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The Seven Rila Lakes, Rila, Bulgaria
The Seven Rila Lakes, Rila, Bulgaria

Location of Bulgaria (dark green)

Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country in Southeast Europe. Located west of the Black Sea and south of the Danube river, Bulgaria is bordered by Greece and Turkey to the south, Serbia and North Macedonia to the west, and Romania to the north. It covers a territory of 110,994 square kilometres (42,855 sq mi) and is the 16th largest country in Europe. Sofia is the nation's capital and largest city; other major cities include Burgas, Plovdiv, and Varna.

Bulgaria has a high-income economy, its market economy is part of the European Single Market and is largely based on services, followed by industry—especially machine building and mining—and agriculture. The country faces a demographic crisis; its population peaked at 9 million in 1989, and has since decreased to under 6.4 million as of 2024. Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, the Schengen Area, NATO, and the Council of Europe. It is also a founding member of the OSCE and has taken a seat on the United Nations Security Council three times. (Full article...)

Sviatoslav's invasion, from the Manasses Chronicle.

Sviatoslav's invasion of Bulgaria refers to a conflict beginning in 967/968 and ending in 971, carried out in the eastern Balkans, and involving the Kievan Rus', Bulgaria, and the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines encouraged the Rus' ruler Sviatoslav to attack Bulgaria, leading to the defeat of the Bulgarian forces and the occupation of the northern and north-eastern part of the country by the Rus' for the following two years. The allies then turned against each other, and the ensuing military confrontation ended with a Byzantine victory. The Rus' withdrew and eastern Bulgaria was incorporated into the Byzantine Empire.

In 927, a peace treaty had been signed between Bulgaria and Byzantium, ending many years of warfare and establishing forty years of peace. Both states prospered during this interlude, but the balance of power gradually shifted in favour of the Byzantines, who made great territorial gains against the Abbasid Caliphate in the East and formed a web of alliances surrounding Bulgaria. By 965/966, the warlike new Byzantine emperor Nikephoros II Phokas refused to renew the annual tribute that was part of the peace agreement and declared war on Bulgaria. Preoccupied with his campaigns in the East, Nikephoros resolved to fight the war by proxy and invited the Rus' ruler Sviatoslav to invade Bulgaria. (Full article...)
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The Grass lake.
The Grass lake.
Credit: Evgeni Dinev

The Smolyan lakes are situated in the western part of the Rhodope Mountains near the homonimous city.

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