Women in Bulgarian traditional costumes. *Photo from Wikipedia
September 22 is Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire in 1908.
The emergence of a unified Bulgarian state dates back to the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681 AD, which dominated most of the Balkans and functioned as a cultural hub for Slavs during the Middle Ages. With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) led to the formation of the Third Bulgarian State. The Treaty of San Stefano was signed on March 3, 1878, by Russia and the Ottoman Empire, and included a provision to set up an autonomous Bulgarian principality roughly on the territories of the Second Bulgarian Empire.
The following years saw several conflicts with its neighbors, which prompted Bulgaria to align with Germany in both world wars.
In 1946 it became a one-party socialist state as part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. In December 1989, the ruling Communist Party allowed multi-party elections, which subsequently led to Bulgaria’s transition into a democracy and a market-based economy.
Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east.