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After a series of bloody and brutal Balkan Wars in which Bulgaria failed to annex Vardar Macedonia (which had a population that it considered to be ethnic Bulgarian), Bulgaria had the further misfortune to be an ally to the losing side in both World Wars.

In the second half of World War II, it was occupied by the Soviet Union and became a People's Republic in 1946.

It's best to turn to the young population for a direction or advice in English. Methodius (826-884), who created the Cyrillic alphabet.

Communist domination was brought to a swift, but (for many people) illusory end in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall.Although Bulgaria went on to hold its first multi-party election since World War II, essentially socialist policies were pursued until hyperinflation and economic meltdown drove the old guard out of power in 1997.Temperate on the coast; mild autumns, cool winters, mild springs and warm and breezy summers.Mostly mountains with lowlands in north and southeast; highest point : Musala 2,925 m Bulgaria's territory was inhabited by the Thracians (famed for their gold-making, fierce warriors, and the gladiator Spartacus) for thousands of years before being conquered by the Roman Empire and later the Byzantine (East Roman) Empire.Bulgarians consider the Macedonian language to be a dialect of Bulgarian.

This is politically controversial, but it is true that Bulgarian and Macedonian are very close to each other and a speaker of one language can mostly understand the other. This can make the task of getting around the country somewhat difficult if you aren't familiar with this alphabet, as most signs are written in it.Today, reforms and democratization allowed Bulgaria to become a member of both NATO and the European Union.During Communist times, the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast was a favorite destination for travellers behind the Iron Curtain, hence the name "Red Riviera".It is surrounded by Romania to the north, Serbia to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia to the southwest, Greece to the south, and Turkey to the southeast.Being located close to the Turkish Straits means the key land routes from Europe to Middle East and Asia pass through Bulgaria.Located here is the country's second largest city, Plovdiv, which is one of the world's oldest cities.