Bulgaria It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south and the Black Sea to the east. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres (42,855 sq mi), Bulgaria is Europe's 14th-largest country. Its location has made it a historical crossroad for various civilisations and as such it is the home of some of the earliest metalworking, religious and other cultural artifacts in the world.
Cultures began developing in the area during the Neolithic period, and ancient history saw the presence of the Thracians, Greeks, and Romans. The First Bulgarian Empire was established in 681, and dominated most of the Balkans in the 9th-10th centuries and functioned as a Slavic cultural hub. After a short period of Byzantine rule, the Second Bulgarian Empire emerged and lasted until 1396, when most of its territory was included in the Ottoman Empire. The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 created the Third Bulgarian State, which became independent in 1908. The following years saw several conflicts with its neighbours, which prompted Bulgaria to align with Germany in both World Wars. In 1946 it became a Communist republic with a single-party system. In 1989 the Communist Party allowed multi-party elections, following which Bulgaria transitioned to democracy and a market-based economy.
The population of 7.36 million people is predominantly urban and mainly concentrated in the administrative centres of its 28 provinces. Most commercial and cultural activities are concentrated in the capital Sofia. The strongest sectors of the economy are heavy industry, power engineering and agriculture, all relying on local natural resources.
The current political structure dates to the adoption of a democratic constitution in 1991. Bulgaria is a unitary parliamentary republic with a high degree of political, administrative and economic centralisation. It is a member of the European Union, NATO and the Council of Europe, a