The Republic of Bulgaria is located in the Southeast of Europe and has a population in the vicinity of 7,500,000. At the precipice of the Balkan Peninsula, fringed by Greece to the south and Turkey to the east, and with Romania to the north, Serbia and FYROM to the west, it has been rendered an economic hub, it being the case it shores the Black sea. Small though it may seem, particularly due to its geopolitical locus as it is not landlocked, it has been rendered a strong industrial and agricultural market economy. Its capital, Sofia enjoys a thriving economy with a population nearing 1,500,000 people. The official language of the country is Bulgarian, whereas the official religion is Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The population consists mainly of Bulgarians (85%). Additionally, there is a Turkish minority (8%), as well as a Roma minority (5%).
One of the earliest tribes to colonize the territory, with a preference to the area near the south border with Greece was the Thracians. The first Bulgarian tribes arrived at the region during the 7th century AD. Subsequently, the first Bulgarian Empire spanned the late 7th and early 11th century, succeeded by the second Bulgarian Empire, dating from the late 12th to the mid 14th century, during which Bulgaria saw unprecedented affluence and prosperity, making it an historical crossroad for various civilizations. Yet in 1393, Bulgaria fell under Ottoman rule for almost five hundred years, until 1878, which signifies the incipience of what is known as the Third Bulgarian State. During WWII, Bulgaria was on the side of the Axis; however it refused to participate in the Operation Barbarossa plan. In turn, from 1946 to 1990, Bulgaria was under Communist influence. Today, the country has a system of Parliamentary Democracy, and a free market economy, and is known as “The Republic of Bulgaria”, culminating in its accedence in the EU economic community.
Bulgaria has a long history spanning nearly 2,400 years evinced upon innumerable monuments, statues, churches and chantries. Many a Bulgarian city, Sofia and Plovdiv in particular, are renowned for their cultural and historical significance. After the fall of the communist regime, efforts to modernize the country's economy and educational system have paid off, evident in the blossoming architecture and booming economic activity. This has led to the significant development of the Bulgarian Universities, some of which are counted within the best of Eastern Europe. Better yet, life in Bulgaria is particularly cheap by comparison to other EU member states, making it an extremely popular destination for students from all over the world.