SPECIAL REGIONAL CONSIDERATIONS - BULGARIA
The state of Bulgaria forms part of the Balkans in south-eastern Europe. It borders five other countries: Romania to the north (mostly along the River Danube), Serbia and the Republic of Macedonia to the west, and Greece and Turkey to the south. The Black Sea defines the extent of the country to the east. Bulgaria includes parts of the Roman provinces of Moesia, Thrace and Macedonia. Between 1987 and 1999 Bulgaria consisted of nine provinces; since 1999, it has consisted of twenty-eight. All take their names from their respective capital cities. The provinces subdivide into 264 municipalities.
Bulgaria functioned as the hub of Slavic Europe during much of the Middle Ages, exerting considerable literary and cultural influence over the Eastern Orthodox Slavic world by means of two major medieval cultural centers - the Preslav and Ohrid Literary Schools. Bulgaria also gave the world the Cyrillic alphabet, the second most-widely used alphabet in the world, which originated in these two schools in the tenth century AD. A number of ancient civilizations, most notably the Thracians, Greeks, Romans, Slavs, and Bulgars, have left their mark on the culture, history and heritage of Bulgaria.
In 1945, after World War II, Bulgaria became a communist state and part of the Eastern Bloc. The Revolutions of 1989, a revolutionary wave that swept across Central and Eastern Europe in the autumn of 1989, ended in the overthrow of Soviet-style communist states. In 1990, after the Revolutions of 1989, the Communist party gave up its monopoly on power and Bulgaria transitioned to democracy and free-market capitalism.
1 Wikipedia contributors, "Bulgaria," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgaria