Terrain shapes and bedrock
Although Bulgaria has a relatively limited area, the topography shows great variation. An extension in the east-west direction is characteristic of most landform regions.
In the far north, the Danube plain extends on the southern side of the lower Danube with close to one third of the country’s surface. Unlike the plain on the Romanian, northern side of the river, it is cool and relatively high, on average 180 m above sea level, and has marked slopes down towards the Danube. The bedrock here mainly consists of chalk limestone and sandstone, and the ground cover is of loose soil with black soil formation.
South of the Danube plain, the Balkan Mountains (Stara planina), which is a north concave, alpine mountain range. According to COUNTRYAAH, the average height is 722 m asl. and the highest peak, Botev, 2,376 m above sea level.
Parallel to and south of the Balkan Mountains extends a transition area with complex relief, called the Antibalkan. Here, among other things, Sredna, Vitosja and Lisa mountains, horstarted ridges that alternate with lowered areas in the form of plains and streams, e.g. Sofia Basin.
On the south side of these mountain paths, which are penetrated by several valleys and passports, e.g. The ship’s cape at 1 333 m above sea level, extends to the basin area of Östrumelien. It is covered by loose soil, has a cool terrain with several fertile sinks, eg. around Plovdiv, and is of great economic importance.
In the southwestern part of the country, the high Rila-Rodopi Mountains (see Rila Mountains and Rodopi Mountains) rise with the Musalatoppen, which is the highest point in the country and on the entire Balkan Peninsula, 2 925 m above sea level. The Pirin chain in the same massif reaches 2,914 m above sea level in Vichrentoppen. Many glacial lakes and niches as well as snow fields with meltwater runoff in the summer contribute to the natural beauty of this mountain landscape.
On the Black Sea coast with its many bays and flat sandy beaches also spreads a narrow coastal plain, which is a valuable asset from the tourist and recreation point of view. Bulgaria also has a large number of hot springs, most of which are located in the west, they are also an important natural resource.
The country is permeated by a number of rivers that erode deep valleys in the mountain ridges in several places. In addition to the Danube border with its rather short tributaries, which drain off the northern part, the most important rivers are Struma, Maritsa, Arda and Tundzja.
Bulgaria has a continental climate in its northern and northwestern parts, while the climate in the south-east is of the Mediterranean type and in the mountain areas of transition type. The climate is generally pleasant but varied throughout the year, especially in spring.
In the Maritsa Valley in the central parts of the country, summers are hot and winters are relatively cold. On the Black Sea coast, winters are slightly warmer, but strong cold can occur during northeast winds in winter; on such occasions, the Danube and other rivers can also freeze. In summertime, both northeastern and southeastern winds can produce very warm weather. In the mountain areas, summers are pleasant and winters cooler than in other parts of the country; snow can lie in midsummer on the highest peaks. The lowland areas in the north may also have snow cover for a few weeks.
The average temperature is −1 °C in winter and 21 °C in summer, with some degree of variation. The precipitation varies between just over 500 and just under 700 mm per year, except in the mountainous areas where it falls about 1,200 mm. The driest areas are located in the far southwest and farthest in the northeast. In the north, the precipitation falls mainly during the summer, in the south mainly during the winter.
Plant-and animal life
Several different biogeographical provinces meet in Bulgaria; this means that both flora and fauna are relatively rich. The country also houses a number of endemic species.
Much of the original vegetation is devastated. Today, 1/3 of the country is wooded, of which almost 1/3 consists of late plantings. Large areas, which originally housed summer green deciduous forests, have now been replaced by shrubs, so-called seabirds., with hazel, wool, barberry, juda trees and lilac. In the lower parts of the Balkan mountains (Stara planina) and throughout northern and western Bulgaria, the flora is of central European type. The forests are dominated by oaks (Hungarian, Turkish, forest and mountain oak) and avenbook, with elements of book and maples. At higher levels, beech forest dominates, in some places coniferous forests with silver spruce, spruce, pine and Macedonian pine. The lower parts of the Rhodopi Mountains are overgrown with deciduous forests of beech, ebony species, oak species, European hop book and mana box. At higher altitude these are replaced by coniferous forests with black pine, pine and silver spruce. In northeastern Bulgaria the vegetation is originally steeped with grass and annual herbs, but the area is now largely cultivated. In the southeast, the forests consist of several oak species and an oriental book.
The mammalian fauna in the forest and mountain areas is typically Central European with deer, deer, wild boar, wild cat, gems, brown bear and wolf. In the steppe areas in the northeast there are sisels, hamsters, steppe and tiger rills. There are also gold shawls in the southern parts of the country. More than 350 bird species have been found, of which 240 are regular breeders. Among these are many species of birds of prey, all European species of woodpecker, white and black stork, tailed bird and bee-eaters. In particular, the turtles include marsh turtle, emerald lizard, tauric moth lizard (Podarcis taurica) and escapel nook.
Bulgaria has three national parks: Rila (810 km2), Pirin (400 km2) and the Central Balkan National Park (717 km2). In total, about 9% of the land area and 3% of the water area are under some form of nature protection.