Located in the southeastern part of Europe, Bulgaria is bordered by Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Greece, with the Black Sea on its eastern border. The capital and largest city is Sofia, with other major cities of Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas. Its population is a primarily Slavonic-speaking, Orthodox Christian country, and also the birthplace of the Cyrillic alphabet.
Although facing a high corruption problem, Bulgaria is part of the European Union and NATO. The country is also facing a precipitous drop in its fertility rate, with a current population of about 7 million, down from 9 million people in 1988.
Bulgaria has one of Europe’s richest biodiversities in terms of animal, bird and plant species, with several kinds of wild boar, jackals, partridges and fungal species. Bulgarian culture and cuisine have been influenced, over the centuries, by Turkish and Greek cultures, with yogurt, lukanka, banitsa, shopska salad, lyutenitsa and kozunak counted among the best-known local foods.