from 800 to 1700 m) there are beech, spruce and the mixed forests with beech and fir. At the higher forest zone (from 1700 m to about 2200 m) the main tree species is the spruce. The main species at the zone ranging from 2100 to 2500 m is the scrub mountain pine. The alpine biome is situated above 2500 m where great areas are covered by grass vegetation.
The animal world is represented by plenty of species found in specific areas in terms of climate and living conditions. A number of reserve ranges, in which many endangered and rare animals live, have been established to conserve the variety of animal species. Hares, wolves, hamsters, field mice, partridges, quails, gray crows, rooks, etc are found in the plains and hilly areas.
Bears, wolves, roes, red deers, fallow deers, wild boars, wild cats, wild goats, foxes, wood grouses, hazelhens, several species of eagles, pheasants, etc. live in the mountain areas.
In the rivers, lakes and dam-lakes there are carp, sturgeon and perch fish, spined loach, trout, pike, sheatfish, European pond tortoise.
Along the Black Sea coast there are various birds such as white pelican, great cormorant, avocet, stilts, sea-gull, etc, and in the Black sea are found sturgeon, carp, Black sea trout, gray mullet, mackerel, 3 different species of dolphins, etc.
In Bulgaria are naturalized mouflon, nutria, European bison, European bison, Sika deer, rainbow trout, white Amur fish, tolstolob, etc.
Protected Natural Sites
The first protected natural sites in Bulgaria are the reserve ranges Silkosia (1931), Parangalitza (1933) and Baiuvi Dupki (1934), the National Park of Vitosha (1934). The total number of national parks is 11, the reserve ranges are 106, the historical sites – 972, the protected plant species are 330, and the protected animals are 473. The National Park of Pirin and the Reserve Range of Srebarna are included into the List of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage to UNESCO.