Bulgaria, situated in southeastern Europe on the Black Sea, is one of Europe’s best-hidden secrets. A haven for nature and history buffs, this youngest member of the European Union has been riding a rollercoaster of radical transformation since emerging from the Eastern Bloc three decades ago, changing dramatically in many ways and yet preserving its own particular charm and slow-paced way of life.
Invasions and waves of migration, dating back to neolithic and classical times, have contributed to a unique cultural mosaic. The seventh-century Bulgarian empire dominated the Balkans and was a powerhouse of Slavonic culture. Later, Ottoman conquest and Soviet influence left their mark on the national psyche.
Culture Smart! Bulgaria provides a key to understanding the Bulgarian people. It outlines their long and complex history, shows you what everyday life is like there today, and offers advice on what to expect and how to navigate unfamiliar cultural terrain. This is a small country of proud and persevering people. Familiarize yourself with their way of life, and the warmth and hospitality you are shown in return will conquer your heart and bring you back time and again.
No matter what the occasion, you should always bring a gift. When Bulgarians go to a party, they bring a bottle of wine or any drink they know will appeal to the host’s taste. Chocolate or flowers are also well received. Flowers however, should always be an odd number—even numbers are brought to funerals only!