Geography Now! Bulgaria


Bulgaria, Bulgaria, Bulgaria, where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, Victor Krum from the Harry Potter books. Yeah, you’re welcome! Yeah, now you want to watch this episode, right? (“Geography Now” opening jingle) It’s time to learn geography… NOW! Hey everybody, I’m your host, Barby. I’d like to take this moment to coin a term “tripster”. A tripster is a travel hipster. Someone who is so over the mainstream tourist destinations and they only prefer to go to the bleakest, most obscure regions of the planet. That being said, tripsters watching this video – Take notes. Also, let’s dissect the flag. (slot machine noises) The flag is a tricolor consisting of 3 equally-sized horizontal bands white, green, and red. When it comes to symbolism, even Bulgarians themselves aren’t 100% sure exactly what each band means, however it’s generally accepted that they are inspired by the
Pan-slav nationalist movement colors. However, it’s also kind of accepted that these are the definitions: The white represents love and peace and freedom and spirituality. The green represents the youthfulness as a new liberated state, agriculture, character and the beauty of nature. And the red represents the valor and, once again – the blood spilled of those who fought for the country. And for the heroes of Bulgaria. Okay, that was kinda easy. Moving on! POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY Very few people actually know where Bulgaria is on a map, but when you look at it you’ll kinda realize that its position is kind of important to the entire continent of Europe. First of all: Bulgaria is located on the eastern part of the Balkan peninsula, bordered by 5 other countries and the Black Sea to the east. Since Bulgaria is Europe’s closest point to Turkey, it’s kind of seen as like the crossroads between Europe and Asia. The capital is Sofia, located in the west and the country is divided into 28 provinces and the capital, Sofia, acts as its own province as well. Sofia has a wonderfully unique ambiance as a city that still retains its residue shavings from the former Soviet identity. But with a modern, westernized democratic appeal that exudes through the billboards and media. About 80% of the border with Romania rests on the mighty Danube River, and the borders with Serbia, Macedonia (or “The former Yugoslavic Republic of Macedonia”) and Greece rest on the mountains and hills like the Balkan Range, the Pirin Range, and the Rhodopes range. Bulgaria is very lucky, because in addition to having a nice geological mountainous shell to encapsulate the eastern side, they have a wonderful Black Sea to the east, which has played a heavy influential role in the development of the Bulgarian nation. The coast is classified as a humid sub-tropical climate zone with an abundance of pristine golden beaches – the most popular ones off the coast of Varna and Burgas. In the Black Sea, Bulgaria owns 5 small islands and islets. Each named after a saint, and each with a unique charm and backstory – for example St. Thomas island is one of the only places in all of Bulgaria where cacti grow. St. Ivan Island, which supposedly has the remains of John the Baptist from the Bible and St. Anastasia Island, which had a jail that prisoners escaped from long ago. Bulgaria’s land comprises of a lot of history, to say the very least. In the south, by Gorna Krepost, you have the Perperikon, the Thracian city ruins of the strange ancient culture of the Thracians. In Kazanlak, you have the Thracian tomb of Kazanlak. Yeah, the ancient culture of Thrace had kind of a lot to do with this area. Nobody quite exactly knows what the downfall of the Thracians were, but reading into historical accounts on how they acted on a regular basis, it’s not that hard to speculate on a few probable theories. “We’re sociopaths!” Yes, you are, Thrace. Yes, you are. Now, of course, the monuments tell a funny story. But the natural land formations get even crazier. (earthquake noises) PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY The Bulgarians have a saying: “When God divided up the nations amongst the people, the Bulgarians were late, so instead, God gave them a piece of heaven.” Now whether or not you agree or disagree with that, you can’t deny the fact that Bulgaria does have some pretty nice grounds. First of all, the country is divided into 2 general topigraphical areas. The mountaneous east, with the Balkan, Rila, and Rhodope Ranges and the low-lying flatter Danube Valley and the Gornotrakiyska lowlands in which multiple rivers and lakes can be found in addition to the majority of agriculture plots and graze land for livestock. Speaking of which, if there’s one thing that Bulgarians are proud of, and I’m not even joking, every single Bulgarian I talked to has mentioned this – it would be their unique yogurt. Now, a lot of countries make great yogurt and people tell you that the Balkans was actually the birthplace of yogurt. However, Bulgaria is the only place in the world where the yogurt is fermented with the Lactobacillus Bulgaricus culture, that is only found in the air of Bulgaria. This bacterium gives the yogurt a distinct twang in flavor unlike any other yogurt and with the milk coming from cows, or sheep, that typically graze off of high herb rich pastures, enriching the product with even more health benefits. (Bad Bulgarian accent) “You come to Bulgaria, we don’t mess with our dairy products.” “You buy it! You buy it!” Of course, you also have the Black Sea, which Bulgaria has been dependent on for centuries for trade and business, but also has been capitalizing on for tourism. Many Europeans consider the Black Sea coast as kinda like their secret getaway spot that nobody really knows about because everybody’s so concerned about thinking that Barcelona and Nice are the only places that you can go to. Tripster: “Ugh, Valencia? I’ve been so over that for years. I prefer Burgas. Of course, you’ve probably never heard of that.” Now, here’s the cool thing: because of natural borders by mountains, in conjunction with wind and weather patterns and water flow, Bulgaria is home to a wide variety of entertainingly strange natural landmarks. Such as: The Belogradchik eroded rock cliffs, the stone mushrooms of Belipast, the Pobiti Kamani stones. Also, keep in mind, the Pobiti Kamani area, in addition to the Tabernas region of Spain, is one of the only 2 naturally-occuring deserts in all of Europe. And then we get to something that Bulgaria is definitely not in short supply of: caves and waterfalls. We’ve reached places like the Devil’s throat cave, the world’s highest underground waterfall. The Devatashka cave, with holes in its ceiling. The “Eyes of God” cave in Prohodna. In fact, Bulgaria has over 4,500 charted caves in its entire country. Also, keep in mind, 32 of the 37 species of bats in Europe call Bulgaria home. So if there’s one thing you can take away from this, it’s that Bulgaria is a very cavey place. Waterfalls also speckle the landscape, mostly in the eastern mountainous regions. The tallest one in the Balkans being the Raiskoto Praskalo. The picteresque Krushuna falls, and the town with the most with the most fortunate fairytale view, Vratsa, which has the Skaklya – a waterfall looming above their skyline on the mountain, ever following from the cliffs adjacent to the direct vicinity of their town. Oh my gosh, it’s so beautiful! I just can’t even! ………… Now, if you ask Bulgarians, one more thing that they’ll tell you that they’re proud of is their roses. Roses are cultivated all across the entire country. But most heavily in the Rose Valley, just below the Balkan mountain range. Bulgaria produces over 70% of the world’s rose oil. A substance used by pressing on the petals, and also most commonly used in perfumery. They have so many roses that typically the abundance allows them to have rose festivals in which they parade around with roses, have a rose queen beauty contest, and they kinda just end up dancing around and throw roses all over the place. Kind of like the La Tomatina festival in Spain, except it’s a lot cleaner and more better smelling. Wow, that’s the 2nd time we’ve contrasted Bulgaria with Spain. Let’s see if there’s any more parallels in: (conch horn call noise) DEMOGRAPHICS Now, Bulgarians may be Slavic, well, kind of, we’ll explain more about that in a bit, but they definitely have their own Bulgarian way of doing things. Bulgaria has a population of about 7 and a half million people, most of whom identify as ethnically Bulgarian, at about 85%. 9% of the population being Turks, about 5% are Roma, commonly referred to as “gypsies” making Bulgaria the country with the 3rd highest gypsy population. And the remainder of the country coming from other nationalities. Now, here’s the sad thing. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Bulgaria has one of the highest population declines in the world. They used to have around 9 million people back in 1990 but since then, the immigration and death rate has surged past the population growth rate and since then, Bulgaria has seen a rater alarming population decline in the last few decades. This all had to do partially with company privatization and the social structure investments going completely out of wack after independence from the former Soviet Union. Statistics project that about 60,000 people leave Bulgaria every year and in 2012, 24 towns were completely wiped off the map, as they were completely abandoned. And about 170 towns are on the verge on extinction. The good news, though, is this makes Bulgaria one of the perfect places for cheap shopping, real estate, business, and cheap vacation getaways. In fact, since recently joining the EU and NATO, which, by the way, has created a lot of controversy, Bulgaria has seen a completely unprecedented level of tourism and business booming. Yeah, economic nerds. Bulgaria is the kind of place where you might want to consider pulling a Warren Buffet – I’m just saying. Ethnic Bulgarian people will tell you that they have roots from the Bulgar tribes, which nomadicly came from the eastern regions of Eurasia, as far speculated as the Central Asian regions, until they eventually settled down into what is now known as modern Ukraine. Eventually they came down and mixed in with the Slavs and formed Bulgaria. So, technically, a lot of people in Bulgaria could have central Asian roots, and considering how far the hunt extended their reaches, that’s not completely out of the question. Culture wise, Bulgaria is proud to proclaim itself as the birthplace of the Cyrillic alphabet. Used by over 25 million people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, extending as far as Mongolia. Oh and one more thing, just like we talked about in an earlier video, like some regions in Albania, Bulgaria is one of the only few places in the world where people shake their head to say “yes” and nod their heads to say “no.” Now let’s talk about the people Bulgaria interacts with. FRIEND ZONE Now, Bulgaria has one of the most anomalous core of companions that that you’d never really expect them to engage with comfortably. First off, the strange thing is in 2004, in addition to other former Soviet states, Bulgaria took a bold step and joined NATO and 3 years later joined the EU. This was kind of a big deal, considering the Soviet-linked past and the ties that Bulgaria was rooted in. This move also opened up Bulgaria’s diplomacy to unparalleled standards that they never really had before. All this kind of puts Bulgaria in a very unique intercessary class status when it comes to east versus west. Typically, Bulgaria will kind of act as like a mediator for the EU and NATO when it comes to cross-operational engagements. When it comes to the Former Yugoslavic Republic of Macedonia, commonly referred to as just Macedonia, Bulgaria has a strange relationship. By all means, these 2 countries speak the same language and have pretty similar backgrounds as Slavic nations. The problem is where things went down about 80 years ago. Basically, this is what Bulgaria says: Bulgaria: “Look, Macedonia, we want to love you guys. You’re basically just Bulgarian, but you’ve been brainwashed by Georgie Polevski into thinking you have some kind of indigenous, hellinistic roots.” “You don’t. You’re Bulgarians. Just accept it.” To which the Macedonians say: Macedonia: “Shut up, Bulgaria! You don’t know us! Okay, we are descended from Alexander the Great – you belong to Macedonia!” I don’t wanna say it’s kinda like the North/South Korea thing, because it’s nowhere near that level of animosity, but in a fundamental sense, ideologically, it is kinda like the North/South Korea thing. They generally do not favor Turkey that much, because for 500 years, they were under the Ottoman Empire. And they pretty much hated every second of it. It wasn’t until the 19th century when they finally gained their independence with the help of the Russians fighting along side with them. This means that Russia is seen as kind of like the brother/friend of Bulgaria. Even though in every alligned organizational sense, they kind of took every step away from Russia and even though they were kinda taken over by the Soviets for a long time, tensions are low and they still get along great. However, Romania is kind of seen like the new boyfriend that Bulgaria just started dating. Especially after joining the EU, relations grew fast, the presidents regularly visit each other and hang out. Business is great. Ferrys and bridges connect the two countries across the Danube, where people love to visit each other. And Romanian-Bulgarian marriages are not uncommon. In conclusion, wax your mustaches and put on your skinny jeans, because if you are so over the mainstream, you might wanna just stop by and smell the roses. Stay tuned! Burkina Faso is coming up next! (upbeat music)




Comments
  1. I visited Bulagaria when I was a kid. It was my first time getting out of my country (Romania :D). I can't remember much though. I really want to go again now.

  2. 🇧🇬 Is a great beautiful Land i was 2 Times there and will visit every year, people might have Not so much money but They have a big heart and share their last bread with u, thats what i call rich obicham te 🇧🇬

  3. Everyone is saying: Love Bulgaria from (their country) im a bulgarian so yea its perfect out here.Just chillin

  4. As a Bulgarian all those nice comments are warming my heart, thank you so much everybody. If you are looking for a natural places to visit like mountains and beaches, then Bulgaria is the place for you. Good food, nice people and if you like the night life this is defo the place for you 😀

  5. Uuuh (this is no hate i love Macedonia) but the sad truth is that Macedonia is our backyard just accept it. Love from Bulgaria. 🇧🇬🇲🇰

  6. Привет болгарам, от братьев русских! Вместе мы сделаем мировой социализм!

  7. I am amazed, i am bulgarian and i cant believe the positive comments . Thank you guys , you made my night !!! Lots of love from Bulgaria ^^

  8. Bulgaria was never part of the Soviet Union like Ukraine, it was a satellite state under Soviet influence.

  9. So ho ever watches dise just to now dat I'm a Bulgarian and that with the heads is rong

  10. ауе тоя нещо ебааа ли са нас или ко ши го еба в косата
    ВИРГАТА е бааааааахти пича за ко са премести

  11. 8:40 само аз ли мисля че това изобщо не е вярно. Никой от моите познати не го прави по този начин

  12. I loovvee Buulggarriiaa🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇱🇻🇱🇻🇱🇻i was 5 times in Burgas and 1 time in Varna

  13. the thing about shacking our heads vertically and horizontaly the opposite way threw me off a little bit and it is in Fact NOT true

  14. For some reason my dad, who is fond of his Slavic heritage, always uses Bulgaria whenever he needs to refer to some random hypothetical person, like, "Joe Shmoe from Bulgaria". I don't know why, I don't think he knows why either.

  15. Процента на турци в България е много по голям ма карай…. Също така ти хубаво разказваш за хубавата страна на България ма ако знаеш колко много има от към лошата…. (pls google translete it xd)

  16. I love you Bulgaria. I really want to visit you someday. Greetings Slavic brothers from Bosnia! 🇧🇦🇧🇬

  17. Hey geography now as a Bulgarian my self the downfall of thrace is because thrace is like a region and in thrace their were kingdoms and when Rome came those countries didn't work together because everyone was at war with everyone just like Greece
    And keep up the great work🔥🔥🔥

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