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BULGARIA

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CLIMATE
The Bulgarian climate is moderate continental with Mediterranean influence to the South. The average annual temperature is 10, 5 degrees Celsius. Four seasons are distinctly expressed - winter, spring, summer and autumn.

January is the coldest month of the year, July and August are the hottest months and sometimes temperatures go above 30 C.

Marked by four distinct seasons, Bulgaria enjoys a generally favorable climate that is one of the country's best features. Summers are typically hot and dry, but rarely oppressive, with moderate relative humidity. Winters are cold but not bitterly so.

In the south and Black Sea coastal regions, Mediterranean influences temper the harsher continental climate of the interior. The country's half-dozen mountain groups also play a significant part in determining regional variances.

In the capital, Sofia, daytime high temperatures average 82F/28C in July-August; 37F/3C in January, and reflect the ameliorating effects of nearby Mt. Vitosha.

The wettest months are April-May and November in the interior; June, October and December along the coast. In mid-summer, the coast enjoys prodigious sunshine with daytime high air temperatures averaging 83F/28C and water temps ranging around 73-77F/23-25C.

MOUNTAINS
Bulgaria impresses with the beauty of azure, warm sea and the magnificent mountains covered with snow. The country's relief is varied (from 0 to 2,925 m above the sea level) and about 60 percents of the territory are hilly and mountains.

Very beautiful and picturesque are the mountains of Rila, Pirin, Stara Planina, and the Rhodopes with their old forests, numerous caves, magnificent gorges, waterfalls and lakes.

A site of interest in Rila are the Seven glacial lakes. There are the highest summit on the Balkan Peninsula - Moussala(2,925 m), the oldest biosphere reserve - Parangalitza, which is a part of the National park Rila.

In Pirin Mountain there are many glacial lakes. The beautiful Popinolashki waterfall and the Pyramids of Melnik are situated there. The National Park Pirin is included in the UNESCO world heritage list.

In Stara Planina Mountain there are lots of caves and waterfalls. The marvelous Iskar gorge, the caves of Lednitzata, the National Park 'Central Balkan', and the Natural Park 'Sinite kamani' are located in the mountain.

The Rhodopes Mountain is one of the oldest mountains in Bulgaria. Very interesting are the Karst areas with their deep river gorges, large caves and specific sculptured forms - the Trigrad Gorge, Buynovsko Gorge, Devil's Throat cave, Yagodinska cave, Uhlovitza cave, Wonderful Bridges.

In the Bulgarian mountains there are marvelous winter resorts, which offer excellent conditions for recreation. Some of them are Borovetz, Semkov, Pamporovo, Bansko, Smolyan, Devin, Chepelare and etc.

WATERS
Along the Black Sea coast there are also many opportunities for ecological tourism: the natural reserve of Kamchia near Varna, Atanasovo lake and Mandra lake near Bourgas and etc.

The high-mountain lakes add to about 400 in number. The most popular are the Seven Rila Lakes, Banderishki ezera, Vasilashki, Kremenski , Samodivski , Gazeiski , Gorno Polejansko, Popovoto, Tevnoto The gorge of the river Iskar is a natural miracle carved out of the stone breasts of the Stara Planina. It starts from the valley of Sofia and ends around the town of Cherven Bryag. The mountain beauty, diversity and accessibility during all seasons make them an object of desire for home and international tourism.

Bulgaria has the abundance of 600 hot, warm and cold natural mineral springs and 370 drilling springs. The water has different chemical composition, degree of mineralization, types of dissolvable salts, medical gases, biologically active microcomponents, temperature and healing properties. The favourable, healthy climate and the presence of balneo-resources in Bulgaria offer possibilities to combine one' s rest with prophylactics and treatment. The most famous spa resorts are: Velingrad, Narechen, Varshets, Kiustendil, Kostenetz, Sapareva banya, Sandanski, Sofia, Pomorie, Pavel banya, Hissarya.

There are many rivers in Bulgaria so travelers can determine the country as rich of water resources.

NATURAL LANDMARKS
Bulgaria is proud of its 3 national and 10 natural parks that have preserved the diversity, unspoiled beauty and the uniqueness of its natural and cultural heritage. The National parks of Bulgaria are: Rila, Pirin and Central Balkan.

There are 98 reserves on the territory of the country, 17 of which are inhabited by different animal species. The most famous are: Boatin, North and South Djendem, Kamchia, Parangalitsa, Tsarichina, Skakavitsa, Bayuvi Dupki.

The Natural Parks are 10: Strandja, Vratsa Balkan, the Blue Rocks, the Russe Lom, the Shoumen plateau, Golden Sands, Kobaklak, Srebarna, Rila Monastery, Persina.Very interesting is the reserve of Srebarna, included in the UNESCO world heritage list.

In Bulgaria there are numerous ecologically clean places, which have preserved their traditional appearance and genuine spirit. There one has the opportunity simultaneously to enjoy the marvelous Bulgarian nature and to share the preserved rich Bulgarian traditions and folklore. Elena and its region, Shiroka luka and its region, Melnik, Tryavna, Rupite, Kotel, Zheravna, Bozhentzi, Arbanassi, Kovachevtzi, Koprivshtitsa are only some of those places.

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