Bulgaria

Gaveen Godage April 28th, 2015 Period 6

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Geography

Climate and Weather

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Climate

Bulgaria has cold, damp winters; hot, dry summers. The best time to visit Bulgaria for the beach is May-August and it is advised not to go after 3rd the third week of September since many resorts start to close and the temperatures drop. In the summer the average temperature is 30 degrees celsius (86 degrees in fahrenheit. Rainfall occurs year round but is most evident in the months April, May, June. These months usually have about 3 inches of rain, with 18 rainy days per month.

Culture

The main language in Bulgaria is Bulgarian. An important tradition is Baba Marta. This is the celebration of warm weather arriving. To celebrate white and red tassels are traded to wish each other good health and happiness. In Bulgaria nodding your head up and down is saying "no" and side to side is "yes". Orthodox Bulgarian is the main religion in Bulgaria, 12 percent of the country is Muslim. Bulgaria also celebrates Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Bulgaria celebrates many saints in name days. During a Name Day you celebrate the name of a saint, children are mostly named after saints in Bulgaria. This celebration is like a second birthday many gifts are exchanged.
Bulgaria Culture Tips: Head Nodding, Name Days, March Bracelets

Top Three Places To Visit

There are many places to see in Bulgaria. The top three places to visit are the Belogradchik Fortress which is a man made construction set against a stunning formation of rock. Next on the list is Sozopol, which is one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria and lies of the Bulgaria's Black Sea coastline. Last on the list is Veliko Tarnovo, which was the historic capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire between the 12th and 14th centuries.


Belogradchik Fortress

This tourist attraction was first used by the Romans, they built roads in the new provinces of the empire on the Balkan peninsula, as well as fortresses to guard them. The Romans also built the highest par of the fortress, call The Citadel. Over the years many different groups have ruled and reconstructed this fortress. In 1850 when the Belogradchik Uprising was routed, its leaders were taken into the forest tunnels and beheaded. Today there is a memorial commending their heroism. Tourists also come to see its natural beauty and the rocky hillsides.


Sozopol

The city of Sozopol is located on a scenic bay along the southern Bulgarian coast. Sozopol is one of the oldest cities on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. The city has a population of 5,000 and is one of the country's most popular seaside resorts. The romantic atmosphere, and old town style attracts tourists from all over the world. The first settlements on Sozopol was during the Neolithic Era. During the first centuries of existence the city grew rapidly. Today Sozopol's old town is a museum-reserve and has been so since 1974. The two main beaches in Sozopol are the Central beach and the Harmani beach. There are many sporting activities to try at the beaches. The city is divided between old town and modern section. In the old town there is a romantic atmosphere with narrow cobbled streets and old architecture. The modern section has many hotels, restaurants, and campgrounds.


Veliko Tarnovo

The town Veliko Tarnovo is located in Northern Bulgaria in the valley of the river Yantra. This is one of the oldest towns in Bulgaria and used to be the capital of Bulgaria. There is a population of 70,000 people. Many tourists come to the town for its historical value. The most significant monument of culture in Veliko Tarnovo is the medieval fortress Tsarevets. In the medieval town of Tsarvets many religious activities occurred. Nearby there are historical hills which portray battle scars and religious activities. This town is also famous for its orthodox temples. Many of these temples were built for certain leaders or for worship. It was said that walking down a lane in Veliko Tarnovo takes you back into the past.

Current Information

The currency in Bulgaria is the Bulgarian lev, which is the strongest and most stable currency in Eastern Europe


A Bulgarian lev is equal to 0.57 of a US dollar.


Bulgaria is a republic. The council of ministers is the main authority of the executive power in Bulgaria. The council consists of the Bulgarian Prime Minister and specialized ministers. The council of ministers is chosen by the newly elected government.


The current leader of Bulgaria is Boyko Borissov, and he is the Prime Minister of Bulgaria. Boyko Borissov is the 50th prime minister of Bulgaria.


The economy of Bulgaria functions of the principles of a free market, having large private section and a smaller public section. Bulgaria is an industrialized upper-middle-income country. In the recent years the economy has experienced rapid economic growth. Bulgaria has an average monthly wage of 812 lev which is 554 US dollars. It's GDP per capita is estimated at $14,400. The strongest sections are energy, mining, metallurgy, machine building, agriculture, and tourism.


Bulgaria's major exports include clothing, iron, steel, machinery, and refined fuels.

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Food

Bulgarian foods are considerably diverse because of geographical factors such as climates to grow different herbs. Bulgarian cuisine combines that of Greek, Middle Eastern, and Italian. Appetizers often include salads, dairy products, and soups. Main courses contain water based stews, vegetarian or with meat. Deep frying is not common but grilling is very prominent.

Moussaka

Moussaka is a famous Bulgarian dish, which incorporates many different ingredients.


List of ingredients:

Lamb:

1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup Greek extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, cored, and thinly sliced
1 serrano chile, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 (28-ounce can) plum tomatoes, pureed until smooth with their juices
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
Honey, if needed
Eggplant:
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut crosswise into 14-thick slices
Bechamel Sauce:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup soft goat cheese
1 cup grated Romano
1 lemon, zested

Directions to make dish:For the lamb: Soak the currants in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a 6-quart saucepan over high heat. Add the lamb, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cayenne, and salt and pepper and cook, stirring to break up the meat, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a large strainer set over a bowl and drain; discard any liquid left in the pan. Return the pan to the heat and add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the serrano and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.

Return the lamb to the pan, add the wine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until almost completely evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato puree and currants and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley and oregano and season with salt and pepper and honey, if needed. Remove from the heat.

For the eggplant: Heat the canola oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Season the eggplant slices on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the eggplant slices and fry until tender and lightly golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer the eggplant slices to paper towels.

For the bechamel: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until pale and smooth, 2 minutes. Still whisking constantly, add the milk and bay leaf and cook until thickened. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and discard the bay leaf. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, goat cheese, and lemon zest and whisk into the bechamel sauce until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or casserole dish.

To assemble: Put half the eggplant slices in the dish and cover with half the meat sauce. Top the sauce with the remaining eggplant slices, and then the remaining meat sauce. Pour the bechamel over the top of the meat sauce and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle Romano evenly over the top, place the dish on a baking sheet, and bake until browned and bubbly, 45 to 50 minutes. Top with more chopped parsley, if desired. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/moussaka-recipe.html?oc=linkback
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Transportation and Lodging

A flight to Sofia, Bulgaria from Chicago will last approximately 13 1/2 to 14 1/2 hours. The best airline to fly with would be United/Austrian. It would cost $1,160 for a round trip. It would be a 14 hr 25 min flight with two stops one in France and another in Vienna.

Once you have landed in Sofia there are many things to do such as visit the Cathedral Saint Alexandar Nevski, which is considered a must see Sofia landmark. The cost to visit this cathedral is around $28. The Vitosha Mountain is another amazing place to visit. This is a very unique and calm place, that is beautiful during all 4 seasons. The easiest way to get there is to take tram number 5 and hop off at the last station. The cost to see the mountain is very little because you only have to pay for transportation. If you don't want to navigate through the city yourself go on a sight seeing tour. There are many different tours that can take you around the city or out into the beautiful landscape. One of the most popular tours is the Traventuria which is a day long tour that goes to different monasteries and the guides are very knowledgeable. The Traventuria tour only cost around $3 for the whole day. During your stay in Bulgaria stay at the Grand Hotel Sofia. It is $86 per night. The Grand Hotel Sofia is in a prime location near tourist attractions. It has a rating of 4.7 stars. With

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MLA Citations

"Bulgaria." Weather Online. WeatherOnline, 2015. Web. 4 May 2015.
<http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/climate/Bulgaria.htm>.
"Bulgaria's Geography." Investors Provident. Investors Provident, 2015. Web. 4
May 2015. <http://www.investorsprovident.com/europe/bulgaria/

bulgarias-geography.html>.

Carter, Francis William. "Bulgaria." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopdia
Britannica, 2014. Web. 4 May 2015. <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/

topic/84090/Bulgaria>.

"Moussaka." Food Network. Television Food Network G.P., 2015. Web. 4 May 2015.

<http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/moussaka-recipe.html>.