Education in Bulgaria

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.

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.



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%

COIN: lev




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)




Bulgaria is a 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 tourists.

  • Find two-letter abbreviation for each independent country and territory, such as BG which stands for Bulgaria.

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 some success. Check youremailverifier for Bulgaria social condition facts.

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 initiative.

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 expression.

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 art.

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 Mayakovsky.

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.

After 1956

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 Arnaudova.

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 research.

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 Mountains.

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 folk song.

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 Pavlikeni.

The local red wine grapes gămza, mavrud, melnik and pamid give powerful and spicy wines that are mostly drunk locally.

Bulgaria Education