(Partially recognized Western-Bulgarian autonomy, the Republic of Macedonia is marked in orange)
Bulgaria (Bulgarian: България, [bɤlɡˈariɤ]), officially the Republic of Bulgaria (Bulgarian: Република България, [rɛpˈubliˌkɤ bɤlɡˈariɤ]), is a country in Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the east, Greece and Turkey to the south, Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, and Romania to the north, mostly along the Danube.
Bulgaria's civilized history dates back more than six millennia to a prehistoric time and place within the heart of its territory that marks the birth of Europe's and possibly the world's first literary culture. Though relatively small in terms of territory and population, Bulgaria's continuous historical wealth throughout prominent cyclical eras of growth, decline and medieval renaissance rivals that of the much larger and more populous countries of China, India and Egypt.
The modern Bulgarian state was first established in 681 AD creating the First Bulgarian Empire. After the Empire fell to the Byzantine Empire in 1018 the Second one took its place in 1185. The Second Bulgarian Empire established much of Bulgaria's heritage we know today. The empire was completely occupied by the Ottoman Empire in 1396 and fell in 1422. The current Bulgarian state declared independence in 1878 and was completely separated from The Ottoman Empire in 1908.
Part of the Eastern Bloc after World War II, today Bulgaria is a democratic, unitary, parliamentary republic, a member of the European Union and NATO. The capital is Sofia, one of the oldest capital cities in Europe.
The village of Gyovren in the municipality of Devin, Bulgaria. The population of Gyovren is mainly ethnic Turks, as well as a few Romani families. Devin is a popular tourist attraction, with many hot springs and spa resorts.
The now defunct Gnostic social-religious movement and doctrine originated in the time of Peter I of Bulgaria (927–969) as a reaction against state and clerical oppression. In spite of all measures of repression, it remained strong and popular until the fall of Bulgaria in the end of the 14th century.
Bogomilism is the first significant Bulgarian "heresy" that came about in the first quarter of the 10th century in the area of today’s Plovdiv (Philippopolis). It was a natural outcome of many factors that had arisen till the beginning of 10th century. The forced Christianization of the Slavs and proto-Bulgarians by khan Boris I in 863 and the fact that the religion was practiced in Greek, which only the ‘elite’ knew, resulted in a very superficial level of understanding of the religion, if any understanding at all. Another very important factor was the social discontent of the peasantry.