Bulgaria is a cradle and crossroad of ancient civilizations. Thracians, Romans, Slavs and Bulgars have left their mark in the past on the culture of Bulgaria contributing to a heritage that combines long history, fine literature and unique folklore. Bulgaria is the birthplace of the Cyrillic alphabet, which was developed in Preslav and Ohrid Literary Schools during the tenth century. More than 200 million people from different countries today use the developed version of the Cyrillic alphabet, which by 1 January 2007 with Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union become its official alphabet.

Bulgaria has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Of these, two are Thracian tombs and three are churches and monasteries from the medieval period. In addition, it is worth mentioning that the Varna Necropolis, a 3500 BC burial site, contains what are believed to be the oldest examples of worked gold in the world.

Bulgaria continues to enrich the world heritage during the last two centuries. Prominent Bulgarians as John Atanasoff, the inventor of the modern digital computer, a number of noted opera singers as Nicolai Ghiaurov, Boris Christoff, Raina Kabaivanska and Ghena Dimitrova, artists as Vladimir Dimitrov and Christo (Christo Yavashev), composers as Pancho Vladigerov and Milcho Leviev, who is also a prominent performer, and writers as Ellias Canetti are only a part of the constellation of bright names that make Bulgaria well-known in the world.

The first Constitution of the modern Bulgarian state adopted in 1879 proclaimed that every slave becomes immediately free just by having stepped onto Bulgarian soil. During the dark years of the Second World War, the Bulgarian people, the Orthodox church and many political leaders succeeded in protecting 50 000 Bulgarian Jews from extermination in the gas chambers during the Holocaust.

At the very heart of the Bulgarian Peninsula, Bulgaria has historically been a melting-pot for diverse ethnicities, which brought about a remarkable spirit of tolerance and peaceful coexistence. Already an EU member as of January 1, 2007, Bulgaria continues to enrich Europe and the world with the talents and the creativity of its people as modern citizens of the world.