1. Bulgarians tend to shake their heads to indicate yes and nod to indicate no. To confuse matters further, many Bulgarians will do the opposite in touristy areas of the country.

2. The oldest gold in the world was found in Bulgaria. The treasure was found in the town of Varna and dates back more than 6,000 years.

Lion statue in Sofia, Bulgaria

3. Bulgarians love lions. The lion is the country’s national symbol and the currency is even named after the animal; leva is the Bulgarian word for lion.

4. The Cyrillic alphabet was invented in Bulgaria. The alphabet, which is now used throughout Russia and the Balkans, was created by two Bulgarian monks in the 9th century.

5. Bulgaria is the largest exporter of rose oil. The country’s Rose Valley region produces around 80% of the world’s rose oil, mainly for use in perfumes.

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

6. Bulgaria is home to the oldest inhabited city in Europe. Plovdiv is not only the oldest in Europe, but the sixth oldest city in the entire world.

7. Bulgarians love yoghurt, with hundreds of varieties found in many supermarkets. Yoghurts in the country have a distinct taste, as the bacteria used in their production is only found naturally in Bulgarian air.

8. Bulgaria has an abundance of mineral springs. The country actually has the second most mineral springs of any country in Europe, only behind Iceland.

Saint Sophia statue in Sofia, Bulgaria

9. Contrary to popular belief, the capital city is not named after Saint Sofia. The name is actually derived from the Saint Sophia Church, which sits on one of the highest points in the city.

10. Bulgaria’s entire Jewish population was saved from concentration camps during World War Two. The Bulgarian Government and the Bulgarian Orthodox church worked together to prevent their deportation.

Most of the facts here came from the Free Sofia Tour and the Free Plovdiv Tour, both run by the 365 Association. If you happen to be going to Bulgaria yourself, I would definitely recommend the walking tours run by this organisation!

Do you know any other interesting facts about Bulgaria?