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Bulgaria (population: 8.000.000) has changed a lot during the last 20 years. From being a communist ruled state on the other side of the Iron Curtain it has changed into a country with some progress towards free market reforms and own tourist industry. The Bulgarian nation has come a long way since it threw off the 500-year old yoke of the Ottoman Empire in the 1870's, and is now still struggling to cope with the aftermath of Communist misrule.
Renaming themselves the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the Communist long remained the dominant force in national politics after 1989. The election of a right-of-centre government in April 1997 gave ground for new hope, although low wages and high unemployment seem to remain ever-present features of Bulgarian life.
Bulgaria has a large number of travel destinations, but independent travel is not really common, although there are relatively few restrictions and costs are very low. The country offers a beautiful mountainous scenery as well as sandy beaches on the Black Sea coast. You will find ski resorts, deep forests, ancient monasteries, greek and roman remains and the fascinating capital Sofia is a must for Bulgaria travelers. Veliko turnovo, the ancient capital, is a young and vibrant city that deserves a visit as well.
The main cities in Bulgaria are Sofia (1.200.000 inhabitants), Plovdiv (350.000 inhabitants), Varna (310.000 inhibitants), Burgas (200.000 inhibitants), Stara zagora (160.000 inhibitants), Rousse (150.000 inhibitants) and Pleven (120.000 inhibitants).