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The Bulgars, a Central Asian Turkic tribe, merged with the local Slavic inhabitants in the late 7th century to form the first Bulgarian state. In succeeding centuries, Bulgaria struggled with the Byzantine Empire to assert its place in the Balkans, but by the end of the 14th century the country was overrun by the Ottoman Turks. Northern Bulgaria attained autonomy in 1878 and all of Bulgaria became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1908. Having fought on the losing side in both World Wars, Bulgaria fell within the Soviet sphere of influence and became a People's Republic in 1946. Communist domination ended in 1990, when Bulgaria held its first multiparty election since World War II and began the contentious process of moving toward political democracy and a market economy while combating inflation, unemployment, corruption, and crime. The country joined NATO in 2004 and the EU in 2007.


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Communications

Telephones - main lines in use World Ranking: 53
2.311 million (2011)

Telephones - mobile cellular World Ranking: 70
10.475 million (2011)

Telephone system
General assessment
Inherited an extensive but antiquated telecommunications network from the Soviet era; quality has improved with a modern digital trunk line now connecting switching centers in most of the regions; remaining areas are connected by digital microwave radio relay
Domestic
The Bulgaria Telecommunications Company's fixed-line monopoly terminated in 2005 in an effort to upgrade fixed-line services; mobile-cellular teledensity, fostered by multiple service providers, has reached 150 telephones per 100 persons
International
Country code - 359; submarine cable provides connectivity to Ukraine and Russia; a combination submarine cable and land fiber-optic system provides connectivity to Italy, Albania, and Macedonia; satellite earth stations - 3 (1 Intersputnik in the Atlantic Ocean region, 2 Intelsat in the Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions) (2011)

Broadcast media
4 national terrestrial TV stations with 1 state-owned and 3 privately-owned; a vast array of TV stations are available from cable and satellite TV providers; state-owned national radio broadcasts over 3 networks; large number of private radio stations broadcasting, especially in urban areas (2010)

Internet country code
.bg

Internet hosts World Ranking: 46
937,195 (2010)

Internet users World Ranking: 63
3.395 million (2009)


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  Bulgaria (Sofia):


  GPS points from Bulgaria (Sofia)

Ajazlar Oblast Turgovishte

Banja Oblast Pazardzhik

Levski Oblast Plovdiv

Debrashtitsa Oblast Pazardzhik

Mezhdra Oblast Vratsa

Obshtina Anton Oblast Sofiya

Ussoina Oblast Veliko Turnovo

Byelitsa Oblast Blagoevgrad




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