Bulgaria - education
Education is in 1990's Bulgaria public and free at all levels. The compulsory
primary school is eight years old. This is followed by a four- to five-year
vocational or study-preparatory secondary education that can provide access to a
higher education. The higher educations are of four to six years duration.
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There is a strong tradition of enlightenment and education in Bulgaria,
dating back to the 800-year-old Slavic-Bulgarian learning centers where the
Cyrillic alphabet was developed. The school in Preslav is known from 866. Under
Ottoman rule 1396-1878, the field of education stagnated, but the new,
independent Bulgaria emphasized development. In 1878, three-year compulsory
schooling was introduced, from 1922 seven-year; in 1888 the University of Sofia
was founded. After 1944, the educations were arranged according to the Soviet
model. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 meant an increased orientation
towards Western Europe with an incipient democratization and streamlining of
education as a result.
OFFICIAL NAME: Bulgaria
CAPITAL CITY: Sofia
POPULATION: 7,400,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 111,000 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Bulgarian, Turkish, Romani, Macedonian, etc.
RELIGION: Bulgarian Orthodox 83%, Muslims 13%, Catholics 2%, others 2%
CURRENCY CODE: EVX
ENGLISH NAME: Bulgaria
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Bulgarians 82%, Turks 9%, Romanians 3%, Gypsies 4%, others 2%
GDP PER residents: 2071 $ (2007)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 69 years, women 76 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.816
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 54
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .bg
Bulgaria, state in the Balkans with coastline to the Black Sea. Since the
collapse of communism in 1989, it has been through a difficult transition to a
democratic and market-oriented society with a view to e.g. to qualify for EU and
NATO membership. Bulgaria is a popular holiday destination for Danish charter
Bulgaria - religion
The majority of the population is Christian; traditionally, the percentage
has been considered to be over 80, but secularization and almost 50 years of
atheistic propaganda have left their mark.
The absolute largest Christian denomination is the Bulgarian Orthodox Church,
whose history dates back to the country's adoption of Christianity in
864/865. It received its present form in 1870, and since 1953 it has had its
own patriarch and synod in Sofia. In addition, there are small Roman
Catholic, unified, Armenian and various Protestant communities; the Jewish
congregation has fewer than 5,000 members. After Christianity, Islam is
the country's largest religion; as a legacy of Ottoman rule, the
Turkish-speaking people, the Bulgarian-speaking Pomaks, the Tatarsand the
majority of Roma are Sunni Muslims. Ethnic-religious conflicts with atrocities
against the Muslim population most recently occurred in the 1980's. Since 1990,
new religious movements and Christian sects have been active in the country with
Bulgaria - Constitution
The country's new Constitution of July 1991 states that Bulgaria is
a republic with a parliamentaryform of government, and the threefold division
between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary is emphasized. The
basis of Bulgarian politics must be political pluralism, which is supplemented
by the fact that no party can be declared an official party. Ethnic and
religious parties are prohibited. The 240 members of the National Assembly are
elected for four years by proportional representation. The president is elected
by direct election for a maximum of twice five years. The executive power lies
mainly with the government. The President has limited access to declare a state
of emergency together with the National Assembly. Freedom rights are guaranteed
in rich measure, and consideration for the environment is included in the new
constitution. Finally, it is stated that the basis of economic life is free
Bulgaria - social conditions
Bulgaria's social structure was built before World War II on the two pillars
of agricultural culture, the village and the family. The communist modernization
programs launched after 1945 led to a sharp population migration from country to
city. Yet many households still consist of three or four generations because
newlyweds with children usually live with the husband's parents. This tradition
in itself constitutes a social insurance against economic consequences of
unemployment and retirement. In 1994, unemployment was approximately 16%, and the
unemployment benefit amounted to approximately 64% of an average salary. The
retirement age varies from 45 to 60 years, depending on the nature of the
work; women retire five years earlier than men. In 1993, the state pension
schemes corresponded to approximately 10% of an average household income. The social
system also provides compensation in connection with illness, just as women are
entitled to maternity leave. The total social expenses, incl. expenditure on
health care, in 1993 accounted for 70% of government expenditure.
Bulgaria - health conditions
Life expectancy has not changed from the 1970's to the 1990's. For women it has
risen slightly to 75 years, while for men it has fallen slightly to 68
years. Mortality for children in the first year of life is slowly declining and
is now 16 per. 1000 live births. The birth rate is declining and a Bulgarian
woman gives birth to an average of 1.8 children (1994).
Mortality due to cancer is approximately one third below the Danish and is also
slightly increasing here. Mortality due to heart disease is at the Danish level,
but there is no downward trend in Bulgaria as in Denmark.
The health service has been strongly centrally managed and funded; from 1990,
there has been some delegation of operational responsibility to local
authorities, but with continued state support. Limited private medical practice
has now been allowed. approximately 7% of GDP is spent on health care, and in relation
to the population there are 25% more doctors than in Denmark.
Bulgaria - military
The peacekeeping force of the armed forces is (2006) 51,000, including
conscripts. The period of service for conscripts is nine months. The war reserve
is 303,000 men, divided between 250,500 for the army, 7,500 for the navy and
45,000 for the air force. All three defenses have a Soviet-produced armament,
which is mainly of older date. In addition to the three defenses, Bulgaria has a
total of 34,000 paramilitary forces.
Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004.
Bulgaria - mass media
The Bulgarian press emerged in the 1840's under Turkish rule and was printed
outside the country's borders. Under communist rule, the media was under the
control of the government and the party, but with the 1991 constitution, freedom
of the press was officially introduced. Before then, however, it was with great
difficulty that the opposition newspapers Demokratsija and VEK21 managed to take
to the streets. Bulgaria's two largest and most influential newspapers are 24
Chasa (24 Hours), grdl.1991 and Trud (The Work), grdl. 1936, both owned by the
German WAZ (Westdeutscher Allgemeine Zeitung). A third major newspaper is
Standart, grdl. 1992.
Bulgarska Natsionalna Televiziya (BNT) was established in 1959 and broadcasts
on two channels across the country. In addition, there are two nationwide
private stations, BTV (Balkan Television), owned by Rupert Murdoch and Nova
TV. Also foreign satellite TV with American, French and Russian programs
can be received. The state-run Bulgarsko Natsionalno Radio is grdl. 1929 and has
two nationwide channels as well as a number of regional stations.
After the reforms of the early 1990's, the market economy quickly took off in
the media field, creating a dynamic media landscape. The old media has changed
dramatically and a number of new ones have emerged. Thus, in 2006 there are over
a hundred private radio stations and a similar number of TV stations, including
programs such as Big Brother and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? .
Bulgaria - visual art
Bulgarian art has its roots in the Thracian, Greek, Roman, Slavic,
Proto-Bulgarian and Byzantine cultural areas.
From the first Bulgarian state (680/81-1018) there are richly ornamented
palaces and fortifications in the cities of Preslav and
Pliska. The rock relief The Rider from Madara (700-t.) Is the only one
of its kind in Europe. Exquisitely machined precious metals and mini-sculptures
are also known from this period.
With the introduction of Christianity in 864/65, the Byzantine influence
increased, as it ia. can be seen in the church building, but the decoration of
the churches with geometric ceramic ornaments and rosettes of red sandstone
bears a local stamp. In the 900's, "The Golden Age", fresco painting and book
illustration art developed in the form of miniatures. I 1000-1300-t. monumental
church and monastery construction was the most important architectural form of
Towards the end of the 1100's. the frescoes became more realistic, and the
Byzantine canon was broken with, for example, the two-layer frescoes in
Bojanakirken near Sofia. 1185/86-1393 the Tărnovo School was the dominant
one; its painters developed a pre-Renaissance with narrative motifs, as seen,
for example, in the Church of the 40 Martyrs in Tărnovo. The first classic
Bulgarian icons date from the 1200's.
During the Ottoman period (1396-1878), Christian art lived in the remote
monasteries. Frescoes of considerable artistic value were created, and examples
of portrait art and everyday life scenes are seen, for example in the
Dragalevtsik Monastery, Arbanasi and Samokov. Monks and folk artists continued
the iconic tradition, which was added decorative elements.
The art of woodcarving was developed in the 1500-1600-t., And in the
1600-t. flourished the art of goldsmithing. During the Ottoman period, several
large mosques were built, including in Sofia, Plovdiv and Shumen, as well as
baths and administrative buildings.
In the second half of the 1700's. were the artists preoccupied with the
rehabilitation of the national, the means of expression became the realistic
form based on the Bulgarian reality; examples of this are parts of Rilaklosteret
(1817-47) south of Sofia with frescoes by Zachari Zograf.
From the second half of the 1800's. established an academic tradition of
artists educated abroad, eg in Vienna, Munich, Skt. Petersburg or Moscow.
In the early 1900-t. won out impressionistic and lyrical-metaphorical
tendencies. World War I evoked a large number of violent images of war. With the
movement "The National Art" in the 1920's, an expressionist, national, decorative
style was created.
The first decades after World War II meant total dominance of the dogmas of
socialist realism. In the 1970's, individual vision began to show itself, first
in graphics, then in the other artistic forms of expression. Since the late
1970's, work has been done on all means of expression from the folkloric to pop
Bulgaria - literature
Bulgarian literature is the oldest of the Slavic languages. It originated in
Bulgaria's first heyday as part of the missionary expansion of the Greek
Orthodox Church and includes texts written in Old Bulgarian (Old Church
Slavonic), Middle Bulgarian, and New Bulgarian.
Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
From the Old Bulgarian and Middle Bulgarian periods almost only
religious-ecclesiastical texts are known; of secular literature there are Troy
and Alexander novels. These are texts translated from Byzantine literature, some
with some freedom, but it is not an independent literature. 900-t. ("golden
age") and 1300-t. ("the silver walker") are the highlights.
The Ottoman conquest of Bulgaria in 1396 led to a literary stalemate that
lasted until the end of the 1700's. The Bulgarian intelligentsia fled in large
numbers to the areas north of the Danube when the country came under Ottoman
political rule. Greek-cultural dominance continued, however. In the monasteries,
which were often isolated, however, an extensive transcription of
Bulgarian-language texts also took place. An original Bulgarian literature first
appeared with "dam machines" in the 1600's. These works, which are of a
religious-instructive nature and written in the vernacular, gained considerable
popularity. They are named after the author of the Greek model, Damaskinos Studites.
The Slavic-Bulgarian history of the Athos monk Paisij
Khilendarski (1762, printed in 1844) heralded the Bulgarian renaissance (the
national rebirth) and thus a national literature. In this work, which was widely
distributed in transcripts, the national greatness of antiquity is brought to
mind; the importance of Bulgarian identity and language is emphasized and the
need for education is emphasized. Around the country, Bulgarian-language schools
and reading rooms were established, and interest arose in the rich folk culture,
especially in folk songs; a collection work was started, by the brothers
Konstantin and Dimităr Miladinov ("Bulgarian Folk Songs", Zagreb
1861). Journalistic activity also spread.
New Bulgarian literature
Around the middle of the 1800's. the New Bulgarian literature was
established. Until then, the model of the literary norm had been Church
Slavonic, which differed more and more from the language of the time. The basis
of the new literature provided the popular storytelling tradition. The folk
songs served as a model for the lyrics with their descriptions of the so-called khajduti,
'freedom fighters' (see also hejduk), who appeared as national
symbols. The revolutionary poet and journalist Khristo Botev was
the most prominent poet. In prose, Ljuben Karavelov excelled.
One might have expected a literary renewal and flourishing after the
liberation in 1878; many writers, however, had been killed in connection with
the uprising of 1876 and the liberation, and a new generation was given the task
of founding the literature of the new state. However, literature before and
after 1878 had Turkish oppression as its main subject. The leading figure in the
period after 1870 was Ivan Vazov.
It was not until around 1900 that European literary currents began to take
hold. In the field of poetry, Pentjo Slavejkov and Pejo
Javorov drew a symbolism based on French and Russian models. Dimtjo
Debeljanov (1887-1916) was also one of the Bulgarian symbolists. Communist
Nikola Vaptsarov, who was executed by the Nazi-friendly regime, was inspired by Vladimir
Prose is based on popular life and is often associated with a particular
region. In the interwar period, Elin Pelin and Jordan
Jovkov continued the tradition of Vazov.
The first years of post-war literature were marked by Bulgaria's
incorporation into the Communist bloc. In the period up to 1956, three movements
stood out: 1) a new communist-oriented poetry with the martyr poet Nikola
Vaptsarov as a model. 2) a group of prose writers with spiritual roots
in the socially realistic currents of the 1930's. The group sought to create a
communist social realism with a Bulgarian slant. Notable is Dimităr Dimov
(1909-66) with the novel Tjutjun(1953, Tobacco); the novel appears as
the classic work of Bulgarian social realism with the description of the lives
of Bulgarian tobacco workers from the early 1930's until the end of World War
II. 3) A group of lyricists who had had their breakthrough before the war, some
with roots in symbolism. The group adapted to the state's demand for a
communist-related expression. Prominent is Elisaveta Bagrjana,
who was part of the new system with the view that the national must be weighted
higher than the political.
The 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956
heralded a "period of thaw", especially in poetry. The system expanded
the framework of what was allowed, and the opportunities were exploited
primarily by the very young generation, the so-called "April generation",
named after the plenary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party in April
1956, where the ideological grip was loosened. As a protest movement, it showed
solidarity with the Yevgeny Yevtushenko generation in the
Soviet Union. One of the most prominent representatives of the so-called
rebellious youth is the lyricist Ljubomir Levtjev (b. 1935), whose declarative
expressive poetry has roots in Walt Whitmanand Vladimir
Najakovsky (1893-1930) and was immediately inspired by the Soviet savages
Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Andrei Voznesensky. The generation was
also influenced by Western literature, such as García Lorca and Bertolt
Brecht. The "thaw period" continued until the mid-1980's, but not as
provocatively as in the early years. In the mid-1960's, translation by TS
Eliot, Kafka, and even Solzhenitsyn was allowed.
A more traditional social realism continued in the field of prose. Thus
Georgi Karaslavov wrote a la Gorky novel Obiknoveni khora (1960-75,
Ordinary People). Of lasting interest is the prose writer Emilian Stanev,
who can be described as a poetic realist. Several of his well-known short
stories and novels depict animals seen from the inside, and a main motif with
him is man and/or nature.
The historical novel plays a not insignificant role in post-war
literature. It serves two purposes: to endow the communist regime with national
greatness and to allow the author to deal with topics that were otherwise taboo
in communism's Bulgaria. Dimităr Talev (1898-1966) and Anton Dontjev (b. 1930)
are examples of this.
A prominent figure is the prose writer Jordan Radichkov,
who continues the tradition of Elin Pelin and Jovkov with the story of the
region and the village dweller as the central, but portrayed mythically and with
an unusual imagination. The 1980's heralded a general optimism in Bulgaria. Party
leader Todor Zhivkov's daughter Ljudmila Zhivkova was Minister
of Culture and advocate for greater artistic freedom and a relaxed attitude to
Western cultural phenomena. She died in 1981, and from the mid-1980's a greater
degree of "historical optimism" in literature disappeared. In Blaga
Dimitrova's novel Litse(1981, Face/Person) depicts the
selfishness, cynicism and careerism that were characteristic of the time before
the thaw in 1956; the book was heavily criticized by the system and disappeared
from bookstores and libraries.
The number of party poets was large in communist Bulgaria. The court poets
were a favored elite, but a small handful of poets lived on the border between
the official and the taboo. It was modernists who went against the canon of
socialist realism. They were searching, doubting, they cultivated the metaphor
and in their individualistic symbolic resistance to the spirit-oriented
government they created a strong lyric. Kiril Kadijski, (b. 1947), Nikolai
Köntjev (b. 1936), Boris Khristov (b. 1945) and Konstantin Pavlov (1933-2008)
are the main representatives of this group. All have had several collections of
poems translated into Western languages.
After the collapse of communism in 1989, the newly acquired artistic freedom
manifested itself in a wave of pornography and crime fiction, as well as a
stream of memoir literature and political showdown and revelation
literature. Formerly serious writers like Aleksandör Tomov and Vlado Daverov
produced mass literature on the mafia and the new rich. The good psychological
and realistic prose, however, appeared in glimpses, as for example in Viktor
Paskov's novels. Alek Popov (b. 1966) attracted attention with his
grotesque and baroque short stories; the satirical and very funny novel Missija
London (2001, Mission London) about life at the Bulgarian embassy in London
in the 1990's, caused a great scandal. The philosopher Emilia Dvorjanova (b.
1958) came into focus with the philosophical novel Passion ili smörtta na
Alisa(1996, Passion or Alisa's Death); a musical, sensitive and captivating
work. In 1999, Georgi Gospodinov broke through the sound
barrier with the postmodernist divorce novel Estestven Roman (Da. A
Natural Novel, 2006), which received much attention due to its literary
qualities and has been published in several editions in Bulgaria and translated
into over 20 languages.
New literary prizes and publishers who focus on quality have helped to arouse
interest in serious literature, but at the beginning of the new millennium,
there is still a long way to go between the hits.
Bulgaria - dance
Bulgaria can be roughly divided into two main zones based on the dance types,
style and time signatures: Østbulgarien (2/3 of the
country) and West Bulgaria. Until World War II, there was a rich repertoire of
regional dances with accompanying music. Chain dancing (khoro)
was common, but couples dancing such as rătjenitsa were also
danced. The greatest rhythmic variation is found in the central West Bulgaria
where dance in time signatures as 5/16, 7/16, 9/8, 10/8, 11 /16, 12/8,
and 13/16, which are also known from Bulgarian folk,
have been common. In Østbulgarien is dances on the other hand most often in 2/4 or 6/8 apart
from the typical dance pajdusjka in 5/16, rătjenitsa in 7/16 and dajtjovo in 9/16. After
World War II, the trend has been towards simpler dances and fewer opportunities
to dance these dances. In the 1990's, the traditional dances were danced
especially at weddings, where the most widespread chain dance is pravo khoro,
which is found in various local varieties.
Only after World War I did ballet begin to develop into an independent art
form. The founder of the professional ballet in Bulgaria was Anastas Petrov, who
trained as a solo dancer in Berlin. In 1927 Petrov set up a professional ballet
ensemble at the Sofia Opera, in 1928 he opened a ballet school, and in 1937 he
choreographed the first Bulgarian ballet Dragon and Jana. The first
experimental ballet was founded in 1967 under the direction of Margarita
Bulgaria - music
The oldest documentation of the Bulgarian church song dates back to the
800's. A secular art music took shape after 1900 with the State
Academy of Music in Sofia, the National Opera and several symphony
orchestras. After World War I, a new generation of professional composers
contributed to the development, among them Pančo Vladigerov (1899-1978) and
Ljubomir Pipkov (1904-74).
Folk music is characterized by the ethnic composition of the
population, though mostly by the Slavic element. Under Turkish rule (1396-1878),
music thrived in small towns and in the countryside among peasants and
shepherds. In the early 1900-t. extensive collections of songs were made, and
since 1938, the Academy of Bulgarian Sciences has been in charge of folk music
Folk poetry is based on text lines with a certain number of syllables and a
fixed caesura, eg 7 (4 + 3), 8 (4 + 4 or 5 + 3), 10 (4 + 6 or 5 + 5). Most
often, two-line stanzas occur, but due to repetitions of text clauses and
additions of filler words and choruses, the stanzas can take irregular forms.
Dance songs and instrumental dances are characterized by a fixed rhythm (tempo
giusto); two-part and three-part time signatures are common, but also
is a large variety of asymmetric rates based on the compositions of two and
three units, e.g., 5/8 (2 + 3), 7/8 (2
+ 2 + 3), 9/8 (2 + 2 + 2 + 3 or 2 + 3 + 2 + 2). Free
rhythm (parlando rubato) is especially expressed in the
partly recitative, partly strongly ornamented solo songs, which in Midwest
Bulgaria are sung at the table during the wedding parties.
The melodies often use a diatonic fifteen-row, ritual songs, however, often
only two or three tones, while lyrical songs can exceed the octave. An oriental
touch is seen in scales with enlarged second steps, and in old ritual songs
sometimes other interval sizes occur. Pentatonic is taken in the Rhodope
While music in the eastern regions is characterized by unanimity, in the
western part of Bulgaria there are several forms of two-part. In the Pirin
Mountains the melody is accompanied by an undertone on the root note, in Midwest
Bulgaria it is sung mainly in parallel seconds.
In the years after the liberation from the Turks, the first arrangements of
old songs appeared, and from the 1940's, popular folk melodies became
increasingly widespread, through the media. The composer Filip Kutev
(1903-82) founded choirs and ensembles and showed how one could maintain
essential features of the originality of music in an arrangement. Later
composers have created new, personalized choral works based on the Bulgarian
Bulgaria - film
Bulgaria's first feature film was The Gallant Bulgaria (1915) by Vasil Gendov
(1891-1970). In the 1930's, the weakly funded Bulgarian film industry had to
contend with great economic difficulties, but in November 1947, the Bulgarian
film industry was nationalized and a reconstruction began. The 1950's were first
marked by heavy Stalinist propaganda, but since then a more experimental line
emerged, especially with the East German Konrad Wolf's East
German-Bulgarian Sterne (1959, The Star). The Bulgarian co-director of this
film, Rangel Vultjanov (b. 1928), appeared as the Bulgarian film's most
significant name with the Romeo and Juliet story The First Lesson (1960) and
especially the youth film Sun and Shadows(1962). This film as well as The Peach
Thief (1964), a love story from World War I by Vuljo Radev (b. 1923), became the
first and greatest international success of Bulgarian film. Among the later
directors, Khristo Khristov (b. 1926) is the most important, especially with the
artist film Iconostasis (1969). The crisis and new openness of the 1980's were
addressed in Vultjanov's satirical And Where Now? (1987).
Bulgaria - wine
Bulgaria's approximately 180,000 hectares of wine annually produce 500 million. bottles
(1990), evenly distributed on red and white wines. The country is among the
world's largest wine exporters. All wine is produced in cooperatives, of which
there are approximately 200. Since the 1960's, large-scale plantations have taken
place, in particular with the French grapes cabernet sauvignon, merlot,
pinot noir and chardonnay.
A wine law from 1978 divides the wines into four categories, of which Kontroliran is
the highest, corresponding to France's AOC. In 1994 there were approximately 30
controlled districts, Sukhindol, Pleven, Sliven, Khaskovo, Sungurlare and
The local red wine grapes gămza, mavrud, melnik and pamid give
powerful and spicy wines that are mostly drunk locally.